Hollywood’s Big Lies Of Omission
By Joe Giambrone
“We like nonfiction, and we live in fictitious times. We live in the time where we have fictitious election results that elect a fictitious President.
We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons. Whether it’s the fiction of duct tape or the fictitious orange alerts, we are against this war, Mr. Bush.”
–Michael Moore Oscar acceptance speech, moments before his mic was cut off.
[su_shadow][su_panel background=”#f9f8f6″ color=”#1d1919″ border=”2px solid #cecaca” shadow=”7px 0px 1px #eeeeee” radius=”2″]This year may mark a turning point, where the moral bankruptcy was laid bare for all. I’m speaking of the Bernie Sanders flip-flop for Hillary Clinton, the predictable bait-and-switch, which democrats never seem to imagine in real time. The rest of us have seen it so often that the ruse has become routine standard operating procedure.[/su_panel][/su_shadow]
A particularly notable case is Sarah Silverman (left), the filthy-mouthed comedienne, who originally championed Bernie. But she quickly fell into lockstep for Hillary. Silverman had a soul empty enough to go and scold the United States to support a candidate whom she had just been fighting against, and who actually stole the nomination from her own candidate through back-room deals at the DNC and through apparent voting-machine hacking. The thief was rewarded instead of jailed for some reason, which Hollywood has had absolutely zero interest in, as if it didn’t happen. They moved on instantly to lambast us all about Donald Trump 24/7. Orwell couldn’t have written it better.
Hollywood has a highly complex understanding of political philosophy and particularly of this presidential race:
1. Trump Bad
2. Hillary Woman
3. So-called “Lesser Evil”
[dropcap]W[/dropcap]e should acknowledge, those who are literate, that Hillary Clinton’s repeated threats to escalate World War 3 over Syria leave her as potentially the greater evil, not the lesser at all. The jury is very much out.
“Goldwater Girl” Hillary Rodham Clinton has a lengthy record of supporting every US aggressive war and opposing none. She may have played a part in the killings of over 2 million human beings so far, merely tallying those casualties from the three countries of Iraq, Syria and Libya. One may opt to also add another half-million Iraqi children who died as a result of her husband’s eight years of sanctions.
I noticed Hollywood’s widespread mindless support for Democrats back in 2000, when I kicked that shockingly corrupt party to the curb and joyfully cast a vote for Ralph Nader, an actual American hero whose efforts have saved lives. Die-hard whiners of the Democratic rank-and-file still falsely claim that big bad Ralph gave the election to Dubya Bush, when anyone with the ability to read can see that it was the Supreme Court which stopped the legitimate counting of Florida ballots. Add Bush’s brother Jeb purging nearly two-hundred thousand minority voters from rolls. But the mindless strategy of attacking third parties and attempting to delegitimize democracy itself persists among the ignorant (a majority of Democrats perhaps). This is by design; this is who they are. They do not believe in democracy, because the billionaires who fund them do not believe in any democracy they cannot control.
“But the mindless strategy of attacking third parties and attempting to delegitimize democracy itself persists among the ignorant (a majority of Democrats perhaps). This is by design; this is who they are. They do not believe in democracy, because the billionaires who fund them do not believe in any democracy they cannot control.”
George W. Bush’s theft of the presidency did help expose the moral bankruptcy of Democrats as well as Republicans. When Bush lied about Iraq, Hillary Clinton was right there with him embellishing and freestyling! She claimed Iraq’s non-existent “weapons of mass destruction” to be “undisputed.” Her lies helped sell the war to Congress, a war of aggression: what the Nazis did and were hung for at Nuremberg. Her role in aggressive war and in destroying International Law as a restraint against belligerence are profound crimes, grievous war crimes: “the supreme international crime” in the words of U.S. Judge Robert Jackson.
When a handful of Democrats attempted to impeach the Bush junta for crimes relating to those wars, as well as to torture and cover-up, it was Democrat Nancy Pelosi who announced “Impeachment is off the table.” Criminal collusion, allowing the crimes to stand without recourse, that is what they did. The US federal government has served as a protection racket for international war crimes. The damage that Democrats inflicted upon the rule of law is equal to that of the Republicans. The former had a moral and legal responsibility to defend the Constitution, their oaths of office, but voluntarily opted not to.
The Internet helped flood the world with information to pass around, both good and bad, but the crimes of both parties became difficult for them to wash away now that Google made all web searchers equal.
Today, things have accelerated into realms of the absurd. CNN recently cut off a congressman in mid-sentence for uttering the word “Wikileaks.” This Soviet-style clampdown on dissent remains a shocker even in a society that’s pretty much seen it all.
The media, distrusted by most, is only one aspect of the problem though. Americans get their views from joking heads as much as from stodgy teleprompter readers. Talk shows and comedy skits propagandize viewers every bit as much as do the Washington Post or New York Times. Celebrity endorsements matter.
A casual glance at those programs would reveal that democracy is non-existent in Hollywood today. All voices are not represented. Minority candidates cannot get air time, will not be interviewed, and will only be mocked in absentia as per John Oliver’s recent disgraceful hit piece on Green Party candidate Jill Stein, a cowardly move John. Shameful.
But Oliver is far from alone. I single him out because he knows better and could have done justice to the Green Party and to its clear alternative to perpetual war, empire, and industrialized ecocide. But where would that have left him personally vis a vis the Hollywood political consensus?
Nowhere is presidential candidate Jill Stein welcome, not on the debate stage where she belongs, not on the daily puff shows, not on the edgy comedy interview shows, and not on SNL. This blanket censorship is quite glaring, and clearly part and parcel of a system rigged in favor of Democrats―no matter who they are, nor how long their rap sheets happen to be.
Hollywood’s strategy is as simple-minded as those who are easily programmed by it. They point the finger endlessly at the boogie-man, who happens to be Donald Trump this year―it’s the same every cycle. It was the evil Romney, the evil McCain and the evil Bush Jr. prior.
In regimented fashion, the entire industry demonizes the enemy du jour, and so ensures that the crimes of their own candidate never receive any light of day. That’s the trick. In their manufactured hysteria over the latest Republican they omit the entire criminal history of the Democratic nominee, how she stole the nomination in the first place for instance, and they avoid mentioning all the non-criminal alternatives, who are not corrupted by Wall Street, the military-industrial-complex, and foreign tyrants.
This manufactured hysteria is strategic, and it is a false dichotomy. The fake two-candidate only choice is never questioned by Hollywood. To do so would mark one as an aberration, a non-conformist, a free thinker. You would be outcast to hobnob with the likes of Charlie Sheen, Gary Busey, Roseanne Barr, and Randy Quaid. This conformism is a mechanism of social control, and it’s not a laughing matter.
I use the word kakistocracy more often lately, rule by the worst. Only the worst, the most corrupt, the biggest liars can rise in this rigged system. A more formal study pegged it as “oligarchy,” but I find the term bland. It is very much rigged on numerous levels to keep out the honest and the moral. If that’s not a problem to you, Hollywood, then you are indeed living in a fantasy story: Michael Moore’s fictional times roll on.
“dems ? Do U have any thoughts on Obama’s transition from a progressive academic humanist 2 a regressive corporate warlord?”
Bonus Feature: Originally Posted on Feb 20, 2013
[dropcap]H[/dropcap]ollywood likes to pretend that things aren’t political when they are. It’s that bi-partisan nationalist myth that if both corporate parties agree to cheer for the empire, then everyone cheers for the empire. It’s gotten so bad now that races like the Oscars and the Writer’s Guild screenwriting award are tight contests between one CIA propaganda film and another CIA propaganda film. The first one helps to demonize Iranians and set up the next World War scenario, while the second film fraudulently promotes the effectiveness of state-sanctioned torture crimes.
If there ever was a time for loud disgust and rejection of the Hollywood / Military-Industrial-Complex, this would seem to be it (firstname.lastname@example.org). Naomi Wolf made a comparison of Zero Dark Thirty’s creators Bigelow and Boal to Nazi filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl (Triumph of the Will). That, to me, seems inappropriately offensive to Leni Riefenstahl. The good German filmmaker never promoted torture through deception. Nor was Triumph a call to war. The film was simply an expression of German patriotism and strength, rebirth from the ashes of World War I. The current insidious crop of propaganda, as in the CIA’s leaking of fictional scenes about locating Osama Bin Laden through torture extraction, are arguably more damaging and less defensible than Riefenstahl’s upfront and blatant homage to Hitler’s leadership.
The Zero Dark Thirty scandal should be common knowledge by now, but here is what the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence wrote to Sony Pictures about it:
“We believe the film is grossly inaccurate and misleading in its suggestion that torture resulted in information that led to the location of Usama bin Laden… Instead, the CIA learned of the existence of the courier, his true name and location through means unrelated to the CIA detention and interrogation program.”
The filmmakers had every opportunity to explore the issue more fully, instead of relying on the “firsthand accounts” of the torturers themselves, and/or their allies within the Central Intelligence Agency. Notably, torturers are felons and war criminals. Those who know about their crimes and help cover them up are guilty of conspiracy to torture. Thus, these self-serving fairy tales that illegal torture led to the desired results (bin Laden) are tangled up with the motivation to protect war criminals from prosecution. Not only does this claim of successful torture help insulate the guilty from legal prosecution, it also helps to promote further criminal acts of torture in the future.
Once this red flag issue was raised by the Senate, the filmmakers could have taken a second look at what they had put up on screens and reassessed the veracity of their material and the way it was being sold to the world. Instead they doubled down. Bigelow and Boal want it both ways, extraordinary access to CIA storytellers for a documentary-like “factual” telling of the bin Laden execution, but they also want license to claim that it’s just a movie and can therefore take all the liberties they please.
Jessica Chastain, who plays a state-employed torturer/murderer, who also allegedly located Osama bin Laden, said:
“I’m afraid to get called in front of a Senate committee… In my opinion, this is a very accurate film… I think it’s important to note the film is not a documentary.”
In a nutshell, that’s the Zero Dark Thirty defense. It’s a highly sourced “very accurate film,” but we can take all the liberties we like because it’s not a documentary, and so if we made up a case for torture based on the lies of professional liars in the CIA, then oops.
Mark Boal went so far as to mock the Senate Intelligence Committee, at the NY Film Critic’s Circle:
“In case anyone is asking, we stand by the film… Apparently, the French government will be investigating Les Mis.”
Any controversy over the picture seems to help its box office, as more uninformed people hear about it. The filmmakers themselves suffer no penalty as a result of misleading a large number of people on torture, to accept torture, to accept a secretive criminal state that tortures with impunity.
Kathryn Bigelow’s wrapped-in-the-flag defense of the film:
“Bin Laden… was defeated by ordinary Americans who fought bravely even as they sometimes crossed moral lines, who labored greatly and intently, who gave all of themselves in both victory and defeat, in life and in death, for the defense of this nation.” (emphasis in original)
Nice propaganda trick at the end equating those who “gave all of themselves” and “death” with the individuals who “sometimes crossed moral lines.” Everyone’s dirty; you see. All heroes are torturers; so it’s okay.
Bigelow’s half-assed response to getting called out by the Senate for putting false torture results into her film, is to say:
“Torture was, however, as we all know, employed in the early years of the hunt. That doesn’t mean it was the key to finding Bin Laden. It means it is a part of the story we couldn’t ignore. War, obviously, isn’t pretty, and we were not interested in portraying this military action as free of moral consequences.” (emphasis added)
Ignore? By her reasoning, because the Central Intelligence Agency tortured people, she was required to fit it into the plot somehow, whether it was relevant to the investigation or not. That’s her excuse. No matter that the scenes are fabrications, and the actual clues about bin Laden’s courier came from elsewhere (electronic surveillance, human intelligence, foreign services).
Bigelow told Charlie Rose, when asked the same question about the torture: “Well I think it’s important to tell a true story.” Unfortunately, when confronted with the Senate investigation, truth quickly takes a back seat.
The truth Bigelow now clings to is that, “Experts disagree sharply on the facts and particulars of the intelligence hunt, and doubtlessly that debate will continue.” To Kathryn Bigelow, the fact that the so-called “experts” she has sided with are torturer criminals with a vested interest in her portrayal of their crimes never occurs to her. She can dismiss the entire matter as a “debate.” Perhaps she no longer finds it “important to tell a true story?”
Kathryn Bigelow, America’s Leni Riefenstahl, claims that Zero Dark Thirty tells “a true story,” even when confronted by evidence that it is a lie. She is unapologetic and completely divorced from the real world damage her propaganda encourages. If this film takes home the Best Picture Oscar, it should serve as the cherry on top of a brutal, deceptive, decrepit and immoral empire, and signal this reality to the rest of the world. If this is allegedly the “best” of America, then we are truly finished.
As for Ben Affleck’s Argo, its sins aren’t so readily apparent. Both films show wonderful Central Intelligence “heroes” acting to further US interests and take care of imperial problems. The Argo scenario is a rescue, however, instead of a hit. The problem is that Iran, a country thrown into a bloodthirsty dictatorship after its nascent democracy was murdered by the very same CIA in 1953, is now the bad guy. There are clearly two sides, and the film takes sides with the people who destroyed democracy in Iran and propped up an illegitimate monarch in order to control its oil and its refineries. When this despotic monarch whose secret police disappeared, tortured and murdered the political opposition – with the help and training of the CIA – is overthrown, we are supposed to overlook all that, because America is always good. We rescue our people. We risk our lives, and we come up with elaborate creative plans to help our people. We are heroic and triumphant vs. the inferior wild-eyed Persians and Arabs of the world.
Now I do believe there’s a real story there, and the situation is ripe for telling, but an extreme sensitivity to the political context would be required.
“…[T]he Iran we see in the [Argo] news clips and the Iran we see dramatized are all on the same superficial level: incomprehensible, out-of-control hordes with nary an individual or rational thought expressed.
… But we never go behind-the-scenes at this revolution. (Instead, Affleck and screenwriter Chris Terrio’s tempering historical introduction is soon outweighed by the visceral power of mobs storming walls, chador-clad women toting rifles, and banshees screaming into news cameras.)
…The problem is that viewers who don’t already know their Chomsky or William Blum aren’t going to walk out of [Argo] muttering “gee, it’s more complicated than I thought.” Instead, they’ll leave with their fears and prejudices reaffirmed: that Middle Easterners create terror, that Americans must be the world’s policemen, and that Iranians cannot be trusted because they hate America.
…Argo almost completely ignores individual Iranians; its portrait of an entire culture is neither refined nor sophisticated; and it does reinforce a simplistic, Manichean perspective.”
So why are Argo and Zero Dark Thirty receiving all these awards? Are the awarding bodies so full of hyper-patriots who believe pro-American films can deceive and demonize with impunity, that they want to send an unequivocal message of support for these practices?
Is hyper-nationalist propaganda in vogue now?
With the ascendancy of Barack Obama, there is no longer a moral anti-war voice of any significant size in America. Obama, the smooth talker, has soothed away morality, ethics, law and rights. The empire is beyond reproach because Obama runs it. So the liberal center/left says nothing. Nothing but empty blather and ignorant praise of the Democrats. Murder is being codified in secret as we speak. Bush’s wars are being publicly scaled down, only to ramp up new covert wars of conquest across Africa. Nothing substantial has changed since George W., only the style.
There was a time when no one trusted the CIA. Far from heroes, they were the prime suspects in the assassination of president John F. Kennedy, and presidential candidate Robert Kennedy. CIA support of terrorists was well known, if not loudly opposed. This agency has sponsored Cuban exiles to commit acts of terrorism inside Cuba. Its Phoenix Program kidnapped and murdered Vietnamese villagers by the thousands, torturing and killing them for alleged communist sympathies. The CIA overthrew democracies from Iran to Gutemala to Chile, and was instrumental in waging a terror war against Nicaragua by employing drug-running mercenary terrorists called “Contras.” When the Church Committee investigated the agency in the mid-70s, lots of dirty laundry was aired. The agency was reined in for a time. Assassination was made technically illegal.
In the 1980s, the CIA fought a proxy war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan by funneling money and arms to radical Islamic Jihadists – like Osama bin Laden – and creating an intelligence/military monster in Pakistan, known as the ISI. With untold billions of dollars of US tax money, plus Saudi oil money, the Pakistanis were propped up as a central hub for militant groups to operate throughout the region. Pakistan is where Osama bin Laden allegedly ended up living for the last decade of his life, half a mile from the Pakistani military academy.
The CIA today is instrumental in the blitzkrieg of terror across Syria. It funnels arms and money to radical Islamic Jihadists, exactly as it did in Afghanistan in the 1980s. In 2011 it participated in the Libyan Crime Against the Peace doing much the same type of activity on behalf of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, a group that helped take over that nation despite being included on the US State Department’s Terrorist List! The LIFG has sent its fighters over to Syria, after the fall of Qadaffi, to assist in the genocidal guerrilla war against the Syrian state, as well as civilians. The CIA assists in these activities.
But of course those victims aren’t Americans. So none of that counts.
“…Is it healthy for us to hold up images of Cold War CIA agents as selfless do-gooders?” –Jennifer Epps
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