Friday, July 13, 2012

Just a game? just a movie

The main villain of the upcoming Call of Duty computer game has been cast as the "Leader of the 99%." described as the “idolized Messiah of the 99%”—a Julian Assange-like character who’s hell bent on starting a global insurrection against the status quo.

The character, as with the rest of the story, is the creation of David S. Goyer. Goyer is the co-writer of The Dark Knight Rises, which also shares a similar story featuring Bane as Batman’s primary antagonist, who starts a class war aimed against the rich and privileged of Gotham City with the backing of the common man.

People have been tear-gassed, pepper-sprayed, and clubbed in the streets for standing up for the 99%. There are people being arrested and thrown in jails for trying to organize. There are FBI agents practicing entrapment and COINTELPRO tactics to break up and discredit the movement. Recently, a SWAT unit, armed with automatic weapons, raided Occupy organizers in Seattle looking for subversive material.

Disrupting established structures, naturally enough, means that the vested interests of elites – as a self-interested, self-protecting and self-perpetuating ruling class – are threatened. That then typically invites a response. Indeed, Wall Street and Washington alike have reacted to the Occupy Movement with both fear and dismissal. On the one hand, protestors have been portrayed as little more than disaffected and unrealistic youth, engaging in politics of gesture, who are too spoiled to take on “adult” responsibilities in an intrinsically power-saturated world. On the other hand, heavy-handed political leaders have directed police forces to crack down on and forcefully evict peaceful encampments, thus raising another power-centered question – who truly “owns” public spaces? It should be noted that status-quo responses to the Occupy Movement have not just been government centered. Private businesses across the country, including the New York Stock Exchange, have hired off-duty police officers to protect their interests, as private security guards with the full force of the law behind them (they are known as Paid Detail Units). Such a response further confirms that there is indeed a more than simply a symbolic clash that’s occurring between the Occupy Movement and the political and economic establishment.

And the pro-1% propaganda and disinformation continues through entertainment manipulation. What did the Jesuits say about brainwashing - catch 'em young. In Shutter Island starring Leonardo DiCaprio, the warden says: "There's no moral order at all. There's just this: can my violence conquer yours?"  A pickpocket cleaning unsuspecting passengers in a bus shows as much conviction to ride out that storm as a banker in Armani suit.

 The military slang for a man killed by a drone strike is “bug splat,” since viewing the body through a grainy-green video image gives the sense of an insect being crushed. The use of the term “bug splat” for drone victims is deliberately employed as a psychological tactic to dehumanise targets so operatives overcome their inhibition to kill

The Pentagon is considering awarding a Distinguished Warfare Medal to drone operators. The proposed medal would rank between the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Soldier’s Medal for exceptional conduct outside a combat zone. Medals would be awarded for sitting safely ensconced in a bunker on U.S. soil and launching missiles with a video joystick at human beings thousands of miles away. Collectively venerating it as an act of “bravery” , deserving of war medals, is likely to shield it from critical scrutiny and challenge. Justifying drone warfare requires pretending that the act entails some sort of bravery, so the U.S. military is increasingly taking steps tocreate the facade of warrior courage for drone operators. First off, they are called pilots, and they wear the same green flight suits as fighter pilots, even though they never get near a plane.

Luther (Trey) Turner III, a retired colonel who flew combat missions during the gulf war before he switched to flying Predators in 2003, said that he doesn’t view his combat experience flying drones as “valorous.” “My understanding of the term is that you are faced with danger. And, when I am sitting in a ground-control station thousands of miles away from the battlefield, that’s just not the case.”

It’s one of the least “brave” or courageous modes of warfare ever invented. It’s one thing to call it just, but to pretend it’s “brave” is Orwellian in the extreme. Indeed, the whole point of it is to allow large numbers of human beings to be killed without the slightest physical risk to those doing the killing. Killing while sheltering yourself from all risk is the definitional opposite of bravery.

PlayStation video-game warfare is only risk-free for operators of these remote-controlled killers. F
or every al Qaeda or Taliban killed, it is estimated that 10 innocent victims die. 160 children are reported among the deaths in Pakistan alone.

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