Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Brave New World?

My friend Micah Sifry will be on Wolf Blitzer's Situation Room on CNN and on CBS Evening News talking about a new anti-Hillary ad that was posted on YouTube a few weeks ago by an anonymous person with whom Sifry has been in contact. The ad used an old sci-fi-ish Apple computer commercial to turn Hillary Clinton (who is mouthing empty rhetoric) into a Big Brother-like leader who is destroyed by a single courageous woman. At the end, a message appears on the screen, "On January 14th, the Democratic primary will begin. And you'll see why 2008 won't be like '1984.'" Then another message emerges: BarackObama.com.

This is not an official campaign ad, but it has certainly gotten around, drawing nearly 1 million views as of this morning. And here's the meta-point: is this ad an omen of a new sort of media politics? What happens when practically anyone can make an attack ad and place it on YouTube--and can do so anonymously? This could change the usual dialogue, as witty and engaging ads (or over-the-top screams) catch fire. The good news: here's a role for citizen input in what has traditionally been a top-down endeavor: politicians speak, you listen. There is a down side: no accountability. Imagine Swift Boat-like ads that spread false information about a candidate that cannot be tied to a specific campaign or a political action campaign. The YouTube revolution can modernize smear campaigns. No need for whispers and faxes (Remember how the Bushies slammed John McCain in South Carolina during the 2000 campaign.) Now, high-tech means can be put to use to poison politics.

So the song remains the same. A technology advance can be a force for good or bad, as the brave new world continues along.

Posted by David Corn at March 20, 2007 11:56 AM


capt said...

Mr. David Corn,

Who needs sophisticated technology when the likes of Victoria Toensing can tell congress you were the one that outed Valerie Plame, not to mention the likes of Cliffy May putting the same in print and the talking heads that spin round while they spew?

If some people make some smart and savvy ad's, animation's and video's other people will watch. If freedom of expression is to remain intact the Internet must remain "anything goes."

The honest and balanced reporting of facts that everybody used to depend on from the MSM has failed so the critical mind now must discern with great care everything from every source.

That for all of your work!


capt said...

"In the End I Would Have Confessed to Anything"

Abu Omar was tortured in Egypt for months. He has finally been released after four years, a broken man.

"After I rejected their offer to work as an informer for them, I was treated like dirt in the prison in Egypt. In the first few months I was locked in a solitary cell and had no contact with lawyers or my family. I was totally shut off from the outside world. Every couple of days I got taken to be interrogated. Egypt's government did what it always does: carry out Washington's orders. The dirty work to get me to talk was to be done here. That's why they tortured me, hooked up electric wires to my genitals, hung me on the wall in a solitary cell for days, subjected me to unbearably loud music through headphones."

"In the first 14 months I would have confessed to anything they wanted to hear -- but I knew nothing about any plans for attacks in Italy or anywhere else. During every interrogation they showed me photos of suspects I didn't know. Several times one of the men in uniform told me I was in a place no one knew and where no one could help me. I kept having to sign documents after the interrogations. I read the first ones, they confirmed that I had not been tortured. Afterwards I just signed everything they put in front of me. I didn't care. I had already tried twice to kill myself. Both times they found me too soon. I didn't want to carry on living in this hell."

At this point, from February 2003 to April 2004, no one knew where Abu Omar was. The Americans even told their colleagues in the Italian secret service that he had probably escaped to Albania or to a combat zone. Only when Abu Omar was suddenly released in April 2004 did the investigation start. He rang his wife Nabila in Milan, where authorities had bugged his phone. When his wife informed journalists that her husband was in Egypt, the police arrested Abu Omar again.

"After I was arrested for the second time they started off by punishing me for having talked. They beat me up several times. There were more electric shocks, but they didn't want to find anything out any more. They said they already knew everything about me but the Americans wanted me to remain in custody. I was told to keep quiet and not say anything to any lawyers, otherwise the torture would continue."


*****end of clip*****

You know the CIA has KSM's kids - what would you admit to if the admission would spare a child from torture? What would you admit to if the admission would save your children from pain, torture or incarceration?


Robert S said...

The iRack

Robert S said...

Saladin, previous thread.

Damn right the tool is rusty and shot to shit, as well. That happens to tools when you don't take care of them. They must be cleaned, oiled and most importantly, kept in their rightful place.

And government is a slippery tool at best, one which imagines that it can decide on its own what the job should be, or which direction to head, as it were, to prolong the metaphor. But think of it as the horse in front of the cart...and who should wear the blinders, the horse or the driver?

You brought up the subject of Yellowstone National Park. I haven't been in over a decade, but, last I was it was still there, and while there were some problems involved, such as bison ranging off the park and onto private lands, the re-introduction of a wolf population that had upset some of the ranchers and chronic lack of funding that the entire National Park system suffers with, the park was in reasonable shape. Much better shape than if say, a Federal Government hadn't created a National Park system.

While I abhor much of what the Government does, and the entire premise of what interstate commerce does and does not entail should be examined, I notice that you did not name another tool to use instead of government.

capt said...

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