Richard Gage on KMPH Fox 26 in Fresno, CA
Abu Ghraib abuse photos ‘show rape’
Duncan Gardham | 28 May 2009
Photographs of alleged prisoner abuse which Barack Obama is attempting to censor include images of apparent rape and sexual abuse, it has emerged.
At least one picture shows an American soldier apparently raping a female prisoner while another is said to show a male translator raping a male detainee.
Further photographs are said to depict sexual assaults on prisoners with objects including a truncheon, wire and a phosphorescent tube.
Another apparently shows a female prisoner having her clothing forcibly removed to expose her breasts.
Detail of the content emerged from Major General Antonio Taguba, the former army officer who conducted an inquiry into the Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq.
Allegations of rape and abuse were included in his 2004 report but the fact there were photographs was never revealed. He has now confirmed their existence in an interview with the Daily Telegraph.
The graphic nature of some of the images may explain the US President’s attempts to block the release of an estimated 2,000 photographs from prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan despite an earlier promise to allow them to be published.
Maj Gen Taguba, who retired in January 2007, said he supported the President’s decision, adding: “These pictures show torture, abuse, rape and every indecency.
“I am not sure what purpose their release would serve other than a legal one and the consequence would be to imperil our troops, the only protectors of our foreign policy, when we most need them, and British troops who are trying to build security in Afghanistan.
“The mere description of these pictures is horrendous enough, take my word for it.”
In April, Mr Obama’s administration said the photographs would be released and it would be “pointless to appeal” against a court judgment in favour of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
But after lobbying from senior military figures, Mr Obama changed his mind saying they could put the safety of troops at risk.
Earlier this month, he said: “The most direct consequence of releasing them, I believe, would be to inflame anti-American public opinion and to put our troops in greater danger.”
It was thought the images were similar to those leaked five years ago, which showed naked and bloody prisoners being intimidated by dogs, dragged around on a leash, piled into a human pyramid and hooded and attached to wires.
Mr Obama seemed to reinforce that view by adding: “I want to emphasise that these photos that were requested in this case are not particularly sensational, especially when compared to the painful images that we remember from Abu Ghraib.”
The latest photographs relate to 400 cases of alleged abuse between 2001 and 2005 in Abu Ghraib and six other prisons. Mr Obama said the individuals involved had been “identified, and appropriate actions” taken.
Maj Gen Taguba’s internal inquiry into the abuse at Abu Ghraib, included sworn statements by 13 detainees, which, he said in the report, he found “credible based on the clarity of their statements and supporting evidence provided by other witnesses.”
Among the graphic statements, which were later released under US freedom of information laws, is that of Kasim Mehaddi Hilas in which he says: “I saw [name of a translator] ******* a kid, his age would be about 15 to 18 years. The kid was hurting very bad and they covered all the doors with sheets. Then when I heard screaming I climbed the door because on top it wasn’t covered and I saw [name] who was wearing the military uniform, putting his **** in the little kid’s ***…. and the female soldier was taking pictures.”
The translator was an American Egyptian who is now the subject of a civil court case in the US.
Three detainees, including the alleged victim, refer to the use of a phosphorescent tube in the sexual abuse and another to the use of wire, while the victim also refers to part of a policeman’s “stick” all of which were apparently photographed.
Psychologists Weigh In On 9/11
Washington's Blog | May 27, 2009
A new article in U.S. News & World Report quotes a couple of psychologists, one sociologist and one historian to argue that people who question the government's version of 9/11 are prone to false thinking.
Initially, remember that, while there are many honorable psychologists and psychiatrists, psychologists helped to create the U.S. torture program, and actively participated in it.
Moreover, many mental health professionals have concluded that the official version of 9/11 is false, and that those who believe the official version suffer from emotional problems or defense mechanisms. For example:
- Psychiatrist Carol S. Wolman, MD
- Psychiatrist E. Martin Schotz
- Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, as well as Radiology, at Duke University Medical Center D. Lawrence Burk, Jr., MD
- Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor of Psychology and Associate Dean of the Graduate School at Ruters University Barry R. Komisaruk
- Professor of Psychology at University of New Hampshire William Woodward
- Professor of Psychology at University of Essex Philip Cozzolino
- Professor of Psychology at Goddard College Catherine Lowther
- Professor Emeritus of Psychology at California Institute of Integral Studies Ralph Metzner
- Professor of Psychology at Rhodes University Mike Earl-Taylor
- Retired Professor of Psychology at Oxford University Graham Harris
- Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Nebraska and licensed Psychologist Ronald Feintech
- Ph.D. Clinical Neuropsychologist Richard Welser
Finally, it should be obvious that the opinions of mental health professionals are only as sound as their knowledge. For example, a mental health professional in 1640 would likely have labeled Galileo crazy for saying that the Earth orbits around the Sun.
More importantly, a German psychologist who heard from a patient in 1933 - when Hitler started consolidating power in Germany - that Hitler was a dangerous fascist who would launch a world war, try to take over the world and kill millions would likely be labeled as delusional.
Just as with any field, the opinions of mental health professional are only as good as their knowledge.
Indeed, even the 9/11 Commissioners themselves now say that they don't believe the government's version of 9/11. For example:
The Inner Worlds of Conspiracy Believers
By Bruce Bower, Science News | May 26, 2009
Shortly after terrorist attacks destroyed the World Trade Center and mangled the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, conspiracy theories blossomed about secret and malevolent government plots behind the tragic events. A report scheduled to appear in an upcoming Applied Cognitive Psychology offers a preliminary psychological profile of people who believe in 9/11 conspiracies.
A team led by psychologist Viren Swami of the University of Westminster in London identified several traits associated with subscribing to 9/11 conspiracies, at least among British citizens. These characteristics consist of backing one or more conspiracy theories unrelated to 9/11, frequently talking about 9/11 conspiracy beliefs with likeminded friends and others, taking a cynical stance toward politics, mistrusting authority, endorsing democratic practices, feeling generally suspicious toward others and displaying an inquisitive, imaginative outlook.
“Often, the proof offered as evidence for a conspiracy is not specific to one incident or issue, but is used to justify a general pattern of conspiracy ideas,” Swami says.
His conclusion echoes a 1994 proposal by sociologist Ted Goertzel of Rutgers–Camden in New Jersey. After conducting random telephone interviews of 347 New Jersey residents, Goertzel proposed that each of a person’s convictions about secret plots serves as evidence for other conspiracy beliefs, bypassing any need for confirming evidence.
A belief that the government is covering up its involvement in the 9/11 attacks thus feeds the idea that the government is also hiding evidence of extraterrestrial contacts or that John F. Kennedy was not killed by a lone gunman.
Goertzel says the new study provides an intriguing but partial look at the inner workings of conspiracy thinking. Such convictions critically depend on what he calls “selective skepticism.” Conspiracy believers are highly doubtful about information from the government or other sources they consider suspect. But, without criticism, believers accept any source that supports their preconceived views, he says.
“Arguments advanced by conspiracy theorists tell you more about the believer than about the event,” Goertzel says.
Swami’s finding that 9/11 conspiracy believers frequently spoke with likeminded individuals supports the notion that “conspiracy thinkers constitute a community of believers,” remarks historian Robert Goldberg of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Goldberg has studied various conspiracy theories in the United States.
Conspiracy thinkers share an optimistic conviction that they can find “the truth,” spread it to the masses and foster social change, Goldberg asserts.
Over the past 50 years, researchers and observers of social dynamics have traced beliefs in conspiracy theories to feelings of powerlessness, attempts to bolster self-esteem and diminished faith in government. Some conspiracy beliefs — such as the widespread conviction among blacks that the U.S. government concocted HIV/AIDS as a genocidal plot — gain strength from actual events, such as the once-secret Tuskegee experiments in which black men with syphilis were denied treatment.
Swami and his colleagues administered a battery of questionnaires to 257 British adults, including a condensed version of a standard personality test. Participants came from a variety of ethnic, religious and social backgrounds representative of the British population.
Most participants expressed either no support or weak support for 16 conspiracy beliefs about 9/11. These beliefs included: “The World Trade Center towers were brought down by a controlled demolition” and, “Individuals within the U.S. government knew of the impending attacks and purposely failed to act on that knowledge.”
Much as Swami’s team suspected, beliefs in 9/11 conspiracy theories were stronger among individuals whose personalities combined suspicion and antagonism toward others with intellectual curiosity and an active imagination.
A related, unpublished survey of more than 1,000 British adults found that 9/11 conspiracy believers not only often subscribed to a variety of well-known conspiracy theories, but also frequently agreed with an invented conspiracy. Christopher French of Goldsmiths, University of London, and Patrick Leman of Royal Holloway, University of London, both psychologists, asked volunteers about eight common conspiracy theories and one that researchers made up: “The government is using mobile phone technology to track everyone all the time.”
The study, still unpublished, shows that conspiracy believers displayed a greater propensity than nonbelievers to jump to conclusions based on limited evidence.
“It seems likely that conspiratorial beliefs serve a similar psychological function to superstitious, paranormal and, more controversially, religious beliefs, as they help some people to gain a sense of control over an unpredictable world,” French says.
Swami now plans to investigate attitudes of British volunteers to conspiracy theories about the July 7, 2005, terrorist bombings in London.
3 Good Reasons (and 1 Bad One) Why I Don’t Buy Into Your Conspiracy Theories
By Joshua Holland, AlterNet. Posted May 18, 2009.
Conspiracy theories often pre-empt substantive analysis of the real political structures that shape our society.
Recently, a freelance writer sent a note to our editorial staff: "Perhaps I am stating the obvious," he wrote, "but AlterNet certainly appears quite hostile, in a kind of blanket sense, to any story labeled ‘conspiracy.' I am curious and eager to understand why."
It's a question that frequently pops up in readers' comments on our stories, and the most common conclusion they draw is that our writers are in on the conspiracy; if they weren't an active part of the cover-up, how could they possibly fail to see the outlines of such an obvious plot as (insert obvious plot here)?
I can only answer the question for myself, but I imagine it's the same answer many in the progressive media would offer. I've never felt pressure from above to "debunk" any particular theory, and, contrary to popular belief in some circles, am not in the employ of some murky organization that seeks to silence those brave enough to fight for the "truth."
To the degree that I am hostile towards conspiracism (the reality is that I find it fascinating as a sociological phenomenon -- like other forms of mythology), I can offer four reasons for the skepticism -- three are sound, one is not. The one that is not is, however, a matter of human nature.
Evidence and 'Evidence'
Conspiracists often suggest that the evidence for their theory is overwhelming, but on critical inspection, it simply doesn't stand up. I've approached conspiracy theories with an open mind and have found them to begin with a conclusion and work backward to "prove" its veracity.
So, the simplest reason for my own skepticism towards conspiracy theories is that in my experience, the dots their proponents connect and hold up as "proof" have invariably turned out to be as substantial as vapor.
In his classic 1964 essay, "The Paranoid Style in American Politics," political scientist Richard Hofstadter wrote:
… One of the impressive things about paranoid literature is the contrast between its fantasied conclusions and the almost touching concern with factuality it invariably shows. It produces heroic strivings for evidence to prove that the unbelievable is the only thing that can be believed. … Respectable paranoid literature not only starts from certain moral commitments that can indeed be justified but also carefully and all-but-obsessively accumulates "evidence." The difference between this "evidence" and that commonly employed by others is that it seems less a means of entering into normal political controversy than a means of warding off the profane intrusion of the secular political world. The paranoid seems to have little expectation of actually convincing a hostile world, but he can accumulate evidence in order to protect his cherished convictions from it.
So it has been with 9/11 conspiracy theories -- those with which I'm most familiar. The supposedly water-tight "evidence" that 9/11 was an "inside job falls into one of three categories.
Eyewitness accounts and early press press reports that cast doubt on the sequence of events that day are common, but it's well known that eyewitness testimony during a traumatic event and stories rushed to press in the heat of a huge breaking story are unreliable and often conflicting.
Do I know why a BBC broadcast that announced the collapse of World Trade Center Tower 7 bore a time stamp suggesting it was aired 26 minutes before the building fell? No, I don't, but I don't believe the U.S. government -- or whoever was really behind 9/11 -- would blow its cover by tipping off the BBC.
There are also pseudoscientific claims about 9/11 that don't hold water. Just one example among many: 9/11 "truthers" often say that the World Trade Center towers couldn't possibly have collapsed as a result of the impact of those jets because the estimated temperatures of the fires that followed weren't hot enough to melt the steel framework of the building.
They point to photographs that show a substance flowing out of the damaged buildings before they collapsed, conclude that the substance was steel and argue that this is definitive proof that a substance other than an incendiary mix of jet fuel and office furnishings had to have been used to cut the steel supports.
These claims -- offered as "proof" -- crumble when examined in detail. As a critical thinker who isn't an expert in the fine points of metallurgy, it would be deeply irresponsible to take them as evidence of anything more than what Hoftstadter called "the paranoid style in American politics."
It is so with every claim I've looked at. Conspiracist Web sites have counterparts that are equally dedicated to examining the mountains of discrepancies, conflicting accounts and dubious scientific claims advanced by the conspiracists.
The key to maintaining one's belief in farfetched theories is the ability to ignore any claims that contradict one's preferred narrative out of hand and paint any individual or organization that advances those claims as being in on the conspiracy.
An excellent of the latter is the truthers' reaction to a detailed look at their claims by Popular Mechanics. It was in on the cover-up, according to many people with whom I've spoken, and the proof is that it was edited by Benjamin Chertoff -- a "propagandist and illuminati disinformation tool" who is "none other than a cousin of Michael Chertoff, the new secretary of the Department of Homeland Security."
Only one problem here: Benjamin Chertoff isn't Michael Chertoff's cousin -- he ha's said flatly that no member of his family had ever even met the former head of homeland security or his family (Benjamin did concede that one might find a distant family connection of which he's unaware if one goes back to "19th century Belarus").
This brings us to a central dividing line between conspiracy theorists and their opponents: either one believes that those refuting claimed evidence of a dark conspiracy are in on the cover-up, or one doesn't.
I don't, and that's a key reason I don't find the "evidence" backing these theories up terribly impressive.
Structuralism and Dark Forces
Central to most conspiracy theories is the notion that the visible institutions of power in our society are merely puppets being pulled by invisible but all-powerful forces working behind the scenes.
The forces vary -- the neocons behind PNAC, international Jewry, the Illuminati, bankers, the New World Order, the Bilderbergers, etc., but the theme is a constant -- someone we can't readily identify is really in charge, and all the visible centers of power right there before are eyes are merely actors on a grand stage.
That view circumvents any substantive analysis of the real and diverse political and economic structures that shape our society. Instead of varied elites wielding influence in the fields of law, politics and the economy -- with different and often incompatible interests -- most conspiracy theories begin with a monolithic power working behind the scenes to shape events.
An essay on conspiracism by Political Research Associates says:
Conspiracists sometimes target people who in fact have significant power and culpability in a given conflict-- -- Wall Street power brokers, corporate magnates, banking industry executives, politicians, government officials -- but conspiracists portray these forces in caricature that obscures a rational assessment of their wrongdoing.
It is not individual people who have the actual power, but the roles they occupy in social, political and economic institutions. There are undeniably powerful individuals, but when they die, their power does not evaporate, it redistributes itself to other individuals in similar roles and to individuals that scramble to inherit the role just vacated.
No single power bloc, company, family or individual in a complex modern society wields absolute control, even though there are always systems of control. Wall Street stock brokers are not outsiders deforming an otherwise happy system.
Holly Sklar argues, "the government is manipulated by various elites, often behind the scenes, but these elites are not a tiny secret cabal with omniscience and omnipotence." There is no secret team ... the elites that exist are anything but secret. The government and the economy are not alien forces superimposed over an otherwise equitable and freedom-loving society.
To the degree that conspiracism ignores the real centers of power in our society in favor an image of a murky globalist cabal, it doesn't do much to advance our understanding of the world in which we live, and that is itself a major reason not to take the lion's share of these theories seriously.
Distraction and Marginalization of Serious Questions
The most harmful effect of conspiracy theories -- which, in my experience are often built on some small kernel of verifiable truth -- is that it pre-empts serious analysis and investigation of the really important issues by marginalizing those performing the analysis and making the questions themselves appear to be based on crazy, fringe propositions. They serve to distract from the real dynamics that more often than not underlie the plots cooked up by overheated imaginations.
Two examples illustrate this point. While 9/11 "Truth" mainstay David Ray Griffin's rhetorical tactic of accusing those who don't buy into his version of events of "defending the official story" has become popular, the reality, at least in my case, is that I agree there are serious and unanswered questions about why 9/11 happened at all (as I wrote here almost three years ago).
But asking those questions puts one at risk of being lumped in with a fringe movement, and the result is that we're less likely to get at the truth about what happened that day because of the 9/11 Truth movement, not despite its tireless efforts (a conspiracy theory as good as any other is that the whole 9/11 "Truth" movement is a government operation designed to prevent serious questioning of what led up to the events of that infamous day).
Another example is the North American Union -- which I wrote about here. If you're not familiar with the theory -- it's especially popular in far-right circles -- it holds that there is a "globalist plot" to combine the U.S., Canada and Mexico into one transnational super state and replace our own government with a regional power that presides over all of the citizens of the new union.
It is, simply, hokum: a "plan" endorsed in an academic white paper (and later a book) and nothing more. But there is a very real, and very dangerous (from progressives' perspective), push toward much closer economic integration in North America, as well as a move toward a "security partnership" among the U.S., Canada and Mexico with equally disturbing ramifications.
I wrote in that article:
The context … is an important reason why [it's] taken on a sinister air in many people's minds. NAFTA was part of a larger push for legal and regulatory "harmonization" among the three countries of North America. Business groups and other "trade" lobbyists have in fact advocated greater consistency in North America's regulatory environment, and that always means decreasing, not increasing, labor, environmental, workplace and other standards. It is not the highest common denominator that backers want to see spread far and wide.
Make no mistake, I've shed blood opposing corporate trade deals like NAFTA and the Free Trade Area of the Americas, and there are very real and very significant problems with the push toward harmonization and the relentless assault on national sovereignty represented by the arm-twisting that goes into forcing a trade "consensus."
Construction of key parts of the "NAFTA highway" have raised serious environmental concerns. We don't need to expand NAFTA or the other institutions of international commerce; we need a pause in the march toward global (or in this case, regional) economic integration, not more of the same.
And Canadian activists like Maude Barlow of the Council for Canadians have warned for some time that the [Security and Prosperity Partnership at the heart of the NAU conspiracies] is part of a push, financed by Canadian and U.S. corporate think tanks, to essentially bring an end to Canada's social-welfare state through regional integration. (More detail can be found in this PDF posted by the Council of Canadians.)
Given that corporate lobbyists' favored tactic of deflecting criticism of their "trade" agenda is to accuse critics of suffering from an irrational "globalphobia," a lot of people screaming about a North American Union that's based on nothing more than an academic discussion is anything but helpful for those of us with deep concerns about corporate-led globalization.
The Bad Reason
I'm most familiar with 9/11 conspiracism, and over the years I've interacted with many bright, intelligent and wholly sane members of the 9/11 Truth movement. Some I even consider friends. But those voices are, in my experience, overshadowed by those of people whose paranoia is quite apparent, or whose theories are, on their face, nothing short of insane (not long ago, a reader went on at some length about how utterly brain-dead I must be for failing to see the obvious truth: the World Trade Center towers were brought down by Chinese space lasers, and those planes that appeared to crash into the buildings were obviously just holographic projections).
Similarly, while conspiracism is by no means limited to the political right, most conspiracy theories are based in an old form of right-wing populism, with fear of the pernicious role of foreign influence on our society at their heart -- the idea of the heroic "ordinary American" trapped under the yoke of an international conspiracy by unseen forces aided by a complicit government.
Many -- like the NAU -- are enthusiastically promoted by far-right publications. Swift Boat veteran Jerome Corsi, for example, has been the most vocal proponent of the idea, warning of an imminent plot to "replace" the United States.
Rejecting arguments based on the characteristics of their proponents is a classic logical fallacy. But it's also human nature, and journalists, writers and editors are only human.
Mass media disinformation and brainwashing dissected
Tonight's show consists of an extended discussion with my regular guests Josh Jackson (a media professional) and John Bursill (a registered aircraft engineer) on a number of topics which focus on the way in which News outlets and advertising work hand in hand to keep us in the dark and willing to believe virtually anything we are told.
We lead with three Australian stories, relevant links are provided below:
- Emissions trading stand-off presses election trigger
- Fears mount that swine flu is spreading in Australia
- WHO swine flu statistics
- Bedroom ad ruled offensive to men
AMI Bedroom police ad
In the second half we take a critical look at the way the 9/11 truth movement is portrayed in a recent article by Joshua Holland published in the left-wing progressive news site alternet.org.
‘Jihad’ girlfriends - FBI snitch used gifts to trick our men
By LORENA MONGELLI IN NEWBURGH, NY and LUKAS I. ALPERT IN NYC
May 23, 2009
A slick FBI informant roped four Muslim converts into a horrific terror plot to blow up synagogues and military jets by handing them piles of cash and gifts and even bags of weed, relatives of the suspects said today.
"Brother whatever you need, I will get it for you," said the man who the four petty thieves knew as Maqsood, according to Kathleen Baynes, whose long-time boyfriend, James Cromitie is alleged to be the ringleader of the plot.
She said Cromitie, 45, met Maqsood at the Masjid al-Ikhlas mosque about a year ago and promised to teach him the truth about Islam.
HOW TO STOP THE MUSLIM EXTREMISTS RECRUITING INMATES TO TERRORISM
The man soon was coming by their apartment with increasing frequency and was always flush with cash.
"He was very persistent and every time he came for James he took him away. They said they were going out to eat dinner," she said. "Whenever we needed anything Maqsood would help -- like financially --he gave us money to pay rent.
"He was just constantly around. It was like he was stalking him."
Co-conspirator David Williams's girlfriend Cassandra McKoy insists the men were duped into the plot with the lure of a cash payday and that religious hatred had nothing to do with it.
"They aren't radicals they were just financially motivated. They aren't terrorists. If Maqsood wasn't in the picture they would've never come up with this idea," she said. "This was not their idea. They make it sound like they sought him out and said we want to do this when he's the one who approached them. He enticed them with money.
"Maqsood wasn't even allowed inside the mosque, he waited in the parking lot for them and offered them $25,000 to join."
Sources say Maqsood was really Shahed Hussain -- a Pakistani native who runs hotels upstate and has worked for the FBI since 2003 after getting into trouble in a fraud case. He played an integral role in unraveling another terror-related case in Albany in 2004.
An interview with Dr. David Leifer
Tonight TNRA interviews Dr. David Leifer, senior lecturer in Architecture at the University of Sydney. Dr. Leifer is a member of www.ae911truth.org, a group of architectural and engineering professionals who have signed a petition demanding of the United States Congress "a truly independent investigation with subpoena power in order to uncover the full truth surrounding the events of 9/11/01 - specifically the collapses of the World Trade Center Towers and Building 7."
Dr. Leifer's bio and academic information can found on this page.
Dr. Leifer will be giving a public lecture on his 9/11 research:
6:30 PM, Thursday, 4th June
Faculty of Architecture & Planning,
University of Sydney
Wilkinson Building (G04),
148 City Road, Darlington
In the second half I am joind by Josh Jackson to cover various issues of the day.
Links for part 2 of the show:
- Little Known Military Thug Squad Still Brutalizing Prisoners at Gitmo Under Obama
- 1millionwomen.com.au - a new climate change brainwashing initiative directed at Australian women
- Full story of police attack on solicitor in Sydney
- Australia to filter internet content a go ahead
- HADOPI - An Orwellian nightmare scenario comes true in France
best regards from TNRA!
New World Order
Simon Abrams | May 21,2009
New World Order
Directed by Luke Meyer and Andrew Neel
Premieres on IFC Network May 26 at 6:45 p.m. ET
Runtime: 83 min.
Up-and-coming filmmaking duo Luke Meyer and Andrew Neel’s latest doc, New World Order, admirably humanizes the “9/11 truthers,” a seemingly impossible task they accomplish handily by never condescending to or patronizing their less-than-credible subjects. Led by filmmaker/radio personality Alex Jones, the group’s most vocal mouthpiece, the “truthers” insist that the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11 was an inside job orchestrated by The Bilderberg Group, a shadowy international organization comprised of foreign and domestic businessmen and politicians. Meyer and Neel let a few of them tell their stories with a minimum of editorializing, arguably only inflating beyond its natural scope the fears and unshakable anger that fuels them: They exaggerate only where necessary and only what the “truthers” willingly put on display.
The most potent message New World Order conveys is its refusal to flinch in the face of what many would call fanaticism, training a focused, steady eye on their subjects without hastily making a satisfying knee-jerk judgment. Through the tears, constant rallying, paranoiac rants and hypocritical disclaimers of their subjects, Meyer and Neel remind us that these conspiracy theorists are not to be pitied but rather understood as people doing what they earnestly believe is their civic duty. They’re rabid and frankly more than a little nuts. For example, in the impending apocalypse, red and blue dots on mail apparently determine whether you get taken to a FEMA camp or get shot on sight by stormtroopers—but they’re also a determined and militantly organized group that dares you to ignore them.
Every point-of-view can easily be accommodated by Meyer and Neel’s sprawling footage, from the people that dismiss the group because they believe “truthers” want to simplify the reasons for 9/11 and President Bush’s “War on Terror”—after these theories “everything becomes simple,” as one “truther” says—to the people that insist that they’re just misguided by their personal pain—“They have no clue how real we are” says another as tears well up into his eyes. Even people that want to believe they’re uncovering some hidden reality buried in grainy, almost certainly photoshopped images and so-called eyewitness reports will find plenty of convincing ammunition in Jones’ words.
Jones is easily the most mercurial and intriguing figure of the bunch. One moment he rejects the idea of being pinned down as the spokesperson and hence the originator of the “truth”s he propounds but in another, he eagerly takes his place at the head of a mob and curses Geraldo Rivera for being a silent accomplice. Consumed by righteous anger, he casts the middle finger of blame liberally and is by no means an easily relatable martyr—though he proudly proclaims that his methods are non-violent, his spittle-flecked bellowing is an assault all its own—but he’s also right when he says that we need his kind of muckracking now more than ever.
Still, it’s not the group’s rebellious spirit that makes them pariahs but their out-and-out creepiness and tactlessness. The question the film accordingly tries to answer is whether or not it’s possible to fully relate to the pain of such insistent political proselytizers strictly through shared pain. Ultimately, the answer is no but Meyer and Neel put up a valiant fight and never sink to the level of pitying Jones and his buddies.
The caricaturish red state mannerisms that many “truthers” exhibit are never exploited but rather exhibited as just one of many defining characteristics. Some of these people are born-again Christians and some are gun-toting trailer park residents but shock of all shocks, none of them are inarticulate nor are they oblivious to the fact that they’re persona non grata. Refusing to paint Jones’s cabal as the boogeymen they appear to be isn’t necessarily a daring act but considering the insensitivity of the group’s message, it’s certainly a humane and affecting one.
Media Ignores Real Controversy Behind Torture Photos; They Show Prison Guards Raping Children
Former Governor Jesse Ventura: Let Me Judge Torture Photos On Behalf Of The American People
Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet.com | May 21, 2009
The real reason behind Obama’s reversal of a decision to release the torture photos has been almost completely ignored by the corporate media - the fact that the photos show both US and Iraqi soldiers raping teenage boys in front of their mothers.
The Obama administration originally intended to release photos depicting torture and abuse of detainees in Afghanistan and Iraq by the end of May, following a court order arising out of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit first filed by the ACLU in 2004.
However, a reversal of Obama’s decision was announced this week, after he “changed his mind after viewing some of the images and hearing warnings from his generals in Iraq and in Afghanistan that such a move would endanger US troops deployed there,” according to a Washington Post report.
In response, the ACLU charged that Obama “has essentially become complicit with the torture that was rampant during the Bush years by being complicit in its coverup.” The Obama administration has also sought to protect intelligence officials involved in torture from prosecution at every turn.
The primary reason why Obama is now blocking the release of the photos is that some of the pictures, as well as video recordings, show prison guards sodomizing young boys in front of their mothers, both with objects as well as physical rape.
This horrific detail has been almost completely ignored by the establishment media in their coverage of the story this week, despite the fact that it’s been in the public domain for nearly five years, after it was first revealed by investigative Seymour Hersh during an ACLU conference in July 2004.
“Some of the worst things that happened you don’t know about, okay?” said Hersh. “Videos, there are women there. Some of you may have read that they were passing letters out, communications out to their men. This is at Abu Ghraib … The women were passing messages out saying ‘Please come and kill me, because of what’s happened’ and basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys, children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. And the worst above all of that is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror. It’s going to come out.”
Hersh’s contention that minors were raped by prison guards while others filmed the vulgar spectacle is backed up by a leaked Abu Ghraib memorandum highlighted in a 2004 London Guardian report, in which detainees Kasim Hilas describes “the rape of an Iraqi boy by a man in uniform”. The testimony was also part of the military’s official Taguba Report into the torture at Abu Ghraib.
“I saw [name blacked out] fucking a kid, his age would be about 15-18 years. The kid was hurting very bad and they covered all the doors with sheets. Then when I heard the screaming I climbed the door because on top it wasn’t covered and I saw [blacked out], who was wearing the military uniform putting his dick in the little kid’s ass,” Mr Hilas told military investigators. “I couldn’t see the face of the kid because his face wasn’t in front of the door. And the female soldier was taking pictures.”
Another inmate, Thaar Dawod, described more abuse of teenage boys.
“They came with two boys naked and they were cuffed together face to face and Grainer [Corporal Charles Graner, one of the military policemen facing court martial] was beating them and a group of guards were watching and taking pictures from top and bottom and there was three female soldiers laughing at the prisoners,” he said.
A 2004 London Telegraph report also described photos which showed “US soldiers beating an Iraqi prisoner nearly to death and having sex with a female PoW,” as well as a videotape, apparently made by US personnel, which shows “Iraqi guards raping young boys”.
Former Governor Jesse Ventura today offered a solution to the controversy surrounding President Obama’s decision to reverse an earlier promise to release the torture photos - let Ventura see the photos on behalf of the American people and then decide if they should be released.
Ventura told the Alex Jones Show today, “How about if I step forward on behalf of the taxpayers and the citizens of the great United States of America - and I wanna go public with this - I will represent us, let me go where these photos are, let me go inside and see them and let me come out and report back as to what these photos are.”
“I think I have the right to do that, I think they have no right to keep me from doing that, you know why? I pay their salaries and I’m a governor, I’m a mayor, I’m a former Navy SEAL, I had a top secret security clearance - I think I’m fully qualified to walk in and view these photos,” said Ventura, adding, “I’ll report to the public, what it is why we shouldn’t be able to see them because I understand it could infuriate the enemy, but I’m not the enemy and therefore I think I have every right to see these photos in private.”