X-Files: Only for a pre-9/11 World


Scully: Why would somebody want to sabotage the Space Shuttle?

Mulder: Well, if you were a terrorist, there probably isn’t a more potent symbol of American progress and prosperity. And if you’re an opponent of big science, NASA itself represents a vast money trench that exists outside the crucible and debate of the democratic process.   — “Space” broadcast date November 3, 1993.

The sci-fi cult classic X-Files turns 20 this week. The show has been off the air for 11 years but its popularity more than persists with a fan base we’re guessing falls squarely into the X-Gen range. And that’s okay. It was a show of a certain zeitgeist, but that zeitgeist is pretty much gone. In no way is that better conveyed than in the above quote by super sleuth Fox “Spooky” Mulder. In our world today — exactly 12 years from the 9/11 attacks — it’s painfully clear that the World Trade Center, not the Space Shuttle, was the potent symbol of prosperity for terrorists, and that the Pentagon was an equally acute expression of American empire — if not, too,  a “vast money trench that exists outside the crucible of the democratic process.” It still is.

President Clinton & a burning Waco in 1993
President Clinton in front of a burning Waco (1993)

The show’s solid but underwhelming premiere aired on September 10, 1993,  just months after the horrific federal siege and killing of 76 men, women and children at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. For many of us it was the first witness to the militarization of federal authority (FBI/ATF), and a horrifying peek behind the technicolor curtain so carefully weaved by the New Frontier Baby Boomerism of the Clinton Administration.

Nothing seemed real and the X-Files’ writers were happy to indulge that mistrust and cynicism with a fictional Washington forever machinating against America’s interests, culminating in an alien conspiracy in which the monsters worked directly with powerful bureaucrats to take over the world. When Mulder declared “the truth is out there,” we wanted to believe, too, at least one Sunday night a week.
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Why “we” REALLY nuked both Hiroshima & Nagasaki. In just 3 days.

OLIVER STONE: … Every school kid — still, my daughter in her school, in private school, in good school, is still learning this: We dropped the bomb because we had to, because the Japanese resistance was fanatic, and we would have lost many American lives taking Japan. This is one — there’s no alternative to that story.   Oliver Stone on the Untold U.S. History from the Atomic Age to Vietnam to Obama’s Drone Wars | Democracy Now!

Here’s the alternative — a part of the truth that should be taught in good, honest, schools:

At 8:16 on the morning of August 6, 1945, the world got a glimpse of its own mortality. At that moment, the city of Hiroshima was obliterated by a fireball that sent waves of searing heat, then a deafening concussion, across the landscape. Three days later, a second bomb hit Nagasaki. … [President Dwight D.] Eisenhower said in 1963 “It wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.”

… Besides the Manhattan Project’s internal momentum was an external motive. Its leaders had to justify the $2 billion ($26 billion in today’s dollars) expense to Congress and the public… Byrnes…warned Roosevelt that political scandal would follow if it [the atomic bomb] was not used. … “How would you get Congress to appropriate money for atomic energy research [after the war] if you do not show results for the money which has been spent already?” …the U.S. had produced two types of bombs–one using uranium, the other plutonium. Whenever anyone suggested that the moment the bomb was dropped the war would be over, [bureaucrat] Groves countered, “Not until we drop two bombs on Japan.” As [historian] Goldberg explains… “One bomb justified Oak Ridge, the second justified Hanford.” Hiroshima was hit with the uranium bomb, nicknamed “Little Boy”; the plutonium bomb, “Fat Man,” was used against Nagasaki.

From Why We Dropped The Bomb By William Lanouette, CIVILIZATION, The Magazine of the Library of Congress, January/February 1995

It’s hard for Americans who identify with the U.S. Government to accept the idea that that organization could have engaged in such horrendous acts – twice in three days – without pristine motives. Here’s what Vietnam era U.S. Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara – who was part of Gen. Curtis LeMay’s command when the bombs were dropped – thought about it: McNamara: “He, [General Curtis LeMay] and I’d say I, were behaving as war criminals.

Boy on dad's lap asks which terrorist group gets credit for nuking Hiroshima

As far as war criminals go, unfortunately we still have them.

An Appeal to PEN: Exec. Director Suzanne Nossel Must Go

U.S. Cooption of the Human Rights Movement Continues.

"When political people have finished with repression and violence PEN can indeed be forgotten. Until then, with all its flounderings and failings and mistaken acts, it is still, I think, a fellowship moved by the hope that one day the work it tries and often manages to do will no longer be necessary."  —Arthur Miller who once led PEN.

"To advance from a nuanced dissent to a compelling vision, progressive policymakers should turn to the great mainstay of twentieth-century U.S. foreign policy: liberal internationalism…(which) should offer assertive leadership — diplomatic, economic, and not least, military — to advance a broad array of goals…–"Suzanne Nossel, new Executive Director of PEN American Center in Smart Power, Foreign Affairs (Emphases, j.w and c.r.)

Suzanne Nossel is a disturbing choice as the new executive director of PEN, American Center (PEN), an American branch of the worldwide association of writers and related professions devoted to free expression and "the ideal of one humanity living in peace in the world." The stark contrast between the statements of Arthur Miller and Suzanne Nossel above is enough to sound an alarm. But Nossel’s career path, the masters she has served, the stances she has taken and the activities she has sponsored demonstrate profound differences with PEN. PEN cannot remain true to the ideals articulated by Arthur Miller with Nossel at the helm. She is an embodiment of the ongoing, and all too successful, cooption of the Human Rights movement by the U.S. government.

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Although Zero Dark Thirty didn’t get the Oscar – – –

Governments survive on myth. Truth is dangerous. As Chief Nazi “Information Officer” Goebbels put it, “…the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth becomes the greatest enemy of the State.”

While the main stream media averts its eyes, the Emperor shivers.

Why would you shoot your highest-value-in-history information-laden target in the head immediately, before he can talk, especially since he isn’t armed and doesn’t resist? And then deep-six the body at sea out of respect for his religious preferences. But you get that wrong. And you don’t want to release photos because, well – – – – ah – – –

We need better scripts!  It’s even been suggested Uncle should hire better fiction writers. Maybe they should tap Philip Kraske – – –

“But I think, in this case” — a long pause — “the best we can do is the impression of photos, the news of photos, rather than the photos themselves. Photo-shopping some old photos is but the work of an hour, and then we release them on a limited, official basis. We send –“

“Forget it,” said the CIA man flatly. “The Truthers will go through ten thousand photos of bin Laden till they find the one we used.”

… “Well now, I don’t know here,” said the Marine general. You don’t release any photos, sir, and you’re not going to convince your grandmother. With all respect.”

Others nodded vigorously. The Rainmaker wondered if any of them had greater intellect than the chairs they sat on.

…”Let’s remember, dear ones, that our job is not to convince, but merely to give people one or two good reasons not to believe any other version. This is a distinction that I’m always having to explain to various agencies. Sometimes, as in an espionage op, you do indeed need to convince. But this is a public psy op. Here we play with a natural advantage” — a tiny chuckle — “and I would imagine it drives the 9-11 Truthers nuts: Americans naturally believe their government.  — Philip Kraske, Zero Light Twenty (or Forty — Whatever)

So, why would you shoot your highest-value-in-history information-laden target in the head immediately, before he can talk?

Did Celebrity Hipster force Pamela Geller into brief Self Awareness?

Like Randy Newman, I love LA. Only here, is anything truly possibly and what I mean by anything is yes, the comedic stylings of Russell Brand and Pamela Geller in one studio. Hilarity ensued.

From BrandX:

Pamela Geller doesn’t much care for Islam (or, after being interviewed by Russell, BrandX). On her blog, Atlas Shrugs, she daily reports on crimes allegedly committed by Muslims – and only Muslims – wherever in the world they might be, painting a picture for her largely white and scared suburban audience of a world where swarthy Others are hell bent on the global imposition of Sharia law. Fathers, watch your daughters: Muhammed’s coming to town and he wants her to wear a burka.

The odd, weird, curious thing about Pamela’s Islamophobia, though, is that while she’ll own it in front of a bunch of flag-waving Tea Partiers protesting a mosque, she’ll back away from it in front of a crowd of young Hollywood liberals. Indeed, the way she spoke during her appearance on BrandX, you’d almost think she didn’t want to turn the Middle East to glass.

Oh Pam! Did you too fall for the Brand charm? Is the ‘The Rock of Ages’ star, the cure for self parodic racism and religious bigotry?

My vote for BrandX break out star is the handsome young rabble-rouser Ron Paul youth and Marine veteran Jayel Aheram. You can read more of his work on drones, Bradley Manning and Iraq here.

HT: Charles Davis

New Documentary: War, Peace, and Politics in the Streets

THE ACTIVISTS: War, Peace, and Politics in the Streets from Melofilms on Vimeo.

Created by Melody Weinstein, Michael T. Heaney, and Marco Roldán, The Activists: War, Peace, and Politics in the Streets describes, “…activism in the anti-war movement in the United States after 9/11. Through the lens of several well-known activists and dynamic organizations, it investigates varieties of activism, as well as the personal experiences that bring people together to create a movement. It paints a complex and intimate portrait of the world of activism.”

Contact Michael T. Heaney at mheaney@umich.edu or 202-236-3369 for details.