Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Poles Apart? - Capitalism or socialism ... as the planet heats up


A filmed talk featuring Glenn Morris of 'Arctic Voice' and Brian Gardner, The Socialist Party, (plus audience questions). Recorded at Conway Hall, London, April 5th 2008.

See also: Arctic Voice website and
Socialist Party website


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Sunday, 18 January 2009

CLASH OF WORLDS


Clash of Worlds was a series of three documentaries broadcast between 2007 and 2008, which explored how past conflicts between a Christian West and Islam can help explain more recent violence.


Mutiny tells of the Indian Mutiny of 1857, in which both sides committed atrocities in the name of their faiths.


Palestine looks largely at British involvement in the the Middle east between 1916 and 1948. and how decisions made by the British rulers of Palestine ninety years ago have wreaked damage that continues today.


Sudan tells the story of the Mahdi uprising of the 1880s and which challenged the might of the British empire and its Christian hero, General Charles Gordon. The British went to great lengths to destroy him and his followers, but his story continues to inspire modern day militants.


Mutiny



Sudan



Palestine


Friday, 16 January 2009

Slingshot Hip Hop


Slingshot Hip Hop braids together the stories of young Palestinians living in the West Bank, Gaza and inside Israel as they discover Hip Hop and employ it as a tool to surmount divisions imposed by occupation and poverty. From internal checkpoints and Separation Walls to gender norms and generational differences, this is the story of young people crossing the borders that separate them. Featuring: DAM from Lyd, PR (Palestinian Rapperz) from Gaza, ABEER from Lyd, Arapeyat from Akka, Mahmoud Shalabi from Akka. Support the artists in the film and the filmmakers by purchasing the film or a soundtrack, featuring music by DAM, PR, Abeer, and others


Official site



Death in Gaza


In spring 2003, award-winning filmmaker James Miller and reporter Saira Shah, set out to take a first-hand look at the culture of hate that permeates the Middle East. They captured the lives of three Palestinian children growing up in the bullet-riddled streets of Gaza. Although James and Saira had planned to film the lives of Israeli children as well, in the midst of production, Miller was shot to death by an Israeli tank, falling victim to the very conflict he covered.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

ATHEISM: JONATHAN MILLER'S BRIEF HISTORY OF DISBELIEF (2005)


1. Shadows of Doubt. Jonathan Miller visits the absent Twin Towers to consider the religious implications of 9/11 and meets Arthur Miller and the philosopher Colin McGinn. He searches for evidence of the first 'unbelievers' in Ancient Greece and examines some of the modern theories around why people have always tended to believe in mythology and magic.


2. Noughts and Crosses. With the domination of Christianity from 500 AD, Jonathan Miller wonders how disbelief began to re-emerge in the 15th and 16th centuries. He discovers that division within the Church played a more powerful role than the scientific discoveries of the period. He also visits Paris, the home of the 18th century atheist, Baron D'Holbach, and shows how politically dangerous it was to undermine the religious faith of the masses.


3. The Final Hour. The history of disbelief continues with the ideas of self-taught philosopher Thomas Paine, the revolutionary studies of geology and the evolutionary theories of Darwin. Jonathan Miller looks at the Freudian view that religion is a 'thought disorder'. He also examines his motivation behind making the series touching on the issues of death and the religious fanaticism of the 21st Century.

Part 1. Shadows of Doubt



Part 2. Noughts and Crosses



Part 3. The Final Hour


Sunday, 11 January 2009

George Carlin: You Are All Diseased - Live at the Beacon Theatre, New York City


The late George Carlin at his best - this being the show where he famously spends 10 minutes at the end tearing into religion.



DISTORTED MORALITY - Noam Chomsky



Noam Chomsky - Distorted Morality: America's War on Terror?Includes a speech at Harvard plus question and answer period. A riveting and devastating critique of the US's "War on Terror". Chomsky is amazing. Period. Don't miss this if you've never sat and listened to Chomsky. Don't miss this if you’ve seen or heard every other Chomsky talk. Don't miss this.

The wild rage that stormed through the brains of the people... turning them into temporary madmen, incapable of seeing, hearing, or thinking correctly, has spent itself. Figures are beginning to appear in their true relative proportions, and there is some likelihood that sane words will be sanely listened to.
Voltairine De Cleyre

Noam Chomsky is a renowned scholar, the founder of the modern science of linguistics, a philosopher, a political and social analyst, a media critic, an author of more than 70 books, a winner of numerous prizes and awards and ranks with Marx, Shakespeare and the Bible as one of the 10 most quoted sources in the humanities.

In this remarkable DVD, Noam Chomsky offers a riveting but devastating critique of America's current War on Terror - arguing, in fact, that it is a logical impossibility for such a war to be taking place.

Professor Chomsky presents his reasoning with astonishing and refreshing clarity, drawing from a wealth of historical knowledge and analysis. "Only those who are entirely ignorant of modern history will be surprised by the course of events, or by the justifications that are provided..."


Saturday, 10 January 2009

Darwin's Nightmare


Winner of an Oscar for Best Documentary, DARWIN'S NIGHTMARE is a tale about people, the North/South divide, globalization, and about fish.

Some time in the 1960s, in the heart of Africa, a new animal was introduced into Lake Victoria as a little scientific experiment. The Nile Perch, a voracious predator, extinguished almost the entire stock of the native fish species. However, this new gigantic fish multiplied incredibly fast, and its white fillets are today exported all around the world. Huge hulking ex-Soviet cargo planes come daily to collect the latest catch in exchange for their southbound cargo: Kalashnikovs and ammunitions for the uncounted wars in the dark center of the African continent.


This booming multinational industry of fish and weapons has created an ungodly globalized alliance on the shores of the world’s biggest tropical lake: an army of local fishermen, World Bank agents, homeless children, African ministers, EU-commissioners, Tanzanian prostitutes and Russian pilots. DARWIN'S NIGHTMARE brings us in close for an intimate and at times uncomfortable look at this world, and in doing so this film deftly unpacks the puzzle of globalization in a visually stunning and raw portrait of life on this planet.




Friday, 9 January 2009

ONE NATION, UNDER SIEGE


One Nation Under Siege is a forceful unmasking of the U.S. government and those in powerful positions who are actively dismantling the United States Bill of Rights for their own gain and greed.


Through the research of over a dozen internationally distinguished authors, journalists, doctors, and military experts you will begin to understand the massive and ceaseless control projected onto an unsuspecting population by a government that may have finally crossed the line from a representative republic to a fascist state.


One Nation Under Siege features a cast of award winning journalists, writers, military experts and physicians all speaking out on issues that affect every American. Guests include: Derry Brownfield, Charlotte Iserbyt, Dr. Rima Laibow, Jim Marrs, Liz McIntyre, Dr. Stan Monteith, Niki Raapana, Joyce Riley RN, Major General Albert Stubblebine, Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, Joan Veon, Dave vonKleist and others.




Quotes from the film:

A globalist is someone who believes in globalism and globalism, essentially, is the drive for one world government, one world military, one world economy, which on a broad philosophical basis may not be that bad after all we are one humanity living on one planet, and frankly I can see the day coming when somebody’s going to say ‘where do you come from?’ and you’ll say ‘I’m from Earth.’ But the problem is we are being pushed into globalism by secrecy and by deceit and nobody’s getting a chance to consider the ramifications, or consider the methodology that’s being used to push us into this globalization.

Media blackout is nothing more than media control. It is the determination of what the public will hear, what they will not hear. And how to make it sound in such a way that the public will accept it. And it is totally against everything this country stands for. But, the average person doesn’t even know that they’re experiencing it anytime they turn on the T.V.

I think it’s important to understand that most of the educational programs that are implemented in the United States stem from the National Education Association. And, the NEA was actually founded by John D. Rockefeller. And John D. Rockefeller, I think, voiced the beliefs of this ruling elite that wants to try to homogenize our education system when he was quoted as saying ‘I don’t want a nation of thinkers - I want a nation of workers’. So I think the education system is not only pushing people into a socialized version of government, but also dumbing the individual down to the point to where he’ll be a good worker in the factory or he’ll be a good worker in silicon valley - he may know a lot about computers, but he is not gonna’ have a classic education that would allow him to take all of the facets of the culture and society and put it together and really form an intelligent opinion as to to what’s going on and what might be in the best interest of the individual.

Ok. We say we’ve got freedom of the press in this country. And some folks have said you’ve got freedom of press as long as you own it. Well who owns the media? And, when I say that, I mean not literally, but as far as who controls the information that goes out in the media. Example: NBC is owned by General Electric. And General Electric is one of the top ten if not one of the top five defense contractors. Is NBC going to expose a news story that might in some way impede a contract negotiation which could mean a lot of money for General Electric? I don’t think so. So the point here is that we have elected officials, both republicrats and demopublicans, that cater to who?…certainly not the common people. We don’t have the huge amounts of money to contribute to their election campaigns. The people that contribute the most amount of money are the corporations. So that representative, or senator, is going to do what is going to be in the best interest of those corporations. So if the corporations are controlling and influencing our elected officials we must also take a look at the mainstream media. Who pays the bulk of the advertising dollars that keep the mainstream network news going..it’s the major corporations. So what we have now is we have corporate control of elected officials, corporate control of the media…and this is why now some people are calling it the corporate Borg because they have assimilated several different areas of our entire society. The corporations control agriculture, technology, manufacturing, industry, education, communication. They control our elected officials. This is not a government by and for the people. It is a government of, by, and for the corporation. And by definition when business controls government that is inescapably fascism.

You think the purpose of education is reading, writing, and arithmetic? The purpose of education is to change the thoughts, actions, and feelings of students. Hitler wanted to control the educational system in Germany… Stalin did in Russia, Mao Zedong in China. You have to get a hold of the minds of the young where you break the person’s values. You break their understanding of their individuality. You bring them to consensus with the group. They become a member of the collective. It’s Soviet education basically.

If they’re gonna’ have a global system of government, what type of government would that be? Of course, there are those now that are touting the UN is the only answer, because our system is all flawed and our leaders are all screwed up and there’s too much corruption here. Well they want to bring forward this world government through the UN Charter. Many people that support the UN Charter have never read it. And if they had read it and figured out where it came from, and compared the UN Charter to the United States Constitution they’ll find that they’re absolutely repugnant. You can’t have them coexisting. So common sense tells me that if the globalists want a one world government, they have to destroy the United States Constitution and our way of life. And, they’ve got to do so in such a way that we’ll actually embrace it.

The average American would be shocked to find out there is something called COINTELPRO. The FBI’s covert action programs against American citizens. That’s the name of their document - the government document, not my rendition of it. In fact it is report 94-755 called Supplementary Detailed staff reports of intelligence activities and the rights of Americans—–. This is a hearing that occurred in 1976. Now, some notable people that sat on this hearing: Philip Hart, Walter Mondale, Gary Hart, Howard Baker, Barry Goldwater, and Richard Schweiker. Now, this senate report tells what the FBI was doing against the American citizens, literally. Here is their statement. COINTELPRO began in 1956 in part because of the frustration with the supreme court rulings limiting the government’s power to precede overtly against dissident groups. It ended in 1971 with the threat of public exposure. But in the intervening fifteen years the bureau conducted, their terms, a sophisticated vigilante operation aimed squarely at preventing the exercise of First Amendment rights of speech and association. This is incredible. When you look at this and when I was able to get a copy of this document, which is over three thousand pages long, I was shocked.

One of the things we’re doing is developing all sorts of technology. Not to spy on the Russians, not to spy on the Chinese, not to spy on Osama Bin Laden, but to control the American people. We have satellites… are they monitoring what’s going on in
Russia or China today? Or, are they watching what’s going on in the United States. We have a program known as Echelon where they listen to every telephone call, every email, record every fax here in the United States. And all of this is done by computers. All of these messages are kept indefinitely on computer disks. What the American people must understand is that the massive amounts of money we are spending on defense is not to protect America, but ultimately used to control the American population as we move from freedom to fascism.


Thursday, 8 January 2009

OUTFOXED : Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism


"Outfoxed" examines how media empires, led by Rupert Murdoch's Fox News, have been running a "race to the bottom" in television news. This film provides an in-depth look at Fox News and the dangers of ever-enlarging corporations taking control of the public's right to know.


The film explores Murdoch's burgeoning kingdom and the impact on society when a broad swath of media is controlled by one person.


Media experts, including Jeff Cohen (FAIR) Bob McChesney (Free Press), Chellie Pingree (Common Cause), Jeff Chester (Center for Digital Democracy) and David Brock (Media Matters) provide context and guidance for the story of Fox News and its effect on society.


This documentary also reveals the secrets of Former Fox news producers, reporters, bookers and writers who expose what it's like to work for Fox News. These former Fox employees talk about how they were forced to push a "right-wing" point of view or risk their jobs. Some have even chosen to remain anonymous in order to protect their current livelihoods. As one employee said "There's no sense of integrity as far as having a line that can't be crossed."


Director/Producer Robert Greenwald has produced and/or directed 53 television movies, miniseries and features. He is the director of Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers, Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, Uncovered: The Iraq War and the Executive Producer of the UN series - Unprecedented, Uncovered and Unconstitutional. His new media company, Brave New Films, recently distributed The Big Buy: Tom DeLay's Stolen Congress and produced two new TV series - the “ACLU Freedom Files” and “The Sierra Club Chronicles” – which can be seen on Link TV and via the internet.


LIFE AND DEBT (2001)


Life and Debt is a 2001 American documentary film directed by Stephanie Black. It examines the economic and social situation in Jamaica, and specifically the impact thereon of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank's globalization policies. Its starting point is the award-winning non-fiction essay A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid.


Kathleen C. Fennessy's review of the documentary states:


“Set to a beguiling reggae beat, Life and Debt takes as its subject Jamaica's economic decline in the 20th century. The story has reverberations in the plight of other third-world nations blindsided by globalization, like Ghana and Haiti. After England granted Jamaica independence in 1962, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) stepped in with a series of loans.”


These loans were conditional on structural adjustment policies, which requiring Jamaica to enact economic reforms - trade liberalization, privatization, and deregulation. However, the reforms were unsuccessful and left the country with $4.6 billion dollars in debt. The film blames the IMF and the West for causing this situation.


The film features a number of interviews with former Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley in which he critiques the system of International Financial Institution loans. He is particularly critical of required structural adjustments as an attack on the sovereignty of many former colonial nations and suggests the system is akin to imperialism or neocolonialism. Similar claims have been made popular by former Chief Economist of the World Bank Joseph Stiglitz.


"We Live with Life and Debt, Freedom not yet" -- Jamaican reggae song




Official Site

IMDB

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

The Killing Zone: Dispatches (2006)


Dispatches reporter Sandra Jordan and producer Rodrigo Vasquez risk their lives to reveal the shocking level of daily violence and murderous hate in the Gaza Strip.


An American peace activist was crushed to death by an IOF bulldozer; a British peace protester was shot in the head by an IOF sniper and remains in a coma; and a British cameraman was shot dead by the IOF.

Within hours of arriving Sandra and Rodrigo are shot at and tear-gassed by Israeli troops breaking up a memorial service for Rachel Corrie, an A merican peace activist crushed by an Israeli Army bulldozer before.



Tuesday, 6 January 2009

OCCUPATION 101


A thought-provoking and powerful documentary film on the current and historical root causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Unlike any other film ever produced on the conflict, Occupation 101 presents a comprehensive analysis of the facts and hidden truths surrounding the never ending controversy and dispels many of its long-perceived myths and misconceptions.


The film also details life under Israeli military rule, the role of the United States in the conflict, and the major obstacles that stand in the way of a lasting and viable peace. The roots of the conflict are explained through first-hand on-the-ground experiences from leading Middle East scholars, peace activists, journalists, religious leaders and humanitarian workers whose voices have too often been suppressed in American media outlets.


The film covers a wide range of topics -- which include -- the first wave of Jewish immigration from Europe in the 1880's, the 1920 tensions, the 1948 war, the 1967 war, the first Intifada of 1987, the Oslo Peace Process, Settlement expansion, the role of the United States Government, the second Intifada of 2000, the separation barrier and the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, as well as many heart wrenching testimonials from victims of this tragedy. (From the official site)





Monday, 5 January 2009

STRANGERS (2003)


A somewhat timely short film directed by Erez Tadmor & Guy Nattiv.


Strangers tells the compelling tale of two young men, one Arab and one Jewish who are motivated by fear to overcome their racial prejudice and hatred when suddenly confronted with a menacing gang of skinheads.


Erez Tadmor and Guy Nattiv are graduates from the Tel Aviv school Camera Obscura School of Art. The pair are currently developing their first feature film about a holocaust survivor. All Searchlab Shorts are unrated.


PALESTINE IS STILL THE ISSUE (John Pilger)


From the intro to the film: Twenty-five years ago, I made a film called Palestine Is Still The Issue. It was about a nation of people - the Palestinians - forced off their land and later subjected to a military occupation by Israel. An occupation condemned by the United Nations and almost every country in the world, including Britain.


But Israel is backed by a very powerful friend, the United States. So in 25 years, if we're to speak of the great injustice here, nothing has changed. What has changed is that the Palestinians have fought back.


Stateless and humiliated for so long, they've risen up against Israel's huge military machine, although they themselves have no arm, no tanks, no American planes and gun ships or missiles.


Some have committed desperate acts of terror, like suicide bombing. But for Palestinians, the overriding, routine terror, day after day, has been the ruthless control of almost every aspect of their lives, as if they live in an open prison. This film is about the Palestinians and a group of courageous Israelis united in the oldest human struggle - to be free..


Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land (Media & the Israel-Palestine Conflict )


Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land (2004) provides a striking comparison of U.S. and international media coverage of the crisis in the Middle East, zeroing in on how structural distortions in U.S. coverage have reinforced false perceptions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This pivotal documentary exposes how the foreign policy interests of American political elites–oil, and a need to have a secure military base in the region, among others–work in combination with Israeli public relations strategies to exercise a powerful influence over how news from the region is reported.

Through the voices of scholars, media critics, peace activists, religious figures, and Middle East experts, Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land carefully analyzes and explains how–through the use of language, framing and context–the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza remains hidden in the news media, and Israeli colonization of the occupied terrorities appears to be a defensive move rather than an offensive one. The documentary also explores the ways that
U.S. journalists, for reasons ranging from intimidation to a lack of thorough investigation, have become complicit in carrying out Israel’s PR campaign. At its core, the documentary raises questions about the ethics and role of journalism, and the relationship between media and politics.



see also: Media coverage of the Arab–Israeli conflict

Saturday, 3 January 2009

STEALING FREEDOM (Dispatches)


Returning to the police state - loss of liberties- surveillance society theme of previous posts, here is political commentator Peter Hitchens taking a look at how the recent avalanche of security legislation has affected the civil liberties of ordinary people in Britain. The result, Hitchens explains, is that we are sleepwalking into a Big Brother state. Travelling across Britain, Hitchens meets ordinary people who have suffered needlessly because of new legislation and increased police powers. The programme also contains interviews with the Lord Chancellor Charles Falconer, Lord Carlisle, an independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, and Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty.

Friday, 2 January 2009

This Revolution


This Revolution is a 2004 political film starring Rosario Dawson. Directed by filmmaker and activist Stephen Marshall, creator of the video news magazine Channel Zero and founder of Guerilla News Network, the docu-drama film blends fiction with reality, focusing on the effects of the media's bias in order to maximize profits. The film was also part of the 2004 Official Sundance Selection.


Jake Cassevetes (Nathan Crooker) is a world renowned cameraman who has just arrived back from being embedded during the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Jake does not buy into the currently vogue conspiracy theory of a corporate-controlled press. Though, after having much of his best footage in Iraq censored by the network, Jake is growing disillusioned with his corporate masters. During this Jake befriends a young boy (Brett DelBuono), and in time meets his mother, Tina Santiago (Rosario Dawson), a pretty young widow whose husband died while serving in Iraq, who he comes to form a close bond. Jake then gets an assignment to shoot on the streets of the Republican National Convention protests, there he meets Seven, one of the young leaders of a masked anarchist Black Bloc. Jake quickly wins the trust of the group and is allowed to shadow them as they move through the demonstration. Later that night, after shooting Seven with her mask down describing the Bloc's militant objectives, the videotape is returned to the network with the rest of his footage by Jake's Girlfriend and co-worker Chloe (Amy Redford), without Jake's permission. When he goes to retrieve the tape, he is told the network made a deal with the Department of Homeland Security to review all footage to look for potential terror suspects. Which is in fact being used to compile a database of activists. Realizing the danger he has brought to Seven and the Black Bloc itself, Jake decides to use his skills and access at the network to jam the government controlled corporate media and broadcast the truth of the protests and the message of a new generation of activists.