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The American institution.

When the CIA was born in 1947, it promoted torture in its first theaters, one of which was Greece. There, the agency created a Greek CIA equivalent called the KYP, which used torture to curb leftist support. After the 1953 CIA-backed coup in Iran, the United States created a secret police force for the Shah called SAVAK, which routinely tortured Iranians. Likewise, the United States sent infiltration agents from Munich into the U.S.S.R. to engage in sabotage. When the operation was infiltrated by double agents, suspects were routinely tortured. In Brazil, after the CIA overthrew leftist President João Goulart in 1964, suspected leftists were rounded up, death squads were formed, and suspects were tortured and killed on the U.S. taxpayer’s dime. In Uruguay, counterintelligence agent Philip Agee learned that one of his penetration agents in the police force was torturing a prisoner whose name Agee had inadvertently provided. The screams haunted him.

During the hunt for Ernesto “Che” Guevara in Bolivia, the CIA sent in Cuban exile-agents who tortured suspected leftist collaborators. Under Reagan, at least two Americans tortured General Ahmed Dlimi before he was killed in Morocco in 1983. In Nicaragua, the Contras routinely engaged in the torture of suspected leftists. “Rose had her breasts cut off,” went one retelling. “Then they cut into her chest and took out her heart.” In El Salvador in 1982, U.S. military advisers watched as their trainees tortured random prisoners who had been dragged from their beds in the middle of the night—and warned the trainees that having any pity was counterproductive. In 1992, Guatemala’s U.S.-trained counterinsurgents captured, tortured and murdered the leftist guerrilla Efrain Bámaca Velásquez. This became an international incident when his wife, the American lawyer Jennifer Harbury, petitioned the CIA with hunger strikes. And then, in November 2001, Libyan national Ibn Shaykh al-Libi was apprehended in Afghanistan and tortured in Egypt. Under duress, al-Libi told his torturers that Saddam Hussein was training Al Qaeda terrorists in the use of chemical weapons. This turned out not to be true. The toll? One million or so dead.

Joel Whitney on American methods.

What this article is actually about is the CIA’s long-running program of, effectively, vetting all films coming out of Hollywood. It’s specifically about The Report which, despite its on-the-nose tie-in merchandise, seems like exactly the kind of boring talking heads political thriller I would love…

Incidentally, for those of you who missed the actual findings from the Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program, a.k.a. the “torture report”, it was that torture does not work. Like. At all.

2020-01-11T10:59:15+11:0026th April, 2020|Tags: cw: discussions of torture, film, politics, pop culture, usa|

The aesthetic.

As one of the many, many people who’s kind of fascinated with the aesthetic of the Kowloon Walled City, the idea that someone basically recreated the thing as an arcade is like… damn, son.

2020-01-08T13:08:44+11:0018th April, 2020|Tags: pop culture|

88.

Stuck at home and looking for something to do? Why not get (virtually) together with a bunch of other fans and re-shoot an entire film?

Incidentally, there’s an 80s-themed hipster bar here called 88mph and if they’re not playing this non-stop after they’re finally allowed to reopen I will be very Disappoint.

2020-04-15T08:55:55+10:0015th April, 2020|Tags: film, pop culture|

What do you think happens when an entire generation is raised exclusively on Marvel and Star Wars movies, and then ages into boomerdom? THIS. This is what happens. Half a century from now, you’ll walk into a Christmas party at a 6,500 sq, ft. mansion hosted by some McKinsey executive, and the whole joint will be decorated with elaborate Baby Yoda tapestries and ceramic Tony Starks hand-crafted by skilled artisans in Lombardy. You’ll never escape it.

Drew Magary on taste.

2020-01-06T07:30:05+11:002nd April, 2020|Tags: pop culture|
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