Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Resources for November 27, 2014

Russell, Tory. ""This Country Values Property Over People": Ferguson Activist Speaks Out as Protests Spread." Democracy Now (November 26, 2014)

Crump, Benjamin and Al Sharpton. " Legacy of Civil Rights Movement Shows Need for Feds to Bring Justice if State Fails." Democracy Now (November 26, 2014)

Adamson, Peter. "Everything is Full of Gods: Thales." Philosophy Without any Gaps (December 21, 2010)

Glennon, Michael J. "National Security and Double Government." Harvard National Security Journal 5.1 (2014)

Alexander, Michelle. "Telling My Son Abour Ferguson." The New York Times (November 26, 2014)

Fendt, Ted. "Adieu au langage - Goodbye to Language: A Works Cited." Notebook (October 12, 2014)

Johnson, Andrew. "On Impunity." Guernica (November 26, 2014)

Kemp, Philip. "A Time of Honor: Seven Samurai and Sixteenth-Century Japan." Current (October 19, 2010)

Atkinson, Michael. "Archival Trouble: The fiction-free science fiction of Adam Curtis" Moving Image Source (February 16, 2012)

Coates, Ta-Nehisi. "Barack Obama, Ferguson, and the Evidence of Things Unsaid: Violence works. Nonviolence does too." The Atlantic (November 26, 2014)

de Villiers, Jacques. "When Korine Filmed Culkin:(Dis)placing the Child Star in Sunday." Senses of Cinema #69 (December 2013)

D'Angelo, Mike. "Scenic Routes: Boogie Nights." A.V. Club (July 13, 2009)

Churner, Leah. "Un-TV: Public access cable television in Manhattan: an oral history." Moving Image (February 10, 2011)

Richie, Donald. "Remembering Kurosawa." Current (Decmeber 9, 2009)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Resources for November 25, 2014

Newkirk, Pamela. "The Satiric Lesson of Dear White People." The Conversation (October 21, 2014)

"Sight and Sound Poll 2012: Seven Samurai." Current (September 28, 2012)

Dickinson, Hunter. "Hacktivists Anonymous Shut Down Cleveland Police Site Over Temir Rice Killing (VIDEO)." If Y0ou Only News (November 24, 2014)

"Halloween (USA: John Carpenter, 1978)." Dialogic Cinephilia (Ongoing Archive)

Benton, Michael Dean. "Monsanto (Multinational Agricultural Biotechnology Corporation)." Dialogic Cinephilia (Ongoing Archive)

Turan, Kenneth. "The Hours and Times: Kurosawa and the Art of Epic Storytelling." (2006) The Current (October 19, 2010)

Chiao, Peggy. "Kurosawa's Early Influences." The Current (October 19, 2010)

Monsanto (Multinational Agricultural Biotechnology Corporation)

[Part of a series of responses to astroturf campaigns]
by Michael Benton

A colleague was driving home through Ohio recently and began to notice billboards with a similar theme about the centrality and importance of our nation's farmers.

In the linked print ad above, you will see there is an absurd slogan stating vaguely that "America's farmers grow America" and a website is listed below the slogan: America's Farmers. At the top of the site the careful visitor to the website will notice that this all brought to you by the multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation Monsanto.

Now we could consider this an act of compassionate support by a multinational corporate giant for the embattled American farmer, unless, of course, you are skeptical because you are aware that Monsanto has long been suing and bankrupting independent farmers around the world. They are also long practiced at addressing any negative attention to corporate policies, practices and products. Remember they were originally a chemical company and were the producers of Agent Orange (with the Dow Chemical Company).

Recent documentaries like Food Inc., The Future of Food and The World According to Monsanto provide extensive documentation of the abuses of multinational agricultural companies like Monsanto and how they hide from the public the destructive nature of their policies.

Monsanto is aware of a public movement criticizing the multinational corporation for its predatory and destructive practices. Monsanto is attempting to get you to think of the idyllic images of All-American small farming operations when you think of Monsanto's products/companies. They want to incite the long history of populist protectionist attitudes for the sanctity of the American farmer.

These Monsanto advertisements (because that is what they are), disguised as public service announcements (because that is what Monsanto wants you to think they are), are another example of Astroturfing. In this way they subtly are working to frame American thinking so that they associate notions of the small, independent, hard-working, honest American farmer when they think of the multinational corporation Monsanto. They most fervently hope to keep the American public from feeling they need to investigate the actual practices, policies and products of the multinational corporation Monsanto. Most of all they want to counter reports like these:

Ayers, Jane. "300,000 Organic Farmers Sue Monsanto in Federal Court." Reader Supported News (February 15, 2012)

Cummins, Ronnie. "The Organic Elite Surrenders to Monsanto." Counterpunch (January 28, 2011)

"Eight Ways Monsanto Fails at Sustainable Agriculture." Union of Concerned Scientists (January 4, 2012)

Franceschini, Amy and Christina Ulke. "San Francisco Victory Gardens." Journal of Aesthetics and Protest #6 (2008)

The Future of Food (USA: Deborah Koons, 2004)

Gillam, Carey. "How Monsanto Plants Stories, Suppresses Science & Silences Dissent to Sell a Cancer-Linked Chemical." Democracy Now (August 14, 2018) ["As Monsanto comes under scrutiny for allegedly hiding the dangers of its weed killer Roundup, we talk to a reporter who says the company attempted to censor and discredit her when she published stories on their product that contradicted their business interests. Carey Gillam is a veteran investigative journalist and author of “Whitewash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer, and the Corruption of Science.”"]

"Keeping Tabs on Monsanto." You Grow Girl (January 21, 2011)

Klein, Naomi. "The Tyranny of Brands." The New Statesman (January 24, 2000)

LaVeck, James. "Compassion for Sale? Doublethink Meets Doublefeel as Happy Meat Comes of Age." Satya (September 2006)

Magdoff, Fred. "Food as a Commodity." Monthly Review 63.8 (January, 2012)

Miller, Anna Lekas. "Occupy vs. Monsanto: Activists, Farmers Fight the Corporation They Fear Will Take Over All America's Crops." AlterNet (February 6, 2012)

Mills, Frederick B. "Venezuela and the Battle Against Transgenic Seeds." Revolución Alimentaria (December 7, 2013)

Monsanto vs. Schmeiser ("Percy Schmeiser is a farmer from Bruno, Saskatchewan Canada whose Canola fields were contaminated with Monsanto's Round-Up Ready Canola. Monsanto's position was that it didn't matter whether Schmeiser knew or not that his canola field was contaminated with the Roundup Ready gene, or whether or not he took advantage of the technology (he didn't); that he must pay Monsanto their Technology Fee of $15/acre. The Supreme Court of Canada agreed with Schmeiser, ruling that he didn't have to pay Monsanto anything.")

"ORGANIC FARMERS AND SEED SELLERS SUE MONSANTO TO PROTECT THEMSELVES FROM PATENTS ON GENETICALLY MODIFIED SEED: Preemptive Action Seeks Ruling That Would Prohibit Monsanto From Suing Organic Farmers and Seed Growers If Contaminated By Roundup Ready Seed." Public Patent Foundation (March 29, 2011)

Philpott, Tom. "Why Monsanto is paying farmers to spray its rivals' herbicides." Grist (October 20, 2010)

Sholette, Gregory. "Disciplining The Avant-Garde, The United States versus The Critical Art Ensemble." NeMe (January 20, 2006)

"Taking on Monsanto's Massive Political Muscle." The Burt Cohen Show (February 2, 2012)

"Whole Foods Market Caves to Monsanto." PR Watch (January 28, 2011)

The World According to Monsanto (Canada/France/Germany: Marie-Monique Robin, 2008: 108 mins)

Halloween (USA: John Carpenter, 1978)

Resources for November 24, 2014

Frediana, Carola. "Revealing Anonymous: An Interview With Gabriella Coleman." TechPresident (November 11, 2014)

"Secrecy, Big Salaries at KCTCS." Herald-Leader (November 23, 2014)

Greenwald, Glenn. "Why Privacy Matters." TED Talks (October 2014) ["Glenn Greenwald was one of the first reporters to see — and write about — the Edward Snowden files, with their revelations about the United States' extensive surveillance of private citizens. In this searing talk, Greenwald makes the case for why you need to care about privacy, even if you’re 'not doing anything you need to hide.'"]

Chomsky, Noam. "On the Propagandized Media." The Big Idea (February 1996)

Natoli, Joseph. "Captain Phillips: Colliding with the Real." Senses of Cinema #63 (December 2013)

D'Angelo, Mike. "Halloween gets its best scares from the creepiness of being followed." AV Club (October 31, 2014)

Kael, Pauline. "Lacombe, Lucien." (1974) The Current (March 27, 2006)

Merriam-Webster Word-of-the-Day:

recusant \REK-yuh-zunt\

adjective: refusing to submit to authority


Elizabeth's recusant streak was apparent even in elementary school, where she would frequently challenge the rules put forth by her teachers.

"The third volume, covering the English Civil War and its aftermath, offers more of the same smoothly readable analysis.… Oliver Cromwell, with his Puritan grit and fear of recusant Catholicism, inevitably takes up much of the action." — Ian Thomson, The Independent (UK), October 22, 2014

In 1534, Henry VIII of England declared himself the head of the Church of England, separating it from the Roman Catholic Church, and the resultant furor led to increased attention on people's religious observances. A recusant was someone who (from about 1570-1791) refused to attend services of the Church of England, and therefore violated the laws of mandatory church attendance. The name derives from the Latin verb recusare, meaning "reject" or "oppose." The adjective recusant has been in use since the late 16th century. Originally, it meant "refusing to attend the services of the Church of England," but by the century's end, both the adjective and the noun were also being used generally to suggest resistance to authority of any form.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Resources for November 21, 2014

Herbert, Bob. "Bob Herbert on Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013)." Jacobin (December 7, 2013)

"Astroturf." Sourcewatch (May 26, 2012)

"Astroturf Blogging." Sourcewatch (December 11, 2011)

"Category: Astroturf." Sourcewatch (No Date: Ongoing Archive of Links To Reports)

Karon, Tony. "Three Myths about Mandela Worth Busting." Africa is a Country (December 6, 2013)

Beaumont, Valerie. "Anonymous Suggests Darren Wilson Tied to Ku Klux Klan, Promises More Info (Screenshots)." If You Only News (November 18, 2014)

Curtis, F. "Ferguson KKK Doubles Down by Threatening to Shoot People Wearing Anonymous Guy Fawkes Masks." If You Only News (November 19, 2014)

Anonymous (Global Decentralized Association of Hacktivists) Dialogic Cinephilia (November 20, 2014)

Connolly, N.D.B. "A World More Concrete." History for the Future (October 8, 2014) {"N.D.B. Connolly, a professor of history at Johns Hopkins University, is the author of the book, A World More Concrete: Real Estate and the Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida. Connolly’s work delves into the way that real estate strengthened segregation in greater Miami from the early 1900s into the post-Jim Crow era. As Miami’s population boomed, where residents came to live was limited by strict lines drawn through the region’s geography, lines that divided white and black, workers and elites. The interview focused on the deeply interactive nature of the real estate market and Jim Crow, and also dealt extensively with the reality of the extent to which some segments of the African-American population in Miami benefitted from the practices.

Michel Foucault: Philosopher/Social Theory/Historian

Arnove, Anthony and Viggo Mortensen. "Viggo Mortensen Helps Mark 10 Years of Howard Zinn’s Voices of a People’s History." Democracy Now (November 21, 2014)

Anonymous (Global Decentralized Association of Activist Hackers)

Abad-Santos, Alexander. " Inside the Anonymous Hacking File on the Steubenville 'Rape Crew'" The Wire (January 2, 2013)

"Anonymous and the Global Correction." Al Jazeera (February 16, 2011) ["A loosely organised group of hackers is targeting oppressive regimes and says this is just the beginning."]

"Anonymous Shuts Down Worlds Largest X-Rated Animal Abuse Forum." Hack Read (April 24, 2015)

Anonymous: The Story of the Hactivists (USA/UK: Brian Knappenberger, 2012: 93 mins)

Beaumont, Valerie. "Anonymous Suggests Darren Wilson Tied to Ku Klux Klan, Promises More Info (Screenshots)." If You Only News (November 18, 2014)

Blue, Violet. "Anonymous statement: KKK is a terrorist group, KKK responds poorly." ZDNet (November 18, 2014)

---. "MIT website hacked by Anonymous on anniversary of Aaron Swartz suicide." ZDNet (January 11, 2014)

Carlin, Dan. "The Specter of Dissent." Common Sense #275 (Posted on Youtube: August 30, 2014)

Coleman, Gabriella. "Geeks are the New Guardians of Our Civil Liberties." MIT Technology Review (February 4, 2013)

Dickinson, Hunter. "Hacktivists Anonymous Shut Down Cleveland Police Site Over Temir Rice Killing (VIDEO)." If Y0ou Only News (November 24, 2014)

"Gabriella Coleman (Anthropology/Technology)." Dialogic (Ongoing Archive)

Coleman, Gabriella and Peter Fein. "Hacktivism’s Global Reach, From Targeting Scientology to Backing WikiLeaks and the Arab Spring." Democracy Now (August 16, 2011)

Curtis, F. "Ferguson KKK Doubles Down by Threatening to Shoot People Wearing Anonymous Guy Fawkes Masks." If You Only News (November 19, 2014)

Downes, Nathaniel. "Anonymous To ID Michael Brown’s Killer – Already Has Paralyzed Ferguson." Addicting Info (August 14, 2014)

"Ferguson Protests 2014." Dialogic Cinephilia (Ongoing Archive)

Frediana, Carola. "Revealing Anonymous: An Interview With Gabriella Coleman." TechPresident (November 11, 2014)

Gosztola, Kevin, et al. "Jeremy Hammond Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Cyber-Activism." Democracy Now (November 15, 2013)

Gwynne, Kristen, Monika Johnson Hostler and X. "Hacker Group Anonymous Leaks Chilling Video in Case of Alleged Steubenville Rape, Cover-Up." Democracy Now (January 7, 2013)

"Local Leaks: The Steubenville Files." Dialogic (January 4, 2013) [Excerpts from the original leaks from the Local Leaks site that has been taken down.]

Ludlow, Peter. "Jailed Journalist Barrett Brown Faces 105 Years For Reporting on Hacked Private Intelligence Firms." Democracy Now (July 11, 2013)

Marut, Ret. "Egypt Today, Tomorrow the World." Crimethinc. (February 2, 2011)

Meer, Haroon. "Lessons from Anonymous on cyberwar." Al Jazeera (March 10, 2011) ["A cyberwar is brewing, and Anonymous reprisal attacks on HBGary Federal shows how deep the war goes."]

"Occupy Movement (Global Social Movement)." Dialogic (Ongoing Archive)

Sauter, Molly. "The Visual Life of Occupy Wall Street." MIT Comparative Media Studies/Writing (February 6, 2012)

Taylor, Astra. "By Any Memes Necessary." Bookforum (December 2014) ["An inside look at the hacking group Anonymous reveals a boisterous culture of dissent and debate."]

"They are Legion." Best of the Left (January 7, 2011)

V for Vendetta (USA/UK/Germany: James McTeigue, 2005) Dialogic Cinephilia (Ongoing Archive) [This film popularized the Guy Fawkes mask that is worn by V in the film and was originally in Alan Moore's/David Lloyd's graphic novel of the same name.]

"Wikileaks (Global Media)" Dialogic (Ongoing Archive)

X. "Disguised Member of Hacktivist Group "Anonymous" Defends Retaliatory Action Against BART." Democracy Now (August 16, 2011)

Jeremy Hammond /Anarchaos from @AnonymousVideo on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Resources for November 19, 2014

Merriam-Webster Word-of-the-Day

leitmotif \LYTE-moh-teef\

noun 1 : a melodic phrase or figure that accompanies the reappearance of an idea, person, or situation in a music drama; 2 : a dominant recurring theme


The overcoming of obstacles and a love of theater are the two leitmotifs of her autobiography.

"'Collaboration' is the author's supporting theme, and he weaves it in throughout his anecdotes and character studies. Approached lazily, this kind of leitmotif would be more irritating than illuminating, but Isaacson fully commits." — James Norton, The Christian Science Monitor, October 13, 2014

The English word leitmotif (or leitmotiv, as it is also spelled) comes from the German Leitmotiv, meaning "leading motive" and formed from leiten ("to lead") and Motiv ("motive"). In its original sense, the word applies to opera music and was first used by writers interpreting the works of composer Richard Wagner, who was famous for associating a melody with a character or important dramatic element. Leitmotif is still commonly used with reference to music and musical drama but is now also used more broadly to refer to any recurring theme in the arts or in everyday life.

Carrie, Shawn. "What everyone gets wrong about violence in Ferguson." The Daily Dot (November 18, 2014)

Fanning, Rory. "Thank You for Your Valor, Thank You for Your Service, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You…: Still on the Thank-You Tour-of-Duty Circuit, 13 Years Later." TomDispatch (October 26, 2014)

Media: Peace and Conflict Studies Archive

Davidson, Alex. "Derek Jarman: five essential films. BFI (February 6, 2014)

Hart, Peter. "No Debate: Antiwar Voices Absent from Corporate TV News Ahead of U.S. Attacks on Iraq & Syria." Democracy Now (November 18, 2014)

Ryan, Bill. "As if the Stars Would Wink Out One by One to Hear it Spoken, or The Five Nosferatus." The Kind of Face You Hate (October 30, 2014)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Resources for November 16, 2014

"Manilla in the Claws of Light." Critics Round Up (Ongoing Archive)

“Over the longer-term, the biggest threat to terrorists is not the power of missiles – it is the politics of inclusion. It’s peaceful societies and respect for human rights. It’s education, jobs and real opportunity. It’s leaders who listen to their people and uphold the rule of law. Missiles may kill terrorists. But good governance kills terrorism.” Ban Ki-Moon, (September 14, 2014)

Brand, Russell. "On Revolution, Fighting Inequality, Addiction, Militarized Policing & Noam Chomsky." Democracy Now (November 14, 2014)

"Glenn Greenwald: Constitutional and Civil Rights Lawyer/Journalist (Peace and Conflict Studies Archive)'" Dialogic Cinephilia (Ongoing Archive)

Marlow, Jonathan. "Why Lists?: The List of Lists." Keyframe (November 10, 2014)

Sauter, Molly. "The Coming Swarm." Berkman Center for Internet & Society (October 29, 2014) ["In her new book, The Coming Swarm: DDoS, Hacktivism, and Civil Disobedience on the Internet, Molly Sauter examines the history, development, theory, and practice of distributed denial of service actions as a tactic of political activism. Together in conversation with journalist and activist Laurie Penny, Molly will discuss the use of disruptive tactics like DDoS, online civil disobedience, and the role of the internet as a zone of political activism and speech."]

Merriam-Webster Word-of-the-Day:

meliorism \MEE-lee-uh-riz-um\

noun: the belief that the world tends to improve and that humans can aid its betterment


The author's meliorism is evident in such statements as, "I believe that peace is inevitable."

"Eric Schlosser's fine Fast Food Nation wavered between a pragmatic meliorism, devoted to reforming the meatpacking and restaurant industry, and a visionary despair over the conditions of modern American life." — Stephen Metcalf, Los Angeles Times, May 27, 2001

In 1877, British novelist George Eliot believed she had coined meliorist when she wrote, "I don't know that I ever heard anybody use the word 'meliorist' except myself." Her contemporaries credited her with coining both meliorist and meliorism, and one of her letters contains the first documented use of meliorism, but there is evidence that meliorist had been around for 40 years or so before she started using it. Whoever coined it did so by drawing on the Latin melior, meaning "better." It is likely that the English coinages were also influenced by another melior descendant, meliorate, a synonym of ameliorate ("to make better") that was introduced to English in the mid-1500s.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Naomi Klein: Journalist

Websites/Social Media:

Naomi Klein's Website

Wikipedia Page

This Changes Everything (Website for the Book)

The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (Website for the Book)

@NaomiAKlein (Twitter)

Facebook Page

The Guardian: Global Archive of Naomi Klein

The Guardian: Books Archive of Naomi Klein

Resources by/about/referencing Naomi Klein:

Beyond the Frame: Alternative Perspectives on the War on Terrorism (Media Education Foundation, 2004)

Boyle, Kirk. "Children of Men and I Am Legend: The Disaster-Capitalism Complex Hits Hollywood." Jump Cut #51 (2009)

Brand, Russell. "On Revolution, Fighting Inequality, Addiction, Militarized Policing & Noam Chomsky." Democracy Now (November 14, 2014)

Conant, Jeff. "A Poetics of Resistance: The Revolutionary Public Relations of the Zapatista Insurgency — Book Excerpt." Revolution by the Book (July 2, 2010)

Cusack, John. "Outsourced Warfare Represents a "'Radical, Dangerous, Disgusting Ideology'." Alternet (May 18, 2008)

DeSoto, Hernando, David Harvey, Naomi Klein and Joseph Stiglitz. "On Economic Power." FORA TV (October 20, 2008)

Grayson, Cecilia, Naomi Klein and Sharif Abdel Kouddous. "Canadian Filmmaker and Doctor Imprisoned in Egypt Without Charges, Abused After Witnessing Massacre." Democracy Now (October 2, 2014)

Hudson, Michael, Naomi Klein and Robert Kuttner. "Dissect Obama’s New Economic Team & Stimulus Plan." Democracy Now (November 25, 2008)

Klein, Naomi. "Addicted to Risk." TED Talks (December 2010)

---. "Author of The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism." Media Matters (June 21, 2009)

---. "Baghdad Year Zero." Harper's (September 2004)

---. "'Big green groups are more damaging than climate deniers': Environment movement is in 'deep denial' over the right ways to tackle climate change." The Guardian (September 10, 2013)

---. "Capitalism vs. the Climate: Naomi Klein on Need for New Economic Model to Address Ecological Crisis." Democracy Now (September 18, 2014)

---. "The Change WithinThe Obstacles We Face Are Not Just External." The Nation (April 1, 2014)

---. "Climate Change Is a People’s Shock: What if, instead of accepting a future of climate catastrophe and private profits, we decide to change everything?" The Nation (September 16, 2014)

---. "Disaster Capitalism." FORA TV (October 16, 2008)

---. "Goldstone's Legacy for Israel." The Nation (February 14, 2011)

---. "Good News on China Climate Deal." The Progressive (November 12, 2014)

---. "How Science is Telling Us All to Revolt." The New Statesman (October 29, 2013)

---. "“My Fear is that Climate Change is the Biggest Crisis of All”: Naomi Klein Warns Global Warming Could Be Exploited by Capitalism and Militarism." Democracy Now (March 9, 2011)

---. No Logo: Brands, Globalization and Resistance (USA: Sut Jhally, 2003: 42 mins)

---. "On Anti-Union Bills and Shock Doctrine American-Style: "This is a Frontal Assault on Democracy, a Corporate Coup D’Etat"." Democracy Now (March 9, 2011)

---. "On Motherhood, Geoengineering, Climate Debt & the Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement." Democracy Now (September 18, 2014)

---. "On the Bailout Profiteers and the Multi-Trillion-Dollar Crime Scene." Democracy Now (November 17, 2008)

---. "On the People’s Climate March & the Global Grassroots Movement Fighting Fossil Fuels." Democracy Now (September 18, 2014)

---. "The Real Crime Scene Was Inside the G20 Summit." Democracy Now (June 28, 2010)

---. "Reject Keystone XL Pipeline, We Need Radical Change to Prevent Catastrophic Warming." Democracy Now (November 17, 2014)

---. "Sandy’s Devastation Opens Space for Action on Climate Change and Progressive Reform." Democracy Now (November 15, 2012)

---. Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. NY: Metropolitan Books, 2007.

---. "The Shock Doctrine: Naomi Klein on the Rise of Disaster Capitalism." Democracy Now (September 17, 2007)

---. "Sticking the public with the bill for the bankers' crisis." The Globe and Mail (June 27, 2010)

---. ""This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate" (Book Excerpt)." Democracy Now (September 17, 2014)

---. "The Tyranny of Brands." The New Statesman (January 24, 2000)

---. "Wall St. Crisis Should Be for Neoliberalism What Fall of Berlin Wall Was for Communism." Democracy Now (October 6, 2008)

Klein, Naomi and Elizabeth Kolbert. "‘Can Climate Change Cure Capitalism?’: An Exchange." The New York Review of Books (December 2014)

Klein, Naomi, et al. "Haiti, Melvin Jones III, MLK and Tony Cliff 2.2." Seeing Red Radio (January 22, 2010)

Macfarquhar, Larissa. "Outside Agitator: Naomi Klein and the New New Left." The New Yorker (December 8, 2008)

Nixon, Rob. "Naomi Klein's This Changes Everything." The New York Times (November 9, 2014)

Band of Outsiders (France: Jean-Luc Godard, 1964)

Band of Outsiders (France: Jean-Luc Godard, 1964: 95 mins)

"Bande À Part." Cinematologists #2 (March 23, 2015)

Brody, Richard, Héloise Godet and Lawrence Kardish. "Discussing Godard." The Close Up #3 (November 2014)

Clover, Joshua. "Band of Outsiders: Madison-sur-Seine." The Current (May 7, 2013)

Karina, Anna. "When Anna Met Jean-Luc" Current (May 7, 2013)

Resources for November 13, 2014

Nixon, Rob. "Naomi Klein's This Changes Everything." The New York Times (November 9, 2014)

"Chris Hedges: Journalist." Dialogic Cinephilia (Ongoing Archive)

Davis, Wade. "The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World." (June 20, 2013) [Posted on Youtube: "Presenting at a plenary session of the 2013 Climate, Mind, & Behavior Symposium, anthropologist Wade Davis illuminates the need to embrace and celebrate the cultural and intellectual diversity that constitutes the totality of human experience, especially when considering fundamental questions of how we are to relate to our environment."]

"Peter Watkins: Filmmaker and Media Critic." Dialogic Cinephilia (Ongoing Archive)

"Episode 244." Filmwax Radio (October 3, 2014) ["Guests include DCTV’s Co-executive director Jon Alpert who discusses the documentary resource center’s latest exciting project, Our Cameras, Our Stories, documentaries made by the members of their youth filmmaker program. The 6-part series will broadcast on WNET Channel Thirteen beginning Saturday, October 4th at 1:30 PM and continue for the following 5 consecutive weeks. The Decent One filmmaker Vanessa Lapa chats about her feature documentary, her first, which is something of a hybrid. The film has actors reading the letters and diaries of Heinrich Himmler and his wife, which creates a strange dichotomy between this seemingly loving father & husband, and the man who is considered the architect of the Final Solution. The film has currently having a two week theatrical engagement at Film Forum in NYC and is being distributed by Kino Lorber. Finally, the co-directors behind the new hybrid film, Last Hijack, Femke Wolting & Tommy Pallotta stop by. Their film which uses components of narrative filmmaking, documentary & animation, tells the story of Mohamed, a Somali pirate."]

Laber, Jeri. "25 Years After the Fall of Communism: A Call." Human Rights Watch (November 7, 2014)

"It is important to acknowledge the instability of truth when making a film based on fact." -- Clio Bernard (quoted by Andrew Kötting on page xii of his "Fore Words" to Jason Wood's Last Words: Considering Contemporary Cinema. Wallflower Press, 2014.)

(T)he true subject of the horror genre is the struggle for recognition of all that our civilization represses or oppresses: its re-emergence dramatized, as in our nightmares, as an object of horror, a matter for terror, the “happy ending” (when it exists) typically signifying the restoration of repression (171). -- Wood, Robin. "An Introduction to the American Horror Film." Planks of Reason: Essays on the Horror Film. ed. Barry Keith Grant. Metuchen, N.J: Scarecrow Press, 1984.

Fragoso, Samuel. "Jon Stewart and Rosewater." Keyframe (November 13, 2014) ["Jon Stewart talks about his leave from The Daily Show to follow the Maziar Bahari story."]

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Resources for November 12, 2014

Pugachevsky, Julia. "25 Quotes That Will Inspire You To Be A Fearless Writer." BuzzFeed (March 21, 2014)

Donahue, Phil. "Paralyzed Iraq War Vet Turned Peace Activist Tomas Young Dies on Eve of Veterans Day." Democracy Now (November 11, 2014)

"Andrew J. Bacevich: Political Science/Military History/International Relations." Dialogic Cinephilia (Ongoing Peace and Conflict Studies Archive)

Beauchamp, Scott. "The American Soldier at the End of History." The Baffler (November 11, 2014)

Horowitz, Joy. "Too Jewish?: The Making of Fiddler on the Roof." Los Angeles Review of Books (October 30, 2014)

Beautiful Trouble: A Toolbox for Revolution (Website)

Aja, Alexandre. "The High Art of The Shining." Hero Complex (October 29, 2014)

Merriam-Webster Word-of-the-Day

demagogue \DEM-uh-gahg\

noun: a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power


The nation's voters ousted their incumbent president for a demagogue who persuasively capitalized on fears of another recession.

"Messrs. Cameron, Miliband and Clegg were personally far less popular in Scotland than the fluent demagogue Mr. Salmond. Did this older, gnarlier Scot ignite feelings of envy and inadequacy in the English trio's patrician breasts?" — Quentin Letts, Wall Street Journal, September 19, 2014

When the ancient Greeks used dēmagōgos (from dēmos, meaning "people," and agein, "to lead") they meant someone good—a leader who used outstanding oratorical skills to further the interests of the common people. Mid-17th-century writers such as Thomas Hobbes and John Dryden—and, later, Jonathan Swift—employed the English word that way. But, at the same time, the word took a negative turn, coming to suggest one who uses powers of persuasion to sway and mislead. "A plausible, insignificant word, in the mouth of an expert demagogue, is a dangerous and a dreadful weapon," declared Robert South, known for his sermons, in 1716.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Shining (USA/UK: Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

The Shining (USA/UK: Stanley Kubrick, 1980: 146 mins)

Aja, Alexandre. "The High Art of The Shining." Hero Complex (October 29, 2014)

Beyl, Cameron. "The Directors Series: Stanley Kubrick, Pts. 1-5." The Film Stage (February 11, 2015)

Figueras, Mark Anthony. "Kubrick in Color." (Posted on Vimeo: January 2016)

Guthrie, Georgina. "Danny's Tricycle in The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)." The Big Picture (October 16, 2013)

Hancock, James and Martin Kessler. "The King of Horror." The Wrong Reel #135 (May 16, 2016)

Kaneria, Rishi. "Red: A Kubrick Supercut." (Posted on Vimeo: 2015)

Room 237 Critics Round Up (Ongoing Archive)

The Shining Critics Round Up (Ongoing Archive)

Uhlich, Keith. "Great Directors: Stanley Kubrick." Senses of Cinema (May 2002)

Staircases to Nowhere: Making Stanley Kubrick's 'The Shining' from Howard Berry on Vimeo.

Resources for November 11, 2014

Daarstad, Eric. "Cinematographer of The Exiles." Film School (January 26, 2010)

Cravero, Valerie Cox. "The History of The Monuments Men." Dialogic Cinephilia (November 10, 2014)

Giroux, Henry A. "Capitalism Is a Tumor on the Body Politic: What's the Alternative? Beyond Mid-Election Babble." Truthout (November 6, 2014)

Argott, Dan. "The Art of the Steal." Film School (March 2, 2010)

Kempenaar, Adam and Josh Larsen. "Nightcrawler / Top 5 Nocturnal Movies." Filmspotting #513 (November 7, 2014)

Merriam-Webster's Word-of-the-Day

anodyne \AN-uh-dyne\

adjective 1 : serving to alleviate pain; 2 : not likely to offend or arouse tensions


The group's latest album is a fairly anodyne affair; it contains a number of lively tunes that are easy on the ears, but which play it far too safe to ever be anything more than passing amusements.

"British comics in the 1950s were pale imitations of American ones. Many were anodyne: the first two prosecutions under a 1955 law prohibiting 'harmful publications' for children were both in 1970." — The Economist, May 10, 2014

Anodyne came to English via Latin from Greek anōdynos ("without pain"), and it has been used as both an adjective and a noun ("something that relieves pain") since the 16th century. It has sometimes been used of things that dull or lull the senses and render painful experiences less so. Edmund Burke used it this way, for example, in 1790 when he referred to flattery as an "anodyne draft of oblivion" that renders one (in this particular case, the deposed King Louis XVI) forgetful of the flatterer's true feelings. In the 1930s, a newer second sense began appearing in our vocabulary. Now, in addition to describing things that dull pain, anodyne can also refer to that which doesn't cause discomfort in the first place.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Valerie Cox Cravero: The History of The Monuments Men

[Completed for Fall 2014 ENG 102]

I was made aware of World War II by my father, who was almost 13 years old when Pearl Harbor was bombed. He had 4 older brothers who had served in the military in different capacities and lived through it. My father’s main interest has always been the planes that were flown during World War II. I knew it had been described as the most destructive war in history. We had studied the attack on Pearl Harbor, D-Day, and the Battle of the Bulge, and seen pictures of the devastation of European cities in my High School history classes, but until recently, I had never heard of the Monuments Men or about the vast amount of art stolen by Hitler’s Nazi party. The true story about how so many of Europe’s great works of art and architecture managed to survive the devastation of World War II has only recently come to light. Da Vinci’s “Last Supper”, “The Mona Lisa”, Michelangelo’s “David”, “The Winged Victory of Samothrace” (which dates back to the second century BC), how did they survive? Who were the people that saved so many works of art from destruction and risked (some losing) their lives?

The Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives section, or MFAA, was a group of approximately 345 men and women from 13 different nations. Under a mandate from President Franklin Roosevelt, and with support from General Eisenhower, these men and women (mostly American and British) were given the remarkable task of saving as much of the culture of Europe as they could during World War II. It was an experiment of sorts, because this was the first time in history that an army fought a war while extensively trying to lessen the amount of cultural damage and destruction. This was a group of soldiers who served in the Western Allied military effort from 1943 to 1951. Of the original 60 or so that served, the majority had an average age of 40, and most had volunteered to join the war effort in the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives section. Most had families and well established careers already, but were willing to fight and die for what they believed to be important. Most of the early volunteers had expertise as museum directors, artists, architects, and archivists (Edsel xiv).

The decision to send them over to the front lines was a controversial one. Many different points of view among top military advisors and political strategists were debated. Argued were questions of what the value of a work of art is. How integral is art to a societies’ culture? What effect does it have on future generations when a community’s religious icons are destroyed? Most importantly, is it worth risking and losing a man’s life in order to save a work of art? George Stout believed so. He was “one of the first people in America to understand the Nazi threat to the cultural patrimony of Europe and pushed the museum community and the army toward establishing a professional art conservation corps” (Edsel). As a field officer, Lieutenant George Stout, U.S. First Army and U.S. Twelfth Army Group, was the go-to expert for all the other Monuments Men in northern Europe.

As information and pictures of the bombings of many historic monuments, cathedrals, museums, and libraries of Europe made its way back home to the US, there was increased interest in, and support for the cause of cultural and artistic preservation and conservation. The British were already trying to organize their own conservation team. The media coverage influenced the mindset of many Americans (Wistrich).

The mission of the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives section was to save as much of the culture of Europe as they could during combat. This was a huge task given that they were, in the very beginning, a small group of fifteen men; eight of which were doing administrative and office work. That left seven men to start the field operations going. They had to get their own transportation, brought their own typewriters, and had very few supplies given to them. Communication was difficult, not only within their group, but also with other military units. They needed to know exactly which buildings were in danger of being bombed in order to, ideally, get there first and get as much art out as they could. However, there was well founded paranoia about Nazi spies intercepting critical information that could possibly endanger our troops’ lives, making communication even more of a challenge. They had to enter into areas where there was front line action, half the time with no weapons, locate where the art was hidden, and move all of it to a safer holding areas, all with little or no “official authority” (Edsel 91).

The MFAA was formalized by the end of 1943. At that time it was an American and British joint effort under the Allied Control Commission. They did go to France prepared with maps of important buildings that were overlaid onto aerial reconnaissance photographs. It took a lot of persistence for the Monuments Men to coordinate their lists of structures to be protected with the military commanders, who were skeptical of this new idea succeeding. “The Monuments Men were only advisors; they couldn’t force any officer, of any rank, to act. They were allowed freedom of movement, but they would have no vehicles, no offices, no support staff, and no backup plan.” (Edsel 151)

It was also during this winter of 1943-1944 that U.S. military troops landed in Italy. Procedures were still being worked out. This was due, in part, to the “bureaucratic train wreck” (Edsel) that led to the fiasco of Monte Cassino. There were no Monuments Men north of Naples when the decision was made to destroy the abbey at Monte Cassino. Founded by Saint Benedict around AD 529, and considered sacred ground. Germans chose it for this reason. They believed no one would ever bomb it. This was supposed to be a surprise landing, with no air or naval support, but Hitler anticipated Italian troops would surrender, so he sent in the German army to be there as back up just in case. German troops had surrounded the monastery all the way up the mountain and U.S. troops were stuck not being able to advance or retreat. For months, U.S. troops were exposed to freezing temperatures and rain. Americans started to support the bombing of the abbey even though General Eisenhower’s original orders had been to preserve and respect all monuments, bridges, and culturally important buildings. After a lot of pressure from both civilians and other military leaders, on February 15, 1944, the President changed his mind and ordered the bombing of Monte Cassino. The movie says almost 2,000 civilians took refuge there, and that most were killed by the bombings. The book doesn’t mention any civilian deaths in the monastery. An estimated 54,000 Allied troops were killed and wounded at Monte Cassino. European press condemned the destruction of the abbey and Americans were vilified for it. America’s leaders did not want to be perceived as “the bad guys”, so plans were made to ramp up the deployment of the MFAA and get them into combat areas faster. After all, Eisenhower’s original orders to preserve historical buildings had come 6 months after our troops had landed in Italy. However, on May 26, 1944 General Eisenhower announced, 11 days before the invasion of North Europe that it was the responsibility of every commander to protect and respect all historical monuments and cultural centers, unless military necessity dictates otherwise. The U.S. did not want a repeat of Monte Cassino.

Meanwhile, Adolf Hitler and his troops were making their way across Europe, systematically trying to eliminate any and all people that they deemed “degenerate”. This included their art collections above all else. Hitler was always a huge fan of the arts. His first desire was to be a painter, but his step-father refused to let him pursue this course of studies, and insisted that Adolf be a civil servant instead. Adolf saw how the Modernist art revolution was taking over in Vienna, and was determined to put an end to it. At the time, Germany was going through a great surge in nationalism and his family wanted him to focus his ambitions on that, instead of art, which he did for a time. After the death of his step-father, though, an eighteen year old, Hitler decided to apply for acceptance to The Vienna Art Institute and follow his dream of painting. Of the three applicants, only two were chosen, and Adolf was rejected. He was described as being a competent artist, but not gifted. This rejection was devastating for him. There were many Jews on the admittance board of the Institute, and this only proved to add fuel to Hitler’s already deep hatred of Jews (The Rape of Europa).

Hitler hated all forms of modern art, such as Picasso, Monet, and Gaugin. He felt that modern artists could not see colors accurately, and that their portrayal of many indigenous cultures was unfit for German eyes. In a speech given in 1937, Hitler referred to the images being painted by modern artists as “a form of racial inferiority” and that Germans should not see such “degenerate works of art” (Berge). He made art an important part of his political ideology, and put together a large team of his own art experts. Their job was to compile catalogs of the most valuable works of art in all of the European cities, and coordinate them with his invasions of these places. “This was industrial looting on a grand scale.” (Berge) All the Nazi party elite amassed large collections of stolen artwork.

Hitler had visited Rome, Italy and was in awe of the ruins of the Roman Empire that still stood. He had a dream to create his own Imperial City (to rival Rome), in his hometown of Linz, Austria. He wanted Linz to become a cultural center. Architects were commissioned to build a model of the plans for the future “Fuhrer Museum”. This was going to be his legacy. It was to include an Opera House, Symphony Hall, Library, his mausoleum, and in the middle of it all the Art Museum, with the largest collection of art anywhere in the world.

All the most valuable works of art were confiscated and sent by train to Berlin for safe keeping. Hundreds of thousands of modernist works of art, and art that was not approved of by Hitler was burned. (Not only was art taken but all furniture, jewelry, personal items such as books and family photo albums.) Western Allies discovered more than 1,000 repositories in southern Germany alone. One person that was to be a first-hand eye witness to all this looting was Rose Valland. She was in a prime position to see and make note of all the vast amounts of art that were being trafficked through the Jeu de Paume Museum. She was the 46 year old temporary custodian of the Jeu de Paume, which was an art museum located adjacent to the Louvre. She was very well educated, and held two fine arts degrees from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Lyon, and the Ecole de Beaux-Arts in Paris. She also received art history degrees from both the Ecole de Louvre and the Sorbonne University in Paris. In October of 1940, during the occupation of France, the Germans took over the Jeu de Paume and used it to store many of the artworks that had been stolen from the five largest Jewish art collections in Paris. Rose Valland was given the job of helping the Germans organize the vast collection of art. She never let anyone know that she could speak German. For four years she spied on the actions of the Germans, and kept meticulous records of all the comings and goings of every piece of art that came through the museum, where it came from, who it belonged to, and where it was being shipped. She was considered to be an “unlikely hero” because of her unassuming looks. “Valland kept a low profile at the building, due to her simple and quiet demeanor, and because the Nazis did not realize that she spoke German” (Bouchoux 23). She also gathered information from guards, drivers, and packers, and passed it on to the French resistance. “It was a dangerous and even life-threatening job, and she kept her knowledge closely guarded” (Bouchoux 25). She finally confided in one of the Monuments Men, James Rorimer, about all the records she had been keeping. Once Allied forces had established military strongholds in Germany, Rorimer convinced Valland to hand over all the records to him. She did, with the promise from him that he would use all her information in order to help locate and return the artworks.

Rose Valland’s documentation proved to be instrumental in expediting the restitution process tremendously. She and the Monuments Men continued to work on tracking, locating, and returning art well after the war had ended. They were responsible for the return of more than five million artistic and cultural items stolen by Hitler and the Nazis. The roles they played in preserving the cultural treasures of Europe was something that had never been done before, or since. “There was no dedicated unit equivalent to the MFAA section in the Korean War, and there hasn’t been one in any war since.” (Edsel)

Works Cited

Bouchoux, Corrine. Rose Valland: Resistance at the Museum. Dallas: Laurel Publishing, LLC, 2013. Print.

Edsel, Robert M. The Monuments Men. New York: Center Street, 2009. Print.

The Monuments Men. Dir. George Clooney. 2014. Film.

The Rape of Europa Collector's Edition. Dir. Richard, and Bonni Cohen Berge. 2008. Film.
Wistrich, Robert S. Hitler and the Holocaust. New York: Modern Library, 2001. Print.

Resources for November 10, 2014

Fleischmann, Alayne and Matt Taibbi. "How JPMorgan Chase Helped Wreck the Economy, Avoid Prosecution." Democracy Now (November 7, 2014)

Goldin, Josh. "Wonderful World." Film School (January 4, 2010)

Ross, Kristin. "Jacques Tati, Historian." Current (October 30, 2014)

Mosher, Donal and Michael Palmieri. "October Country." Film School (January 12, 2010)

Oreck, Jessica. Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo." Film School (January 18, 2010)

Kempenaar, Adam and Josh Larsen. "Gone Girl (Full Review with Spoilers)." Filmspotting (October 9, 2014)

Rosenberg, Emma. "Staying Sane with Rocks in My Pocket." The Baffler (October 30, 2014)

Merriam-Webster Word-of-the-Day

egregious \ih-GREE-juss\

adjective: conspicuous; especially : conspicuously bad : flagrant


It was an egregious breach of theater etiquette on Eugene's part when he left his cell phone on during the play and it rang during an important scene.

"Stanford still leads in the nation in scoring defense, but had perhaps the most egregious defensive breakdown of the weekend, failing to cover a Notre Dame receiver who scored the winning touchdown on a fourth-down pass with 1:01 left." — Jake Curtis, San Francisco Chronicle, October 5, 2014

Egregious derives from the Latin word egregius, meaning "distinguished" or "eminent." In its earliest English uses, egregious was a compliment to someone who had a remarkably good quality that placed him or her eminently above others. That's how English philosopher and theorist Thomas Hobbes used it in flattering a colleague when he remarked, "I am not so egregious a mathematician as you are." Since Hobbes' day, however, the meaning of the word has become noticeably less complimentary, possibly as a result of ironic use of its original sense.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Gone Girl (USA: David Fincher, 2014)

Gone Girl (USA: David Fincher, 2014: 149 mins)

Berry, Daniel, Mark B. Borg and Grant H. Brenner. "Gone Girl Goes to the Darkest Reaches of Irrelationship." Psychology Today (October 9, 2016)

Bond, Lewis. "Gone Girl Movie Review." (Posted on Youtube: November 12, 2014)

Carson, Tom. "Gone Girl Is David Fincher's Most Entertaining Movie Yet. Also His Cruelest." GQ (October 2, 2014)

"Gone Girl." Reel Fanatics #305 (October 30, 2014)

Hart, David and Christopher Maynard. "Gone Girl and Manipulation." Pop Culture Case Study #178 (October 6, 2016) ["In this episode, Dave talks about manipulation and psychopathy at length, including how it is used in correctional facilities. Then, return guest Christopher Maynard of Following Films shows up to talk about the best romance of 2014. Yes, really. Gone Girl is romantic. Listen, and let us prove it to you!"]

Kempenaar, Adam and Josh Larsen. "Gone Girl (Full Review with Spoilers)." Filmspotting (October 9, 2014)

Kendall, Lily. "Gone Girl: Condemned or Hailed?" F Word (November 11, 2014) ["David Fincher's Gone Girl, adapted from the novel by Gillian Flynn, has been simultaneously condemned as a misogynistic portrayal of women and hailed as the birthplace of a feminist icon. Lily Kendall investigates: does it deserve either of these accolades?"]

Kenny, Glenn. "'Gone Girl' And The Deplorable Evolution Of The 'Cool Girl'." Some Came Running (October 7, 2014)

Leuven, Jop. "Gone Girl: Back Again." The Film Stage (Introduction by Jordan Raup: March 2, 2015)

Reznor, Trent and Atticus Ross. "Gone Girl." The Close Up (January 2015)

Russell, Ben. "The Art of Manipulation." Dialogic Cinephilia (October 3, 2016)

Thomas, Leon. "Renegade Cut: Gone Girl." (Posted on Youtube: February 12, 2016)

West, Lyndy. "Gone Girl's Girl Problem." GQ (October 7, 2014)

Gone Girl Reel from artemplehollywood on Vimeo.

The Directors Series- David Fincher [2.5] from Raccord on Vimeo.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Resources for November 7, 2014

Erickson, Steven. "Alain Guiraudie’s Stranger by the Lake: ‘Perhaps the film reflects some nostalgia on my part for the idea that sexual liberation not only made us free but made us stand out.’ Keyframe (January 22, 2014)

Kellogg, Carolyn. "William Gibson Coaxes the Future Out of the Present." PopMatters (November 6, 2014)

Wedler, Carey. "Priest, Pastor, and 90 Year-Old Man Charged for Feeding the Homeless in Florida." The Anti Media (November 5, 2014)

Klawans, Stuart. "What Are Movies Good For?" The Nation (October 21, 2014) ["Awakening a sense of wonder and flooding a cinema with crucial realities."]

Weiner, Jon. "California’s Clear Message to Republicans: ‘Not Interested’." The Nation (November 5, 2014)

Merriam-Webster's Word-of-the-Day

prototype \PROH-tuh-type\

noun 1 : an original model on which something is patterned : archetype; 2 : an individual that exhibits the essential features of a later type; 3 : a standard or typical example; 4 : a first full-scale and usually functional form of a new type or design of a construction (such as an airplane)


It's not clear at this point how the device will differ from its prototype.

"Someone seems to have gotten his or her hands on an iPhone 6 prototype and is now selling it on eBay for a handsome sum—bidding had reached $83,300 at the time of this writing." — Lauren Walker, Newsweek, October 6, 2014

The prefix prot-, or proto-, comes from Greek and has the basic meaning "first in time" or "first formed." A prototype is someone or something that serves as a model or inspiration for those that come later. A successful fund-raising campaign can serve as a prototype for future campaigns. The legendary Robin Hood, the "prototypical" kindhearted and honorable outlaw, has been the inspiration for countless other romantic heroes. And for over a century, Vincent van Gogh has been the prototype of the brilliant, tortured artist who is unappreciated in his own time.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Resources for November 6, 2014

Wellman, Jacob. "Are We Fighting Monsters We Created." Dialogic Cinephilia (November 5, 2014

Rabin, Nathan. "Nathan Rabin vs. The IMDb Top 250: Incendies." The Dissolve (October 22, 2014)

Rottman, Gabe. "Keep it Simple With Net Neutrality." Free Future (November 5, 2014)

Blakeslee, David. "Howard Hawk's Red River." Criterion Cast #149 (September 24, 2014)

Ames, Mark and Yasha Levine. "The Extraordinary Pierre Omidyar." NSFW (November 15, 2013)

Tobias, Scott. "Why Don't You Play in Hell." The Dissolve (November 6, 2014)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Jacob Wellman: "Are We Fighting Monsters We Created?"

[Essay written for Fall 2014 ENG 102 course at Bluegrass Community and Technical College]

Over the past few decades, the United States of America has been fighting foreign terrorists – both on American soil and abroad. Our basic news media and textbooks have repeatedly explained to citizens of the United States that these terrorists are born and raised to hate America and what it stands for – democracy (Loewen: 265). However, it seems as though communication between our government and these terrorists can be quite simple. At the same time, our government continues to fail to capture these same men and women when they allegedly try. This seems illogical. Are there connections between our own government and foreign terrorist operatives that American citizens are unaware of? Has the United States’ own government been in contact, and possibly cooperation, with the same terrorists they fight every day?

Certain publications support the idea that the United States government is not entirely honest with its citizens. Some documentation shows solid connections between the leaders of America and our enemies - connections that are not adversarial, but beneficial for leaders of various branches of the government (“Sleeping With the Devil”). Are there connections between foreign terrorists, such as Osama bin Laden, and the United States that are shielded from public knowledge? Has the United States played a hand in training the very people that pose a viable threat to the country’s national safety?

In Lies My Teacher Told Me, author James Loewen opens the door to curiosity concerning issues such as these. The book has a chapter on September 11th – a topic on which there is a wealth of information concerning possible ties between the United States, bin Laden, and Al Qaeda – and why our government was ill prepared for such a massive attack when they received information, from multiple sources, warning of the possibility of an attack (Loewen: 270-271). Loewen notes that the CIA received notice from the German government concerning terrorist “plan(s) to hijack commercial aircraft to use as weapons to attack important symbols of American culture” yet failed to “relay these warnings to airline companies” (Loewen: 270), (Reidel, 38-41). The leaders at the FBI also took no action when they got a hold of this information (Loewen, 270). Why would the government take such specific warnings so lightly and fail to take action to even look into the matter or warn those who may be affected?

Osama bin Laden and the terrorist group Al Qaeda have received the blunt of the blame for the attacks on September 11th, 2001. However, there is a certain piece of information most Americans do not know about Mr. bin Laden. In the 1970s he was recruited, and trained, by the CIA to perform covert operations to aid the United States in their involvement in the Cold War (“Sleeping With the Devil”). Tim Osman, the operative name he was given by the Agency, reportedly visited United States military bases, the White House, and was even taught the tactics he used in terrorist attacks while on American soil (“Sleeping With the Devil”).

Tim Osman was not the only foreign recruit taken in by the CIA. Sources note that bin Laden, among several other Muslim recruits, “were sent to Camp Peary, the CIA’s spy training camp in Virginia, where young Afghans, Arabs from Egypt and Jordan, and even some African-American ‘black Muslims’ were taught ‘sabotage skills’” (Dixon). One notable man is Ali Mohammed. British Independent reports that Mohammed, who is thought to be connected with US embassy bombings in 1998 in Tanzania and Kenya, was, in fact, a member of the Green Berets – an elite section of the United States Army. The report contends that Mohammed recruited operatives who were “given paramilitary training in the New York Area” – and later connected to Osama bin Laden/Tim Osman – and escorted them abroad with “US assistance” to Afghanistan to engage in certain “Washington-approved” operations (Dixon).

It has been documented that the United States has used bin Laden and other recruits to “help” with foreign issues. The world is a complicated place – sometimes it helps to have a little help from the outside when dealing with certain situations. “There are times when any nation must hold its nose and shake hands with the devil for the long-term good of the planet” (Moran). Is that the reasoning behind choosing an “heir to a Saudi construction fortune” to be a highly secretive asset and given extraordinary military training? (Moran) Or, is the reasoning to help promote military and political agendas by getting help from the inside of the heart of the enemy? (Martineau).

So, it is true – the government of the United States does, in fact, have intimate ties to at least a few of the most notorious people of recent time. Why is this so unknown to most Americans? The answer could be any number of things. Blowback, by definition, is “the term to describe an agent, an operative, or an operation that has turned on its creators” (Moran). Is Tim Osman, former covert foreign CIA operative, a blowback? Many of his attacks on America have been reportedly funded by the Saudi construction fortune he sits on (Moran). This could be indicative of a falling out between bin Laden and his trainers. Reports state that bin Laden had a falling out with the United States during “Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait” when the country sided with Saudi Arabia, a country that had him stripped of his citizenry and had his in-country assets frozen (Dixon). Differences in opinion led to bin Laden becoming a “‘terrorist’ in US eyes” with a simultaneous call from bin Laden to overthrow any regimes backed by the United States and its allies (Dixon). If this were the case, this would certainly be information the government would not want to take credit for.

On the other hand, bin Laden may not be a blowback - at least not in the traditional sense of the term. Yes, there are consequences for training a known killer – both on American soil and abroad (Bergen and Reynolds). However, there are connections between bin Laden and current and former political leaders in America (“Sleeping With the Devil”). There are documented relationships between the terrorists we fight in the name of “Democracy” and the American government to this day (Sunjata; FBI, CIA Lied to 9/11 Commission on Bin Laden Ties). If bin Laden is a true CIA blowback would these relations still exist?

Proof that this was a blowback situation started to spring up for the United States beginning with attacks on American soil. In 1993, Afghan accomplices bombed the World Trade Center. The “participants” in the bombing were “linked to a Brooklyn-based- fund raising organ for the Afghan jihad” which was determined to be “al Qaeda’s de facto U.S. headquarters” (Bergen and Reynolds). Al Qaeda, as we have been told, is the organization headed up by Osama bin Laden. From this time on, bin Laden became public enemy number one, in a sense. Al Qaeda grew and began to expand their range, forces, and territory. It has been credited with some of the most atrocious terrorist attacks and treatment of mankind in recent history. Most notably, al Qaeda and their leader have been told to be the ones to blame for the undeniably horrific events that occurred in New York City, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C. on the morning of September 11, 2001.

There are, however, interesting gaps in information we are given about September 11th and the events that led up to it. There has been an outcry from some about these gaps – some of which concern Mr. Bin Laden himself and contact he may or may not have had with the United States leading up to – and during – the hijackings and murder of thousands of innocent people. There is a report stating the CIA visited bin Laden in Dubai hospital two months prior to the attacks (Sampson). If bin Laden is our public enemy number one, why would he be in contact with the very country he so hated with such a passion? (Dixon). Was this an untraditional blowback situation? Was it a blowback situation at all? Information regarding this issue is all over the place and each piece of contradicts the next (FBI, CIA Lied to 9/11 Commission on Bin Laden Ties).

It is interesting to note that not only was the FBI reported to have received important information regarding September 11th prior to the attacks, but that important information regarding the 1993 World Trade Center attacks –also attributed to one of their own trainees – was in their hands prior to the disaster, as well (“Sleeping With the Devil”). According to former Congressman Peter Deutsch in a CNN special report, “Pro-western afghan officials…officially warned the U.S. government about [the attack] no fewer than four times. The last warning delivered just days before the [1993] Trade Center attack.” (“Sleeping With the Devil”). If the information regarding the attacks – and the names of the actual attackers – were in the hands of government officials, why was nothing done to thwart the attacks on American soil? This is a question that may not be answered for years to come.

The United States military has been deployed overseas to fight terrorism for decades. An interesting fact is that we are fighting some of the very creatures we created. Our government heavily recruited Afghani and Arab militants to help in the war against the Soviet Union (Bergen and Reynolds). They armed these men with the weapons –physically, monetarily, and mentally – to help the American agenda knowing that there could be a potential issue with these recruits down the line (Dixon). The question is – do we still work with some of these men and women? Are we entrenched in a war we helped to create and subsequently (and continually) fund? The answer is simple: yes. There are ties between high-ranking terrorists that our soldiers die fighting each and every day and the government that sent those same men and women overseas to fight for “freedom” (Gane-McCalla; Sunjata).

The American public, however, is given a prettier picture than the truth – one that leaves out facts that do not make the leaders out to be such great guys, after all. Helping the “enemy” while lying straight to the men and women of America they supposedly represent – would be quite the “blowback” for the government. If American citizens knew, for example, that the CIA and other government organizations “poured at least US $6 billion (some estimates range as high as $20 billion) worth of arms, training, and funds to prop up [bin Laden’s] factions” they would probably be enraged and demand to know why taxpayer money was going to support a man and regime that went on to attack American soil and take tens of thousands of innocent American lives (Dixon).

This prettier picture known to most is masterfully crafted by the American government and mainstream media. It is an art to help promote counterterrorism in the United States – and make the government look good while doing so. The government will not voluntarily offer to share its dirty work, but would rather lay focus on the wrongdoings of its ally or former ally – at this point this is hard to tell where these organizations stand. As one journal notes, “if done well” this focus can “further induce friction and discredit the [Al-Qaeda] brand” (Byman). This can help to “throw sand in the gears” of any organization or person trying to tie America to the origin of foreign threats (Byman).

Works Cited

Bergen, Peter, and Alec Reynolds. "Blowback Revisited." Foreign Affairs (November/December 2005)

Byman, Daniel. "Buddies or Burdens? Understanding the Al Qaeda Relationship with Its Affiliate Organizations." Security Studies 23.3 (Summer 2014): 431-70.

Dixon, Norm. “How the CIA Created Osama Bin Laden” Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal (September 19, 2001).

“FBI, CIA Lied to 9/11 Commission on Bin Laden Ties.” World Socialist Web Site (March 1, 2014).

Gane-McCalla, Casey. "How The CIA Helped Create Osama Bin Laden." News One: For Black America (May 2, 2011)

Loewen, James W. Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong. New York: New, 2008.

Martineau, Jean. “The CIA’s ‘Founding’ of Al Qaeda Documented.” Veterans Today (Originally published Jan 1998: reposted April 20, 2013).

Moran, Michael. "Bin Laden's, CIA Roots. How We Created Our Own Terror." Information Clearing House (Originally published by MSNBC on August 24, 1998).

Riedel, Bruce. "How We Enabled Al Qaeda." Newsweek 158.11 (September 12, 2011): 38-41.

Sunjata, Daniel. Loose Change 9/11. Microcinema International, 2009. DVD.

"Sleeping With the Devil: How U.S. and Saudi Backing of Al Qaeda Led to 9/11." Washington's Blog (September 5, 2012)