Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Hollywood movies are just propaganda, not history lessons!

 Argo's Oscar is like Obama's peace prize: undeserved and grotesque.

"Argo", says Ben Affleck, is "a tribute" to the "extraordinary, honorable people at the CIA" -- currently waging an illegal, immoral, unregulated and expanding drone execution program.


By Nima Shirazi
Wide Asleep in America
23 February 2013


Ben Affleck triumphant at winning the Best Picture Oscar for his CIA propaganda movie Argo.
One year ago, after his breathtakingly beautiful Iranian drama, "A Separation," won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, writer/director Asghar Farhadi delivered the best acceptance speech of the night.

"[A]t the time when talk of war, intimidation, and aggression is exchanged between politicians," he said, Iran was finally being honored for "her glorious culture, a rich and ancient culture that has been hidden under the heavy dust of politics."

Farhadi dedicated the Oscar "to the people of my country, a people who respect all cultures and civilizations and despise hostility and resentment."

Such grace and eloquence will surely not be on display this Sunday, when Ben Affleck, flanked by his co-producers George Clooney and Grant Heslov, takes home the evening's top prize, the Best Picture Oscar, for his critically-acclaimed and heavily decorated paean to the CIA and American innocence, "Argo."

Over the past 12 months, rarely a week - let alone month - went by without new predictions of an ever-imminent Iranian nuclear weapon and ever-looming threats of an American or Israeli military attack.

Come October 2012, into the fray marched "Argo," a decontextualized, ahistorical "true story" of Orientalist proportion, subjecting audiences to two hours of American victimization and bearded barbarians, culminating in popped champagne corks and rippling stars-and-stripes celebrating our heroism and triumph and their frustration and defeat.  

Salon's Andrew O'Hehir aptly described the film as "a propaganda fable," explaining as others have that essentially none of its edge-of-your-seat thrills or most memorable moments ever happened.  

O'Hehir sums up:

The Americans never resisted the idea of playing a film crew, which is the source of much agitation in the movie. (In fact, the “house guests” chose that cover story themselves, from a group of three options the CIA had prepared.) They were not almost lynched by a mob of crazy Iranians in Tehran’s Grand Bazaar, because they never went there. There was no last-minute cancellation, and then un-cancellation, of the group’s tickets by the Carter administration. (The wife of Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor had personally gone to the airport and purchased tickets ahead of time, for three different outbound flights.) The group underwent no interrogation at the airport about their imaginary movie, nor were they detained at the gate while a member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard telephoned their phony office back in Burbank. There was no last-second chase on the runway of Mehrabad Airport, with wild-eyed, bearded militants with Kalashnikovs trying to shoot out the tires of a Swissair jet.

. . . 

Read the entire story here: 




And some of the real history here:


Our Man in Iran:
How the CIA and MI6 Installed the Shah


By Leon Hadar

Washington's goal: to remove Mossadeq and his political allies, which included liberals, social democrats, and to place reliable pro-western politicians in power.
Continue



Friday, February 15, 2013

What the U.S. Bombing of Cambodia Tells Us About Obama's Drone Campaign

By Henry Grabar
Between 1965 and 1973, the U.S. dropped 2.7 million tons of explosives -- more than the Allies dropped in the entirety of World War II -- on Cambodia, whose population was then smaller than New York City's.
Continue



Obama's Secret Court for Killing

By Judge Andrew P. Napolitano
When we talk about killing as if it were golf, we debase ourselves. And when the government kills and we put our heads in the sand, woe to us when there is no place to hide. Continue



Dictatorship is Government Unconstrained by Law
Obama’s Expanding Kill List


By Paul Craig Roberts

As the Founding Fathers knew and the American people have forgot, no one is safe in a dictatorship.
Continue



DOJ Kill List Memo Forces Many Dems Out of the Closet

By Glenn Greenwald

Last week's controversy over Obama's assassination program forced into light many ignored truths that were long obvious. Continue


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

"Kill Anything That Moves - The Real American War in Vietnam"
A new book by Nick Turse

Nick Turse, who devoted 12 years to tracking down the true story of Vietnam, unlocked secret troves of documents, interviewed officials and veterans — including many accused of war atrocities — and traveled throughout the Vietnamese countryside talking with eyewitnesses to create his new book.


This is required reading to understand the true horror of the 'Vietnam War', beyond the popular myths.  And it is relevant to understanding the ongoing horrors of war today.
Hardcover, 370 pages, Metropolitan Books, List Price: $18.40






Excerpt: "Kill Anything That Moves".
 
Read the introduction from Nick Turse’s book, "Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam".
 

On January 21, 1971, a Vietnam veteran named Charles McDuff wrote a letter to President Richard Nixon to voice his disgust with the American war in Southeast Asia. McDuff had witnessed multiple cases of Vietnamese civilians being abused and killed by American soldiers and their allies, and he had found the U.S. military justice system to be woefully ineffective in punishing wrongdoers. “Maybe your advisors have not clued you in,” he told the president, “but the atrocities that were committed in My Lai are eclipsed by similar American actions throughout the country.” His three-page handwritten missive concluded with an impassioned plea to Nixon to end American participation in the war. . .

Click this link to continue:
http://billmoyers.com/2013/02/08/excerpt-kill-anything-that-moves/


 *


The horrors and war crimes exposed in Nick Turse's new book were known at the time, for those who cared to know!



From Michael Uhl, Vietnam veteran and anti-war activist:

. . . Even in advance of seeing it I anticipate that, as a comprehensive study, Nick Turse’s book is an extraordinary contribution to the efforts of those of us who for decades have been fighting the battle over how our history will portray the Vietnam War. 

The campaign to challenge the forces aimed at re-writing or sanitizing the history of the Vietnam War has recently been injected with new urgency in the wake of President Obama’s launching last Memorial Day of the Pentagon’s Vietnam War Commemoration Project (See In The Mind Field essays by myself and John Grant.) 

This $5 million-a-year Pentagon project seeks to honor Vietnam veteran “warriors” in national and community-based ceremonies from now until 2025 while stripping away the “atrocity producing” context in which the war was executed. . . 

. . . Americans were hearing and reading on a regular basis in the mainstream media the widely published message from elements of the antiwar movement and from war veterans themselves that atrocities in Vietnam were in fact the norm.

And that they were the direct outcome of U.S. government policies and “orders from above," however explicitly or implicitly delivered. 


If that message failed to be heard, that’s another thing entirely.

..

Michael Uhl's articles and criticism have appeared in national magazines from Forbes to House Beautiful, and from GEO to The Nation. He served in Vietnam as a combat intelligence officer with the 11th Infantry. His book Vietnam Awakening is a memoir of his experiences at war and, subsequently, within the movement against the war. He is currently involved in the Vietnam War Commemoration CORRECTION Project, because, while the war is long past, the battle over its history goes on. This essay first appeared at In The Mind Field.



Click here to read more:





Saturday, February 09, 2013

Washington Speaks With Forked Tongue to Iran

By Finian Cunningham


February 08, 2013 "Information Clearing House
" -  

Only days after American Vice President Joe Biden made a very public and tantalizing offer of bilateral talks between the US and Iran, there then follows another round of punitive trade sanctions imposed by Washington on Iran’s vital oil industry. 

What to make of this seemingly contradictory US position? 

Some commentators say that the above anomalous attitude reflects a carrot-and-stick policy in Washington, by which incentives dangled in front of Iran are quickly followed by a blow of hardship, with the objective of forcing an end result.

The supposed end result in this case is that the Americans and their Western allies want Iran to demonstrate definitively to the rest of the world that it will never develop capability for nuclear weapons. This demonstration would be achieved, according to Washington, if Iran were to somehow give a cast-iron guarantee that it has circumscribed its nuclear technology and the crucial uranium-enrichment process.

So, this argument goes, if Iran were to comply with this desired objective by severely limiting its nuclear research and industry, then certain “carrots” will follow: a lifting of the crippling economic sanctions and a normalization of diplomatic relations.

That is the charitable view of the US position, a view that has been bolstered by the expectation that President Barack Obama in his second and final term in the White House is edging towards a more reasoned, less-hawkish and less Zionist-pandering foreign policy in the Middle East.

But there is another way of interpreting the US position towards Iran. 

Borrowing a phrase coined by the Native Americans who were continually deceived and dispossessed, it is more plausible that Washington is simply “speaking with a forked tongue” with regard to Iran. 

From this perspective, there are no intended concessions forthcoming from the US to Iran, in contradistinction to what Biden suggests, but rather all that will follow are unremitting hardships.

In this scenario of the US position, any concessions that might be made by Iran, in a reasonable expectation of reciprocation, will be cynically pocketed by Washington and its Western allies with nothing in return except more punitive demands.

How do we judge whether the US is adopting the more benign carrot-and-stick position or the pernicious forked-tongue approach to Iran?

History. Decades of American aggression and malfeasance towards Iran point to a beast that cannot simply change its predatory and nefarious habits over night. Last weekend, Iranian leaders responded to Biden’s words with the magnanimous caution that actions must speak louder than rhetoric.

While Biden arrogantly demanded that Iran has to show “good faith” for any putative negotiations to take place, the reality is that the onus is preponderantly on the US to decommission its arsenal of policies and practices of aggression towards Iran in order for the latter to treat any offer from Washington as being remotely sincere and worthy of respect.

The precedents do not bode well. Recall that in his first inaugural address in January 2009, Obama made a big play of rhetorical reconciliation towards Iran, promising that America would “extend a hand of friendship” if others would “unclench their fist”. What followed in practice was hardly a series of goodwill gestures, when American death squads assassinated several Iranian nuclear scientists.

Under Obama moreover, the US has unleashed three rounds of savage economic sanctions on Iran - on top of the decades-long embargoes that were already in place. Washington has press-ganged Europe and the rest of the world to comply with its crippling sanctions that have placed millions of Iranian lives at risk from shortage of essential medicines and other basic goods.
Obama has also overseen the increased use of surveillance drones over Iranian territory and the deployment of cyber warfare on Iranian society. The Stuxnet and Flame virus attacks on Iran that Washington launched in collusion with Israel can be seen as merely the first shots in a bigger onslaught with the declaration last week that the Obama administration intends to wage cyber war “preemptively”.
This history of overt and covert war of aggression on Iran by Washington - all of which is criminal - is the context in which the recent overtures for talks between the two countries must be evaluated. How is one expected to talk rationally with a demented, barbarous criminal who insists on a self-righteous right to attack the other party, including with the use of nuclear weapons?

To enter into such a framework of negotiations is delusional and indeed by doing so sets up a dangerous dynamic of one-sided concessions that will serve to embolden the aggressor.

The only proper framework for negotiations to take place between the US and Iran is for Washington to immediately halt all aggression towards the people of Iran. 

Primarily, this requires the reversal of all sanctions, American and European, imposed on Iran. Then, and only then, should Iran consider negotiations as being conducted with a modicum of good faith.

However, it is doubtful that such a reasonable criterion for talks will be met. This is because the problem that Washington and its Western allies have with Iran is not its alleged nuclear program. The real problem for these imperialist powers is Iran itself.

The Americans and their European puppets cannot abide the mere fact of an independent Iran - a country that believes in harnessing its resources for the development and benefit of the Iranian people, as opposed to the exploitation by Western capital and the Western-dominated global banking system; a country that is critical of Western militarism in the Middle East and Africa and other impoverished parts of the world; a country which defends the rights of Palestinian people who are being subjected to slow-motion genocide by the Western-backed Zionist regime.

These are some of the real issues why Washington is trying to defeat the Islamic Republic of Iran, the current leader of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).  


And Washington is using the spurious concern over Iran’s alleged “nuclear ambitions” as the pretext for what is, in plain truth, criminal imperialist aggression.

 
This is another reason why the carrot-and-stick characterization of US policy towards Iran is flawed. That concept is based on the false premise that Washington’s desired end result is the surrender of Iran’s right to nuclear technology. Not true. In reality, Washington wants the surrender of Iran as an independent country. That’s why America speaks to Iran with forked tongue.

Despite this seemingly bleak - albeit realistic - scenario in US-Iranian relations, there is nevertheless a positive note. 

Every effort to demonise Iran has backfired to elevate that country in the eyes of the world, while US standing has degenerated to gutter status. The unanimous support for Iran from more than 120 nations at the NAM summit in Tehran last August is symptomatic of the shift in international perceptions. 

Iran is building partnerships on every continent while the US is incinerating bridges.

Furthermore, as the surge in oil prices over the latest Washington sanctions on Iran portend, the American policy of aggression to vanquish Iran will more likely end up rebounding to wipe out what’s left of the imploding American and European economies. 

Iran should therefore resist any supposed overtures from the US. The empire, with its venomous forked tongue, is destroying itself. Let it writhe and wriggle all it wants. 

 
Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. The author and media commentator was expelled from Bahrain in June 2011 for his critical journalism in which he highlighted human rights violations by the Western-backed regime.

This article was originally posted at Press TV



Some public comments on this article:

*  Washington's "carrot and stick" policy is real... Washington's policy involves beating you with a stick until you give them all your carrots. 

*  ... I think that Iran is a remarkable country and I do appreciate its history and its citizens. If Iran were an evil empire would 25,000 Jews be living there freely practicing their religion?

Israel should conform to the humanity of Iran; you don't see the Iranians treating the Jews the way that Israel treats the Palestinians.

If one were to look at countries as individual personalities, it might make the behavior more clear. The playground bullies (U.S. and Israel) threaten everyone who does not do their bidding. They seem to go out of their way to start fights.

Impressively, Iran did not retaliate even when Israel and the U.S. took credit for the computer virus attacks against Iran. Iran responds as an adult and seeks dialogue, although they seem to be rebuffed with mumbo jumbo monologues.

Besides, China, India and Russia are more than happy to trade with Iran, as it benefits all those nations....

These moves by the U.S. are acts of war. Our Congress has not declared war on Iran and would have no justification to do so. Iran has attacked no one. It has harmed no one. Are the Amerikan people so ignorant that they don't know this is a clear violation of the Constitution? Please, people of the World, help us to get our country back. Oppose the bullying of other nations by the U.S. and its parasite, Israel. 

*  At 79 yrs. I'm amazed that for 65 of those years, I absolutely knew, that we were the good guys. I was wrong. For the next 14 yrs, I am understanding, that there is no way to change that! 


One way to "change that" is to be well-informed about what is really going on in our world, beyond the official lies & mainstream news propaganda.