Posts Tagged ‘public perception’

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by Joe Giambrone

What if everything printed this year about Donald J. Trump was 100% true, yet Hillary Clinton still wound up being the greater evil?

What then America?

If the American people are to purchase a product, then do they not have a right to know just how much lesser this “evil” actually weighs versus the name brand?

Like those seasonal Cadbury Cream Eggs that old familiar product has returned to the shelves: lesser evil, with more fat and toxins this year than ever. This repackaged, re-branded item is what many Americans claim to want every four years, the only thing they ever want or care about politically, and they attack those who refuse to purchase it. It’s rather like a Black Friday zombie frenzy descending on Walmart, but we are told by TV that this is “democracy.” It’s not. It’s oligarchy with bread and circuses.

The so-called “lesser evil” political philosophy is the only political philosophy these people seem to comprehend, but the core of the concept is overlooked. Their candidate of choice will admittedly commit evil acts. Do they not want to know what this alleged lesser evil entails?

Seems like self-deception is intrinsic to supporting this little house of cards. Perhaps if the phrase was amended to “evil but possibly lesser,” which is in fact more accurate, the public would spend a few seconds thinking about it when these Novembers inevitably roll around.

Is a nuclear holocaust “evil?”

I suppose that’s the crux of the debate we face today. One of those big two evil candidates has repeatedly, and irrationally, tried to provoke hostilities against nuclear-armed Russia, as part of some unstated agenda: the real agenda that has been torching the Middle East for decades. Wars of western conquest, which turned millions into hamburger, didn’t just happen by themselves. Certain interests wanted to dismantle the oil-rich nations that considered themselves independent of Washington and the EU. The chaos of failed states was preferred to organized regimes that could form an independent bloc or fight back in any way.

According to Hillary R. Clinton, we should all be frothing at the Russians, and at Vladimir Putin for some set of vague claims without the substance that evidence would provide. Hillary and the Democratic National Committee were caught bloody-handed stealing the 2016 Democratic Party primary election from Bernie Sanders. Fraud. The only response she has mustered is the single word “Putin.” Yeah, sure: Putin did it. Repeated so often the word has lost all meaning here in the states, but abroad these quite undiplomatic slights do not pass unnoticed.

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The Russians unveiled their next generation ICBM, “Satan 2,” capable of wiping out the central east coast of America, or all of France, or the UK, or most of California. You get the idea, but does Hillary Clinton?

She insists on a “no-fly zone” in Syria, which the Russian military has already imposed against the invading US coalition, the one which has been arming and funding multiple armies of mass-murdering terrorists!

Clinton privately told Goldman Sachs:

“They’re getting more sophisticated thanks to Russian imports. To have a no-fly zone you have to take out all of the air defense, many of which are located in populated areas. So our missiles, even if they are standoff missiles so we’re not putting our pilots at risk you’re going to kill a lot of Syrians… So all of a sudden this intervention that people talk about so glibly becomes an American and NATO involvement where you take a lot of civilians.”

In the name of protecting civilians HRC wants to kill a lot of civilians and attack Russian-supplied air defense systems, and Russian military personnel of course. The fraud that Hillary Clinton and the interests she represents care in any way about dead Syrian civilians is laughable on its face. US foreign policy has never, ever been based upon protecting the lives of foreign nobodies. To believe such a fairy tale would require complete, absolute historical ignorance. But then again we’re talking about the American public.

How “Evil” is Hillary Clinton already?

American corporate media refuses to call US war crimes war crimes. One can be impeached for a blowjob, but not for killing Nazi-level numbers of foreigners. There is no death count too high for the US Congress to condone, if not to encourage.

Hillary Rodham Clinton has already played an instrumental role in the mass murders of approximately two million people, give or take. The Third Reich didn’t bother with accurate tallies of its victims either. This figure shocks self-styled “liberal” Americans so thoroughly that they simply refuse to believe it.

Clinton, as Senator, not only voted for an illegal war on Iraq (command responsibility), but she told “weapons of mass destruction” lies, selling the fraud to Democrats (lying to Congress). Estimates of Iraqi casualties range from half a million to a million and a half. The carnage continues to this day, and Crimes Against the Peace attribute responsibility for all the evil that results from initiating a war of aggression. This is codified in the UN Charter, and that makes Hillary Clinton also an international war criminal, just like Bush, just like Cheney. The hypocrisy of those who condemned Bush and yet joyfully cast a vote for HRC is staggering (yet commonplace).

That was only one war. As Secretary of State Clinton took on even more responsibility for international crimes, notably the assault on Libya, another war of aggression.

As the Russians noted, there was never any permission to bomb ground targets and help Al Qaeda linked rebels take over the country.

“We’re witnessing a large number of violations of the resolutions of the UN Security Council. Over the last few days, there have been reports of the NATO air force bombing civilian targets, including hospitals… This is an unacceptable situation; the United Nations Security Council did not authorize any such thing. Attempts to justify what’s happening by claiming that the coalition does not go beyond the mandate are insufficient.”
-Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

“Regime change” is a war crime, not an item on a menu for neocons to simply order up. Between 10 and 30,000 Libyans were massacred in the NATO-assisted destruction of Libya. Hillary Clinton displayed a gloating psychosis at the climax of the bloodletting.

Onto Syria, with a current corpse count of 470,000. What was Hillary Clinton’s role? Seymour Hersh’s reporting contrasts against the endless lies of politicians:

“A highly classified annex to the report, not made public, described a secret agreement reached in early 2012 between the Obama and Erdogan administrations. It pertained to the rat line. By the terms of the agreement, funding came from Turkey, as well as Saudi Arabia and Qatar; the CIA, with the support of MI6, was responsible for getting arms from Gaddafi’s arsenals into Syria… The annex didn’t tell the whole story of what happened in Benghazi… ‘The consulate’s only mission was to provide cover for the moving of arms,’ the former intelligence official, who has read the annex, said. ‘It had no real political role.’”

Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, was deeply involved in this covert “regime change” plot, and the sequential wars resulting from it. To this day she insists on continuing the plot to overthrow Bashar Al Assad, the elected President of Syria.

During her husband’s administration, another half-million Iraqi children were killed as a result of US imposed sanctions on medicine and water filtration components. That UN death toll figure was deemed “worth it” by Madeleine Allbright in one of the most shocking news clips of the modern age. This unindicted yet confessed mass murderer campaigns openly for Hillary Clinton.

There are other flash points where Hillary Clinton had a role, Haiti and Honduras for example. Scandals and atrocities have been reported, but this does not faze her supporters, nor most Americans who care nothing about the illegitimate actions of the US empire abroad.

So Donald Trump’s a pig, and the free world must play pretend that Hillary R. Clinton is not a proven and dangerous war criminal. Hollywood leads the charge and attacks dissenters.

How deluded is America this year and how evil?

Jill Stein of the Green Party is the peace candidate.

http://www.jill2016.com


Joe Giambrone is quite sick of all this shit.

http://www.joegiambrone.us

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Banned in America

 

The right to freedom of speech only protects people against adverse actions by the government:  It does not insulate them from retaliation in the private economic sector.  Therefore, freedom of speech is usually the purview of the rich, whose resources allow them to survive such retaliation.

The right to freedom of the press doesn’t necessarily give writers access to the press, and, even when it does, these writers incessantly have to run through a gauntlet of “editors,” who ultimately decide if certain works are “worthy” of publication, and, if so, in what form.

 

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Only 6% of Americans trust the media – survey

six percent saying they have “a great deal of confidence” in the press.

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How the Media Protects Obama

Another White House flack, Eric Schultz, didn’t like being pressed for answers about the Fast and Furious scandal in which American agents directed guns into the arms of Mexican drug lords. “Goddammit, Sharyl!” he screamed at her. “The Washington Post is reasonable, the LA Times is reasonable, The New York Times is reasonable. You’re the only one who’s not reasonable!”

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Learning to Love Torture, Zero Dark Thirty-Style
Seven Easy, Onscreen Steps to Making U.S. Torture and Detention Policies Once Again Palatable

By Karen J. Greenberg

On January 11th, 11 years to the day after the Bush administration opened its notorious prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow’s deeply flawed movie about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, opens nationwide. The filmmakers and distributors are evidently ignorant of the significance of the date — a perfect indication of the carelessness and thoughtlessness of the film, which will unfortunately substitute for actual history in the minds of many Americans.

The sad fact is that Zero Dark Thirty could have been written by the tight circle of national security advisors who counseled President George W. Bush to create the post-9/11 policies that led to Guantanamo, the global network of borrowed “black sites” that added up to an offshore universe of injustice, and the grim torture practices — euphemistically known as “enhanced interrogation techniques” — that went with them. It’s also a film that those in the Obama administration who have championed non-accountability for such shameful policies could and (evidently did) get behind. It might as well be called Back to the Future, Part IV, for the film, like the country it speaks to, seems stuck forever in that time warp moment of revenge and hubris that swept the country just after 9/11.

As its core, Bigelow’s film makes the bald-faced assertion that torture did help the United States track down the perpetrator of 9/11. Zero Dark Thirty — for anyone who doesn’t know by now — is the story of Maya (Jessica Chastain), a young CIA agent who believes that information from a detainee named Ammar will lead to bin Laden. After weeks, maybe months of torture, he does indeed provide a key bit of information that leads to another piece of information that leads… well, you get the idea. Eventually, the name of bin Laden’s courier is revealed. From the first mention of his name, Maya dedicates herself to finding him, and he finally leads the CIA to the compound where bin Laden is hiding. Of course, you know how it all ends.

However compelling the heroine’s determination to find bin Laden may be, the fact is that Bigelow has bought in, hook, line, and sinker, to the ethos of the Bush administration and its apologists. It’s as if she had followed an old government memo and decided to offer in fictional form step-by-step instructions for the creation, implementation, and selling of Bush-era torture and detention policies.

Here, then, are the seven steps that bring back the Bush administration and should help Americans learn how to love torture, Bigelow-style.

First, Rouse Fear. From its opening scene, Zero Dark Thirty equates our post-9/11 fears with the need for torture. The movie begins in darkness with the actual heartbreaking cries and screams for help of people trapped inside the towers of the World Trade Center: “I’m going to die, aren’t I?… It’s so hot. I’m burning up…” a female voice cries out. As those voices fade, the black screen yields to a full view of Ammar being roughed up by men in black ski masks and then strung up, arms wide apart.

The sounds of torture replace the desperate pleas of the victims. “Is he ever getting out?” Maya asks. “Never,” her close CIA associate Dan (Jason Clarke) answers. These are meant to be words of reassurance in response to the horrors of 9/11. Bigelow’s first step, then, is to echo former Vice-President Dick Cheney’s mantra from that now-distant moment in which he claimed the nation needed to go to “the dark side.” That was part of his impassioned demand that, given the immense threat posed by al-Qaeda, going beyond the law was the only way to seek retribution and security.

Bigelow also follows Cheney’s lead into a world of fear. The Bush administration understood that, for their global dreams, including a future invasion of Iraq, to become reality, fear was their best ally. From Terre Haute to El Paso, Portland, Oregon, to Portland, Maine, Americans were to be regularly reminded that they were deeply and eternally endangered by terrorists.

Bigelow similarly keeps the fear monitor bleeping whenever she can. Interspersed with the narrative of the bin Laden chase, she provides often blood-filled footage from terrorist attacks around the globe in the decade after 9/11: the 2004 bombings of oil installations in Khobar, Saudi Arabia, that killed 22; the 2005 suicide bombings in London that killed 56; the 2008 Marriott Hotel bombing in Islamabad that killed 54 people; and the thwarted Times Square bombing of May, 2010. We are in constant jeopardy, she wants us to remember, and uses Maya to remind us of this throughout.

Second, Undermine the Law. Torture is illegal under both American and international law. It was only pronounced “legal” in a series of secret memorandums produced by the Bush Justice Department and approved at the highest levels of the administration. (Top officials, including Cheney and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, evidently even had torture techniques demonstrated for them in the White House before green-lighting them.) Maintaining that there was no way Americans could be kept safe via purely legal methods, they asked for and were given secret legal authority to make torture the go-to option in their Global War on Terror. Yet Bigelow never even nods toward this striking rethinking of the law. She assumes the legality of the acts she portrays up close and personal, only hedging her bets toward the movie’s end when she indicates in passing that the legal system was a potential impediment to getting bin Laden. “Who the hell am I supposed to ask [for confirmation about the courier], some guy at Gitmo who’s all lawyered up?” asks Obama’s national security advisor in the filmic run-up to the raid.

Just as new policies were put in place to legalize torture, so the detention of terror suspects without charges or trials (including people who, we now know, were treated horrifically despite being innocent of anything) became a foundational act of the administration. Specifically, government lawyers were employed to create particularly tortured (if you’ll excuse the word) legal documents exempting detainees from the Geneva Conventions, thus enabling their interrogation under conditions that blatantly violated domestic and international laws.

Zero Dark Thirty accepts without hesitation or question the importance of this unconstitutional detention policy as crucial to the torture program. From the very first days of the war on terror, the U.S. government rounded up individuals globally and began to question them brutally. Whether they actually had information to reveal, whether the government had any concrete evidence against them, they held hundreds — in the end, thousands — of detainees in U.S. custody at secret CIA black sites worldwide, in the prisons of allied states known for their own torture policies, at Bagram Detention Center in Afghanistan, and of course at Guantanamo, which was the crown jewel of the Bush administration’s offshore detention system.

Dan and Maya themselves not only travel to secret black sites to obtain valuable information from detainees, but to the cages and interrogation booths at Bagram where men in those now-familiar orange jumpsuits are shown awaiting a nightmare experience. Bigelow’s film repeatedly suggests that it was crucially important for national security to keep a pool of potential information sources — those detainees — available just in case they might one day turn out to have information.

Third, Indulge in the Horror: Torture is displayed onscreen in what can only be called pornographic detail for nearly the film’s first hour. In this way, Zero Dark Thirty eerily mimics the obsessive, essentially fetishistic approach of Bush’s top officials to the subject. Cheney, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Cheney’s former Chief of Staff David Addington, and John Yoo from the Office of Legal Counsel, among others, plunged into the minutiae of “enhanced interrogation” tactics, micro-managing just what levels of abuse should and should not apply, would and would not constitute torture after 9/11.

In black site after black site, on victim after victim, the movie shows acts of torture in exquisite detail, Bigelow’s camera seeming to relish its gruesomeness: waterboarding, stress positions, beatings, sleep deprivation resulting in memory loss and severe disorientation, sexual humiliation, containment in a small box, and more. Whenever she gets the chance, Bigelow seems to take the opportunity to suggest that this mangling of human flesh and immersion in brutality on the part of Americans is at least understandable and probably worthwhile. The film’s almost subliminal message on the subject of torture should remind us of the way in which a form of sadism-as-patriotic-duty filtered down to the troops on the ground, as evidenced by the now infamous 2004 photos from Abu Ghraib of smiling American soldiers offering thumbs-up responses to their ability to humiliate and hurt captives in dog collars.

Fourth, Dehumanize the Victims. Like the national security establishment that promoted torture policies, Bigelow dehumanizes her victims. Despite repeated beatings, humiliations, and aggressive torture techniques of various sorts, Ammar never becomes even a faintly sympathetic character to anyone in the film. As a result, there is never anyone for the audience to identify with who becomes emotionally distraught over the abuses. Dehumanization was a necessary tool in promoting torture; now, it is a necessary tool in promoting Zero Dark Thirty, which desensitizes its audience in ways that should be frightening to us and make us wonder who exactly we have become in the years since 9/11.

Fifth, Never Doubt That Torture Works. Given all this, it’s a small step to touting the effectiveness of torture in eliciting the truth. “In the end, everybody breaks, bro’: it’s biology,” Dan says to his victim. He also repeats over and over, “If you lie to me, I hurt you” — meaning, “If I hurt you, you won’t lie to me.” Maya concurs, telling Ammar, bruised, bloodied, and begging for her help, that he can stop his pain by telling the truth.

How many times does the American public need to be told that torture did not yield the results the government promised? How many times does it need to be said that waterboarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11, 183 times obviously didn’t work? How many times does it need to be pointed out that torture can — and did — produce misleading or false information, notably in the torture of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, the Libyan who ran an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan and who confessed under torture that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?

Sixth, Hold No One Accountable. The Obama administration made the determination that holding Bush administration figures, CIA officials, or the actual torturers responsible for what they did in a court of law was far more trouble than it might ever be worth. Instead, the president chose to move on and officially never look back. Bigelow takes advantage of this passivity to suggest to her audience that the only downside of torture is the fear of accountability. As he prepares to leave Pakistan, Dan tells Maya, “You gotta be real careful with the detainees now. Politics are changing and you don’t want to be the last one holding the dog collar when the oversight committee comes…”

The sad truth is that Zero Dark Thirty could not have been produced in its present form if any of the officials who created and implemented U.S. torture policy had been held accountable for what happened, or any genuine sunshine had been thrown upon it. With scant public debate and no public record of accountability, Bigelow feels free to leave out even a scintilla of criticism of that torture program. Her film is thus one more example of the fact that without accountability, the pernicious narrative continues, possibly gaining traction as it does.

Seventh, Employ the Media. While the Bush administration had the Fox television series 24 as a weekly reminder that torture keeps us safe, the current administration, bent on its no-accountability policy, has Bigelow’s film on its side. It’s the perfect piece of propaganda, with all the appeal that naked brutality, fear, and revenge can bring.

Hollywood and most of its critics have embraced the film. It has already been named among the best films of the year, and is considered a shoe-in for Oscar nominations. Hollywood, that one-time bastion of liberalism, has provided the final piece in the perfect blueprint for the whitewashing of torture policy. If that isn’t a happily-ever-after ending, what is?

Karen J. Greenberg, a TomDispatch regular, is the Director of the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School. She is the author of The Least Worst Place: Guantanamo’s First 100 Days and the co-editor of The Torture Papers: The Road to Abu Ghraib.

Copyright 2013 Karen J. Greenberg (used with permission)

 

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