Posts Tagged ‘indonesia’

The Look of Silence

Directed by Joshua Oppenheimer (2014)

Tuesday night, Maori TV showed Joshua Oppenheimer’s 2014 ground breaking documentary about the 1965 Indonesian genocide instigated by the CIA. The documentary is available at the Maori TV website for the next 2 weeks:  The Look of Silence

The clip below is a 2016 Al Jazeera interview with the filmmaker.

More than a million people were brutally killed after a 1965 CIA-backed military coup that overthrew Achmed Sukarno – who became Indonesia’s first president in 1945 after leading their battle for independence (from the Netherlands) for more than 20 years.

Genocide victims were accused of being communists, although most were union members, teachers, artists, intellectuals and landless farmers who opposed General Suharto’s new military dictatorship.

For the most part the killers have stayed in power, living alongside the survivors and the victims’ families who were threatened into silence. Fear and anti-communist rhetoric persist in Indonesia today.

For nearly 10 years, American filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer researched and documented the atrocities.

He spoke to victims and their families as well as the perpetrators of the crimes, shedding light on Indonesia’s dark past and today’s impunity in his two films, The Look of Silence (2014) and The Act of Killing (2012).

His first film tells the story from the point of view of the killers – some of whom are celebrated as heroes in Indonesia today. The Look of Silence follows an optometrist, born two years after his brother was killed, as he confronts those responsible for his brother’s death.

Garbage Warrior

Oliver Hodge (2007)

Film Review

Garbage Warrior is a about architect and Earthship inventor Mike Reynold’s 30+ year rear radical experiment in sustainable living in Taos New Mexico. An Earthship is a home built out of tires packed with earth or sand and recycled glass and plastic bottles and other waste. Using the tires as a massive thermal mass to absorb heat, it relies on a passive solar design for heating and cooling. Totally off the grid in terms of power, water, and sewage, Earthships are typically build around a central greenhouse used for food production and temperature control.

All Earthshhips must incorporate five basic principles:

  • They must be built with natural or recycled materials
  • They must rely exclusively on solar or wind power and thermal mass for energy, heating
  • They must have a self-sufficient water harvesting system
  • They must have a self-contained sewage system.
  • They must incorporate food production

The Greater World Community

Reynolds began his first Earthship community, the Greater World Community, on ten acres of land in 1990. The idea was to give Mike’s young work crew and followers a low cost plot of land and support them in building their own Earthships. He eventually built two much larger Earthship communities in the Taos area.

Most of the film relates to the legal difficulties Reynolds encountered with local and state authorities, over the failure of Earthships to comply with building codes. In the early 1990s, he voluntarily surrendered his New Mexico architects license to avoid being sued for malpractice. In 2004 he reached a compromise with the county by reclassifying his Earthship “communities” as “subdivisions.”

After three years of intensive lobbying, in 2007 he persuaded the New Mexico legislature to approve his Earthship communities as a “sustainable living test site.” This effectively exempted them from state and local permit requirements. The best part of the film shows him teaching Andaman Islands residents whose homes were destroyed by the 2004 Indonesia tsunami how to build Earthships. This segment provides the most detailed depiction of the actual construction process.

2014 Update

The second film is a 2014 update of the “sustainable living test site” Taos Earthship community. It highlights a number of the technological improvements that have occurred in Earthship construction. It devotes special attention to the unique water management system that allows Earthship owners to survive in desert conditions with nine inches of rainfall per year.

Part 7 of Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States concerns the Johnson and Nixon presidencies.

The Johnson Presidency

Johnson continued Kennedy’s glorious tradition of overthrowing foreign democratic governments. He openly admitted the military aggression he authorized wasn’t about fighting communism – but about fighting third world peoples for their resources. He saw no other way 6% of the world’s population could control 50% of its wealth.

  • In 1963 Johnson reversed Kennedy’s order to draw down US “military advisors” and introduced ground troops to Vietnam.
  • In 1964 he ordered US troops to overthrow the democratically elected government of Brazil.
  • In 1965 he invaded the Dominican Republic to crush a popular insurrection against a CIA-inspired right wing coup.
  • In 1966-67 he authorized a bloody CIA coup to oust President Sukarno in Indonesia and replace him with the right wing dictator Suharto.
  • In 1967, he ordered the CIA to (illegally) spy on anti-Vietnam War protestors through Operation Chaos.
  • In 1967, he fired Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara when he opposed escalating the bombing in Vietnam.

When a bipartisan group of elder statesman called for US troop withdrawal from Vietnam, Johnson decided to focus on Vietnam peace negotiations instead of running for a second term in 1968.

The Nixon Presidency

Robert Kennedy was the clear front runner in the 1968 election prior to his assassination in July 1968.

Despite basing his campaign on a “secret plan” to end the war in Vietnam, Nixon and Kissinger (who secretly undermined the Paris peace negotiations to help Nixon win the elections) vastly expanded the war, which would last seven more years. More than half the GI deaths in Vietnam occurred under Nixon.

As president, Nixon made 13 separate threats to use nuclear weapons in Vietnam. Stone believes it was only the massive anti-war protests (which deeply unnerved Nixon) that prevented their use.

Nixon and Kissinger were also responsible for secretly and illegally bombing Cambodia and Laos, the 1973 coup that overthrew Chile’s democratically elected government, and Operation Condor, a secret dirty war against pro-democracy movements in Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia.

Part 7:  Johnson, Nixon and Vietnam: Reversal of Fortune – Cataclysm in Vietnam

Silence of the Pandas

Wilfred Huisman (2011)

Film Review

Greenwashing (def) – a form of spin in which green PR or green marketing is deceptively used to promote the perception that an organization’s products, aims or policies are environmentally friendly.

Silence of the Pandas is about the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) – the world’s largest conservation organization – and their open collaboration with Monsanto, palm oil manufacturers and other multinational corporations that are systematically destroying wildlife habit.

WWF solicits millions in donations every year based on the image it projects of protecting endangered animals, such as the panda and the tiger. In reality, the WWF, under the leadership of the British royal family and other members of the British aristocracy, forms lucrative “partnerships” with corporations seeking to greenwash their image.

Through these toxic partnerships, WWF is facilitating, rather than preventing, the destruction of rainforests and wildlife habitat. It also actively promotes the removal of indigenous populations (in India, Indonesia, South America and Papua New Guinea) from their rainforest habitat. As an example, WWF has collaborated with the Indian government to displace one million Adabzi from their tribal homelands to expand a WWF ecotourism venture. The habitat destruction stemming from this venture is rapidly depleting tiger populations rather than increasing them.

In Indonesia, WWF partners with the palm oil giant Wiemar to raze native rainforests and replace them with extensive palm oil plantations. In many cases the Indonesian government has illegally leased land to Wiemar. The land belongs to indigenous farmers whose ancestors planted the tropical forest gardens destroyed to make way for palm oil.

In Argentina WWF, in partnership with Monsanto, has brought the country to the verge of ecological collapse by destroying natural forest and pampas and replacing them with a GM soy desert the size of Germany.

As one of their vice presidents openly demonstrates in the film, WWF is a strong proponent of genetic engineering. In return for a sizable donation, in 2010 the group awarded Monsanto a seal of product sustainability for their GM soy seed.

I first became concerned about the activities off the WWF in the mid-nineties when I learned that they had allowed their parks to be used as training bases for the Hutu militants responsible for the Rwandan genocide. The film makes brief mention of the secret mercenary army WWF assembled from British special forces and South African (apartheid) security personnel. The alleged purpose of these mercenaries was to assassinate poachers who were endangering elephant and rhinoceros populations.

The pro-African website Nairaland tells a very different story.

Under the guise of protecting endangered species, such as the elephant, the rhinoceros and the tiger, WWF “park rangers” carry out assassinations and other attacks against so-called “poachers” who in many instances turn out to be local patriotic political leaders or farmers who refuse to abandon their land and their food production to the WWF’s land confiscation programs.