Michael Moore and Disney: a Symbiotic Relationship?

Michael Moore announced yesterday that Disney will not allow its Miramax production arm to release Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” film:

http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/message/index.php?messageDate=2004-05-04

Today, the New York Times editorial page took Moore’s side:

http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/message/index.php?messageDate=2004-05-06

This is no big surprise. Big corporate interests owning big media and censoring big criticism.

Moore’s books have gained from viral marketing, particularly when Stupid White Men was “held up” by its publisher. Disney’s move is, from a cynical market perspective, merely good for business: for Moore and ultimately Disney itself…creating a kind of symbiotic relationship between Moore and Disney [if you want to be that cynical]. Moore’s comments at the end of The Corporation indicate that he knows full well that big media only releases his books and movies for their bottom line, completely regardless of the fact that the core theme of Moore’s work has been the corruption and danger of corporate pillage.

One thing that is quite odd about this move, though, is that much of what Moore’s film documents has already been reported in North American media. The Bush family links to Saudi billionaires and bin Ladens, the evacuation of the bin Laden family out of the USA in the days after 9/11 with permission from the Oval Office: these have been reported enough that actually, I’m wondering just what new information will actually be in Moore’s film.

And the beat goes on.

Finis

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Why we should REALLY fear the United States of America

May 6, 2004

editor@adbusters.org

Dear Editor,

Tess Rheinhardt’s analysis of why the unilateralist USA abhors the multilateralist International Criminal Court in Issue #53 is quite poignant. But the “legality of their [the USA’s] rampage through history” would not actually be on trial at the ICC because this international court does not have retroactive jurisdiction. No retroactive jurisdiction is designed in part to encourage past pariah states to reform and commit to good global behaviour in the future. So what is even more terrifying than what Rheinhardt brings up is that in rejecting the ICC, the United States of America is intentionally not pledging to cease war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide in the future.

Further, though actually signing the Rome Statute to create the ICC, under w.Caesar, the USA went so far as to declare their unsigning of that document in an effort to assert immunity from the ICC. The USA has also enacted legislation asserting their right to retrieve nationals from the ICC, with military force if necessary. This “Hague Invasion Act”–as it is being called–is a unwaveringly bold assertion of how little esteem the USA holds for the rest of the world.

peace,

stephen buckley.

[See the July/August 2004 Adbusters issue for this letter.]

Finis

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Rumsfeld Apologizes for Abuse of Iraqi Prisoners…No Wait, He Doesn’t

God forbid Donald Rumsfeld actually apologizes for US soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners. Jim Garamone from the American Forces Press Service certainly interpreted Rumsfeld’s comments as an apology.

Then Garamone sent out an email with the press release declaring a major moral statement from the US Secretary of War. The beginning of that email is below.

Then 4 hours and 18 minutes later, Garamone sends an amended press release, eradicating the apology. The beginning of that email is also below. The amended press release is the only one archived on the Pentagon’s website. Email me if you would like to see the entire original email.

Rumsfeld was not apologizing. He was only saying that seeing the photos of those abuses would make any American apologetic. I guess just not him though.

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The first email, with the Rumsfeld apology begins like this:



Rumsfeld Apologizes to Iraqi Victims of Prison Abuse

By Jim Garamone

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 5, 2004 – Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld apologized today to Iraqis abused by American prison guards in Abu Ghraib.

“Any American who sees the photographs that we’ve seen has to feel apologetic to the Iraqi people who were abused and recognize that that is something that is unacceptable and certainly un-American,” Rumsfeld said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

The secretary left open the door that compensation could be paid to the abuse victims.

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The second email, without a direct apology begins like this:

Prison Abuse ‘Unacceptable, Un-American’, Rumsfeld Says

By Jim Garamone

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 5, 2004 – “Any American who sees the photographs that we’ve seen has to feel apologetic to the Iraqi people who were abused and recognize that that is something that is unacceptable and certainly un-American,” Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said today.

Rumsfeld discussed the alleged abuse of Iraqi detainees by American guards at Abu Ghraib prison on ABC TV’s “Good Morning America.” The secretary left open the door that compensation could be paid to the abuse victims.

Finis

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We are Securing Fallujah=We are Leaving Fallujah

w.Caesar is doing well with the doublespeak.

Yesterday, when asked about Fallujah, he said they were commited to securing the town despite the resistance.

Q Mr. President, is it going to take an all out military offensive to put down the insurgency in Fallujah? And can you really have a successful transfer of power in 60 days if Iraq is wracked by violence?

PRESIDENT BUSH: … Our commanders on the ground have got the authorities necessary to take action to help the Iraqi people realize a free and peaceful society. And what you must realize is happening in a place like Fallujah is, the closer we come to passing sovereignty, the more likely it is that foreign fighters, disgruntled Baathists or friends of the Shia cleric will try to stop progress. That’s what’s happening. They want to kill innocent life to try to get us to quit. And we’re not going to. And our military commanders will take whatever action is necessary to secure Fallujah on behalf of the Iraqi people. [the emphasis is mine]

Meanwhile, the US Marines are bugging out of Fallujah itself, leaving a former Saddam general and 1100 Iraqi soldiers to form the Fallujah Protective Army.

I guess it’s better to let Iraqis die securing a dangerous town. It’s been a tough month already with more US troops/”contractors”/mercenaries killed [126 and counting] in April than during the entire “war” last spring. It’s been tough on the Iraqis too, ten times tougher actually [1200 deaths and counting].

As much as this isn’t a Vietnam for the USA, it’s looking more and more that without an exit strategy, with corporate pillaging, and with no sovereign body in place yet to receive control of the country in two months, w.Caesar is writing off Iraq to entrenched civil war, which oddly may severely cost his corporate buddies hoping for a stable economy to rape.

Perhaps the only arena w.Caesar can control is the oval office, like today with the 9/11 commission in there. Without cameras. Without an official transcript. Without an audience or any public accountability. And most importantly without having to speak under oath.

It’s a true testament to the actual state of democracy that people still trust w.Caesar. Stunning.

Finis

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Rogue Teachers

Emblazened on the cover of The Province newspaper rag on April 23, 2004 was the headline [which could hardly have been larger] “Rogue Teachers Will Be Exposed.”

The Province has never in my lifetime presented itself as a bastion of journalistic integrity. Owned by CanWest [along with the Vancouver Sun, the National Post, Global BC TV, Canada.com], The Province enjoys flogging the neo-con agenda of privatizing the commons: public health care, education, assets.

And teachers, aren’t they such awful people. Rogue teachers threaten the safety of our province’s schoolchildren. The article was a review of disciplinary measures conducted by the BC College of Teachers.

Granted, there are some teachers in BC public schools who have been accused of illegal and immoral activities. Less than two dozen by my count in the last year.

Out of 43,000 teachers in BC, that’s a whopping 0.056%.

Even just one teacher who behaves criminally or immorally is not acceptable, but such a low percentage reflects virtually statistically insignificant numbers, making the sensationalism of The Province’s gigantic headine unwarranted. But the headline is also a worry because of the word ‘rogue’. That word these days in public circles is usually used to refer to states: rogue nations who flaunt global order and peace, nations run by psychopaths or terrorists. We think of Libya, Iraq, North Korea, Pakistan, the USA, nations that don’t mind being so far out of the norms of civilized countries that they are to be feared, isolated and eventually attack and pulverized to wipe out their deadly threat.

Rogue teachers, indeed. Let the demonization continue. It sure makes it easier to privatize the public education system when corporate media can paint teachers [about 1/20th of 1% of them, anyway] as moral degenerates. Keep the headlines big. They’re scarier that way.

Finis

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The US Navy: Champions of Earth Day

I wish I were in the United States for Earth Day yesterday so I could celebrate Earth Day with their navy, champions of environmental respect and preservation.

I just can’t see an organization that sends its boats around the world powered by nuclear reactors to be hallmarks of environmentalism. They dump their waste into the bucket that is the earth’s ecology and champion themselves when they remove eyedropperfulls of their filth: removing 1,700 tons of contaminated soil [who contaminated it in the first place?].

Instead, silly me, I spent the evening at a Utah Phillips show in Vancouver, a man with no shortage of creative criticisms of the assholes who run the United States Empire.

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No. 354-04

Apr 21, 2004

IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Department of The Navy Celebrates Earth Day 2004



The Department of the Navy will join the nation in celebration of the 34th annual Earth Day on April 22nd. The Department’s theme for Earth Day 2004 is “Celebrating Successful Partnerships,” recognizing the extensive collaboration that takes place among Navy, Marine Corps, industry, government, academic, and nonprofit organizations to enable the sea services to accomplish the primary mission of national defense while safeguarding the natural environment.

“Earth Day presents an excellent opportunity to highlight the department’s continued contributions to ensuring a sustainable environmental future,” said Secretary of the Navy Gordon England. “Earth Day 2004 is an occasion for the Navy and Marine Corps to work with partnering organizations to re-emphasize our commitment to the environment in which we work and live, both in the U.S. and overseas.”

Finis

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The Conservative Party Loves the Dalai Lama?

Truly, I love the Conservative Party of Canada. They’re sure making full use of the policy immunity that comes from being in the opposition: just criticize and don’t worry about how you would do just the same if you were in government.

I agree with Conservative Kenney’s motion to grant honourary citizenship to the Dalai Lama [see press release below]. The Dalai Lama’s a splendid guy. A bud who saw him and Desmond Tutu last week was truly moved not only by the Dalai Lama, but with the interaction between these two accomplished people.

But why did the motion fail? China was already pissed off that our PM PM would meet with the Dalai Lama. Granting honourary citizenship could hurt trade relations with that blessed huge new market of 1.1 billion. Who cares that they’re a capitalist dictatorship. We make money from the Chinese so we can’t piss them off quite that much. And our neo-con in liberal clothing, steamship-sweatshop-owning millionaire PM knows this all too well.

But what is truly entertaining is Kenney’s feigned shock at seeing his motion defeated. He was “hard-pressed to understand how any MP, in any party could refuse to grant this honour to the Dalai Lama.” Yeah. Right. The Conservative Party of Canada, known champion of global human rights [not so much], denouncer of global imperialism [even less so], would bestow this citizenship on the Dalai Lama if they were in goverment?

I wouldn’t bet on it. As much as the Liberals, they would fear losing access to 1.1 billion Chinese we are training to be hyper-consumers.

Ah, the luxury of being the opposition.

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Jason Kenney, MP

Official Opposition Critic for Canada-US Relations

News Release

For Immediate Release

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Liberal Government Refuses to Honour Dalai Lama

Kenney Moves Honorary Citizenship for “Tibetan Freedom Fighter”

Ottawa – Liberal MPs in the House of Commons rejected a motion Thursday morning to give honorary Canadian citizenship to His Holiness the Dalai Lama moved by Conservative MP Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast, AB).

“It’s a shame,” said Kenney. “The Dalai Lama has led a courageous, decades-long, non-violent struggle for freedom of conscience, human rights and self-determination in Tibet. This is an honour Parliament reserves for a few select people and, I believe, the Dalai Lama should be one of them. I am hard-pressed to understand how any MP, in any party could refuse to grant this honour to the Dalai Lama.”

Kenney’s motion enjoyed support from all parties. His co-sponsors included the Hon. David Kilgour, MP (Liberal, Edmonton-Southeast, AB), Francine Lalonde, MP (BQ, Mercier, QC) and Alexa McDonough, MP (NDP, Halifax, NS).

“The Dalai Lama is not just a Buddhist spiritual leader. He is a freedom fighter. His fight for the Tibetan people is a heroic example that inspires millions. The Liberal government blocked this motion and they need to explain to Canadians why the Dalai Lama is not worthy of this honour.”

“This is sad evidence that the Liberals are more concerned with kowtowing to the Communist dictators in Beijing than supporting one of the world’s great human rights heroes. This is the moral debasement of the Liberal Party of Canada,” said Kenney.

The text of Mr. Kenney’s motion was as follows:

“That this House, recognizing his great efforts to preserve the cultural and historical heritage of the Tibetan people using peaceful methods, agree that His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, be declared an honorary citizen of Canada.”

– 30 –

For more information contact:

Jason Kenney, MP

613.992.2235

Finis

Afghanistan, September 11, 2002 and Land Mines

Afghanistan signs the Ottawa Convention banning anti-personnel mines on September 11, 2002 while Iraq, Israel and the USA (and 46 others) still have not.

With North America (at least) dwelling on commemorative events surrounding the first anniversary of September 11, 2001, odd ironies were at play elsewhere in the world as that day, Afghanistan signed the Ottawa Convention banning anti-personnel mines.

There are still unanswered questions about who is functionally in charge of Afghanistan (and if the big W is pulling strings, or the big W’s string pullers, whatever) and why that day was chosen. What kind of political value would there be, and for who, to orchestrate that event on that key day? Is it a sign of the White House’s total domination of the enemy that is/was Afghanistan that they signed on that day?

146 countries have signed, ratified, or agreed to be bound by the 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, also known as the Ottawa Convention banning anti-personnel mines. They are listed here.

49 countries haven’t signed the treaty as of this month, including some notables: Iraq, Israel, and the USA.

And while political posturing prevents more countries from signing, Canada’s light shines as an example of how other states COULD operate.

Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham attributes, “much of the remarkable progress achieved to date to an unprecedented level of cooperation and coordination between governments, international organizations and NGOs.”

I wonder who will sign on September 11, 2003.

De-Spinning the Political and Re-Spinning it for Social, Economic and Political Justice