The short list: Films and film-makers banned in the US

Freedom of speech of the reactionary ruling classes.

By TONY SEED. Part One

First edition

First edition. Do Americans still believe it can’t happen here?

“Freedom of artistic expression” does not give Hollywood, the Sony Japanese-US monopoly nor the president of the United States the right to promote the assassination of the leader of a foreign state that Washington is opposed to, e.g., the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), comedic or not.

Hilary Clinton’s famous attack on the movie Death of a President, merits attention. The film portrayed the fictitious assassination of Dubya and was banned by three major U.S. movie chains, Regal, AMC and Cinemark, representing over 16,000 movie screens (CNN and NPR refused to accept ads for it): “I think it’s despicable. I think it’s absolutely outrageous. That anyone would even attempt to profit on such a horrible scenario makes me sick.” Would that apply to Seth Rogen and his Sony backers too, Hil?

The fearmongering disinformation about the alleged hacking of the film The Interview and cyber warfare is a weapon of the attack against the leadership of the DPRK, using the pretext of “human rights,” as part of Obama’s “Asia Pivot” strategy.

Since the DPRK threat, such as it was, has evaporated even as the disinformation and security measures that were being taken to counter it increased in severity, it is obvious that politics, not security, is driving the USA’s loyalty programs. Such has been the case from the start.

The incoherence of the imperialist crisis is such that Obama is demanding the “freedom of artistic expression” of a film dictated by his intelligence services and vetted by the U.S. State Dept., which signed off on the final cut. According to this self-serving logic, the right to conscience and “freedom of artistic expression” belongs only to those who are opposed to communism or who serve the interests of U.S. imperialism. In fact, rights cannot be connected to this or that system but only to the act of being.

It is also difficult to imagine what “freedom” is enjoyed by an unemployed or independent screenwriter or film-maker, who goes about hungry, and cannot find capital to produce a film, or even to distribute it. A handful of giant companies, Disney, AOL-Time Warner, Sony, General Electric, Murdoch’s News Corporation and Seagram, dominate all aspects of the American film, television and entertainment industry. The reality facing cultural workers in Canada is no different.

The fabled “freedom of artistic expression” of the USA is a fiction. This article is an overview and a short list of just a few of the films banned over the past century in the United States, as well as of several hundred actors and cultural workers, who were blacklisted by a country that is so incensed about the hacking of The Interview, alleged threats to movie theatres and “freedom of expression” for hate literature. Even lists published in Wikipedia or in articles circulating on the Internet acknowledging this reality have significant omissions, especially regarding the direct collaboration of Hollywood and the motion picture industry with Nazi Germany during the 1930s and the cinematic rehabilitation of Hitlerite fascism following World War II.

In 1906 Buffalo Bill’s film Reenactment of the Massacre at Wounded Knee was banned as too sympathetic to Native Americans. The U.S. army had murdered an estimated 300 Sioux in 1890. Stereotypical representations in media of Aboriginal peoples and their cultures have been comprehensive and systematic since the 1880s. D.W. Griffiths’s The Massacre (1913) was the first of what would eventually be 42 different renditions of General Custer, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn. (In 1913, William Cody did reenact the massacre for his film The Indian Wars with the heroic participation of the U.S. army.) The aim of this stereotyping has been to dehumanize the peoples depicted to, amongst other things, justify the genocidal expropriation of their land and resource base.

RELATED: The “Hollywood Indian” by Amrit Bains

In 1910, African American heavyweight Jack Johnson, a famed fighter, clobbered his white opponent leading to the race-based ban of live boxing films across the U.S. until 1940.

Margaret Sanger’s film Birth Control was banned in 1917, with the New York Court of Appeals holding that a film on family planning work may be censored “in the interest of morality, decency, and public safety and welfare.”

HOLLYWOOD AND FASCISM IN THE 1930s

The 1930s was marked by a devastating crisis of the world capitalist system, the rise of the movement of the working class and oppressed nations and the establishment of socialism in one sixth of the globe in the former Soviet Union. Big capital turned to fascism to strengthen the “democratic” state, suppress resistance and enrich itself. Hollywood suppressed anti-fascist films for most of the decade in an organized manner.

Poster for the stage adaptation of It Can't Happen Here, October 27, 1936 at the Lafayette Theater as part of the Detroit Federal Theater

Poster for the stage adaptation of It Can’t Happen Here, October 27, 1936 at the Lafayette Theater as part of the Detroit Federal Theater

It Can’t Happen Here the Sinclair Lewis novel It Can’t Happen Here, based on Sinclair Lewis’ 1935 novel about the tale of an ambitious senator who steals the 1936 presidential nomination to become “the Chief” – in other words, America’s first dictator. a fascist takeover in the U.S., was shelved by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) in 1936 and never released because it might have angered Hitler, who had come to power in Germany and was supported by part of the U.S ruling class. MGM had purchased the screen rights and hired a talented screenwriter, Sidney Howard, to adapt it. Will H. Hays, who was in charge of censorship for the movie studios aka Motion Picture Production Code (popularly known as the Hays Office), had notified Louis B. Mayer of potential problems in the German market.Breen, having read the script, snapped into action, writing a seven-page letter urging Louis B Mayer not to make the film, which he considered “dangerous” and “inflammatory” Although Lewis’s fictional dictator Windrip ran for President as a Democrat, Hays also felt that a film of this novel would be seen as an attack on the Republican party. MGM, however, publically contended that the reason was the public was not interested in “propaganda” films.

In 1939, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported a letter to the Zionist Mayer by Henry Pratt Fairchild, president of the Film Audiences for Democracy. Cancelling the anti-fascist film in the middle of production, Prof. Fairchild said, “was doubly surprising as you are not only a leading personality in our country, but also a Jew.” He urged the company, in the event it did not feel justified in re-opening production, to sell the film rights to another firm, and cited the financial success of such anti-Fascist films as “Confessions of a Nazi Spy” (Warner Bros.) in refutation of the MGM contention that the public was not interested in “propaganda” films.

Mayer, enthused by the idea of Hollywood’s first major anti-fascist picture, decided to push ahead anyway, and might have got his way had not the chair of the film committee of the Central Conference of American Rabbis got wind of the project. The latter wrote to Will Hays: “The only wise method to pursue in these days of virulent antisemitism is to have no picture in which the Jewish Problem is ventilated.” Hays got together with Mayer, and some days later MGM dropped It Can’t Happen Here, on the grounds of “casting difficulties”. A disgusted Sinclair Lewis rightly suspected otherwise: “I wrote It Can’t Happen Here, but I begin to think it certainly can.”

The suppression of It Can’t Happen Here was not confined to the 1930s. In 1982, inspired by the book, director-producer Kenneth Johnson wrote an adaptation titled Storm Warnings. The script was presented to NBC for production as a television miniseries, but NBC executives rejected the initial version, claiming it was too cerebral for the average American viewer. To make the script more marketable, the American fascists were re-cast as man-eating extraterrestrials, taking the story into the realm of science fiction. The revised story became the miniseries V, which premiered May 3, 1983. The value of the book today is whether or not Americans still believe it can’t happen here.

The big studios, desperate to protect German business and U.S. interests, let Nazis covertly censor film scripts, promote fascist Aryan themes, remove credits from Jews, suppress anti-fascist scripts, and get movies stopped.

The chauvinist declaration by Barrack Obama that no foreign dictator can dictate to the USA or Hollywood is a lie. Universal Pictures and other studios directly followed the orders of the Germsn government, which had positioned a consul in Los Angeles, Georg Gyssling, a Nazi Party member. The big studios, desperate to protect German business and U.S. interests, let Nazis covertly censor film scripts, promote fascist Aryan themes, remove credits from Jews, suppress anti-fascist scripts, and get movies stopped.

In 1930, six days after Nazi protests in Berlin, All Quiet on the Western Front was removed from screens in Germany. “Victory is ours!” Goebbels’ newspaper proclaimed. “We have forced them to their knees!” Universal made a heavily-edited version and submitted it to the German Foreign Office for approval.

In 1931 Universal made another concession: It postponed The Road Back, the sequel to All Quiet on the Western Front. Universal also agreed to change many pictures in Germany’s favour. “Naturally,” the German Foreign Office noted, “Universal’s interest in collaboration [Zusammenarbeit] is not platonic but is motivated by the company’s concern for the well-being of its Berlin branch and for the German market.”

In 1934 the film script The Mad Dog of Europe, which attacked the German regime and was written by Herman J. Mankiewicz the screenwriter who would later write Citizen Kane, was suppressed, despite months of work . Mayer told the producer that no picture would be made: “We have interests in Germany; I represent the picture industry here in Hollywood; we have exchanges there; we have terrific income in Germany and, as far as I am concerned, this picture will never be made.” This occurred in the first year of Hitler’s rise to power. It defined the limits of American movies for the remainder of the decade.

On July 23, 1936 the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League officially organized to fight fascism through demonstrations, rallies, and the picketing of the German consulate in Los Angeles.

In 1937, Paramount chose a new manager for its German branch: Paul Thiefes, a member of the Nazi Party.

The head of MGM in Germany, Frits Strengholt, divorced his Jewish wife at the request of the Propaganda Ministry. She ended up in a concentration camp.

 

In its “anti-fascist” films, Hollywood pictures an America honeycombed with fifth columnists and spies, while obliterating American fascism and projecting a proto-fascist portrayal of Hitlerite fascism and Japanese miliarism. In 1941, Warner & Swasey Company, as part of its long running issue advertising campaign circulated in many business periodicals, created an ad titled, “Wonder What a Frenchman Thinks About?” This effectively uses the fear of Nazism to a foster pseudo-patriotic or chauvinist commitment to American capitalism, replete with several glaring propaganda devices identified by the Institute for Propaganda Analysis (including band wagon, transfer, and card stacking). The ad voiced the self-incriminating regret of the French worker for fascism in these words:

I wish I had been less greedy for myself and more anxious for my country; I wish I had realized you can’t beat a determined invader by a quarreling, disunited people at home; I wish I had been willing to give in on some of my rights to other Frenchmen instead of giving up all of them to a foreigner; I wish I had realized other Frenchmen had rights, too; I wish I had known that patriotism is work, not talk, giving not getting.

Secondly, big capital and Hollywood began to use filthy anti-communism to purge the motion picture industry of all progressive creators. In August 1940, the Los Angeles, California, Grand Jury held  hearings “over the active promotion of communist ideology by members of the film industry.” The California state legislature during this period also conducted its own investigation at the instigation of Disney, which was facing unionization by technical workers.

On September 8, 1941, a U.S. Senate Subcommittee, comprised of five isolationist senators ( D. Worth Clark, chairman, [D-Idaho]; Homer T. Bone [D-Wash.]; C. Wayland Brooks [R-Ill.]; Ernest W. McFarland [D-Ariz.]; and Charles W. Tobey [R-N.H.]), began investigating pro-British and anti-German war propaganda in Hollywood films. The committee was widely criticized as a pro-Nazi forum because testimony focused on alleged Jewish control of American movies. American fascists such as Father Coughlin were defended as patriots by Senator Gerald P. Nye (R-N.D.). The subcommittee recessed after two weeks of hearings and never reconvened after the United States finally entered World War II after it too was attacked at Perl Harbour in the Pacific. The hearings were published as Propaganda in Motion Pictures by the U.S. Government Printing Office in 1942, complete with a discussion of Senator Nye’s exhortation (p. 54) that facts were needed on how many “propaganda films were the work in full or in part of refugee or alien authors, how many refugee or alien actors were cast in these pictures, how many alien writers have been financed by Hollywood and imported to Hollywood by the motion-picture industry, how many immigration visas have been arranged for motion-picture executives and by them.” (Richard Alan Nelson, A Chronology and Glossary of Propaganda in the United States, (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1996)

A long-lasting, formal alliance between the Hollywood studios and the Pentagon through such cosponsors as the Department of Defense Directorate for the Armed Forces and Educational Information began.

RELATED “Hollywood: How the U.S. collaborated with the Hitlerite Nazis

1946 (5 March): Barely six months after V-J Day, on the heels of the smashing defeat of his Tory Party in England and faced with a mounting crisis in the British Empire, Winston Churchill rediscovers the “menace of Bolshevism.” He formally declares the Cold War in his Iron Curtain speech in Fulton, Missouri, which put the right to conscience in utter disrepute in this period, US President Harry S. Truman makes it a fact by calling upon the US Congress to set aside millions of dollars to support the fascist forces in Greece. The aim is to ensure the defeat of the democratic struggle which was underway in Greece and thereby guarantee the geopolitical interests of the US in the region. By this act, not only is Greece deprived of the right to self-determination but the Greek people are also stripped of their right to conscience.

(According to the London Times, the expression “iron curtain” was coined by von Krosigk, Hitler’s Minister of Finance, and was used by Goebbels, in his propaganda for some years before Mr. Churchill adopted it – Bartletts Familiar Quotations, 1948 Edition)

Ronald Reagan, an official of the screen actor’s union and later US president, spent WW2 as confidential informant T-10 for the FBI in Hollywood.

NOTED PEOPLE ARE BLACKLISTED UNJUSTLY

GRAYLIST

The fabled “freedom of artistic expression” of the USA is itself a fiction.

By the time Paul Robeson became the first person barred from American television early in 1950, the most charismatic black actor and singer of his generation had already become a nonperson. (Ellen Schrecker. Many are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America. Boston: Little, Brown, c1998, p. 397)

The anti-communist crusade and the black list that it imposed ended Hollywood’s brief flirtation with the real world and ensured that the fledgling television industry would never even begin one. (Ellen Schrecker. Many are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America. Boston: Little, Brown, c1998, p. 398)

War criminals are rehabilitated

presents the extermination campaigns of the fascist Wehrmacht and the assaults on peaceful peoples as examples of soldierly discipline and virtue, and recommends them to the Bundeswehr as exemplary models.

Hollywood took up the mission of reversing the verdict on those responsible World War II in parallel with. while becoming specialized in maintaining and spreading militarist and fascist ideas.

Exemplary in this regard was The Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel (1951) featuring James Mason and produced by Twenty Century Fox portrays “The life and career of the respected World War II German general.” followed by That was Our Rommel (1953). Erwin Rommel‘s widow, Lucie Marie Rommel acted as a technical consultant and adviser to this movie. (As Frau Lucie Maria Rommel, Mrs Rommel later also acted as a military consultant to the film The Longest Day (1962) made by 20th Century-Fox, the same studio that produced this movie.)

The movie was controversial upon its cinema release due to its sympathetic portrayal of Nazi German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. The ‘Hollywood Reporter’ reported in December 1951 that there were protests about this film after this movie had been released in London, England. Moreover, ‘Variety’ in March 1952 reported protests after this film had been released in Italy and Australia and that publication also later reported negative reaction to the film in Argentina and Austria.

Aim was to present El Alamein as the most important battle of World War II

the script for this film was read and authorized by both the US State Department and US Commissioner for Germany, John J. McCloy, around the time of the early part of January 1951. Twentieth Century-Fox received harsh criticism both during pre-production and upon the release of the film for its sympathetic portrayal of German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. After this film, James Mason would reprise his role as Nazi German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel two years later in The Desert Rats (1953), made also by the same 20th Century Fox studio and also being set in World War II North Africa.

the Un-American Committee’s Hollywood farce

The Hollywood Ten were cited and convicted for contempt of Congress and jailed.

1947, May 7– Hearings investigating communist influence in the motion picture industry begin under the auspices of the U.S. House Un-American Activities Committee. The HUAC hearings continue sporadically through 1953, leading to trial of the “Hollywood Ten”– writers and directors identified as uncooperative witnesses.

On April 10, 1950 the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the contempt of Congress convictions of the Hollywood Ten screenwriters.

1947, November 24– More than fifty chief studio executives making up the

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Association of Motion Picture Producers, responding to negative publicity created by the Hollywood Ten investigations, meet at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York. The “Waldorf Conference” decides to “not knowingly employ a Communist or a member of any party or group which advocates the overthrow of the Government of the United States by force or by any illegal or unconstitutional methods.” Despite assurances that the industry leaders plan to “guard against the danger, risk, and fear” that innocent people will be hurt by their decision, the effect is to create a blacklist of hundreds of controversial leftists who are denied movie and broadcast work in the United States for more than a decade. The first to go on suspension without pay are writers of “dubious” political sympathies. Only Sam Goldwyn of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Dore Schary of Radio-Keith-Orpheum (RKO), and Walter Wanger, a noted independent, dissent from the final statement.

Pinky (1949) Director: Elia Kazan Shown from left: Jeanne Crain, Ethel WatersIn 1949, the film Pinky was banned in Marshall, Texas for three reasons: a white man remained in love with Pinky after learning of her bloodlines, the film depicted a white man kissing a black woman, and two white men are shown assaulting Pinky after she reveals that she’s half African American.

During the Christmas season in 1950, two TV stations in the American midwest ruled off the air presentations of the Quaker film, A Time For Greatness, a half-hour anti- Cold War motion picture calling for peace and friendly relations between the United States and other nations. District Council 8 of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers Union had paid for Christmas Day telecasts of the film and had signed contracts with the TV stations. But shortly before the scheduled programs, the station managements cancelled the contracts on the grounds that the film was “socialistic,” “off-color” and “pro-communist.” (The role of Hollywood is discussed in Albert Kahn’s The Game of Death, available here.)

1954.saltoftheearthThe 1954 film Salt of the Earth, which was sponsored by the Mine, Mill, and Smelter Workers Union and which portrayed an actual strike by Mexican-American mineworkers in the American Southwest, led to the imprisonment and/or blacklisting of the key figures involved. The film shows how the miners, the company, and the police react during the strike. In neorealist style, the producers and director used actual miners and their families as actors in the film.The producers cast only five professional actors. The rest were locals from Grant County, New Mexico, or members of the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers, Local 890, many of whom were part of the strike that inspired the plot. The film was denounced by the U.S. House of Representatives for its communist sympathies, the FBI investigated the film’s financing, and the American Legion called for a nation-wide boycott. After its opening night in New York City, the film languished for 10 years because all but 12 theatres in the country refused to show it.By one journalist’s account: “During the course of production in New Mexico in 1953, the trade press denounced it as a subversive plot, anti-Communist vigilantes fired rifle shots at the set, the film’s leading lady Rosaura Revueltas was deported to Mexico, and from time to time a small airplane buzzed noisily overhead….The film, edited in secret, was stored for safekeeping in an anonymous wooden shack in Los Angeles.”

The movie was directed by Herbert Biberman of the Hollywood Ten, newly released from prison, working independently in New Mexico with fellow blacklisted Hollywood professionals – producer Paul Jarrico, writer Michael Wilson, and actors Rosaura Revueltas and Will Geer.

The full movie may be seen here.

The exiled Charie Chaplin fought back. The world famous comedian, who was not a Communist, once remarked that he would respond to a HUAC summons by arriving in his tramp outfit. Since the inquisitors never subpoenaed him, Chaplin’s protagonist in A King in New York ridiculed the Committee by having him squirt its members with a fire hose instead. Released abroad in 1957, this bitter comedy did not premiere in the United States until 1976. (Stephen J. Whitfield, “The Cultural Cold War As History,” Virginia Quarterly Review, Summer 1993)

Kirk Douglas’ 1959 Spartacus was savagely censored by Universal before release, but it broke the “Hollywood Ten” blacklist, because Douglas gave Dalton Trumbo public credit for the screenplay. Trumbo garnered an Academy Award for his work in 1960. He is the first of the blacklisted writers to once again officially receive on-screen credit for a U.S. motion picture studio production. The blacklist breaks down after scripts written by banned writers falsely credited to others (including one by Trumbo) receive Academy Awards in 1958 and 1959. Not until years later are the Oscars actually presented to their rightful recipients. A number of those blacklisted, however, were barred from work in their professions for years afterward.

Viva Maria in 1965 was banned as anti-Catholic. Two young women (Brigitte Bardot and Jeanne Moreau) become friends while performing at the circus, and soon they’re leading a revolution against El Dictador (but not before Bardot accidentally invents the art of striptease).

I am Curious (Yellow), a 1967 Swedish leftist drama, was banned by Massachusetts in 1969 due to nudity (portraying multiple gory and violent killings is fine but nudity is obscene). An arsonist torched the Heights Theater in Houston during the film’s run there.

Titicut Follies, a 1968 documentary covering the abuse of inmates at a Massachusetts prison mental hospital was banned because it was decided that “the film violated the inmates’ right to privacy.” Ironic and bizarre, seeing that the point was to show the abuse of their private lives.

Monty Python’s 1979 Life of Brian (really!) –a satirical look at Biblical events – was immediately banned in many states, particularly in the south, as anti-Christian, i.e., its “blasphemous view on Christianity.” It can be seen here.

The Yes Men Fix the World in 2010 was temporarily banned due to being subject of a lawsuit by the US Chamber of Commerce (really!).

This partial list excludes of course all the movies that were never made due to lack of financial backing because of their progressive content or were made independently but were blocked from getting into mainstream theatres. Countless controversial masterpieces have disappeared in the judgments of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPPA), the moral-political police of the Hollywood monopoly studios. (All films have to be viewed by MPPA before being given the green light to be released at all. Agreements between the studios and local movie theatres [many of which were actually studio-owned] allowed them to retain control by denying release to any film that did not have a rating code.) Check out the documentary This Film is Not Yet Rated for more details.

And finally we have Hilary Clinton’s famous attack on the movie Death of a President, which portrayed the fictitious assassination of Dubya and which was banned by three major U.S. movie chains, Regal, AMC and Cinemark representing over 16,000 movie screens (CNN and NPR refused to accept ads for it): “I think it’s despicable. I think it’s absolutely outrageous. That anyone would even attempt to profit on such a horrible scenario makes me sick.” Would that apply to Seth Rogen and his Sony backers too, Hil?

the defence of freedom of expression is bound up with a political struggle against the Bush administration and the US ruling elite as a whole – is a critical flaw.

– Dougal MacDonald in Facebook, with aditional text from Wikipedia

 


The Hollywood Ten and other 1947 blacklistees

The Hollywood Ten

The following people were cited for contempt of Congress and blacklisted after refusing to answer HUAC questions about their alleged involvement with the Communist Party:

Others

People first blacklisted between January 1948 and June 1950

(an asterisk after the entry indicates the person was also listed in Red Channels, published by the so-called American Business Consultants Inc., founded in 1947. as an FBI front.)

The Red Channels list

Others first blacklisted after June 1950

Source: Wikipedia


Word. Sinclair Lewis’s From It Can’t Happen Here (1935)

It seemed worse than futile, it seemed insane, to risk martyrdom in a world where…every statesman and clergyman praised Peace and brightly asserted that the only way to get Peace was to get ready for War.

***

When the inevitable war should come, when the government should decide whether it was Canada, Mexico, Russia, Cuba, Japan, or perhaps Staten Island that was “menacing her borders,” and proceed to defend itself outwards, then the best women flyers of the Corps were to have Commissions in an official army auxiliary. The old-fashioned “rights” granted to women by the Liberals might (for their own sakes) be taken from them, but never had they had more right to die in battle.

***

Mary took her sixth solo flight on a November morning gray and quiet under snow clouds. She had never been very talkative with the ground crew but this morning she said it excited her to think she could leave the ground “like a reg’lar angel” and shoot up and hang around that unknown wilderness of clouds. She patted a strut of her machine, a high-wing Leonard monoplane with open cockpit, a new and very fast military machine, meant for both pursuit and quick jobs of bombing . . . quick jobs of slaughtering a few hundred troops in close formation.

***

In his two years of dictatorship, Berzelius Windrip daily became more a miser of power. He continued to tell himself that his main ambition was to make all citizens healthy, in purse and mind, and that if he was brutal it was only toward fools and reactionaries who wanted the old clumsy systems. But after eighteen months of Presidency he was angry that Mexico and Canada and South America (obviously his own property, by manifest destiny) should curtly answer his curt diplomatic notes and show no helpfulness about becoming part of his inevitable empire.

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Lebanon: Nasrallah warns of impending battle against terrorists

Hezbollah resistance fighter greeting the morning sunrise on the day of victory in Yabroud in the the hotly-contested Qalamoun Mountain region, March, 2014. That's what liberation looks like. (Click to enlarge)

Hezbollah resistance fighter greeting the morning sunrise on the day of victory in Yabroud in the the hotly-contested Qalamoun Mountain region, March, 2014. That’s what liberation looks like. (Click to enlarge)

By JEAN AZIZ

BEIRUT — The speech that Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah delivered May 16 not only announced advances made by his fighters in Qalamoun — located between Lebanon and Syria — but also clearly indicated where the next battle against terrorists will take place. Political and military developments on the ground following the speech seemed to point to the same confrontation site — the barren lands of Arsal — that Nasrallah mentioned.
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Lebanon-Syria: The battle at Qalamoun

Hezbollah and the Syrian rRepublic Army have been fighting US and NATO-Backed terrorists for control of the Qalamoun area near the border. JEAN AZIZ*

Forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad are seen at al-Sakhra village in Qalamoun Mountains, northeast of Damascus, after taking control of the village from terorists April 14, 2014. Syrian soldiers backed by Hezbollah fighters recaptured the town of Maaloula, north of Damascus, on May 11, military sources and state television said, further squeezing rebels' supply routes through the Qalamoun mountains into Lebanon |  REUTERS/Khaled al-Hariri

Forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad are seen at al-Sakhra village in Qalamoun Mountains, northeast of Damascus, after taking control of the village from terorists April 14, 2014. Syrian soldiers backed by Hezbollah fighters recaptured the town of Maaloula, north of Damascus, on May 11, military sources and state television said, further squeezing rebels’ supply routes through the Qalamoun mountains into Lebanon | REUTERS/Khaled al-Hariri

BEIRUT (May 11) — Clashes have been raging along the Lebanese-Syrian border since May 6 between Hezbollah militants and the Syrian army, on the one hand, and the militants of the Islamic State (IS) and Jabhat al-Nusra, on the other. These clashes are highly significant and might have various outcomes and dimensions for what has become known as the Qalamoun battle. To understand the situation, some factors should be put into perspective. Continue reading

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Recolonizing Africa: Confronting Russia, global NATO eyes Africa

african-people“NATO Alliance Stands Firm, Adapts to Challenges” – Jim Garamone, U.S. Department of Defense release

WASHINGTON (May 22) – The NATO alliance is standing firm and adapting to the challenges on its eastern and southern flanks, military officials said during a press conference following the alliance’s Military Committee meeting here.
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Actions across Canada defend scientific integrity and collective bargaining

Gatineau

Workers in the federal public sector demonstrated across the country May 19 addressing the concerns of Canadians with the Harper government’s interference in public scientific research and refusal to engage in real negotiations for public sector collective agreements.

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Murky affair of accused British Royal Navy sailors gets murkier

Aberration of due process in Nova Scotia

By TONY SEED

2014.10.25.Toronto-Anti-War-08cr3Four British naval personnel accused of a heinous crime have been moved from CFB Stadacona in Halifax to British base in Alberta. The Harper government, its Department of National Defence and Maritime Command are making special private arrangements for the British soldiers, and the courts and the crown in Halifax are letting them get away with it.

News agencies report that on May 1st the head of Maritime Command of the Canadian Forces ordered four British Royal Navy sailors – accused of sexual assault at a military barracks at CFB 12 Wing Shearwater – to leave the CFB Stadacona military base in Halifax, where they had resided since April 21, by the end of the day. With the sanction of the crown prosecutor’s office and a Nova Scotian provincial court, they were transferred to the British Army Training Unit in Suffield, Alberta (BATUS), which is leased from the Canadian Department of National Defence. [1] How the soldiers were transferred from one end of the country virtually to the other has not been revealed. Continue reading

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More revelations on the subversive operations of the Turkish intelligence agency MIT against Syria

Turkey detains soldiers and intelligence agents over seizure of Syria-bound arms shipments

By TONY SEED

No war on Syria(Revised and updated May 23) – Turkish authorities have arrested dozens of military and security personnel from the National Intelligence Organisation (MIT) in an ongoing investigation of weapons shipments from the NATO bloc country to terrorists in Syria. The sensational development reported by Middle East Eye and regional news agencies (see below) reveals a fierce struggle within the Turkish power structure.

A subsequent Reuters report – Exclusive: Turkish intelligence helped ship arms to Syrian Islamist rebel areas – confirms the MEE report:

Testimony from gendarmerie officers in court documents reviewed by Reuters allege that rocket parts, ammunition and semi-finished mortar shells were carried in trucks accompanied by state intelligence agency (MIT) officials more than a year ago to parts of Syria under Islamist control.

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