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Fri, 13 Dec 2019
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"It's a Wonderful Life": The Most Terrifying Movie Ever

Stewart
© RKO Pictures
Jimmy Stewart in It's a Wonderful Life.
Underneath the warm fuzzies, Frank Capra's holiday classic is a tale of hunger, greed and a troubled America

I don't care what your parents told you. It's a Wonderful Life, that reassuring holiday spectacle, is really the most terrifying Hollywood film ever made. It's one of a handful of masterpieces directed by Frank Capra, an Italian immigrant who loved America because America saved him. Capra lived through the Depression, then through the rise of terrible ideologies. He knew how bad things could get. He knew, too, that the United States was not immune and this knowledge spiked his love with the worst kind of fear. The result was that special melancholy, blue shot through with black, that runs through his films, the best of which are parables that operate on various levels, some of which were probably unknown to Capra himself.

If you were to cut It's a Wonderful Life by 20 minutes, its true subject would be revealed: In this shortened version, George Bailey, played by a Jimmy Stewart forever on the edge of hysteria, after being betrayed by nearly everyone in his life, after being broken on the wheel of capitalism, flees to the outskirts of town, Bedford Falls, N.Y., where he leaps off a bridge with thoughts of suicide.

That's the movie: The good man driven insane.

Cow Skull

African Farmers Displaced As Investors Move In

Image
© Tyler Hicks/The New York Times
In Beldenadji, Mali, a canal has been extended to irrigate land, part of an American aid initiative
Soumouni, Mali - The half-dozen strangers who descended on this remote West African village brought its hand-to-mouth farmers alarming news: their humble fields, tilled from one generation to the next, were now controlled by Libya's leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, and the farmers would all have to leave.

"They told us this would be the last rainy season for us to cultivate our fields; after that, they will level all the houses and take the land," said Mama Keita, 73, the leader of this village veiled behind dense, thorny scrubland. "We were told that Qaddafi owns this land."

Across Africa and the developing world, a new global land rush is gobbling up large expanses of arable land. Despite their ageless traditions, stunned villagers are discovering that African governments typically own their land and have been leasing it, often at bargain prices, to private investors and foreign governments for decades to come.

Video

Julian Assange Admits Media Censored Israeli Documents

The WikiLeaks founder speaks to David Frost and admits that he gave full control to the mainstream media who then censored documents relating to Israel

Excerpt from The Peninsula:
Assange said only a meagre number of files related to Israel had been published so far, because the newspapers in the West that were given exclusive rights to publish the secret documents were reluctant to publish many sensitive information about Israel.

"There are 3,700 files related to Israel and the source of 2,700 files is Israel. In the next six months we intend to publish more files depending on our sources," said Assange in the nearly one-hour interview telecast live from the UK.

"The Guardian, El-Pais and Le Monde have published only two percent of the files related to Israel due to the sensitive relations between Germany, France and Israel. Even New York Times could not publish more due to the sensitivities related to the Jewish community in the US," he added.

Cult

Vatican Christmas Shocker! Pope says child rape isn't that bad, was normal back in his day

Image
© Unknown
Is the game up for the Catholic Church? Sadly not, as many of its brainwashed members will continue to support it in spite of its now overt symptoms of psychopathology.
Victims of clerical sex abuse have reacted furiously to Pope Benedict's claim yesterday that paedophilia wasn't considered an "absolute evil" as recently as the 1970s.

In his traditional Christmas address yesterday to cardinals and officials working in Rome, Pope Benedict XVI also claimed that child pornography was increasingly considered "normal" by society.

"In the 1970s, paedophilia was theorised as something fully in conformity with man and even with children," the Pope said.

"It was maintained - even within the realm of Catholic theology - that there is no such thing as evil in itself or good in itself. There is only a 'better than' and a 'worse than'. Nothing is good or bad in itself."

The Pope said abuse revelations in 2010 reached "an unimaginable dimension" which brought "humiliation" on the Church.

Asking how abuse exploded within the Church, the Pontiff called on senior clerics "to repair as much as possible the injustices that occurred" and to help victims heal through a better presentation of the Christian message.

Stop

Rape rampant in US military

hearing focused on sexual assault
© Getty
Earlier this year a house subcommittee held a hearing focused on sexual assault and violence against women in the military and at the academies
Statistics and soldiers' testimonies reveal a harrowing epidemic of sexual assault in the US military.

Sexual assault within the ranks of the military is not a new problem. It is a systemic problem that has necessitated that the military conduct its own annual reporting on the crisis.

A 2003 Air Force Academy sexual assault scandal prompted the department of defense to include a provision in the 2004 National Defense Authorization Act that required investigations and reports of sexual harassment and assaults within US military academies to be filed. The personal toll is, nevertheless, devastating.

Military sexual trauma (MST) survivor Susan Avila-Smith is director of the veteran's advocacy group Women Organizing Women. She has been serving female and scores of male clients in various stages of recovery from MST for 15 years and knows of its devastating effects up close.

"People cannot conceive how badly wounded these people are," she told Al Jazeera, "Of the 3,000 I've worked with, only one is employed. Combat trauma is bad enough, but with MST it's not the enemy, it's our guys who are doing it. You're fighting your friends, your peers, people you've been told have your back. That betrayal, then the betrayal from the command is, they say, worse than the sexual assault itself."

On December 13, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other groups filed a federal lawsuit seeking Pentagon records in order to get the real facts about the incidence of sexual assault in the ranks.

The Pentagon has consistently refused to release records that fully document the problem and how it is handled. Sexual assaults on women in the US military have claimed some degree of visibility, but about male victims there is absolute silence.

Question

Wikileaks: Play the Ball, not the Man - and Check Who's Kicking it

wikileaks hourglass graphic
© unknown
'When people write political commentary on blogs or other social media, it is my experience that it is not - with some exceptions - their goal to expose the truth. Rather, it is their goal to position themselves among their peers on whatever the issue of the day is. The most effective, the most economical way to do that is simply to take the story that's going around - it has already created a marketable audience for itself - and say whether they're in favor of that interpretation or not.'[1]
So said Julian Assange in an interview with Time magazine on 30 November, presumably to justify why he chose to release Cablegate through the very mainstream media whose ineptitude, bias, and lack of courage purportedly necessitated the formation of Wikileaks in the first place.

But even that description does not quite do him justice. Assange has gone further than providing the story - or selected excerpts at least - he has also created the market, through deals with major media players and hidden financial backers,[2] and intends it to be played out for some time through protracted releases.

With few exceptions the majority of the public, but more worryingly, many supposed investigative and/or independent journalists, have dismally failed to exercise even the most minimum capacity for critical assessment, either talking-up the revelations (many of which were already common knowledge, or should have been to journalists doing their job properly) and/or participating in the indecent stampede to lionise Assange as some great champion of freedom of information and open government - or both.

This, like the cables themselves, conveniently deflects attention from the real issues - the right to information, the desirability of open government, the protection of whistle-blowing, and the protection for individuals from state abuses of the judiciary for political purposes. Moreover it achieves this deflection not by presenting all of the information in its original form, which might conceivably pass as a search for truth, but by presenting selected and redacted information, ie spin, which does not pass as a search for truth. The protracted nature of the releases suggests an eye on income, as well as keeping the world's attention distracted from any and everything else, like, perhaps, the next Operation Cast Lead.

Question

Who's Who at Wikileaks?

J Assange
© Reuters/Valentin Flauraud
"In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way." --Franklin D. Roosevelt

After the publication of a series of confirmations rather than revelations, there are some crucial unanswered questions regarding the nature and organizational structure of Wikileaks.

Shrouded in secrecy, the now famous whistleblowing site and its director Julian Assange are demanding "transparency" from governments and corporations around the world while failing to provide some basic information pertaining to Wikileaks as an organization.

Who is Julian Assange?

In the introduction to the book Underground: Hacking, Madness and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier (1997), by Julian Assange and Suelette Dreyfus, Assange begins with the following quotes:

"Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth." -- Oscar Wilde

"What is essential is invisible to the eye." -- Antoine De Saint-Exupery

From the start, Assange states that he undertook the research for the book; however, he fails to mention that he was actually one of the hackers analyzed in the book, going by the name of Mendax, a Latin word for "lying, false...".

Although we cannot confirm that the above quotes referred to him, they nonetheless suggest that Assange, at the time, was hiding his true identity.

Comment: SOTT.net is collecting these articles because they are important for keeping track of what may be going on behind the scenes as well as in the court of public opinion. SOTT's official view can be found here. SOTT supports Julian Assange and Wikileaks fully, and hopes to see his legal troubles come to an end and the future of global leaking of evil secrets assured.


Yoda

Left Bows Down to False WikiLeaks Prophet

wikimonitor
© Newscom
Wide-eyed, unquestioning worship of Julian Assange is embarrassing and creepy.

Just in time for Christmas, the cult of Julian Assange has reached a Messianic crescendo.

As millions of Christians give praise to the man-god they consider to be "the way and the truth and the life", so radicals, who are normally so sniffy about anything that looks or sounds like religion, are bending their collective knee to that "truth teller" Assange.

Here's a man who simply wants to reveal to us The Truth, we are told, yet who is persecuted and even imprisoned for doing so.

"Truth in chains" is how one WikiLeaks-loving hack described Assange's temporary imprisonment in Britain for alleged sexual offences committed in Sweden, as if Assange himself is truth, the physical embodiment of all that is right and real.

The pursuit of Assange by law enforcers represents the "persecution of truth itself", an American journalist says.

Just as Christmas is tinged with sadness for Christians because they know where this newborn babe of truth will end up at Easter time, so the Assange apostles warn us that their "truth teller" could end up dead, too, killed by the jealous and furious authorities as surely as Christ was.

Comment: SOTT.net is collecting these articles because they are important for keeping track of what may be going on behind the scenes as well as in the court of public opinion. SOTT's official view can be found here. SOTT supports Julian Assange and Wikileaks fully, and hopes to see his legal troubles come to an end and the future of global leaking of evil secrets assured.


Bad Guys

Stolen Innocence: Mexico toddler in jewellery heist

An apparent jewellery heist in Mexico involving a young child has been captured on CCTV.

In shop security footage a woman, who appeared to be the child's mother, distracted shop staff while the boy removed several items from display cabinets.

The woman then told the employees that her car was illegally parked and the pair quickly left the shop in Oaxaca that specialises in silver products.

Twenty minutes later, the clerks noticed over £250 worth of merchandise missing.

Saleswoman Ana Lilia Hernandez said they did not suspect the woman and child until the store owner saw the theft on the store's security video.


Vader

'I didn't think of Iraqis as humans,' says U.S. soldier who raped 14-year-old girl before killing her and her family

steven green
© AP
Steven Green, pictured in April 2009, is serving five life sentences for rape and murder in Iraq. He has launched appeal but doesn't have 'much hope' of ever being freed

An Iraq War veteran serving five life terms for raping and killing a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and killing her parents and sister says he didn't think of Iraqi civilians as humans after being exposed to extreme warzone violence.

Steven Green, a former 101st Airborne soldier, in his first interview since the 2006 killings, claimed that his crimes were fuelled in part by experiences in Iraq's violent 'Triangle of Death' where two of his sergeants were gunned down.

He also cited a lack of leadership and help from the Army.

'I was crazy,' Green said in the exclusive telephone interview from federal prison in Tucson, Arizona. 'I was just all the way out there. I didn't think I was going to live.'

Green talked about what led up to the March 12, 2006, attack on a family near Mahmoudiya, Iraq, that left him serving five consecutive life sentences.

The former soldier, who apologised at sentencing for his crimes, said he wasn't seeking sympathy nor trying to justify his actions - killings prosecutors described at trial in 2009 as one of the worst crimes of the Iraq war.

But Green said people should know his actions were a consequence of his circumstances in a war zone.

'If I hadn't ever been in Iraq, I wouldn't be in the kind of trouble I'm in now,' Green said. 'I'm not happy about that.'

Green was discharged with a 'personality disorder' before federal charges were brought against him.

Prosecutors sought a death sentence, but a federal jury in Paducah, Kentucky, opted for five life sentences on charges including the rape and murder of 14-year-old Abeer Qassim Al-Janabi and the shooting deaths of her mother, father and younger sister.

Four other soldiers were convicted in military court for various roles in the attack. Three remain in military prison.

Green is challenging the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, which allows the federal government to charge an American in civilian court for alleged crimes committed overseas. He was the first former soldier convicted under the statute. The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has scheduled arguments for January 21.