Monthly Archives: July 2013

Eduardo Galeano…

Eduardo Galeano on who is to blame for having us forget critical political lessons from the past: “It’s not a person. It’s a system of power that is always deciding in the name of humanity who deserves to be remembered and who deserves to be forgotten … We are much more than we are told. We are much more beautiful.”

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July 24, 2013 · 3:12 pm

Groundbreaking approach to truth seeking

"The Act of Killing": New Film Shows U.S.-Backed Indonesian Death Squad Leaders Re-enacting Massacres | Democracy Now! 2013-07-22 13-04-18

I watched this interview with The Act of Killing director Joshua Oppenheimer over the weekend. He comes across as a man of massive integrity and cultural sensitivity. His film tackles the death squads who slaughtered hundreds of thousands of civil society defenders and others in the years leading up to the overthrow of Indonesia’s first president Sukarno in 1967.

Oppenheimer’s own coup is to have got some of the murderers to boast about and even to re-enact their killings, and to thread together the close relationship between these killers of the past and the politics of Indonesia today.

The fact that the killers remain at large, even that they continue to boast of their role in building modern-day Indonesia somehow as revered citizens, makes their stories stand apart from those of the 20th century’s most notorious mass murders.

As Oppenheimer explains:

“…it’s as though I am in Nazi Germany 40 years after the end of the Holocaust, and it’s still the Third Reich, the Nazis are still in power. So the official history says nothing about the killings. But, and yet, the aging SS officers have been allowed to boast about what they’ve done, even encouraged to do so, so that they’ve become these kind of feared proxies of the state in their communities, in their regions, and also perhaps that they can justify to themselves what they have done. And I realized at that point that this was a reality so grave, so important, that I would give it whatever it took of my life.”

This is no ancient history from some faraway country – it implicates not just today’s elites in Indonesia but also the foreign policies of both the United States, Britain and others of their Western allies.

I am definitely going to watch this film and to use it as inspiration for alternative approaches to truth seeking, the goal of any worthwhile journalism project done in service of society.

To understand more on the background to this story, I would recommend reading The Shock Doctrine and The Confessions of an Economic Hitman and The New Rulers of the World.


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Résistances – not your average documentary film festival

Frenchman François Manceaux, director of a documentary on the financial crisis in Portugal, explains what makes the annual Résistances film festival unique among its peers.

By placing questions of money and marketing behind overall content and coherence, the organisers produce an event that makes people think deeply about the realities of modern-day politics.

Manceaux’s film “Portugal, l’europe de l’incertitude” played during the 8-day event in a section dedicated to the exercise of power.


July 15, 2013 · 3:27 pm

Slaves no more – lessons from the Greek crisis

Franco-Greek Film director Yannis Youlountas talks about his film “Ne vivons plus comme des esclaves” (Let us be slaves no more), a rough cut of which was screened during the Résistances film festival in Foix, southwest France on July 10. The documentary, which will be free-to-download and view on the internet on September 25, 2013, explores how ordinary Greeks have coped with the crisis despite having lost all power over conventional politics in their country. Free food, free medical care, free workshops, clothes exchange stores, anti-fascist actions and more. Amidst the crisis – inspiring examples abound of social re-invention and rediscovery – a contrast to the usual doom presented by conventional mass media.

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July 12, 2013 · 4:22 pm

Pierre Schoeller parle du pouvoir

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Résistances – un festival unique

J’ai passé deux jours cette semaine au 17ème édition du festival de films Résistances à Foix en France. Ils se sont donné comme objectif le suivant:

…de promouvoir un cinéma rarement diffusé sur les écrans, pour créer un salutaire étonnement, faire connaître d’autres regards et d’autres cinéastes que ceux du prêt-à-penser habituel.

Alors bravo – ils l’ont bien reussi.

En voici une photo. Je vais télécharger plusieurs interviews vidéo avec des réalisateurs et organisatrices sur la theme l’exercice du pouvoir. Ils sortiront pendant les jours qui suivent via cette chaine Youtube

An audience member at the Résistances film festival in Foix, France. July 11, 2013. Photo Patrick Chalmers.

An audience member at the Résistances film festival in Foix, France. July 11, 2013. Photo Patrick Chalmers.

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L’Exercice du Pouvoir au festival de films Résistances

L'Exercice du Pouvoir au festival de films Résistances

Yannis Youlountas avec une organisatrice du festival avant la projection de son film “Ne vivons plus comme des esclaves” – décrit comme un grand bol d’air frais et d’utopies sur la crise en Grèce.

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July 10, 2013 · 8:17 pm

Greenwald on Snowden, self and conventional media

Guardian journalist Glen Greenwald, who brought NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to the public eye, speaks at length on the last few momentous weeks. His speech follows a series of scoops revealing the massive extent of US government surveillance and storage of digital communications worldwide.

The talk, which starts at 10 minutes in, features Greenwald’s reflections on how the Snowden story evolved over recent months. It’s funny but also hugely revealing about the sorry state of conventional journalism generally, just the point I try to make in Fraudcast News.

The talk gives additional insight into the extraordinary character that is Edward Snowden, how he deliberately chose the dangerous course he is now on rather than just closing his mouth in the face of mounting evidence of executive agencies having gone feral.

He talks of the bravery Snowden has demonstrated, an example from which he personally draws strength and urges others to do the same.

“Courage is contagious,” says Greenwald.

He rips into conventional journalism as done by the New York Times versus the work of Wikileaks – the difference coming down to whether or not the respective organisations are pleasing or displeasing the people in power.

Greenwald is introduced by Jeremy Scahill – whose talk starts from 3 minutes in – the  journalist behind Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield.  He’s also well worth a listen.

“We are living in a moment when real journalism is under attack,” Scahill says, highlighting the Obama administration’s criminalisation of investigative journalism, its escalation of covert drone strikes and attacks against whistleblowers.

“All of us have a moral obligation to stand in opposition to those declarations and those policies whether it’s a Democrat in office or a Republican in office,” Scahill urges.

He also condemned attempts to smear Greenwald’s name and reputation in the wake of his Guardian stories.

“This is what they do when someone stands up and tells the truth,” Scahill said.

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