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Brian De Palma: Iraq’s even worse than Vietnam

In News on February 2, 2013 at 3:31 PM

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02/02/2013

Film director Brian de Palma has become an expert in voicing people’s frustration with the shortcomings of the US government. RT caught up with the celebrated Hollywood filmmaker and screenwriter to ask him political and apolitical questions.

­Known best for his suspense and crime thriller movies, such as Scarface, The Untouchables, and Mission: Impossible, de Palma has also made a number of films that challenge the political establishment such as Casualties of War.

In his 2007 picture, Redacted, de Palma tells a story of a US soldier in the Iraq War trying to shoot an amateur documentary. Through the eyes of this soldier de Palma exposes what he considers to be the hypocrisy inherent in the US war machine.

RT: Oliver Stone, who wrote the script to one of your best-known films ‘Scarface,’ said in an interview with RT that Americans are living in an Orwellian state. It might not be oppressive on the surface, but there is no place to hide, eventually some part of you is going to end up in a database somewhere. According to historian Peter Kuznick, the US government intercepts over 1.7 billion messages a day. Are you aware of this?

BDP: Well, I can understand Oliver’s paranoia because Oliver, like myself, has very strong views about what our American foreign policy now is. Needless to say, I probably have been followed around since the 1960s, because I made very political anti-war pictures at that time. I sort of accept it. My last political picture ‘Redacted’ was not received well in my country, because I was criticizing our foreign policy and what the hell we are doing in Iraq. All these terrible things happen when we put these young boys in these worlds where they don’t understand what they are fighting for or why they are there. So I understand why Oliver thinks we are being followed all the time, we probably are!

RT: Your drama ‘Redacted,’ which deals with the war in Iraq, provoked political debate in America with claims it portrays the US soldiers in a negative light. Are you sensitive to such critiques? Even your film’s title makes it clear that the truth about the war in Iraq has been edited and hidden from the American public.

BDP: Unfortunately, in America you can never say anything negative about the American troops even though they are over in a country they shouldn’t be, doing things where a lot of innocents are getting killed. They are all valued warriors. I think our foreign policy is incorrect, I don’t think we should have been in Iraq at all, I think we were lied to by our government. When you put young boys in situations when they don’t know why they are there, it’s even worse than Vietnam. Not only are you in a terrible environment, where everybody wants to kill you, and you walk around and suddenly the earth explodes, your best friend’s just lost his leg, you detest the people you’re supposed to be fighting for and you do crazy things. That’s what ‘Redacted’ is about, and that’s what ‘Casualties of War’ was about. These wars make no sense and crazy things happen.

RT: You’ve studied the phenomenon, or rather the pathology of violence for over four decades. Why is America so keen to get involved in conflicts wherever they happen, Afghanistan to Libya, shooting first and thinking later?

BDP: Many things that are repeated over and over again sort of create a special atmosphere. One is: ‘America is the greatest nation in the world!’ I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that! Do they say that in Russia? Do you say Russia is the greatest nation in the world?

RT: Not so often, no.

BDP: Why are we all over the world? Why do we have a military presence in countries all over the world? Why? Because we are the policemen of the world? Who decided this? Consequently we get ourselves into a lot of trouble. And there is also the economic thing.

RT: According to president Obama, an economic recovery has began. But America cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many can barely make it.

BDP: What do we sell? Planes, guns, rockets, missiles – to all these countries all over the world. That’s where our biggest interest is. It’s our biggest export. Defense.

RT: America spends as much money on militarysecurity intelligence as the rest of the world combined.

BDP: You’re dealing with a big economic reality. The idea that we would cut any money to the defense budget is unbelievable. Let’s get a few more planes, let’s buy a few more ships. For what? We’re going broke doing this. Eisenhower warned about the military-industrial complex: Watch out! It just grows and grows and grows. And nobody can seem to stop it!

RT: Your drama ‘Redacted,’ which deals with the war in Iraq, provoked political debate in America with claims it portrays the US soldiers in a negative light. Are you sensitive to such critiques? Even your film’s title makes it clear that the truth about the war in Iraq has been edited and hidden from the American public.

BDP: Unfortunately, in America you can never say anything negative about the American troops even though they are over in a country they shouldn’t be, doing things where a lot of innocents are getting killed. They are all valued warriors.

I think our foreign policy is incorrect, I don’t think we should have been in Iraq at all, I think we were lied to by our government. When you put young boys in situations when they don’t know why they are there, it’s even worse than Vietnam. Not only are you in a terrible environment, where everybody wants to kill you, and you walk around and suddenly the earth explodes, your best friend’s just lost his leg, you detest the people you’re supposed to be fighting for and you do crazy things. That’s what ‘Redacted’ is about, and that’s what ‘Casualties of War’ was about. These wars make no sense and crazy things happen.

RT: You’ve studied the phenomenon, or rather the pathology of violence for over four decades. Why is America so keen to get involved in conflicts wherever they happen, Afghanistan to Libya, shooting first and thinking later?

BDP: Many things that are repeated over and over again sort of create a special atmosphere. One is: ‘America is the greatest nation in the world!’ I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that! Do they say that in Russia? Do you say Russia is the greatest nation in the world?

RT: Not so often, no.

BDP: Why are we all over the world? Why do we have a military presence in countries all over the world? Why? Because we are the policemen of the world? Who decided this? Consequently we get ourselves into a lot of trouble. And there is also the economic thing.

RT: According to president Obama, an economic recovery has began. But America cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many can barely make it.

BDP: What do we sell? Planes, guns, rockets, missiles – to all these countries all over the world. That’s where our biggest interest is. It’s our biggest export. Defense.

RT: America spends as much money on militarysecurity intelligence as the rest of the world combined.

BDP: You’re dealing with a big economic reality. The idea that we would cut any money to the defense budget is unbelievable. Let’s get a few more planes, let’s buy a few more ships. For what? We’re going broke doing this. Eisenhower warned about the military-industrial complex: Watch out! It just grows and grows and grows. And nobody can seem to stop it!

RT: Your drama ‘Redacted,’ which deals with the war in Iraq, provoked political debate in America with claims it portrays the US soldiers in a negative light. Are you sensitive to such critiques? Even your film’s title makes it clear that the truth about the war in Iraq has been edited and hidden from the American public.

BDP: Unfortunately, in America you can never say anything negative about the American troops even though they are over in a country they shouldn’t be, doing things where a lot of innocents are getting killed. They are all valued warriors.

I think our foreign policy is incorrect, I don’t think we should have been in Iraq at all, I think we were lied to by our government. When you put young boys in situations when they don’t know why they are there, it’s even worse than Vietnam. Not only are you in a terrible environment, where everybody wants to kill you, and you walk around and suddenly the earth explodes, your best friend’s just lost his leg, you detest the people you’re supposed to be fighting for and you do crazy things. That’s what ‘Redacted’ is about, and that’s what ‘Casualties of War’ was about. These wars make no sense and crazy things happen.

RT: You’ve studied the phenomenon, or rather the pathology of violence for over four decades. Why is America so keen to get involved in conflicts wherever they happen, Afghanistan to Libya, shooting first and thinking later?

BDP: Many things that are repeated over and over again sort of create a special atmosphere. One is: ‘America is the greatest nation in the world!’ I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that! Do they say that in Russia? Do you say Russia is the greatest nation in the world?

RT: Not so often, no.

BDP: Why are we all over the world? Why do we have a military presence in countries all over the world? Why? Because we are the policemen of the world? Who decided this? Consequently we get ourselves into a lot of trouble. And there is also the economic thing.

RT: According to president Obama, an economic recovery has began. But America cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many can barely make it.

BDP: What do we sell? Planes, guns, rockets, missiles – to all these countries all over the world. That’s where our biggest interest is. It’s our biggest export. Defense.

RT: America spends as much money on militarysecurity intelligence as the rest of the world combined.

BDP: You’re dealing with a big economic reality. The idea that we would cut any money to the defense budget is unbelievable. Let’s get a few more planes, let’s buy a few more ships. For what? We’re going broke doing this. Eisenhower warned about the military-industrial complex: Watch out! It just grows and grows and grows. And nobody can seem to stop it!

RT: Barack Obama has been recently sworn in for his second term, but you don’t seem to be very happy with his achievements.

BDP: Oh no, Obama’s trying to change some of this, but our country is very split. We have liberals on either coast, and we have this very conservative center of the country. That’s why it is so difficult to get anything done in the Congress.

Why do we have guns? What about guns all over the place? We’re slaughtering children and people think – oh, maybe we need more police within the school rooms. It’s crazy! But guns are big business. They like to sell guns. We are probably the only country in the world, that has guns all over the place.

RT: Following the mass shooting at the elementary school in Connecticut in December, the Los Angeles police department has decided to deploy 600 armed police patrol at elementary and middle schools. Do you think increasing police patrols could help halt violence? Some say that the real purpose of a police buildup at schools is to make kids used to the constant presence of police and the growing atmosphere of fear.

BDP: There was an incident in China where somebody went to school and attacked all the children. Fortunately, he only had a knife. So he only managed to stab a few people and kill no one. When you have automatic weapons that can fire a hundred rounds in 10 seconds, it gets crazy. These are the kind of things that make no sense in America. Obviously, after this last terrible tragedy, they are trying to make some changes in the gun rules. So, I can buy an automatic weapon with a magazine that holds 200 bullets to go hunting? It’s absurd! These are the kind of things that drive me crazy. They make no sense whatsoever.

RT:‘Zero Dark Thirty,’ the controversial US drama focusing on the decade-long manhunt for Osama Bin Laden, has been slammed for excessive violence and depiction of torture. Do you find such criticism fair enough?

BDP: Absolutely not! Big surprise, we tortured a few people to find out where the terrorists were. Wow! I can’t believe it! America torturing people? What’s going on in Guantanamo Bay, these poor guys have been there forever? Is the war ever over? Maybe we should waterboard them a little bit. They’ve only been there for 10 years.

RT: Where does this glorification of murder and torture come from?

BDP: I think the use of torture in the Bigelow movie is very realistic. I don’t know why everybody is so surprised or upset. But the fact that you would say that Americans actually torture people was like… impossible. But of course they torture people!

Via RT

Harry Fear Interviews Norman Finkelstein on Israel Occupation of Palestine

In Israel, Israhell, News, OpIsrael, Palestine, Palestine, Police State, Viral Videos, World Revolution on January 30, 2013 at 7:45 PM

 

01/30/2013

Harry Fear interviews Norman Finklestein on his experiences in Gaza and his take on Israel’s occupation and the ongoing conflict in the region. Harry Fear is a documentary maker, activist and journalist who is currently on a worldwide talking tour about Gaza. Norman Finklestein is an American political scientist, activist, professor and author.

http://www.harryfear.tv

http://www.twitter.com/harryfear

http://normanfinkelstein.com/

https://twitter.com/normfinkelstein

http://wearechange.org/

Canadian Government Tries to Disappear Report on IDF Murder of Four UN Observers

In Canada, Israel, Israhell, News, Other Leaks, Zionism on December 27, 2012 at 4:54 AM

12/25/2012

OttawaCitizen:

The Defence Department has quietly removed from the Internet a report into the killing of a Canadian military officer by Israeli forces, a move the soldier’s widow says is linked to the Conservative government’s reluctance to criticize Israel for any wrongdoing.

Maj. Paeta Hess-von Kruedener and three other United Nations observers were killed in 2006 when the Israeli military targeted their small outpost with repeated artillery barrages as well as an attack by a fighter aircraft.

IN early 2008, the Defence Department posted on its website a 67-page report from the Canadian Forces board of inquiry into the killing. The board found Hess-von Kruedener’s death was preventable and caused by the Israeli military.

But less than a year later, the report was quietly removed from the DND website and has since remained off-limits to the public through official channels.

Hess-von Kruedener’s widow, Cynthia, told the Citizen that the decision to remove the document from the public domain was made by DND and the government in an effort to protect Israel’s reputation.

“They don’t want people reading about it,” she said. “It’s embarrassing to the Israelis and, as we know, Prime Minister (Stephen) Harper has given his unconditional support to the Israelis.”

The circumstances surrounding Hess-von Kruedener’s death and the attempts by DND and the Canadian Forces to limit access to the board of inquiry report are outlined in an article in the new edition of Legion magazine, an Ottawa-based publication sent to members of the Royal Canadian Legion.

DND originally refused to provide the magazine with the previously public board of inquiry report, claiming the publication needed to use the access-to-information law to obtain a copy.

Legion magazine obtained a copy of the report by other means. It has now posted the report on its website.

In an email sent to the Citizen, DND confirmed it had removed the board of inquiry report from its website in early 2009 for security reasons “after it was discovered that some of its content is considered protected information.”

That explanation, however, doesn’t stand up to scrutiny as Legion magazine compared both the 2008 version and the 2012 copy issued under the access law, discovering that the latest version actually contains more information than the original.

The Legion article also raises questions about the disappearance from DND of a United Nations report into the killing. The document was used by the Canadian Forces for its board of inquiry and the UN report is cited in the Canadian report. But DND’s access to information branch claims it has done a thorough search of records and no such report could be found.

DND could not comment on claims by defence sources that hard copies of the board of inquiry report were also removed from military libraries.

The death of Hess-von Kruedener, a UN observer assigned to the Israeli-Lebanon border, has largely been forgotten.

The Israeli attack on the UN outpost began shortly after noon on July 25, 2006, prompting the UN deputy secretary general to almost immediately call the Israeli ambassador to the UN and complain.

Several hours later another artillery barrage hit the outpost. That was followed by another 16 artillery rounds hitting the base, destroying most of the buildings above ground and blowing the door off the underground bunker where Hess-von Kruedener and his fellow peacekeepers had taken refuge.

At one point, a general in charge of UN operations in Lebanon called the Israeli liaison officer and told him, “You’re killing my people.” Previously, the Israelis halted such attacks when protests were received.

Later that day, an Israeli fighter pilot directed a precision-guided bomb through the door of the UN bunker. The blast from the massive bomb killed the four men.

Gen. Rick Hillier, then the chief of the defence staff, later described the major’s death as a “tragic accident.”

Cynthia Hess-von Kruedener told the Citizen that the Canadian Forces didn’t inform her of her husband’s death. Instead, she learned he had been killed from a television news report.

The Legion article notes the Israelis had deliberately targeted the base. The base had been included in the Israeli military’s “targeting list” which they acknowledged was an error on their part.

Cynthia Hess-von Kruedener also takes issue with some of the remarks made by Harper about her husband. At the time of the killing, Harper questioned what Hess-von Kruedener was doing at the UN outpost.

She said the answer is simple: He was doing his job as ordered by the Canadian Forces and government of Canada. “Instead of asking why this happened, (Harper) turned it onto an innocent UN peacekeeper,” she said.

On Sept. 19, 2006, then-Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert wrote Harper, expressing his deep regret. Harper wrote back on Nov. 20, 2006, thanking Olmert for his “expression of condolences, for the Israeli government’s rapid investigation of the incident and for information provided to Canadian officials.”

However, the Legion magazine article noted that the Israelis refused to answer questions from Canada about the attack.

Alex Jones Interviews Ron Paul 11/09/2012

In News, NWO, Ron Paul, Ron Paul 2012, USA, World Revolution on November 17, 2012 at 6:29 AM

11/09/2012

 

Related Link: Ron Paul’s Farewell Speech to Congress

The Hindu Interviews Julian Assange

In India, WikiLeaks, World Revolution on April 18, 2011 at 10:34 PM

Part 1: Julian Assange on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s reaction to the India Cables

Part 2: Julian Assange on the pro-U.S. tilt in India’s Foreign Policy as exposed by WikiLeaks

Part 3: Julian Assange on the nexus between U.S. International Policy and Big Business

Part 4: Julian Assange on the systematization of unjust practices

Part 5: Julian Assange on the Jasmine Revolution

Part 6: What moves Julian Assange?

Related Link: The Hindu’s Coverage of WikiLeaks India Cables

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