Thursday, Jan 23rd, 2020 - 00:10:32

The Detached Mission (1985) - Mikhail Tumanishvili

'Somewhere in Florida, a group of shady defense contractors hold a secret meeting on a golf course. “Florida,” in 'The Detached Mission', could not look more like Cuba, and the contractors are members at the only country club in the United States where multi-millionaires forgo single-malts for Old Crow in a half-gallon bottle with a pour spout. They fear that a thaw between the Soviet Union and the United States will lead to military cutbacks—one of them estimates $460 billion as “the price of détente”—and are determined to do something about it. Precisely, they want to launch missiles at a cruise ship full of Americans and frame the Soviets. There’s only one man for the job: Jack Hessalt, in exile since slaughtering an entire Vietnamese village at the CIA’s request. Hessalt jumps at the chance to get back to murdering civilians of any nationality, and is dispatched to a charmingly low-budget secret missile base, where every surface is littered with cans of Coke™ and the tracking systems are based on the technology from the game "Battleship!™".'

The Seventh Decade: The New Shape of Nuclear Danger

'Shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Bush administration became preoccupied with the threat that rogue states such as Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, which supported terrorism and had a history of pursuing nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons of mass destruction (WMD), might transfer such weapons to terrorists for attacks against the U.S. homeland... Bush and his advisers devised an aggressive new approach to nonproliferation in which the United States would use its overwhelming military power to attack and preventively disarm any hostile country seeking WMD. To implement this new strategy, the Pentagon created a capability called Global Strike, which integrates U.S. conventional and nuclear forces in support of a broad range of warfighting options, including nuclear attacks against hardened underground bunkers and buried caches of chemical and biological weapons. For the Bush administration, Schell concludes, “The mission of nuclear weapons is no longer to produce stalemate with a peer; it is to fight and win wars against nations with little or no ability to respond.” The Bush preventive war doctrine saw its first application in the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, which the administration sold to Congress and the public with frightening assertions that Saddam Hussein was pursuing nuclear weapons and might give them to terrorists to attack the United States. After the war, both claims proved to be false, dealing a severe blow to U.S. credibility.'

Obamathon I -"Beyond Steve Canyon": Histories of Militarized Masculinity

"'Last time, I told you guys I wanted to spend time thinking about some issues,' he began. 'Now, we have a three-year track record that I feel good about. We’ve delivered on many of the promises I made when I ran for this office. We’ve faced incredible challenges, foreign and domestic, and drone a good job meeting them, by and large.' Obama didn’t need to stumble through this preamble to his constituency on a teleprompter, though. Everyone knew the litany of his achievements. Foremost on that day, with the fresh news about Daw Aung San Suu Kyi out of Burma, it seemed the President was still on the golf course pondering the drone program that he had expanded so dramatically and with such lethal results, as well as the death of bin Laden, which was still resonating worldwide years later.

'Turns out I’m really good at killing people,' Obama said quietly. 'Didn’t know that was gonna be a strong suit of mine.'

Around the room, everyone was transfixed by the pile of baseball cards of serial killers that Obama had placed on the table in front of him. Most of his advisers had expected him to bring a blacklist of 'terrorists'—but a baseball card collection? They were even more surprised by what the President was saying now: that as much as he had been faithful to his beliefs, there were places where his efforts had been insufficient. Where he’d trimmed his sails or been inhibited by the exigencies of the politics of the moment. Where he’d been less than honest about where he stood..."

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi: Nobel Peace Prize Speech (2012)

'We are fortunate to be living in an age when social welfare and humanitarian assistance are recognized not only as desirable but necessary. I am fortunate to be living in an age when the fate of prisoners of conscience anywhere has become the concern of peoples everywhere, an age when democracy and human rights are widely, even if not universally, accepted as the birthright of all. How often during my years under house arrest have I drawn strength from my favourite passages in the preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

+ "Disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspirations of the common people..."

+ "It is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law..."

If I am asked why I am fighting for human rights in Burma the above passages will provide the answer. If I am asked why I am fighting for democracy in Burma, it is because I believe that democratic institutions and practices are necessary for the guarantee of human rights... The peace of our world is indivisible.'

Cynthia Enloe

Feminism & Cultural Militarization: "Bananas, Beaches & Bases"

'War, preparations for war, and the entire process of militarization are highly gendered activities. Ideas about masculinity and femininity are used to promote and sustain violence, including the centuries-old, well-entrenched, socially approved violence of armed conflict. At the root of war and violence of all types, is a mindset that values control and domination. These values are linked to a specific type of masculinity which researchers call hegemonic masculinity, in which the ideal man is physically strong, competitive, completely self-reliant, and exercises power over other men and all women. War glorifies this type of masculinity, while the military as an institution fosters and cultivates its practice. This notion of masculinity and the accompanying notion of femininity as subservient, passive and weak, is also reflected in the ways governments and politics are conceptualised and structured.'

Globalization: The New Rulers Of The World (2001)

'The New Rulers Of The World' (2001) analyses the new global economy and reveals that the divisions between the rich and poor have never been greater - two thirds of the world's children live in poverty - and the gulf is widening like never before. The film turns the spotlight on the new rulers of the world - the great multinationals and the governments and institutions that back them such as the IMF, the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation under whose rules millions of people throughout the world lose their jobs and livelihood. The West, explains Pilger, has increased its stranglehold on poor countries by using the might of these powerful financial institutions to control their economies. "A small group of powerful individuals are now richer than most of the population of Africa," he says, "just 200 giant corporations dominate a quarter of the world's economic activity. General Motors is now bigger than Denmark. Ford is bigger than South Africa. Enormously rich men like Bill Gates, have a wealth greater than all of Africa. Golfer Tiger Woods was paid more to promote Nike than the entire workforce making the company's products in Indonesia received."

U.S. Foreign Policy: Politicide, Bigotry, & Domination (2000)

"Well, there was no threat from the Soviet Union. They were still rebuilding from the rubble of World War II in which they had lost 20 million people. They were no threat but they were manufactured from 1950 on, from the time of Korea on, as a grave threat to the United States... This was the beginning of the permanent war economy in the United States.... Imagine what would happen if we had an informed electorate; if we didn’t have the worst educational system; if we had a negligible perhaps illiteracy rate here? There might be an informed electorate. We might be debating real substantive issues in the electoral process or in the political process in the United States. There might be a threat in this country of real democracy if we solved the domestic crises in this country. People might clamor to participate if there was a real debate. There might be a threat of a third party, I mean a second party in the United States. There are all kinds of threats to elitists control of the U.S. if we were to solve these domestic crises... and it is for this reason that we have always needed this foreign threat and this foreign crises in order to justify putting the money into military expenditures instead of converting the economy, once and for all, to human purposes."

The American Empire Project: A People's History

'The American Empire has always been a bipartisan project—Democrats and Republicans have taken turns extending it, extolling it, justifying it. President Woodrow Wilson told graduates of the Naval Academy in 1914 (the year he bombarded Mexico) that the U.S. used “her navy and her army… as the instruments of civilization, not as the instruments of aggression.” And Bill Clinton, in 1992, told West Point graduates: “The values you learned here will be able to spread throughout the country and throughout the world.” For the people of the United States, and indeed for people all over the world, those claims sooner or later are revealed to be false. The rhetoric, often persuasive on first hearing, soon becomes overwhelmed by horrors that can no longer be concealed: the bloody corpses of Iraq, the torn limbs of American GIs, the millions of families driven from their homes—in the Middle East and in the Mississippi Delta. Have not the justifications for empire, embedded in our culture, assaulting our good sense—that war is necessary for security, that expansion is fundamental to civilization—begun to lose their hold on our minds? Have we reached a point in history where we are ready to embrace a new way of living in the world, expanding not our military power, but our humanity?'

"Base Nation" - David Vine (2015)

"Largely, people of course don't like their land occupied by foreign troops — and I think it's worth thinking, for American audiences, to think about how it would feel to have foreign troops living next door, occupying your land with tanks. ... There have also been a number of harms that these bases have inflicted on local communities — there have been accidents, crimes committed by U.S. personnel, environmental damage — a whole range of damage that people were quite upset about."

"No Good Men Among the Living" - Anand Gopal (Picador, 2014)

'What you will learn from “No Good Men Among the Living” is that after the USA routed the Taliban in 2001, the term “Wars Of Choice, Wars Of Necessity” hardly applied to the facts on the ground. A more accurate description would be “Wars Of Insanity” for the simple reason that virtually the entire Taliban leadership had reconciled itself to living in peace with the government the USA had helped to install... Once the Taliban liquidated itself and al-Qaeda hightailed it to Pakistan, there was no reason for the American military to remain in Afghanistan. But so intoxicated as it was on the need for revenge, it developed a campaign that required an enemy even if it was not there. The same rogue elements that precipitated Taliban resistance in the first place were all too ready to serve as American agents in an unnecessary war. With bottomless coffers filled with American dollars, the same kinds of militia thugs that killed Gul’s family members were ready to go to work identifying and killing “terrorists” for a handsome fee even if the killing was more on-target than the identification. Gopal poses the question, “How do you fight a war without an adversary?” The answer was simple: you made one up.'

"American Hegemony" - Chalmers Johnson (2008)

"In the southernmost prefecture of Japan, Okinawa, site of the Battle of Okinawa in 1945, there’s a small island, smaller than Kauai in the Hawaiian islands, with 1,300,000 Okinawans. There are 37 American military bases there. The revolt against them has been endemic for 50 years. The governor is always saying to the local military commander, "You’re living on the side of a volcano that could explode at any time." It has exploded in the past. What this means is just an endless, nonstop series of sexually violent crimes, drunken brawls, hit-and-run accidents, environmental pollution, noise pollution, helicopters falling out of the air from Futenma Marine Corps Air Base and falling onto the campus of Okinawa International University — one thing after another. Back in 1995, we had one of the most serious incidents, when two Marines and a sailor abducted, beat and raped a 12-year-old girl. This led to the largest demonstrations against the United States since we signed the security treaty with Japan decades ago. It’s this kind of thing... These bases are spread everywhere."

Rusko: "Jahova" (Babylon: Vol.1, 2007)

'After graduating from Leeds College of Music with a degree in Music Production, Rusko discovered the world of Dubstep through the Leeds club night Subdub and a debut appearance from the Digital Mystikz. Having spent the past 10 years making future dub alongside Leeds very own Iration Steppas, Rusko connected with the sound and moved down to London to further advance his musical opportunities with Sub Soldiers label mate Caspa. Veering away from the dark, serious side of the sound Rusko brought a highly driven energy and fun approach to the dubstep massive and quickly coined his own take on the genre and turned the scene upside down. His huge hit "Cockney Thug" has been played by everyone from Pete Tong, Switch, Diplo and Santogold, and has been remixed by the Burqa Sound System, Caspa, Crypts, Drop the Dime & the Scratch Perverts.'

Empire: "The Decline of the American Vampire" (2011)

'The US has the world's biggest economy, the most influential culture, and the most potent military machine, with a budget that equals that of all other nations combined. It is the only power with a global project defended and supported by more aircraft carriers, Fortune 500 companies, and more successful media-tainment conglomerates than any other. But the last decade has been problematic for the world's only superpower. America's post-Cold War optimism has given way to pessimism, forecasting a declining power and more crucially, the end of "the American era"... Countless books have been written prophesying the end with titles like: Suicide of a Superpower; The Empire Has No Clothes; Taming American Power; Nemesis: the Last Days of the American Republic; Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire; and Selling out A Superpower. So, is all this talk of the US decline premature? And if not, what role will the US play in a post-US century? Empire finds out.'

Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear & the Selling of American Empire

'The documentary places the Bush administration’s false justifications for war in Iraq within the larger context of a two-decade struggle by neoconservatives to dramatically increase military spending in the wake of the cold war, and to expand American power globally by means of military force. At the same time, the documentary argues that the Bush administration has sold this radical and controversial plan for aggressive American military intervention by deliberately manipulating intelligence, political imagery, and the fears of the American people after 9/11. Narrated by Julian Bond, "Hijacking Catastrophe" features interviews with more than twenty prominent political observers, including Pentagon whistleblower Lt. Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski, who witnessed first-hand how the Bush administration set up a sophisticated propaganda operation to link the anxieties generated by 9/11 to a pre-existing foreign policy agenda that included a preemptive war on Iraq. At its core, the film places the deceptions of the Bush administration within the larger frame of questions seldom posed in the mainstream.'

Aisha - "The Creator" (Ariwa, 1986)

'A disciple of Lee “Scratch” Perry, Mad Professor was one of the leading producers in dub reggae’s second generation. His Dub Me Crazy albums helped dub make the transition into the digital age, when electronic productions started to take over mainstream reggae in the ’80s. His space-age tracks not only made use of new digital technology, but often expanded dub’s sonic blueprint, adding more elements and layers of sound than his forebears typically did. In the mid-’90s, he returned to the basics, debuting a more retro-sounding style on the Black Liberation Dub series. Additionally, he ran his own studio and label, Ariwa, which was home to a stable of vocalists (with an emphasis on lovers rock and conscious roots reggae) and some of the finest British reggae productions of the era.'

Norman Morrison Anti-War Pentagon Protest

50 Year Anniversary of Norman Morrison Anti-War Pentagon Protest

"It was Nov. 2, 1965, and Bundt, now 80, had witnessed the self-immolation of Quaker antiwar pacifist Norman R. Morrison, who had just carried out one of the most horrific public protests of the era of the Vietnam War. Scarcely remembered now, Morrison’s suicide 50 years ago Monday was front-page news at the time, across a country that was increasingly torn by protests over the war. Morrison had set himself ablaze 40 feet from the Pentagon office window of then-Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara, one of the chief organizers of the U.S. involvement in the war... No photographs appear to exist of Morrison’s self-immolation, unlike the shocking images of Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc, who burned himself to death at a busy intersection in what was then Saigon, South Vietnam, in 1963. Morrison’s act was seen only by witnesses."

"Far from Vietnam" (1967) - Tactical Opposition & Politicide

'Initiated and edited by Chris Marker, FAR FROM VIETNAM is an epic 1967 collaboration between cinema greats Jean-Luc Godard, Joris Ivens, William Klein, Claude Lelouch and Alain Resnais in protest of American military involvement in Vietnam--made, per Marker's narration, "to affirm, by the exercise of their craft, their solidarity with the Vietnamese people in struggle against aggression." A truly collaborative effort, the film brings together an array of stylistically disparate contributions, none individually credited, under a unified editorial vision. The elements span documentary footage shot in North and South Vietnam and at anti-war demonstrations in the United States; a fictional vignette and a monologue that dramatize the self-interrogation of European intellectuals; interviews with Fidel Castro and Anne Morrison, widow of Norman Morrison, the Quaker pacifist who burned himself alive in front of the Pentagon in 1965; an historical overview of the conflict; reflections from French journalist Michèle Ray; and a range of repurposed media material.'

Manhatta: Die Großstädte und das Geistesleben (1903-21)

'The deepest problems of modern life derive from the claim of the individual to preserve the autonomy and individuality of his existence in the face of overwhelming social forces, of historical heritage, of external culture, and of the technique of life. The fight with nature which primitive man has to wage for his bodily existence attains in this modern form its latest transformation. The eighteenth century called upon man to free himself of all the historical bonds in the state and in religion, in morals and in economics. Man's nature, originally good and common to all, should develop unhampered. In addition to more liberty, the nineteenth century demanded the functional specialization of man and his work; this specialization makes one individual incomparable to another, and each of them indispensable to the highest possible extent. However, this specialization makes each man the more directly dependent upon the supplementary activities of all others... in all these positions the same basic motive is at work: the person resists to being leveled down and worn out by a social-technological mechanism. An inquiry into the inner meaning of specifically modern life and its products, into the soul of the cultural body, must seek to solve the equation which structures like the metropolis set up between the individual and the super-individual contents of life.'

"A History of Suits" - Reichsmarschall H.W. Göring (1945)

"His impressive girth, bombast and outlandish costumes made Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring the darling of Allied satirists. As their cities were pummeled to rubble during the war, even the Germans took to contemptuously referring to the head of the Luftwaffe as Der Dicke ("The Thick one"). His comical words, actions and unique fashion sense aside, it should be remembered that Göring was a bona fide war hero who received the coveted Orden Pour le Merite during World War I and was a figure of high importance in the Nazi hierarchy. His place at the center of great events makes Göring worthy of careful study and close scrutiny even today. On May 8, 1945, Göring surrendered to the Americans in full military regalia. Expecting to be treated as the emissary of a defeated people, the Reichsmarschall was shocked when his medals and marshal’s baton were taken away and he was confined in Prisoner of War Camp No. 32, known to its inmates as 'the Ashcan.'"

The First Thanksgiving

Unsettling Minnesota: Deconstructing the Colonial Mentality

'The most common mistake people make when they talk about racism is to think it is a collection of prejudices and individual acts of discrimination. They do not see that it is a system, a web of interlocking, reinforcing institutions: economic, military, legal, educational, religious, and cultural. As a system, racism affects every aspect of life in a country. By not seeing that racism is systemic, people often personalize or individualize racist acts. For example, they will reduce racist police behavior to “a few bad apples” who need to be removed, rather than seeing it exists in police departments all over the country and is basic to the society. This mistake has real consequences: refusing to see police brutality as part of a system, and that the system needs to be changed, means that the brutality will continue. The need to recognize racism as being systemic is one reason the term White Supremacy has been more useful than the term racism.'

William S. Burroughs - "A Thanksgiving Prayer" (1986)

"Thanks for the Wild Turkey® and
The passenger pigeons, destined
To be shat out through wholesome
American guts.
Thanks for a continent to despoil
And poison.
Thanks for Indians to provide a
Modicum of challenge and
Danger.
Thanks for vast herds of bison to
Kill and skin leaving the
Carcasses to rot.
Thanks for bounties on wolves
And coyotes.
Thanks for the American dream,
To vulgarize and to falsify until
The bare lies shine through."

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