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Monthly Archives: April 2013

26FBI photo of backback alleged to contain pressure-cooker bomb (note white patch)black_hat2Suspect #2: “Black Hat.” (Note lack of white patch.)white_hat1Suspect #2: “White Hat.”1QzeEqshTwo The Craft mercenaries, lower frame, within yard of bomb site.8VF5oh0crpThe Craft mercenary with full backpack (note: white patch, earplug)The_Craft_Two_Guys_Boston_MarathonBomb_Resembles_Black_Backpack

The_Craft_Three_Guys-600Same The Craft operatives at explosion; man at right no longer has backpack.After_BombBlast_Across_Street1

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The_Craft_Communications_Van-600The Craft mercenaries; note again, no backpack on same man.FBI_Arrives

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Meantime after a massive manhunt, in which the entire city of Boston and surrounding areas were subjected to a total lock-down and martial law, one alleged “terrorist” is dead, killed in an alleged shoot-out and run over by his brother according to the police.  The other, a 19 year old young man, severely wounded, is seen exiting the boat in which he’d take refuge, with no gun in hand or suicide vest; he was then shot several times while the police claimed he had attempted suicide by shooting himself in the mouth.  The owner of the boat reported it appeared to be riddled with holes “like a Swiss cheese.”

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Meantime the FBI has now admitted it had contacts with the now dead Suspect #1 (Black Hat), and has quickly concocted stories of his recruitment as an Islamic jihadist.  His mother says they had him under surveillance for 5 years.  The mass media after attempting to utterly ignore the presence of The Craft operatives all around the bombing site have now been told, owing to the considerable evidence, that these were “normal” National Guard forces assigned to such events (curiously wearing a private mercenary company’s clothes, and whisked away by the FBI shortly after the bombing.)

The “official” story of the Boston bombing is more full of holes than the official versions of 9/11 or the Kennedy assassination.  It is the nature of our corporately controlled media that anyone raising questions regarding “official/authoritative” versions of events will be labeled as a tin foil hat wearing nut-case, etc., or if possible, simply ignored, as in an old-style Soviet tactic of making a “non-person”of dissenters.  From “magic bullets” to buildings collapsing on their own (WTC#7), and on through myriad lesser State lies, America has a considerable history of governmental malfeasance in the name of “patriotism.”

There are far too many “strange things” present in the Boston Marathon bombing, not least the servile behavior of our press which seems merely to parrot the government line while such obvious anomalies are present.  Were it not for the internet it is clear all these things would be simply erased from view.  The question is what purpose and for whom was this bombing intended to serve?

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20dzhokhar-thelede-blog480Dead men don’t talk.

Some sources:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/contractors-at-boston-marathon-stood-near-bomb-left-before-detonation/5332069

http://www.mediaite.com/online/fbi-website-shows-hi-res-photos-of-boston-marathon-suspects/

http://www.fbi.gov/news/updates-on-investigation-into-multiple-explosions-in-boston/updates-on-investigation-into-multiple-explosions-in-boston

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Hot on the heels of the US Senate’s failure to pass any kind of gun-control measures, and President Obama’s comments on it, arrived, in the midst of what normally would be a joyous event – the conclusion of the famed Boston Marathon – a percussive note which has riveted the nation’s attentions a whole week:  the bombing in Boston.  In this event, for some days the “suspects” remained unknown and hence, “on the loose,” though at one point the forces of the law announced they had a suspect, and promptly withdrew it, raising for some certain suspicions.  At a later point the FBI named its suspects, two Chechen brothers, and Boston and surrounding areas were then put in lock-down, with residents told to stay locked in their homes as an invading force of highly militarized police – city, State, Federal – fanned out in search of their quarry.  Here is the FBI announcement, which interestingly insists that only its photographs are to be accepted as accurate and real.   The mainstream press largely accommodated this request, and parroted the official line.  On the internet another story was unfolding, in the exchanges of Reddit, 4chan, or Infowars, and replicated across the political spectrum from far right to far left.  In the case of the former, the Boston bombing was another false-flag set-up, staged to lay the ground-work for a governmental confiscation of guns which had been, at least for the moment, politically defeated.  In the latter, it was something similar, but to lay the groundwork for the imposition of martial law at some future point.  The mainstream press, with Rupert Murdoch’s NY Post providing the exception, hewed to the official governmental line.  And as usual, their pundits cranked out the appropriate levels of outrage and “reasonableness,” sticking to the comfortable and safe “middle-of-the-road.”   Amidst all this tumult, naturally, many truths were swept under the rug, disappeared, ridiculed, or otherwise dismissed.

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Ignored by press and television news were many things, among them the presence of a number of militarized persons from a private security agency, TheCraft, whose members sported black backpacks much like that which the FBI said had contained a bomb, and who had clustered around the finish-line area where the bombs exploded.  Immediately following the bombing, these people gathered around a very high-tech vehicle close to where the attack had occurred.   To my knowledge the Boston Marathon organization has not said it had hired TheCraft for security, nor has anyone else explained their presence.  Sure a “story” will be forthcoming.  The motto of TheCraft, as seen on their “skull” patch, is “Despite what your Mama told you, violence does solve problems.”  I don’t know who these guys are, or why they were there, but they look and sound and seem to act like some form of American fascists.  I await the explanation for their being there, or more likely, their erasure from the “story.”

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While the nation was totally focused, with the assistance of the mass media, on events in Boston, the Congress passed by unanimous consent a new little law, which rescinded previously passed law, which forbade members of Congress from using their information for “insider trading.”  President Obama promptly signed the measure into law.  Likewise the House passed on Thursday, April 18, a law (CISPA) designed to clamp down on the internet and give the government access to all internet communications.

Meantime the citizens of Boston, and at a distance the entire Nation, were treated to a full-scale example of a state-of-siege, while highly militarized forces in helicopters, tanks, and large groups of highly armed soldiers and police combed the city, looking for two suspects, one a 19 year old boy.  While asserting these were heavily armed and dangerous, the forces deployed were in all cases incredibly disproportionate to the reality.  But, perhaps, the point was not really to capture these two suspects, but to impress upon the populace the extent of the forces which could be brought into play, perhaps for some other rather probable and likely future event, such as the failure of the economy to generate jobs, or the collapse of the dollar.  Perhaps…

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Shootings In Cambridge, Watertown Draw Massive Police Response

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A member of the SWAT team trains a gun on an apartment building during a search for the remaining suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings in Watertown

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Frightened into a supine compliance, Boston became a deserted place.  Of course one could say having heavily armed uniformed persons outside your window, and having been ordered to accept a 24 hour a day curfew, it was only common sense to obey.  I think this is a refrain we have heard in 1930-40’s Germany, in the USSR, and many other places.  What struck me was the seeming absence of complaint, and the utter lack of a sense of proportion to the supposed danger.  Two young men did not close down the city of Boston; rather the “authorities” – Federal, State, and city, working in collusion – closed down the city, and in a manner absolutely out of keeping with the purported threat.  Clearly something else was at work here.

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The FBI in short order “got their man.”  Though this perhaps has another meaning.  They have admitted to having, in 2011,  interviewed Tamerlan Tsarnaev supposedly at the request of an unnamed “foreign power,” (later revealed to be Putin’s Russia), and was supposedly found to be harmless.  Though his mother seems to see it otherwise, and says the FBI had been in contact with him over 5 years.  Naturally these little discrepancies have lit up the internet, though the mainstream press seems disinterested.  As they were in 9/11.   So, rather than question the very dubious official version – with one man dead, and the other now allegedly severely wounded but unable to talk – we are instead treated to that ever so American celebration of our togetherness, grit, and other wonderful traits that make us so exceptional.  And our heavily militarized police are being placed on pedestals for “protecting us.”

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Members of the public cheer as police officers leave the scene where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, suspect in Boston Marathon bombings, was taken into custody in Watertown

I am not a conspiracy theorist – the worst epithet tossed at anyone who does not go along with the “official” story promulgated by our government or other supposed “authorities,” though “nut-case” and others work just as well.   I am though willing to look at facts and figures and images directly, and to sift through them to see what appears to be valid.  I am also willing to listen to the rhetorical talk of ideologues, and to try to figure out the what and why of their behaviors.

In the case in Boston I think the story is far from over, though I am equally sure that both the government, and its compliant corporately owned mass media system will not be too interested in pursuing the matter much further, aside from in patting us all on the back for being so cooperative as a major American city, the veritable birthplace of the American revolution, was placed under martial law on the flimsiest of pretexts, and very likely, once and if the entire story is exposed, an utterly false pretext.   One that should recall other now infamous phrases: The Gulf of Tonkin, WMD, and the myriad other fraudulent claims made by our supposedly democratically elected officials, in order to prompt the nation to do what they wish us to do.

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Addendum:  (I will be adding URLs to interesting looks at the whole Boston bombing etc. as time goes along.)

http://www.juancole.com/2013/04/fathers-sons-chechnya.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/the-fbis-big-miss-boston-bombing-fugitive-shot-dead-was-on-radar-two-years-ago-8581570.html

http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/mike-friends-blog/chechen-terrorists-and-neocons#.UXMRPV5Slto.facebook

http://www.salon.com/2013/04/20/how_boston_exposes_americas_dark_post_911_bargain/

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2013/04/dzhokhar-tsarnaev-is-found.html

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09funicello1_cnd-popupAnnette Funicello

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People try to put us d-down (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)

Just because we g-g-get around (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)

Things they do look awful c-c-cold (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)

I hope I die before I get old (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)

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The last months, traveling the western US, I’ve somewhat consciously sought to see as many of my old friends who are around this region as I could.  Consciously since it is likely I may well soon decamp for some distant place, perhaps never to return.  Consciously, as in many cases – my own included – the clock is running down, and this might be a last chance to see them, either because I or they will no longer be.  Such are the thoughts which the diminishing of time – as well as of muscle tissue, sight, energy and the blossoming of liver spots, lack of hair, and the other vicissitudes of aging – impose.  Seeing some old friends, I am struck, as surely they are likewise with me, by how much they have aged.

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Annette Funicello was in the first Mickey Mouse Show, which began in 1955.  I am sure that while Uncle Walt would be appalled at the thought (or perhaps perversely pleased) that Annette was the jack-off queen for a generation of suppressed 1950’s boys – she had visible tits and exuded a sensuality the other girls on the show lacked, she was our go-to girl.  I know because I asked friends if she were their fantasy of choice while pounding the meat – the restrictions those days being far more stringent than today.  Back then Elvis was cropped above the waist for some modest gyrations on the Ed Sullivan Show; today Lady Gaga can virtually lap-dance on your face and no one seems to raise an eyebrow.  But time indeed marches on, heedless of our wishes, and steadily grinds our bodies to bits.  Even those of stars, large and small, of the silver screen.  Annette dropped from social sight some time ago, a victim of time and MS.  She died today in Bakersfield, CA., 100 or so miles north of where I write in the San Fernando Valley where she once graced a sound stage, wearing the Mouseketeer ears with which the Disney Corporation made its global mark.  She was seventy.

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mag12JPG-2547289Maggie Thatcher, dead at 87les-art-bigLes Blank

The day before, on Sunday, April 7, Les Blank also joined the list of no-longer-here, hot on the heels of Roger Ebert, about whom I wrote only a few days ago.  Les was 77.  I met – and nothing more – Les a few times out on the festival circuit.  He was a well-known documentary filmmaker, a figure in the Bay Area film and cultural community, much liked by everyone I knew.  If I believed in such things, I’d imagine a raucous New Orleans wake going on now in his honor, for a life well spent.  But I don’t believe in such things, and know his spirit is now but a stiff piece of soon to disappear flesh, with everything that made him – like all of us – what we are in any way notable for, gone.  Sic transit gloria.

Les-Blank-at-CC-meeting.-Photo-Emilie-Raguso-1024x768Les last year, being “honored” in Berkeley

I will in another place try to get around to writing a bit more deeply about this process of aging – of watching one’s family and friends grow fat or gaunt, hobbled by infirmities, ravaged by disease, and finally slipping off into death, whether done with grace or rage or indifference.  It is, to say the least, an interesting process, one which our culture seems to do its best to avoid confronting except in a frantic effort to escape it.  Our medical system, our consumerist life-style, our shallow public philosophy of life in general sends us in flight from speaking of it, or contemplating it outside the dumb legal necessities which property imposes.

Today there was an article by Susan Faludi published in the New Yorker, on my long-ago friend Shulamith Firestone – an article prompted by her death in August 2012.  I’d tried to provide some information for Susan, not just about what little I could remember about Shulie back in 1964-67, but also things trying to give her a little sense of flavor to the tenor of the times, so I suggested she see a few short films made back then, one of which, unknown to me, was based on a real-life friend of Shulie’s — who had committed suicide while I was in prison.  Reading the article, for the first time in a fair while, I wept – for Shulie, her sister, and many others, including myself.  I wept for all the needless pain inflicted on us all, and which in turn provokes us into inflicting pain in our turn.

shulieShulamith Firestone

This Be The Verse

    They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
      They may not mean to, but they do.
    They fill you with the faults they had
      And add some extra, just for you.

    But they were fucked up in their turn
      By fools in old-style hats and coats,
    Who half the time were soppy-stern
      And half at one another's throats.

    Man hands on misery to man.
      It deepens like a coastal shelf.
    Get out as early as you can,
      And don't have any kids yourself.
            - Philip Larkin 

  rogerebertRoger Ebert, 1942 – 2013

I can’t find it in the digital chaos beneath my fingers, but somewhere is a copy of what was my first review, of my first film, Portrait, edited about this time in 1963, after hitch-hiking from Italy to London.  Last year the Eyefilm archive in Amsterdam made an archival print of it (which I haven’t seen, though thanks to the internet the woman who was the subject of the film, Matilde, who was then a 12 year old child, connected with me for the first time in 35 or more years).  The review was in the Chicago Sun-Times, I imagine in 1967, shortly after I’d been released from prison, from a screening of it along with some other Chicago “underground” films at the Aardvark Theater on the near-north side.  It was written by a young, newly-hired critic, Roger Ebert.  Of course neither of us knew then what life’s trajectory would bring to us.  Now we know what Roger’s life would be; last word is still out on my own.

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Aardvark Cinema, Wells St., Chicago

Roger, as everyone knows, went on to become a rather famous film critic, with a nationally syndicated television show, Siskel & Ebert,  broadcast for some decades. He also wrote books.  Along with his partner, Gene Siskel, he was a kind of power in the film business – able with a thumb up or down to significantly shift the box office figures for some films.  While I have never followed such things, I understand that Ebert tended to stick his thumb on the scales in support of smaller, so-called “independent” work when they came into sight.  He certainly did for me.  Back in 1990, when I’d finished All the Vermeers in New York, operating without a press agent and the other accoutrements of the biz (and an inept partner), I wrote Roger personally, reminding him of that first review and asking him to take a look at the film, and possibly review it on the Siskel & Ebert show.  He did, and it was reviewed, garnering 2 thumbs up.  I am sure the marginal BO it did was largely owing to that. It ran 6 months in Chicago.  [In Los Angeles it got 7 favorable reviews and opened on the day of the Watts riots, with closed cinema’s the following week.  It never ran there – a nasty little twist of fate.]   I am certain that most people who meet me and tell me I am “famous” heard of me through Roger.

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Sometime later, he also reviewed, though not on television, my film Frameup.  To my knowledge that’s all he ever saw of mine.  I had a few very brief exchanges with him in the last decade, things not important, though if memory serves me correctly (?) not so long ago I wrote him a note saying I admired his courage in the face of his situation in life.  And, quite recently, Tweeting, he expressed support for Mark Rappaport and my efforts on Mark’s behalf.  To say, he wasn’t by any measure a friend, or even an acquaintance, but only that our lives distantly crossed paths, from long ago.

From that perspective I just wish to note that as his condition narrowed his physical means, it seemed to open his soul.  Unable to speak, he spoke, in a sense, even more, using his blog and Twitter.  And his subject broadened from mere film to life itself.  Seriously maimed by his cancer he did not draw behind a curtain, but stepped forward, and, offering an example for others, showed himself publicly – in no way as “victim” or unfairly chosen in life’s lottery, but as someone who learned from the adversities which visited him.   And in some very real sense he was transformed from being just a film critic, however “important,” into a kind of performance artist.  His life became his art.  And he was very effective at this, however conscious or unconscious a decision it was.

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As a filmmaker, while it is what I do, I honestly don’t think films, or their making, and all the things which surround this, is very important.  It is just another thing humans do these days.  It is as important as what your plumber does, or what an air traffic controller does, or what the barista does, or what anyone else does – no less, no more.  And in my view it is the same for a critic – what they do is not important, certainly no more so than what they critique.  So it is interesting that what life inflicted on Roger – the terrible and tragic medical state which was imposed on him – coerced him into becoming something far more than a critic, into becoming what he admired and wished to be, into being an artist.  In this, he became our fame-besotted time’s hunger artist.

In his last posting, several days before his death, with a certain wit, while enumerating all the things he planned to do, he signaled his complete awareness of his circumstance with his title, A Leave of Presence.  Mr Ebert is no longer present.  I am a firm atheist, and Roger has gone the same place we all go – to oblivion, the synaptic magic which energizes us in life, deleted.  Stepping, as he did, publicly, articulately, and in a manner passionately, towards his own erasure, was his greatest act as a human and artist.  We should be thankful for the example.

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