Bulletin N° 771
Jagal, The Act of Killing
(with English subtitles)
An interview with documentary filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer
Subject : The ‘Correspondence Theory of Truth’ vs.
the ‘Coherence Theory of Truth’ : Looking into the future by seeking an
understanding of the past.
Subject : The ‘Correspondence Theory of Truth’ vs.
the ‘Coherence Theory of Truth’ : Looking into the future by seeking an
understanding of the past.
5 November 2017
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
Many years ago when I had just received my Ph.D. from the History Department at the University of Wisconsin, a friend in Southern California congratulated me, then recounted an experience he had had in Texas, where he had attended graduate school. One of his professors had told him: the prerequisite for a Ph.D. degree is the ability to engage in consistent action. He took his students into the countryside and asked them to dig a fence post hole, and if they were able to dig a deep, straight hole for a post, then he deemed them capable of writing a Ph.D. thesis.
The same might be said of political ideologues, if they are capable of non-contradictory thought, then they will acquire legitimacy and their ideas will be socially recognized. If they are incapable of this repetitive movement, digging deeper and deeper, following the same rules of logic; then, like a crooked fence post hole, their ideas will be useless.
The 21 items below reflect a quest for understanding that many of us have collectively engaged in during this period of crisis that has engulfed us all. If the past is any indication, the ruling class will not relinquish its power over us without a struggle, after which a new economic system must be constructed, with the help of everyone, and premised on enlightened self-interest and adherence to clearly articulated principles, collectively derived in public discussion.
Professor emeritus of American Studies
Director of Research
University of Paris-Nanterre
Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements
The University of California-San Diego
Newly Released Documents Reveal U.S. Approval of Indonesian Genocide
(18 October 2017)
“The Act of Killing”: New Film Shows U.S.-Backed Indonesian Death Squad Leaders Re-enacting Massacres
The Look of Silence
A 2014 internationally co-produced documentary film directed by Joshua Oppenheimer about the Indonesian killings of 1965–66. The film is a companion piece to Oppenheimer's 2012 documentary The Act of Killing. It was executive produced by Werner Herzog, Errol Morris, and Andre Singer. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 88th Academy Awards.
A middle-aged Indonesian man, whose brother was brutally murdered in the 1965 purge of communists, confronts the men who carried out the killings. Out of concern for his safety, the man is not fully identified in the film and is credited only as "anonymous," as are many of the film's crew positions. Some shots consist of the man watching (what seems to be) extra footage from The Act of Killing, which includes video of the men who killed his brother. He visits some of the killers and their collaborators—including his uncle—under the pretense of an eye exam. Although none of the killers expresses any remorse, the daughter of one of them is clearly shaken when she hears, apparently for the first time, the details of the killings.
The film was screened in the official competition at the 71st Venice International Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Prize, the International Film Critics Award (FIPRESCI), the Italian online critics award (Mouse d'Oro), the European Film Critics Award (FEDEORA), as well as the Human Rights Nights Award. Since then, it has gone on to win multiple awards, including Best World Documentary (Cinephile Prize) at the Busan International Film Festival, the Grand Prize (DOX Award) at CPH:DOX, the prize for Best Documentary at the Starz Denver Film Festival, a Danish Arts Council Award for outstanding achievement in filmmaking, and the Best Film Award at the One World human rights documentary film festival.
VICE Talks Film: Joshua Oppenheimer on 'The Look of Silence'
The Silencing of the Left
by Chris Hedges and Robert Scheer
The New McCarthyism underway to silence the left-wing press.
“The Greek Atheist”
George Carlin on Jews (and against bigoty, i.e. the strategy of ‘divide and rule’)
(video, 11 min)
Trump's Would-Be Drug Czar Helped the Drug Profiteers
Rep. Tom Marino has withdrawn his nomination as President Trump's new drug czar after revelations he pushed through a measure that worsened the U.S. opioid epidemic. White-collar criminologist Bill Black says Marino and other lawmakers have been bought off by pharmaceutical companies he says have acted as "illicit, criminal, drug dealers"
'Our minds can be hijacked': the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia | Technology | The Guardian
There is growing concern that as well as addicting users, technology is contributing toward so-called “continuous partial attention”, severely limiting people’s ability to focus, and possibly lowering IQ. One recent study showed that the mere presence of smartphones damages cognitive capacity – even when the device is turned off. “Everyone is distracted,” Rosenstein says. “All of the time.”
But those concerns are trivial compared with the devastating impact upon the political system that some of Rosenstein’s peers believe can be attributed to the rise of social media and the attention-based market that drives it.
Drawing a straight line between addiction to social media and political earthquakes like Brexit and the rise of Donald Trump, they contend that digital forces have completely upended the political system and, left unchecked, could even render democracy as we know it obsolete.
And This We Call Civilization?
How We Sold Our Selves Into Slavery
If you've ever wanted to know what it's like to sell your soul, just open up a credit card.
Video: The Vietnam War and the Phoenix Program: "A Computerized Genocide"
by Michael Maclear and Douglas Valentine
Michael Maclear’s 1975 documentary, Spooks and Cowboys, Gooks and Grunts (Part 1) is more relevant now than ever. Forty-two years after its release, it exposes the suppressed, shameful truths that have corrupted America since the Vietnam War. The documentary makes it perfectly clear that “we” have always known what was going on – and that “we” have perfected the means of denying and obfuscating it.Maclear’s documentary stands in stark contrast to the current Ken Burns documentary, The Vietnam War, which is nothing more than historical revisionism, sprinkled with massive doses of cognitive dissonance, served up as healing.
Phoenix 2.0 - CIA's Vietnam Terror Unleashed
by Moon Of Alabama
Last week the
new head of the CIA Mike Pompeo publicly threatened to
make the CIA a "much more vicious agency". His first step towards
that is to unleash CIA
sponsored killer gangs onto the people of Afghanistan: The C.I.A. is expanding
its covert operations in Afghanistan, sending small teams of highly experienced
officers and contractors alongside Afghan forces to hunt and kill Taliban militants across the country ...
The C.I.A.’s expanded role will augment missions carried out by military units, meaning more of the United States’ combat role in Afghanistan will be hidden from public view.
This is not going to be a counter-insurgency campaign, even when some will assert that. A counter-insurgency campaign requires political, security, economic, and informational components. It can only be successful in support of a legitimate authority. The current Afghan government has little legitimacy. It was bribed together by the U.S. embassy after wide and open election fraud threatened to devolve into total chaos. In August CIA director Pompeo met the Afghan president Ashraf Ghani and likely discussed the new plan. But the now announced campaign has neither a political nor an economic component. A campaign solely centered on "security" will end up as a random torture and killing expedition without the necessary context and with no positive results.
The campaign will be a boon for the Taliban. While it will likely kill a some Taliban aligned insurgents here and there, it will also alienate many more Afghan people. Most of the Taliban fighters are locals. Killing them creates new local recruits for the insurgency. It will also give it better population cover for future operations.
A similar campaign during the Vietnam war was known as Operation Phoenix. Then some 50,000 South-Vietnamese, all of course 'suspected communists', were killed by the CIA's roving gangs . . . .
Balfour Declaration at 100: Seeds of
A hundred years since Britain's infamous declaration, its repercussions are still felt across the Middle East today.
by Al Jazeera
The Balfour Declaration was a public promise by the British government during World War One, announcing support for the establishment of "a national home for the Jewish people" in Palestine. Palestine was still a part of the Ottoman Empire at the time, with a minority Jewish population.
The 67-word document, in the form of a letter from British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to the prominent British Jewish figure, Lord Rothschild, dated November 2, 1917, read:
His Majesty's government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people,
And will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing
shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine,
or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
Whatever its real intentions, the declaration has had a profound impact on the Middle East and its people; and its effects still resonate across the region today.
The British War Cabinet began to consider the future of Palestine during World War One in which it fought the central powers of Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire.
Defense Minister: There'll Be No Peace, West Bank Can Hold Millions of More
by Chaim Levinson
Former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon expressed support on Thursday for continued Palestinian autonomy in parts of the West Bank, but not independence, and said the territory could hold one or two million additional Jewish settlers. After speaking at a religious girls’ school in Beit Shemesh on Thursday, Ya’alon was asked his views about Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and about evacuation of Jewish settlements more generally. Ya’alon said that as army chief of staff he had opposed the withdrawal. “My home is the kibbutz,” he said. “The border is marked by the furrows of the plow. The border is marked by the children’s house. Where there is no children’s house, there is no army. If you want to hold territory, you need for there to be people living there.”
Israel Maintains Robust Arms Sales With Rogue Regimes
by Jonathan Cook
Human rights activists are stepping up efforts to expose Israel’s long and covert history of supplying weapons and military training to regimes while they actively commit massacres, ethnic cleansing and genocide.
The issue of Israel’s trade with rogue regimes has been thrust into the spotlight again after revelations that it is sending weapons to Myanmar, in defiance of a US and European arms embargo.
Formerly known as Burma, Myanmar was condemned last month by the United Nations for conducting what it called a “textbook ethnic cleansing” of the Rohingya, a Muslim minority. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya are reported to have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh in recent weeks, after evidence of the torching of entire villages, massacres and systematic rapes.
Israel has not divulged details of its ties to Myanmar’s military government, but public records show that it has sold the military there armed patrol boats, guns and surveillance equipment. Myanmar’s special forces have also been trained by Israelis.
In Shocking Interview, Qatar Confesses
Secrets Behind The Syrian War
by Tyler Durden
A television interview of a top Qatari official confessing the truth behind the origins of the war in Syria is going viral across Arabic social media during the same week a leaked top secret NSA document was published which confirms that the armed opposition in Syria was under the direct command of foreign governments from the early years of the conflict.
And according to a well-known Syria analyst and economic adviser with close contacts in the Syrian government, the explosive interview constitutes a high level "public admission to collusion and coordination between four countries to destabilize an independent state, [including] possible support for Nusra/al-Qaeda." Importantly, "this admission will help build case for what Damascus sees as an attack on its security & sovereignty. It will form basis for compensation claims."
One Day Tomorrow Won’t Arrive
by Paul Craig Roberts
Before the idiots in Washington get us blown off of the face of the earth, the morons had better come to terms with the fact that the US military is now second class compared to the Russian military. For example, the US Navy has been made obsolete by Russia’s hypersonic maneuvering Zircon missile.
For example, the speed and trajectory changes of the Russian Sarmat ICBM has nullified Washington’s ABM system. One Sarmet is sufficient to take out Great Britain, or France, or Germany, or Texas. It only takes a dozen to wipe out the United States.
Why don’t you know this?
For example, Washington’s enormously expensive F-35 jet fighter is no match whatsoever for Russian fighters.
For example, US tanks are no match for Russian tanks.
U.S. Military is the Largest Employer in the World
by Sue Chang
Travel on Uncle Sam’s dime and have taxpayers pay for your education—these are some of the perks offered by the U.S. military, and it appears its recruiting strategy is effective. The U.S. Department of Defense has been named the largest employer in the world with 3.2 million employees on its payroll, according to the World Economic Forum. The second largest is China’s People’s Liberation Army with 2.3 million on its staff roster and third biggest is Wal-Mart Stores Inc. WMT, +0.02% with 2.1 million employees. McDonald’s Corp. MCD, +0.64% came in fourth with 1.9 million workers but the World Economic Forum noted the fast-food chain would be eliminated from the list if employees at its franchise restaurants weren't counted.
Where the extreme right speak candidly about their future plans for America.
Values Voter Summit
The Values Voter Summit continued its annual conference in Washington, D.C. Speakers included former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, radio talk show host Laura Ingraham, and former Trump administration official Sebastian Gorka.
Former White House strategist Steve Bannon declared war on the Republican establishment at the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit. In one of his more targeted comments, he took some jabs at Senator Bob Corker (R-TN). He criticized him for his public feud, "trashing the commander in chief", in which Senator Corker accused the president for leading the nation on a path toward World War III. Bannon singled out Senators Barrasso, Fisher, and Heller for not defending President Trump. He also said Senator Corker saw the writing on the wall and decided not to seek re-election when Judge Moore won in Alabama.
American Oligarchs Are Plotting the Biggest Heist in U.S. History
by Robert Reich
You know the plot: The bank robbers set off a bomb down the street from the bank, and while everyone’s distracted they get away with the loot.
In the reality TV show we’re now suffering through, Donald Trump is the bomb.
The robbers are the American oligarchs who bankroll the Republican Party, and who are plotting the biggest heist in American history – a massive tax cut estimated to be up to 5.8 trillion dollars.
Around 80 percent of it will benefit the richest 1 percent, according to the Tax Policy Center.
Trump is busily distracting America with his explosive tweets and incendiary tantrums—blasting Republican senators Jeff Flake and Bob Corker, NFL players who take the knee, Dreamers, refugees, immigrants, transgender people, the media, “rocket man,” Hillary Clinton, Obama, NAFTA, Muslims.
The Trump bomb is hugely damaging—unleashing hate, threatening democratic institutions, isolating America in the world.
But none of this seems to bother Republicans in Congress, except for a handful of Senators who won’t be running again. That’s because congressional Republicans are concentrating their efforts on pulling off the giant heist for their rich patrons.
The Harmful Effects of Antifa
by Diana Johnstone
An historic opportunity is being missed. The disastrous 2016 presidential election could and should have been a wakeup call. A corrupt political system that gave voters a choice between two terrible candidates is not democracy.
This should have been the signal to face reality. The U.S. political system is totally rotten, contemptuous of the people, serving the corporations and lobbies that pay to keep them in office. The time had come to organize a genuine alternative, an independent movement to liberate the electoral system from the grip of billionaires, to demand a transition from a war economy to an economy dedicated to improving the lives of the people who live here. What is needed is a movement for the pacification of America, at home and abroad.
Cornel West- How Intellectuals Betrayed the Poor
Noam Chomsky & Howard Zinn "Is There Hope in This Desperate Time?"
Speaking at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston, Massachusetts on September 27, 2004, for a fundraiser sponsored by the street paper,
Spare Change, and the Homeless Empowerment Project.
Americans Say This Is Lowest Point in US
In new poll, a majority say they can't remember a time when their levels of stress over healthcare, the economy, and social divisions were higher
by Julia Conley
A majority of Americans surveyed in a study of stress levels, released on Wednesday, said they consider the present day to be the lowest point in U.S. history, and indicated that the future of the nation is a major source of stress in their lives.
Out of 3,440 respondents surveyed in August by the American Psychological Association, fifty-nine percent said they can't remember a worse time in the nation's history. The people surveyed included Americans who had lived through World War II, the Vietnam War, the September 11 attacks, and the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Poll-takers asked respondents to describe the issues that have caused them to feel this way, and found that 59 percent were most anguished about "divisiveness" in U.S. society.
Forty-three percent named healthcare as their top source of stress, amid continued efforts by the Trump administration and the Republican Party to weaken the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The poll was taken just after Republicans' efforts to repeal the law failed, but President Donald Trump has continued to sabotage the ACA, which helped nearly 20 million Americans gain health coverage.
Another 32 percent said "trust in government" was their biggest concern and 31 percent said hate crimes or crime in general were their top source of stress regarding the nation.
Women who took the survey reported higher levels of stress than men, and black and Latino males had a higher average stress level than their white counterparts. Black respondents also expressed far less optimism about the path the country is on than white respondents; 72 percent disagreed that the country could have a strong future, while only 55 percent of whites disagreed with the sentiment.