Was the Iron Curtain a US Psyops?

1949: One Year, Two Germanies

DW (1919)

Film Review

I found this documentary intriguing mainly because it contradicts nearly all the brainwashing I received in public school at the height of the anti-Soviet Cold War. Among other new facts I learned

  1. In the early post war period, there were socialist and communist Germans fleeing the Western zones (occupied by US, UK, and French military), as there were anti-Communists fleeing East Germany.*
  2. The Soviets and East Germans vigorously campaigned for a unified Germany, with Berlin as capitol. They were opposed by Western allies determined to create a separate West German state (presumably for the same reason the US insisted on creating two Koreas and two Vietnams – ie to enhance US control over the region).
  3. The East German Socialist Unity Party invited West German members to their first party conference, which was primarily concerned with lingering German antisemitism, ultra-nationalism and fascism.
  4. The East Germans blockaded trade to West Berlin (in the Eastern zone), when despite vigorous Soviet and East German opposition, the Allied occupiers created a separate West German currency (that threatened to collapse the East German economy). The blockade was lifted once West Germany adopted a constitution and elected a Parliament, president, and chancellor.**

*German communists and socialists were terrified of the new government of Allied occupied Germany, mainly owing to the brutal persecution they had received under the Third Reich (eg arrest, torture, extrajudicial assassination, and imprisonment in concentration camps).

**The Allies used the blockade to score a major propaganda coup, instituting an “airlift” of food and other consumer goods to West Berlin (with the implication that the East German government was depriving them of food and other necessities).

 

Hidden History: The Swiss Eugenics Laws

Au Nom de de l’Ordre Morale (In the Name of Morale Order)

Directed by Bruno Joucea and Romain Russo (2015)

French with English subtitles

Film Review

This is a French documentary about the post-World War II Swiss eugenics program. Switzerland was forced to end the program in 1981, after signing the European Convention on Human Rights. Under the program, tens of thousands of victims were imprisoned, lost custody of their children, or underwent forced sterilization for “immoral” behavior inconsistent with Swiss national values.

Those imprisoned (many teenagers who became pregnant out of wedlock) were classified as “administrative prisoners.” Imprisoned alongside convicted criminals, by 1967 they made up half the prison population. Unlike their fellow inmates, they had no set release date.

Children removed from their families were institutionalized in 40 Catholic orphanages, where they were half starved and physically tortured by nuns and sexually abused by priests.

Between 15,000 and 20,000 were still alive when this film was released in 2015. In 2014, they successfully organized a national referendum calling for an official investigation and the right to access their personal records.

The documentary features the heart breaking stories of two women imprisoned for teen pregnancies during the 1960s and two men and one woman removed from their biological parents.

The last forced sterilization occurred in 1977.

On Roosting Chickens: A History of US Empire

On the Justice of Roosting Chickens: Reflections on the Consequences of U.S. Imperial Arrogance and Criminality

by Ward Churchill

AK Press (2003)

Book Review

With the massive evidence compiled by the 9-11 Truth movement over the last two decades,* the book’s original premise has ceased to be relevant in 2020. Long time American Indian activist Ward Churchill took the title of this book from his infamous 2001 essay “On the Justice of Roosting Chickens.”  In the latter (and in Chapter 1), Churchill argues that the 9-11 attacks were a natural and unavoidable consequence of unlawful US foreign policy. The essay would lead to his dismissal from the University of Colorado-Boulder in 2017.

By the time this book was published in 2003, both Thierry Meyssan (The Big Lie) and Nafeez Ahmed (The War on Truth) had published books questioning the official version of 9-11. As of February 2002, there was also a thriving 9-11 Unanswered Questions movement, which would be the precursor to 9-11. I’m a little surprised Churchill would have no knowledge of activists who were already challenging the official story in 2003.

That being said, the book’s second and third chapters are invaluable. Chapter 2 compiles all US military actions from 1776 on. Chapter three documents all known US violations of international law dating from the 1945 founding of the United Nations.

After 1947, this list includes the use of CIA interventions to overthrow lawful governments:

  • US invasion and occupation of sovereign Native American territories – 46
  • US military actions against US civilians during protests, rebellions, riots, and strikes (including WACO, Ruby Ridge, and the 1999 anti-WTO protests in Seattle) – 23
  • US troop deployment to put down slave revolts: 5
  • US military actions against
    • North Africa – 15
    • Mexico (excluding the US-Mexican War, which forced Mexico to give up have its territory) – 29
    • France (including 1961 attempted assassination of DeGaulle) – 4
    • Spain (excluding Spanish American War) – 6
    • Cuba (following Spanish American War) – 5
    • Canada – 1 (1837 border clash)
    • Pacific Island (excluding Hawai’i and Philippines) – 5
    • Greece – 3
    • South America – 19
    • China (excluding participating in civil war against Mao) – 15
    • Sub-Saharan Africa – 8
    • Turkey – 2
    • Central America – 19
    • Japan (prior to World War II) -3
    • Korea (prior to World War II) – 33
    • Hawai’i – 3
    • Haiti (prior to deposing Prime Minister Aristide in 1991) – 4
    • Philippines – 4
    • Dominican Republic -5
    • Cuba (prior to Cuban revolution – incursions following the Bay of Pigs are too numerous to count) – 2
    • USSR – 2
    • Greenland/Iceland – 1 each
    • Italy – 1
    • Iran (prior to 1953 CIA coup) – 1
    • Albania – 1
    • Syria – 1 (failed CIA coup in 1956)
    • Indonesia – 2
    • Cyprus – 1
    • Lebanon – 2
    • Grenada – 1
    • Australia – 1

Chapter 3 is a chronological history of UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions condemning the US. It includes censures  for using napalm and Agent Orange in Vietnam, for using torture and the death penalty in US prisons, for their refusal to support the UN declaration for the elimination of racism, for their illegal blockade against Cuba, and for their illegal invasions of Angola, Panama and Nicaragua.

The chapter also includes countless Security Council and General Assembly resolutions condemning South Africa (not only for Apartheid but for the illegal invasion and occupation of Namibia and Angola) and Israel (for their illegal occupation of Palestine and the Golan Heights, their illegal invasion and 20+ year occupation of Lebanon, and their illegal deployment of nuclear weapons).

Here Churchill also covers Clinton’s illegal war against Yugoslavia, debunking most of the pro-war propaganda about alleged Serbian genocides. And finally the illegal 1972 CIA coup against democratically elected Australian prime minister Gough Whitlam (after he withdrew Australian troops from Vietnam). I was unaware prior to reading this book that John Kerr,** the Australian governor general responsible for removing Whitlam from office was a long time CIA asset.


*See https://stuartbramhall.wordpress.com/2020/02/13/making-sense-of-9-11/

**In Australia and New Zealand, the Governor General is appointed by the British monarch and technically has the authority to overrule Parliament. See https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/oct/23/gough-whitlam-1975-coup-ended-australian-independence

 

 

Fake News vs Junk Food News

Project Censored the Movie: Ending the Reign of Junk Food News

Directed by Chris Oscar and Doug Hecker (2013)

Film Review

This documentary explores the history of Project Censored, as well as its importance in the current political climate. Started in 1976, the project is run by Sonoma State University faculty and students. The atrocious mainstream media coverage of Watergate was the original impetus for the project. Media collusion in failing to cover the break-in to Democratic headquarters allowed Nixon to win a landslide victory despite a scandal that ultimately forced him to resign.

Each year Sonoma State students research censored news stories, and faculty, community advisors, and prominent journalists and commentators vote on the 25 most important stories. The best 25 are published in an annual compendium. In 2000, Project Censored was opened to affiliate university programs across the US.

The film features a number of prominent media critics, including the late Howard Zinn, Michael Parenti, Noam Chomsky, Kevin Danaher, Greg Palast, Oliver Stone, John Perkins (author Confessions of an Economic Hitman), and Milos Foreman (directed One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest).

The filmmakers emphasize the disastrous effects of handing the mainstream media over to monopoly corporations. Because the latter use it chiefly to promote their other financial interests (eg defense contractor GE owns NBC), most of what passes for news is either titillating entertainment or pure government or Wall Street propaganda. A Project Censored faculty member cites a recent study revealing only 24 seconds of an average 30-minute news broadcast covers real issues affecting viewers.

Most media critics agree that the de facto repeal of the Bill of Rights (especially the right to habeas corpus) and the most important censored story of the last decade.*

The most important censored story of 2012 was the high suicide rate (higher than combatant deaths) of returning Iraqi veterans. The most important censored story of 2007 was the massive genocide in Congo, where 80% of the coltan used in cellphones, computers, and missiles originates.


*Bond the virtual appeal of the 1st, 4th, 5th, and 6th amendments, the filmmakers detail additional evidence the US government (as of 2013) was already preparing to declare martial law: by placing US troops on standby to enter US cities, increasing the size and number of large detention centers, and enacting laws enabling asset seizure of antiwar protestors, banning pro bono legal representation, etc.

The film can be viewed free at https://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/project-censored-the-movie/

Hidden History: The 1989 US Invasion of Panama

Invasion

(Spanish with English subtitles)

Directed by Abner Benaim (2014)

Film Review

This is a Panamanian documentary about the 1989 US invasion of Panama killing an estimated 1,000 civilians.

In addition to reenacting aspects of the invasion, the filmmakers interview a range of people affected by it, including residents of low income areas of Panama City shelled and firebombed by US forces, Noriega aids who arranged for him to seek sanctuary in the Vatican embassy, a former staff person from the embassy, and wealthy Panamanians who supported the invasion.

The most moving accounts are those of civilians whose family members were killed or seriously injured in the US assault. Most US and Panamanian young people have little knowledge of the invasion because it isn’t taught in school. Low income Panamanians over 40 supported Noriega’s nationalist ambitions and opposed the US invasion. Wealthier residents accepted the US pretext of ridding the country of a corrupt dictator. Most people interviewed were fully aware of Noriega’s longstanding collaboration with the CIA and DEA in their drug running operations.

Despite their political opposition to the invasion, many low income Panama City residents used the chaos it generated to massively loot the city’s retail outlets.

For me, the high point of the film was seeing the massive speakers (the size of a pickup bed) the US military used to psychologically torture Vatican embassy personnel with loud, non-stop heavy metal music.

 

Oregon’s 1994 Death with Dignity Law

How to Die in Oregon

Directed by Peter D Richardson (2011)

Film Review

On September 19, the End of Life Choice Act referendum will be on the ballot in New Zealand. This documentary profiles Oregon’s 1994 Death with Dignity law (enacted by citizens initiated referendum). The latter permits doctors to prescribe a lethal quantity of barbiturates to allow terminal patients to end their lives. Unlike doctor-assisted suicide, patients must be able to self-administer the lethal cocktail. In 1994, Oregon, Switzerland, and the Netherlands were the only jurisdictions that allowed terminal patients to end their lives. As of 2011, a surprisingly small number of Oregon patients had taken their lives under the law.

The film profiles three terminally ill individuals who have secured lethal barbiturate prescriptions after satisfying specific medical criteria and the trained patient advocates who offer reassurance and counseling to all patients in the program. The filmmakers follow one patient and his family through the entire process.

They also interview opponents of right-to-die laws. The most concerning argument against them is the possibility a budget-strapped state will offer state sanctioned suicide as an alternative to expensive treatment regimes and good palliative care. In fact one Oregon patient shows filmmakers a letter from the Oregon Health Plan denying him a second round of chemotherapy and offering assisted suicide as a possible alternative.*

The film also profiles a Washington State woman campaigning for Washington State’s Death with Dignity referendum (approved in 2008), after watching her husband suffer horribly with terminal brain cancer.


*When he goes public with the letter, the OHP decides to allow the chemotherapy.

Anyone with a public library card can view the full film free on Kanopy. Type “Kanopy” and the name of your library into your search engine.

George Washington Carver: An Uncommon Life

George Washington Carver: An Uncommon Life

PBS (2020)

Film Review

This is an intriguing documentary about the highly controversial African American George Washington Carver. The latter has come under heavy criticism from anti-Jim Crow activists (starting with W.E.B Dubois 1868-1963) for his failure to challenge the institution of racism.

I should note that two of the corporate financial interests that sponsored the making of this film (DuPont and Alliance Energy) have appalling record when it comes to acknowledging any kind of racial or social justice. Thus I suspect the history they portray may be somewhat “sanitized.”

I  myself knew almost nothing about Carver’s life prior to watching this film. Born into slavery in 1864, Carver and his mother were illegally abducted when he was only a few months old and resold to an Arkansas plantation owner. The family’s former slave master Moses Carver traveled to Arkansas to retrieve the family.

Because George Washington’s mother had disappeared, Moses and his wife raised him and his older brother as their own children. The brother helped Moses around the farm, and George Washington, who was sickly, stayed in the house and learned cooking, knitting, sewing, and other womanly skills.

At 12, a Black family adopted him to enable him to attend a black school eight miles away. His adoptive mother was a midwife and folk healer.

After high school, he applied to Simpson College in Indianola Ohio to study painting. Concerned Carver couldn’t make a living as an artist, his art teacher encouraged him to transfer to Iowa State  Agricultural College. After completing his bachelor’s and master’s degree, he became the first African American on the faculty of Iowa State University. While there, he became close friends with three successive US Secretaries of Agriculture, including Henry Wallace, who served as Vice President under Roosevelt.

In 1896 Booker T Washington (also attacked by DuBois for being an accommodationist) invited him to start a department of agriculture at Tuskegee University in Alabama. Despite a substantial pay cut, Carver, hoping to improve the miserable lives of Alabama’s black sharecroppers, accepted.

In addition to working in his chemistry lab and teaching classes, Carver assisted thousands of Black sharecropper to improve their yields. Because only 1/5 of 5 million sharecroppers owned their on land, sharecropping and tenant farming were essentially an extension of slavery. (See Sharecropping: The Hidden History)

The biggest contribution Carver made was to teach sharecroppers to diversity away from cotton, which was depleting their soil. He also taught them to replenish their soil with organic fertilizers and with crop rotation involving legumes and sweet potatoes. He particularly encouraged them to grow peanuts, a legume with extremely high nutritional value.

During his lifetime, Carver discovered 300 products farmers could make from peanuts, including peanut butter.

Never marrying, Carver (who counted Henry Ford, FDR and Edison among his circle of friends) lived alone in a dorm room and rarely socialized.

 

 

 

 

The Law that Makes Taxpayers Liable for All Vaccine Injuries

1986: The Act

Directed by Dr Andy Wakefield (2020)

Film Review

1986: The Act, Dr Andy Wakefield’s* sequel to Vaxxed was just released last week. The price to rent the 2 1/2 hour film is steep – $US12.99. Some may want to wait until the price comes down. People can rent the film at https://7thchakrafilms.com/home-page

This documentary, simply, is a history of the 1986 US National Vaccine Injury Act. This legislation guarantees pharmaceutical companies totally immunity from liability for adverse reactions to vaccines by transferring the liability to US taxpayers. It also creates a special vaccine court to decide on the merit of the hundreds of disabled children who file claims every year. President Reagan (a strong opponent of big government) threatened to veto the bill. However he caved in and signed the law when Wyeth threatened to withdraw the Pertussis vaccine from the DPT (trivalent diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus vaccine).

The history of vaccine injury in the US is long, complicated and politically corrupt. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised to learn the CIA was directly involved in suppressing public information about adverse vaccine side effects owing to some bizarre Cold War competition with the Soviets over vaccine supremacy (???).

It was largely due to CIA interference that 63 million Americans were injected with the cancer-causing SV40 between 1955-63 and thousands of children suffered from acute encephalopathy following inoculation with the cellular pertussis vaccine.** Available in other countries in 1981, the acellular pertussis vaccine wouldn’t be mandated for use in US infants until 1996. CIA interference is also implicated in the failure of the FDA to shut down polio vaccine production at Cutter Laboratories in 1954, after an NIH researcher discovered their vaccine contained live (as opposed to inactivated polio vaccine). Eventually 40,000 children would develop polio from the Cutter vaccine, 164 would experience paralysis and 10 would die.

1986 wasn’t the first year the US government assumed liability for vaccine injuries. In 1976 a swine flu vaccine was rushed to market with inadequate testing after four soldiers contracted swine flu at Fort Dix. When the insurance industry refused to issue liability insurance, the federal government assumed liability. In this case, 200 people caught swine flu with one death. In contrast the the vaccine caused 58 deaths, 532 cases of paralysis, and thousands of lawsuits against the US government.

The 1986 law provides that claims must be filed within three years of learning of the vaccine injury (especially onerous given most parents have never heard of the vaccine court). Hearings are closed to the public, have no discovery process and are run by a special master (as opposed to a judge). The Act initially included a table of recognized injuries (developed by the CDC) which were automatically compensated. In the beginning,  regressive encepalopathy (in which seizures and autism are often a major outcome) was an on table condition, which meant 95% of autism/seizure cases received compensation.

After the incidence of autism began to skyrocket in the early 1990s, Clinton’s Secretary of Health and Human Services removed regressive encephalopathy and many other common vaccine injuries from the CDC table. This, in turn, forced parents to prove a direct link between the vaccine and their child’s disability, which is extremely difficult as most of the research is suppressed.

The most serious downstream effect of the total immunity 1986 Act granted pharmaceutical companies is the removal of any incentive on their part to study (and guarantee) the long term safety of their vaccines.


*The mainstream media continues to crucify Wakefield for his supposedly fraudulent 1998 Lancet paper. This article probably gives the best legal synopsis of the fraudulent case Big Pharma’s concocted against him (https://www.ageofautism.com/2020/03/why-we-cannot-believe-brian-deer-about-andrew-wakefield.html).

**In 1976, the FDA commissioned a study (which was suppressed) revealing that 1 in 300 children receiving cellular pertussis vaccine developed generalized seizures, and 1 in 214 developed other serious neurological reactions.

 

Psychodelics and Plant Medicine

Psyched Out: Documentary on Psychodelics and Plant Medicine

Directed by Giovani Bartolomeo (2018)

Film Review

The first video below is a documentary based mainly on the work of the late Terrence McKenna, a US ethnobotanist who was one of the first to investigate the healing effects of psychodelic plants. The film also features contemporary psychodelics advocates Dr Gabor Mate and British author and journalist Graham Hancock. The second video concerns a bank robber who was trained as an ayahuasca* shaman by a fellow prisoner.

Psyched Out begins by tracing the history of psychodelic use in healing and religious ceremonies. DMT (N,N-Dimethyltryptamine) was widely used by ancient Egyptians. McKenna believes Moses was under the influence of DMT when the burning bush spoke to him. He also suggests the forbidden fruit Adam and Eve ate in the Garden of Eden was actually the amanita mushroom. He also also sees a fundamental role for psylocybin in the supercharged evolution of the human brain occurring 15,000 – 20,000 years ago.

Between 3,000 – 1,500 BC, the use of psychodelics in healing and religious ceremonies occurred in all major civilizations. It ended in Western civilization in the 4th century AD with the Roman emperor Constantine’s formalization of the Catholic Church as a political body. Beginning with European colonization in the 15th century, psychodelics were banned nearly everywhere in the world.

McKenna and others believe the early church banned psychodelics because their role in expanding consciousness (ie these plants make people aware of their unconscious processes) leads people to question their fundamental beliefs about authority and their role in society.

For me the most interesting part of the film were the testimonials given by three patients who took ayahuasca and experienced total remission of longstanding opiate addiction, panic disorder/insomnia, and incapacitating scleroderma.**

I was also intrigued to learn of important discoveries and inventions directly related to psychodelic use, including the DNA double helix, the polymerase chain reaction, and several of Steve Jobs’ innovative Apple products.


*Ayahuasca is a hallucinatory tea made from a plant and vine containing DMT.

** Scleroderma is a group of autoimmune diseases that may result in changes to the skin, blood vessels, muscles, and internal organs. The disease can be either localized to the skin or involve both skin and other organs.

Kentucky Ayahuasca Episode 7

Vice (2019)

Film Review

I normally hate reality TV, but that was before I watched Kentucky Ayahuasca. Steve Hupp offers two-day Ayahuasca ceremonies with his wife and two apprentice therapist With 15 years experience, he boasts an 80% success rate for refractory PTSD, depression, and addiction and bipolar disorders.

Although, as a Schedule 1 drug, ayahuasca is illegal in the US, Native Americans are allowed to use it in religious ceremonies. Hupp calls his church the Aya Quest Native American church.

Readers can view the entire Kentucky Ayahuasca series at

https://video.vice.com/en_us/show/kentucky-ayahuasca

Hidden History: The Japanese Bombing of Australia

Croker Island Exodus

Directed by Stephen McGregor (2011)

Film Review

Prior to watching this documentary, I had no idea Japanese bombers attacked northern Australia 97 times during World War II.* This film reenacts the evacuation of 95 Aboriginal children from Croker Island during the bombing. Members of the “Stolen Generation,” the mixed race children were forcibly removed from their mothers to be raised in Christian missionary schools. Claiming the practice would facilitate assimilation, the Australian government continued to kidnap mixed race children until 1970.

The filmmakers also interview three of the surviving children as they reminisce about their separation from their families and their 42 day journey from Croker Island to Sydney.

Darwin was evacuated (except for essential services) in 1941, shortly before the first Japanese bombing raid. The three missionary sisters running the Croker Island school had the option to evacuate but chose to remain with their students.

Once Darwin was evacuated, the school ceased to receive food shipments from the Australian mainland. This left the sisters and children no choice but to evacuate. They traveled to Barclay Point in Queensland by naval frigate. From there two trucks drove them 50 kilometers through the tropical rainforest to Oenpelli. Because the trucks kept having breakdowns, most of the children ended up walking.

From Oenpelli, they walked barefoot 344 kilometers to the army base in Pine Creek. With limited provisions, they relied on bush water holes and wild water grass (wild sugar cane) for water and supplemented their bread and butter will lizards and wild berries.

At Pine Creek they were put on a train to Sydney. The army built two portable shelters for them on a mission homestead one-half hour south of Sydney.

In 1946, 63 of them chose to return to Coker Island. They remained there until age 16, when they went to Darwin to look for work. In 2011, when this film was made, only 12 evacuees were still living. The film ends with an extremely moving reunion they held with the last surviving missionary sister.


*Between February 1942 and November 1943, during the Pacific War of World War II, the Australian mainland, domestic airspace, offshore islands and coastal shipping were attacked at least 97 times by aircraft from the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Force and Imperial Japanese Army Air Force. These attacks came in various forms; from large-scale raids by medium bombers, to torpedo attacks on ships, and to strafing runs by fighters.

In the first and deadliest set of attacks, 242 aircraft hit Darwin on the morning of 19 February 1942. Killing at least 235 people and causing immense damage, the attacks made hundreds of people homeless and resulted in the abandonment of Darwin as a major naval base.

The film can be viewed free at the Maori TV website:

https://www.maoritelevision.com/shows/sunday-documentaries/S01E001/croker-island-exodus