Another aim of the film was to show how the media preys on people’s fears. Gilroy pointed to news reports that lean heavily on violent, graphic images, with brief narratives to invoke drama and excitement, and interviews with victims, witnesses or nearby residents expressing shock at the crime. He asserted that the report is usually strung together with some other incident “to give you a sense that there’s some nefarious pattern”. He said that such reports support the queues of Americans wanting to buy guns because they’re “terrified of some nebulous threat out there”. (via Jake Gyllenhaal: we are all to blame for media scrum at horror crime scenes | Film | The Observer)

Another aim of the film was to show how the media preys on people’s fears. Gilroy pointed to news reports that lean heavily on violent, graphic images, with brief narratives to invoke drama and excitement, and interviews with victims, witnesses or nearby residents expressing shock at the crime. He asserted that the report is usually strung together with some other incident “to give you a sense that there’s some nefarious pattern”. He said that such reports support the queues of Americans wanting to buy guns because they’re “terrified of some nebulous threat out there”. (via Jake Gyllenhaal: we are all to blame for media scrum at horror crime scenes | Film | The Observer)

President Barack Obama on Friday starkly criticised the CIA’s past treatment of terror suspects, saying he could understand why the agency rushed to use controversial interrogation techniques in the aftermath of 9/11 but conceding: “We tortured some folks.” In some of the most expansive and blunt remarks on the CIA’s programme of rendition and detention he has made since coming to office, Obama said the country “crossed a line” as it struggled to react to the threat of further attacks by al-Qaida. However, he also said it was important “not to feel too sanctimonious”, adding that he believed intelligence officials responsible for torturing detainees were working during a period of extraordinary stress and fear. (via Obama admits CIA ‘tortured some folks’ but stands by Brennan over spying | World news | theguardian.com)

President Barack Obama on Friday starkly criticised the CIA’s past treatment of terror suspects, saying he could understand why the agency rushed to use controversial interrogation techniques in the aftermath of 9/11 but conceding: “We tortured some folks.” In some of the most expansive and blunt remarks on the CIA’s programme of rendition and detention he has made since coming to office, Obama said the country “crossed a line” as it struggled to react to the threat of further attacks by al-Qaida. However, he also said it was important “not to feel too sanctimonious”, adding that he believed intelligence officials responsible for torturing detainees were working during a period of extraordinary stress and fear. (via Obama admits CIA ‘tortured some folks’ but stands by Brennan over spying | World news | theguardian.com)

In October, we can look forward to Left Behind, a remake of a 2002 end-of-days conspiracy thriller starring Nicolas Cage. Also in the offing: a star-studded cast in the long-awaited prequel to The Passion of the Christ (Mary, Mother of Christ) and a Cain and Abel film set to star Will Smith. Some have christened this “year of the Bible movie”. (via A movie miracle: how Hollywood found religion | Film | The Guardian)

In October, we can look forward to Left Behind, a remake of a 2002 end-of-days conspiracy thriller starring Nicolas Cage. Also in the offing: a star-studded cast in the long-awaited prequel to The Passion of the Christ (Mary, Mother of Christ) and a Cain and Abel film set to star Will Smith. Some have christened this “year of the Bible movie”. (via A movie miracle: how Hollywood found religion | Film | The Guardian)

The fourth episode of “The Honorable Woman,” a serialized thriller that makes its Sundance TV debut on Thursday, opens on a world-weary MI6 officer, sitting at a dinner party where two other guests are discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As the camera zooms in on the officer, the conversation can be heard degenerating into a vulgar, name-calling argument and then a silverware-rattling wrestling match. An on-screen caption identifies this scene as having occurred eight years ago, but it could just as easily be taking place today: a time when war in Gaza has recently reignited, and civil dialogues about its causes and solutions are hard to come by. It is in this atmosphere that “The Honorable Woman” is being broadcast: Amid a recent vogue for television dramas with a Middle Eastern milieu, it is the rare narrative in which the bloody clash of Palestinians and Israelis is not only a backdrop but also a central theme and a leading concern of its protagonist, a British industrialist (played by Maggie Gyllenhaal) who believes she can help untangle the situation. (via Making Dramas About Mideast Can Be Complicated - NYTimes.com)

WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Bush and his top aides publicly made 935 false statements about the security risk posed by Iraq in the two years following September 11, 2001, according to a study released Tuesday by two nonprofit journalism groups.


President Bush addresses the nation as the Iraq war begins in March 2003.

"In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003," reads an overview of the examination, conducted by the Center for Public Integrity and its affiliated group, the Fund for Independence in Journalism.

Continuing his refusal to take any responsibility for the consequences of his decisions, Bush suggests that al Qaeda came to Iraq by chance, that it simply “turn[ed] out to have been” the place where they “were going to take their stand.” But al Qaeda’s existence in Iraq is 100 percent attributable to Bush’s decision to go to war in Iraq: al Qaeda never existed there before, and in fact, Saddam Hussein viewed Osama bin Laden as a threat and refused to support him.
More broadly, Rogers warned of a danger in inflating national security threats to justify the expansion of government security powers. “There are groups and individuals out there who if they had their way, we would no longer exist as a nation,” Rogers said. “Now, I’m not one who’s going to sit here and overhype the threat [or say] that in the name of this threat we have to make dramatic changes and curtail our rights, because if we go down that road, in the end, they’ve won. If we change who we are and what we believe and what we represent in the name of security, they have won. I have always believed that.” (via NSA chief Michael Rogers: Edward Snowden ‘probably not’ a foreign spy | World news | theguardian.com)

More broadly, Rogers warned of a danger in inflating national security threats to justify the expansion of government security powers. “There are groups and individuals out there who if they had their way, we would no longer exist as a nation,” Rogers said. “Now, I’m not one who’s going to sit here and overhype the threat [or say] that in the name of this threat we have to make dramatic changes and curtail our rights, because if we go down that road, in the end, they’ve won. If we change who we are and what we believe and what we represent in the name of security, they have won. I have always believed that.” (via NSA chief Michael Rogers: Edward Snowden ‘probably not’ a foreign spy | World news | theguardian.com)

Days of Future Past is not the only recent Hollywood production to express discomfort with President Barack Obama’s drone program. Last month, Marvel Studios released Captain America: The Winter Soldier—and almost immediately the directors, Joe and Anthony Russo, revealed that their movie was all about “civil liberties… drone strikes, the president’s kill list, [and] preemptive technology.” When a RoboCop reboot came out in February, director Jose Padilha described it thusly: “The movie’s about drones.” Back in 2012, the fourth installment in the Bourne franchise, The Bourne Legacy, featured a sequence in which an American UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) attempted to blow up Jeremy Renner, a CIA superagent hiding out in Alaska. And then there’s Homeland. On Showtime’s hit spy drama, the original sin—the trauma that transformed Marine Sgt. Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) into an al Qaeda sleeper agent—was a drone strike that accidentally killed an 8-year-old boy he’d befriended in captivity. (via Hollywood’s War on Drones - The Daily Beast)

Oblivion is a disappointing slice of mainstream science fiction cinema that meanders aimlessly for little over two hours. I haven’t much noteworthy to comment about this underwhelming studio project. Nonetheless, mainstream escapist genres such as science fiction have this innate propensity for allegorical pluralistic reinterpretation that can thankfully on some occasions salvage the cinematic dignity of those involved. Robin Wood was one of those critics that had this capacity to read between the lines of mainstream cinema and although I am weary of applying such a noble approach to a film like Oblivion since it is such a tiresome affair, I could not help but read into the film in terms of a latent socio-political subtext concerning drones, insurgents and Pakistan. What I am saying may at first seem a little far fetched but it was the ending to Oblivion, the one in which two suicide bombers defeat the master controller in the skies, that got me intellectualising the following hypothesis; what if Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) and the Scavs (code word for troublesome insurgents) are in fact an allegory for a real and potential insurgency that has appeared in Iraq and which may in fact emerge on the Afghan-Pak border which has claimed the lives of so many innocent civilians in drone attacks orchestrated by Obama and company. If I was to take this allegorical interpretation to its fruition then a source of validation may lie in the film’s anti-drone ideology. (via E L L I P S I S - The Accents of Cinema: OBLIVION (Dir. Joseph Kosinksi, 2013, US) - Hollywood’s first anti drone film? [Spoilers Ahead!])

"The Obama years are a benchmark for a new level of secrecy and control," Jill Abramson told John Hockenberry, host of The Takeaway. "It’s created quite a challenging atmosphere for The New York Times, and for some of the best reporters in my newsroom who cover national security issues in Washington."
(via NY Times editor hits Obama ‘secrecy’)