Occasionally we at Medienkritik receive emails from truly whacked-out members of the Angry Left. It helps us to appreciate what truly prominent bloggers (Instapundit, Michelle Malkin) must be going through on a daily basis. Here is just one recent example. Feel the love (and if you are under 18 stop reading now!)
Datum: Fri, 24 Feb 2006 19:26:27 -0800 (PST) Von: csmachine <email@example.com> Betreff: Karen Hughes Article and your website An: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear German Right-Wingers (Nazis),
I just found your website through the article about Karen Hughes, and as a German-speaking and "deutsch-freundlich" German-American citizen of the USA, as a human being, I would like to say...
WASHINGTON, Feb. 26 — Two German intelligence agents in Baghdad obtained a copy of Saddam Hussein's plan to defend the Iraqi capital, which a German official passed on to American commanders a month before the invasion, according to a classified study by the United States military.
In providing the Iraqi document, German intelligence officials offered more significant assistance to the United States than their government has publicly acknowledged. The plan gave the American military an extraordinary window into Iraq's top-level deliberations, including where and how Mr. Hussein planned to deploy his most loyal troops. (...)
As the American military prepared to invade Iraq, the German intelligence agents operated in Baghdad.
Among their tasks, they sought to obtain Mr. Hussein's plan to defend Baghdad, the United States study asserts. For years, the Iraqi military had relied on a strategy that called for deploying Iraqi forces along the invasion route to Baghdad in the hope of bloodying and weakening an invading army before it arrived at the capital.
But on Dec. 18, 2002, Mr. Hussein summoned his commanders to a strategy session where a new plan was unveiled, former Iraqi officers and government officials told American interrogators. Among those attending were Qusay Hussein, the Iraqi leader's son who oversaw the Republican Guard; Lt. Gen. Sayf al-Din Fulayyih Hasan Taha al-Rawi, the Republican Guard chief of staff, and other Republican Guard generals. Mr. Hussein's instructions were to mass troops along several defensive rings near the capital, including a "red line" that Republican Guard troops would hold to the end.
An account of the German role in acquiring a copy of Mr. Hussein's plan is contained in the American military study, which focuses on Iraq's military strategy and was prepared in 2005 by the United States Joint Forces Command.
After the German agents obtained the Iraqi plan, they sent it up their chain of command, the study said.
In February 2003, a German intelligence officer in Qatar provided a copy to an official from the United States Defense Intelligence Agency who worked at the wartime headquarters of the overall commander, Gen. Tommy R. Franks, according to the American military study. Officials at the agency shared the plan with the Central Command's J-2 office, or intelligence division. That division supplied information for the report. (emphasis added)
Either the German government knew about the cooperation between German and U.S. intelligence, in which case former chancellor Schroeder and foreign minister Fischer had lied to the public, or they didn't know it, which would reveal their complete cluelessness about what happened under their watch... Neither option makes them look statesmenlike.
As to the agent who provided the information about Saddam's strategy change, I have my own suspicion... Thank you, Susanne?
The El-Masri rendition case has been the focus of heavy media attention in Germany since the story first broke last year that a German citizen of Lebanese decent was apparently the innocent victim in a case of mistaken identity. On January 14, 2005, SPIEGEL ONLINE's English site published the following:
"Khaled el-Masri just wanted to go on a short holiday to Skopje, he says. He needed some time alone -- away from the clamor of his four young sons. A couple of days. But it turned out to be a longer trip than he had planned. And he didn't end up seeing much of the Macedonian capital, either. Rather, he spent months locked up in a dirty prison cell in Afghanistan.
El-Masri, a 41-year-old German citizen who lives in the western German city of Ulm, was kidnapped on the Macedonian border by secret service personnel -- he doesn't know what country they were from -- on Dec. 31, 2003. From there, he was brought to a hotel in Skopje where he was not allowed to leave his room for three weeks. His captors began interrogating him there: "They offered me a deal," he told the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung. "I should sign a confession that I was a member of al-Qaida and then they would let me go.""
After five months, the intelligence agencies reportedly realized they had the wrong man and released Mr. El-Masri, allegedly offering him money to remain silent. Recently a Washington Post article by Dana Priest indicated that German government and intelligence knew much more about the case then previously admitted:
"In May 2004, the White House dispatched the U.S. ambassador in Germany to pay an unusual visit to that country's interior minister. Ambassador Daniel R. Coats carried instructions from the State Department transmitted via the CIA's Berlin station because they were too sensitive and highly classified for regular diplomatic channels, according to several people with knowledge of the conversation.
Coats informed the German minister that the CIA had wrongfully imprisoned one of its citizens, Khaled Masri, for five months, and would soon release him, the sources said. There was also a request: that the German government not disclose what it had been told even if Masri went public. The U.S. officials feared exposure of a covert action program designed to capture terrorism suspects abroad and transfer them among countries, and possible legal challenges to the CIA from Masri and others with similar allegations.
The Masri case, with new details gleaned from interviews with current and former intelligence and diplomatic officials, offers a rare study of how pressure on the CIA to apprehend al Qaeda members after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has led in some instances to detention based on thin or speculative evidence. The case also shows how complicated it can be to correct errors in a system built and operated in secret."
Other sources also indicated that US intelligence contacted German authorities after apprehending El-Masri, sparking controversy in the German media. El-Masri also claims he was interrogated by a German man who identified himself as "Sam" while in Afghanistan. Recently media sources have speculated on the identity of "Sam" without conclusive findings. The International Herald Tribune Europe reported last Tuesday:
"German officials said they knew nothing about the man's abduction and have repeatedly pressed Washington for information about the case, which has sparked outrage here. At a meeting in Berlin in December, Chancellor Angela Merkel demanded an explanation of the incident from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
But on Monday in nearby New Ulm, the police and prosecutors opened an investigation into whether Germany served as a silent partner of the United States in the abduction of the man, Khaled al-Masri, a German citizen of Arab descent who was detained on New Year's Eve 2003 in Macedonia and flown to the Kabul prison.
The action came after a two-and-a- half-hour meeting at police headquarters in which Masri told the police that he was "90 percent" certain that a senior German police official was the interrogator who had visited him three times inside the prison in Kabul but had identified himself only as "Sam."
The German prosecutors said Monday that they are also investigating whether the German Embassy in Skopje, Macedonia, had been notified about Masri's kidnapping within days of his detention there, but then did nothing to try to help him.
In broadening its criminal inquiry into the abduction of Masri to the activities of its own government, the prosecutors are trying to determine whether German officials worked secretly with the United States in a practice known as "rendition," in which terror suspects are sent to be interrogated in other countries where torture is commonly used."
In the meantime, El-Masri has become a cause celeb for organizations like the ACLU. So much so that the organization has even filed a lawsuit on the German's behalf against former CIA Director George Tenet. The ACLU website states:
"In a history-making lawsuit, the ACLU is challenging the practice on behalf of Khaled El-Masri, an entirely innocent victim of rendition who was released without ever being charged.
The lawsuit charges that former CIA Director George Tenet violated U.S. and universal human rights laws when he authorized agents to abduct Mr. El-Masri, beat him, drug him, and transport him to a secret CIA prison in Afghanistan. The corporations that owned and operated the airplanes used to transport Mr. El-Masri are also named in the case. The CIA continued to hold Mr. El-Masri incommunicado in the notorious “Salt Pit” prison in Afghanistan long after his innocence was known. Five months after his abduction, Mr. El-Masri was deposited at night, without explanation, on a hill in Albania."
But was Khaled El-Masri really just an innocent man plucked from a bus on a dark night? Or did he have real connections with radical Islamic organizations? A new media report from the German magazine "Focus" sheds further light on the case.
Focus Magazine: El-Masri Commando Chief with Radical Lebanese Al-Tawhid
"The German-Lebanese Khaled el-Masri who was abducted to Afghanistan was the commando chief of a radical movement in Lebanon Focus reports.
The German-Lebanese commanded a 16-man armed group in Lebanon according to information from German intelligence. That was conveyed to FOCUS from the 273 comprehensive secret report of the German security authorities for the parliamentary oversight committee (PKG).
According to it, El-Masri was a leading member of the radical movement Al-Tawhid (spelled "el-Tawhid" in German) at the start of the 1980s. The organization stood close to the Muslim Brotherhood ideologically and above all fought the Alavite sect in Lebanon that they saw as un-Islamic. The area of operations for El-Masri and his troop was supposed to be Tripoli." (emphasis ours)
So is Mr. El-Masri an "an entirely innocent victim of rendition" as the ACLU claims or did the CIA have real reason to suspect him as someone with connections to Al-Qaeda? This recent "Focus" report is certain to provoke new questions and a fresh look at the case.
— Cindy Sheehan, mother of a soldier killed in Iraq
and the woman who protested the war last summer outside President Bush’s Texas ranch, is scheduled to bring her anti-war message
to U.S. military
installations in Germany
next month. (...)
On March 11, protesters plan to walk from Landstuhl Regional
Medical Center to a parking lot just outside Ramstein Air Base, where Sheehan
will be at a “camp,” paying tribute to those who have died in the Iraq war. (...)
With the Kaiserslautern
military community home to more than 50,000 Americans with military ties,
Sheehan could face a rough welcome. When asked for comment Wednesday on
Sheehan’s upcoming visit, several soldiers in Kaiserslautern asked if they could be quoted
One soldier, who recently returned from Iraq, did give his name but didn’t
have much to say about Sheehan.
“Anything I would have to say about her, you couldn’t
print,” Army Staff Sgt. Mark Genthner said.
I guess she'll have some kind words for the German media. And vice versa... I expect orgasmic reporting in the German media, in particular from public tv channels ARD and ZDF.
If you feel like joining a protest against Sheehan's protest a Ramstein Air Base, keep an eye on the Soldiers' Angels Germany blog. These admirable folks might organize a much needed counter-protest...
After releasing it's English version of an interview with US Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Karen Hughes, SPIEGEL ONLINE today released its German version of the same interview. At least it was supposed to be the same interview...
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Another Translation Train Wreck
Unfortunately, as has been the case so oftenin the past, the German version was noticeably different from the English version. What you see is not always what you get at SPIEGEL ONLINE. Here is a summary of serious discrepancies:
In her response to the second question on the recent release of Abu Ghraib photos, Hughes says: "We don't want to be defined by those pictures, any more than the people of Germany would want your country to be defined by pictures of crimes." The segment in bold (emphasis ours) is omitted from the German version.
In a response on Guantanamo, Hughes states in the English version: "I hope that the people of Germany would be able to recognize that we should not allow a difference over how we handle 490 terrorists who have pledged to kill Americans and others to divide our two countries and our historic friendship." The segments in bold (emphasis ours) are omitted from the German version.
In the English version, Hughes' final line is: "I think all of us should take a breath and be a little bit more charitable about how we view each other." The entire sentence is omitted from the German version, leaving this line at the very end: "Die Menschen liegen ihm am Herzen, er ist ein wunderbarer Führer." (emphasis ours)
In the English version, Hughes speaks of the possible use of force against Iran: "We hope that we are able to resolve this diplomatically -- that is our fervent hope." The segment in bold (emphasis ours) is omitted from the German version.
In the second question, the German version refers to Guantanamo as follows: "Und ein Bericht der Vereinten Nationen verlangt die Schließung des Lagers von Guantanamo - das sei ein Gefängnis in rechtsfreiem Raum." The segment in bold (emphasis ours) does not appear in the English version. The English translation of the segment in bold (which refers to Guantanamo) is: "- that is a prison in a space free from legal jursidiction."
The third question in the German version: "Sie hatten ihre Gründe dafür." does not appear in the English version. Translated that means: "They had their reasons for that."
In another line of question, Hughes is asked: "So what do you hear in the Muslim world? Why is there so much hatred against America?" She replies: "That's not an accurate depiction." The German translation of her reply is given as: "Hass ist nicht das richtige Wort." The German translated: "Hate is not the right word." That's not what she said.
In the English version, Hughes says of Angela Merkel: "She, as someone who grew up behind the Iron Curtain, understands the importance of freedom, and we view Germany as an important partner in helping foster democracy that we believe will lead, ultimately to a safer world." The segment in bold (emphasis ours) is omitted in the German version.
In the next question on Merkel in the English version, SPIEGEL states: "But even such a close friend as Angela Merkel is criticizing Guantanamo." The segment in bold (emphasis ours) is omitted in the German version.
In the German version, Hughes is asked: "Und Sie schicken Ihre namhaftesten Muslime nun als Botschafter rund um die Welt?" This question does not appear in the English version. Translated it means: "And now you send your best-known Muslims around the world as ambassadors?"
Two questions and answers in the English version (on the cartoon issue and the cartoons in the American press) are completely omitted from the German version.
The German version contains a second photo caption featuring SPIEGEL's inflammatory new “America’s Shame” cover complete with multiple links. The English version does not contain the caption.
In the English version, Hughes says of her job (towards the end of the interview): "I view my job as engaging people." The entire sentence is omitted from the German version.
In the English version, Hughes refers to the "secretary of state" in a response on "polling before September 11th." There is no mention of the secretary of state in the German version.
The German version specifically refers to "Public Diplomacy" in the first question, the English version does not.
SPIEGEL does not identify the individual(s) responsible for translating the interview.
What a flattering choice of words for the German-language caption. George W. Bush is "Ein wunderbarer Führer." How convenient that SPIEGEL ONLINE cut the entire last sentence for the desired ending with the desired connotation. And the lesson is this: If you lop off enough sentences and references to friendship, hope and understanding, any interview can fit your distorted worldview. In this case, a perfectly amicable interview has been twisted into a public relations nightmare by disingenuous journalists with an ideological axe to grind.
So much for reaching out to the German "friends." Perhaps Undersecretary Hughes (and other members of the Bush administration) should think long and hard the next time a SPIEGEL journalist comes along asking for an interview. This sort of hatchet job has become the rule and not the exception. Just look at SPIEGEL's "fair and balanced" reporting on the USA over the past few years Madame Secretary:
Just days after releasing another flagrantly anti-American magazine cover, SPIEGEL sat down with US envoy Karen Hughes and asked her why there was so much anti-Americanism in the world today. Of course, Ms. Hughes was far too gracious to point out the publication's obvious hypocrisy, but she did make a number of interesting points.
At one point in the interview, a long-held, popular myth came up: That of "squandered solidarity":
SPIEGEL: But Europe is deeply concerned that America has lost the moral high ground in dealing with these problems. After 9/11 almost the entire world stood behind the United States, but now we see an historic level of anti-Americanism. How could you squander this capital so quickly?
Hughes: I've seen some polling before September 11th, where many people around the world were expressing concern about America. We are a superpower, and with that comes some resentment. But we do need to do a better job of reaching out, of listening. That's the reason the president asked me to take this job, as someone who is a close friend of his, who is able to travel and listen and come back and share what I hear with the president and the secretary of state.
Let's examine the claim that America "squandered solidarity" following September 11. Immediately following the attacks, there was undoubtedly a swell of support and sympathy for the United States. According to Die Welt, 64% of Germans were for US military action immediately after September 11. But just weeks later on October 24, 2001, SPIEGEL ONLINE was reporting:
Majority in Germany for Ceasefire
Hamburg - According to a Forsa poll, more than two-thirds of Germans demand a cease-fire in Afghanistan. As the research institute determined for the newspaper "Die Woche," 69% of those questioned support the demand of the Greens and aid organizations for a break in the attacks against the Taliban regime and Osama bin Laden's terror organization to care for refugees and the hungry. 60% are against the involvement of German troops in a ground war in Afghanistan.
According to the representative poll, 55% support a course independent of the USA for the German federal government in the fight against terror. Only 41% share the opinion of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder (SPD), that Germany should show unlimited solidarity to the USA."
As the numbers above demonstrate, the United States did not "squander" German "solidarity" following 9/11. The majority of the German people (and many others) unilaterally withdrew support the moment they realized the world's only superpower planned to defend itself militarily. This dramatic dropoff occurred within weeks from September to October 2001. So dramatic was the decline that Chancellor Schroeder was forced to call a no confidence vote in November 2001, just two months after the attacks.
Certainly, one could argue that aspects of US foreign policy since Afghanistan have been widely unpopular abroad. The US has unquestionably made its share of mistakes at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere. But the fact remains that, since the attacks, foreign media have shamelessly exploited anti-American sentiment on an unprecedented scale for ideological and monetary gain.
In other words, when the people at SPIEGEL ONLINE ask Ms. Hughes why anti-Americanism has grown so rapidly (as if she alone were to blame,) they need to take a step back and recognize that they are a fundamental part of the problem. Time and again they have published degrading, sensationalist covers at the expense of the United States and its people:
We've said it before and we'll say it again: Many Americans realize that much of the criticism they hear blaring from across the seas is not fair, balanced, constructive and heartfelt but rather dishonest, biased, destructive and vindictive. It's about ideology and scaring people into rejecting so-called "amerikanische Verhaeltnisse." Far too many critics of America would rather see the country go down in failure and flames as opposed to changing the nation for the better, and Americans know that. In the case of the German media, the exploitation of populism for profit is a key motivating factor. So how do many Americans react? They rightfully close their ears in mistrust and the dialogue is cut off.
Above all, it is the German media that is squandering German-American solidarity.
Just when you thought you were safe. SPIEGEL has just released another one of its famous hate-America covers. They really can't help themselves. There is an enormous demand for anti-American innuendo in Germany that is simply too lucrative to pass up. The latest edition is a cynical masterpiece:
"America's Shame: Torture in the Name of Freedom"
Torture in the name of freedom? Since when has America advocated torture as a means of promoting freedom? When someone is tortured or abused in a German jail in violation of established standards, does that mean the German government is torturing in the name of democracy as well? When illegal immigrants suffocate or commit suicide in German custody is that also in the name of democracy? It is as if the United States had never addressed the issue. It is as if the McCain bill torture ban had never been passed by Congress and signed by the President.
This is a dangerously cynical equation of two concepts. Particularly in a Europe where the general public is already so jaded that many no longer believe in the concept of freedom. Why? Because instead of reporting on the systematic violation of human rights in nations like North Korea and Iran the German media finds it necessary to exploit two year old photos of Abu Ghraib for profit (again and again). Never mind that Saddam's Abu Ghraib was a thousand times worse or that hundreds of thousands are starving to death in Kim Jong Il's gulags. There is no need for context in the world of asymmetric journalism.
Germany's Shame: Standing By While Dictators Murder Millions
Germany opposed toppling Saddam and his regime of mass graves. It was not Germany or the UN but the United States that ended the killing in the Balkans. And while SPIEGEL lectures us on "America's Disgrace," the German government is out actively promoting business ties and trade fairs with the Sudanese government as the slaughter in Darfur continues. Ex-Chancellor Schroeder favored lifting the EU arms embargo on China, perhaps the world's most prolific violator of human rights. German efforts to stop Iran's nuclear ambitions have proven to be more of the same impotent diplomatic dupery that too many Europeans support at all costs. In the meantime the Iranians have taken advantage of the stalling to advance their insane ambitions to destroy Israel and threaten the world.
The most disgraceful aspect is that Germany has repeatedly coddled, condoned and even assisted regimes of dictatorship and mass murder despite its own disgraceful national history. And then, in an effort to relativize its own shameful history and diplomatic impotency, German media publications like SPIEGEL pump the numb, jaded audience full of the vile America hate to which so many have become emotionally addicted. The irony of it all is that publications like SPIEGEL would not even have the freedom to print this exploitative trash had it not been for the massive sacrifice in lives, blood and toil of American soldiers to liberate Germany from Fascism and defend it from Communism.
"The regulars here know that I consider what happened at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere torture. Spiegel’s latest has nothing to do with opposing torture. How could it? It plays into the hands of the torturers, and pulls the rug out from under those who genuinely oppose torture, and want to stop it once and for all. It is really just so much red meat thrown out to the hordes of pathetic, bitter, envious America-haters who are Spiegel’s “core constituency.” The editors know that anti-Americanism is synonymous with big bucks in Germany. It pays. They’ve been a little reserved in expressing it lately, though, because they know they’re being watched. They don’t want to sacrifice respectability entirely in the pursuit of profit. For that reason, the “new” Abu Ghraib” pictures seemed like a godsend to them. They could strike the all usual phony poses with all the usual fake pathos from the increasingly shaky high ground, and convince themselves no one would call them on it, because, after all, they were “opposing torture.” Their imbecile readers will swallow the bait as usual. Problem is, nobody with a brain is buying it this time around. It’s just to easy to see the money trail leading up to the “moral high ground.” (emphasis ours)
"The images from Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib will endure, and they will haunt America for decades to come. A global power can make mistakes and give in to folly, but when its moral foundation begins to crumble, it is constantly forced to deal with the images of its own humiliation and disgrace."
That is what it is really about for SPIEGEL: Long-term humiliation and disgrace for the United States. Abu-Ghraib as the new Mai Lai.This is not about thoughtful, constructive criticism. This is not about genuine, collegial interest in seeing America right its wrongs. This is not about transatlantic dialog and understanding.
This is about a harmful, vindictive rush to the moral high ground at America's expense. Americans should recognize this shameless bashing for what it is and become extremely wary of any and all criticism they hear blaring from across the Atlantic. Americans must begin to tune-out and turn-off the hateful voices that seek only to profit from their misfortune.
By the way, don't ever expect SPIEGEL to dedicate a cover to this story (no it doesn't matter that it's actually current and not over two years old): America's Pride.
So what makes the film so controversial? For starters, American soldiers are portrayed as violent, brutish, trigger-happy, civilian-murdering, hyper-religious, sadistic gun-nuts. The star villain is an arrogant, murderous character named Sam Marshall (played by American actor Billy Zane), who is killed by the Turkish protagonist at the film's end. Another stereotypical villain is a Jewish doctor (played by American actor Gary Busey) stationed at Abu Ghraib prison who extracts human organs from prisoners for export to Israel, England and the USA.
The Epitome of Anti-Semitism: Busey's "Doctor" Character From "Valley of the Wolves Iraq" Website
Zane's Character "Sam William Marshall": Let Us Guess: Allusions to Simplistic Bush Stereotypes?
The movie is the most expensive and one of the most successful ever made in Turkey. Some supporters have defended the movie by comparing it to Rambo or other violent US action flicks. Of course one major difference is that that Turkey is an ally of the USA, the Soviet Union was not. And since when did America's First Lady or Congressional leaders heap praise on violent, racist films? The Washington Times reports:
"A new film riding on a wave of anti-Americanism is attracting record audiences in Turkey and has drawn approving comments from the wife of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Gum-chewing U.S. soldiers shoot Iraqis in cold blood at a wedding in one scene from the movie. In another scene, set at that the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, a Jewish-American doctor harvests Iraqi prisoners' kidneys for sale to Israel and the West. (...) "I feel so proud of them all," said Emine Erdogan, wife of the prime minister, comfortably ensconced in a seat next to the actor playing Alemdar. Although Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul insisted that the film was no worse than some of the productions of Hollywood studios, Turkish parliament leader Bulent Arinc praised its "realism."
Above all, American audiences should be aware that two relatively well-known Hollywood actors, Billy Zane and Gary Busey, are profiting from a film that is spreading hate of Americans and Jews to a massive, worldwide audience.Johnny Depp and Whoopi Goldberg have taken heat for far less harmful deeds.
Update: CBS, ABC, CNN and MSNBC have posted articles on Busey and Zane so the media has picked up on the story. However, the coverage has not been particularly prominent nor has it sparked much attention. Perhaps Busey and Zane are too pathetic (washed-up) for a scandal? The New York Times reports of Zane:
"Mr. Zane, who got his start in "Back to the Future" and has a great number of grade B credits since then, said he was not bothered by the movie's anti-American tone, adding that the horrors of war should be exposed. "I acted in this movie because I'm a pacifist," he said in a televised interview. "I'm against all kinds of war."
Who knew Gary Busey and
Billy Zane were so hard up for roles?
Even Hollywood liberals may be shocked that the American actors took
part in a Turkish film that portrays U.S. troops as savages who
slaughter Iraqi civilians.
"Valley of the Wolves: Iraq" shows G.I.s crashing a wedding, where they
gun down dozens of innocent guests, shooting the groom in the head and
blasting away at a boy in front of his mother.
The soldiers drag the ones who live to Abu Ghraib prison, where a
Jewish-American doctor (played by Busey) disembowels them - explaining
their organs will be sold to rich people in New York, London and Tel
Zane plays a rogue American officer who calls himself a "peacekeeper sent by God."
Zane and Busey aren't known as outspoken critics of White House policy. So why did they take the parts?
A rep for "Titanic" star Zane didn't return our call.
A rep for "Buddy Holly Story" star Busey told us: "It was basically a payday for him."
Anti-American feeling has been brewing in Turkey since a 2003 incident
in which U.S. Army troops held Turkish special forces officers captive
because the G.I.s thought they were Iraqi insurgents."
It was "basically a payday" for him? How much did he get...30 silver pieces?
This year's Berlinale - Germany's showcase of the film industry - had its fair share of America-bashing. In Germany's daily WELT, Berlin Aspen Institute director Jeffrey Gedmin in his usual brilliant style commented on the demonization of the American president by American actors.
HARRY AND THE DICTATORS
Artists against Bush / Column in “Die Welt” (February 15, 2006) By Jeffrey Gedmin
George Clooney, who came to Berlin’s film festival last week, got gobs of space to talk about politics. Clooney complained to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung that he was treated like “a traitor” in the U.S. for his opposition to the Iraq war. That’s why he lives in Italy today, he told Stern magazine. It sounds strange. Film maker Michael Moore got rich in America by being against the war. New York Times’ columnists Paul Krugman and Maureen Dowd were against the war. So were the LA Times, the Boston Globe, the Nation magazine, Noam Chomsky, Norman Mailer, the Dixie Chicks, conservative pundit Pat Buchanan, Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, as was, of course, most of Hollywood. In any case, opposition to the war does not seem to have harmed George Clooney's pocket book. He manages exile in a 26 room, waterfront villa.
I have the feeling Europe may trump America—and this is surely hard to do--when it comes to fawning over the politics of celebrities. Three years ago there was adulation for Dustin Hoffman's anaylsis of Iraq when the actor turned up in Berlin (Hoffman was against the war). One of Germany's favorite polit-entertainer seems to be singer Harry Belafonte, who celebrates his 79th birthday in two weeks. Belafonte has been a guest on the number 1 Christiansen show. He’s been on the Beckmann show. Everyone loves Harry. The station 3Sat dubs him a “fighter for peace.” He is a UNICEF goodwill Ambassador. Two years ago, he even spoke to members of the Bundestag. “You could hear a pin drop,” said Christiansen, a fellow UNICEF Ambassador.
I am indebted to Professor Ronald Radosh, who has helped document Belafonte’s peculiar political tastes. That Belafonte hates Bush is no surprise. He told an audience in Venezuela, with Hugo Chavez looking on, that the U.S. President is “the greatest terrorist in the world.” He calls the Office of Homeland Security the new Gestapo. But Belafonte’s argument is not just with Bush. American foreign policy, he says, has “always built on the demise of the poor.” That would surprise Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.
Belafonte opines about domestic policy, too. He says the U.S. has built so many prisons because the government always believed there would be enough people of colour “to fill them.” He has choice words for fellow African Americans. He once likened U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell to a slave “who lived in the house (and) served the master.” Condi Rice, he mused, “is like a “Jew … doing things that were anti-semitic and against the best interests of her people.”
At a time when regime repression has increased, Belafonte continues to support Fidel Castro. When he appeared at a Havana film festival, he told Cubans that “censorship” in the U.S. had reached its peak. That was rich. Cuba does not have a free press. According to “Reporters without Borders,” what’s more, Cuba is one of the leading “enemies” of the internet today. Of the island’s 11.3 million inhabitants, only about 120,000 are permitted access by the Communist regime.
Belafonte says he learned from his mother, “never capitulate to oppression.” That’s really strange. It is hard to keep track of all the dictatorships that Belafonte has supported. He sympathized with Ethiopia’s left-wing dictator Mengistu, a Warsaw Pact ally until the collapse of the Soviet Union. Mengistu, accused of a genocide in which thousands were executed, would later insist that his “Red Terror Campaign” was merely a legitimate “defence of the revolution.” In 1983, Belafonte performed at an East German World Peace Concert.” If you want to fight the root cause of injustice, then fight the “military-industrial complex, led by the United States,” he likes to say. Erich Honecker could not have said it better.
Stay tuned. More celebrity enlightenment is on the way.
English versions of Jeffrey Gedmin's WELT articles - you see it first at Davids Medienkritik! Also, here is an earlier article
we did on the director of the Berlinale, Dieter Kosslick, who expressed
the wish to greet all of the 450+ Guantanamo inmates on the film-fest's
SPIEGEL ONLINE's coverage of the film has been psychotic as well. Suddenly the writers in the magazine's "Kultur" section are deeply concerned about "anti-American resentments" and the film's "extremely one-sided" approach to the Iraq war. If you listen carefully you can hear the hand wringing all the way from Hamburg to Hong Kong.
Isn't that rich? They must think we're suffering collective amnesia. Few organizations have done more to encourage, exploit and profit from the anti-American bonanza in Germany than SPIEGEL.In edition after edition the publication has vilified, demonized and caricatured America and Americans. In 2004, a writer for "Der Spiegel" bluntly admitted that his organization was using "crude anti-American covers" to please its "million readers."
US Mercenaries are Torturers...Blood for Oil...Bush's Vietnam...Operation Rambo...
Bosses of the World...Pax Americana...The Little Sheriff...The Conceited World Power... (Nope. No anti-American resentments here.)
And the list goes on. Let's not forget that when it comes to "extremely one-sided" coverage of Iraq, SPIEGEL ONLINE has also been avant-garde, not far behind Al-Jazeera. The publication has called the conflict a "debacle" or "disaster" or "fiasco" so many times it's hard to keep count. Reporting has been so overwhelmingly negative that any hope of balance or fairness has long been lost. There seems to be an unwritten rule that there is no such thing as positive news on Iraq.
And then the same magazine uprightly warns us of the dangers of "anti-American resentments" and "one-sided" views on Iraq in a (truly reprehensible) Turkish film. How heartwarming. How genuine. How touching...
US Foreign Policy: Time to Reassess Support for Turkish EU Membership?
""Valley of the Wolves" is not the work of independents or amateurs. With a budget of $10 million, it's the biggest-spending Turkish film in history. The international cast includes Hollywood actor Billy Zane of "Titanic." Within three days of its release, the movie had been seen by 1.2 million people, a 40 percent increase on the previous viewing record. At a gala performance earlier this month, the actors rubbed shoulders with Turkey's elite. "I feel so proud of them all," said Emine Erdogan, wife of the prime minister, comfortably ensconced in a seat next to the actor playing Alemdar. Although Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul insisted that the film was no worse than some of the productions of Hollywood studios, Turkish parliament leader Bulent Arinc praised its "realism." U.S. officials in Turkey laugh off the significance of the film, but a senior Washington official interviewed by the Turkish daily Milliyet last week expressed concern about its success in a secular Muslim country with a U.S. alliance since the early 1950s. "Can you imagine the first lady or the head of the House of Representatives going to the gala performance of a film that could incite anti-Turkish feeling among Americans?" the official asked."
In light of recent events, US policy makers should seriously reconsider whether strong support for Turkish membership in the European Union is consistent with national interests. American advocacy for Turkish accession has long antagonized and irritated many natural allies throughout Europe, including Germany's conservative Christian Democrats. Is such support for the inclusion of a poor, increasingly radical Muslim state in the European Union really worth the high political cost?
Endnote: You can always count on Hollywood to stick up for America. The sadistic American villain and the sinister Jewish doctor in "Valley of the Wolves Iraq" were both played by well-known American actors: Billy Zane (Titanic) and Gary Busey (Lethal Weapon) respectively.
UPDATE: Max Boot of the LA Times published an outstanding article entitled "The West as scapegoat." He points out that many Muslims (and others) would rather blame the USA, Israel and "the West" for all the world's problems rather than engage in some badly needed introspection and reform. He concludes: "Muslim nations will never make any progress unless they stop focusing
on the offenses, real or imagined, visited upon them by the outside
world and start looking within for what ails them."
Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, a fierce critic of the Bush administration, said Saturday that he's pulling for U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to win the White House.
"I'd be very pleased if Hillary Clinton would become the next American president," Schroeder said to applause from a largely Saudi audience at the Jeddah Economic Forum, which opened here Saturday. "But don't quote me too loud. I hope I'm not harming her by saying that."
Schroeder made the statement during a discussion of global women leaders at a gender-segregated theater where a plastic barrier separated women from men.
This could be the kiss of death for Hillary...
Wall Street Online's OpinionJournal: "So here we have a founding member of the "axis of weasels" endorsing Frau Clinton and drawing cheers from a segregated Saudi audience. It would be hard for Republicans to write a better campaign commercial."