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  • Comment number 53. Posted by BluesBerry

    on 18 Jul 2011 12:23

    Human rights lawyers in UK & Pakistan are seeking the arrest of the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) former legal director for approving drone strikes that killed hundreds of people. Machines killed hundreds of people!
    John Rizzo, who served as the acting general counsel for the agency, has admitted approving drone attacks inside Pakistan, beginning in 2004.
    In February, Rizzo, who left the CIA more than a year ago, told Newsweek magazine he agreed to a LIST of people to be targeted by drone strikes, which started under the Bush administration. Rizzo said: "It's basically a hit list. The Predator is the weapon of choice, but it could also be someone putting a bullet in your head."
    The # of attacks has quadrupled under the administration of US President Barack Obama. The estimate is about 2,500 people were killed in attacks on targets in Pakistan since 2004.
    Arrest warrant : "There has clearly been a crime committed here." Clive Stafford Smith said. He is British human rights lawyer who is leading the effort to seek a warrant for Rizzo, said. "The issue here is whether the United States is willing to flaunt international law. One of the purposes of doing this is because there is no sense in the United States of how catastrophic this whole process is."
    US government lawyers argue that drone strikes are conducted on a "solid legal basis", however, Stafford Smith said there has to be a war going on in order for any of these strikes to be legal. "Outside a combat zone the US has no possible, plausible legal basis to conduct these drone strikes. They simply get away with it.
    "I challenge anyone to go to the families of those innocent victims in the [Afghanistan-Pakistan] border regions and say: 'It's legal to bomb your homes and kill your children'. It's obviously not."
    In May 2010, the CIA was granted approval by the US government to expand drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal regions in a move to step up military operations against Taliban & al-Qaeda fighters (all @ 40-50 al-Qaeda fighters!). Federal lawyers backed the measures on grounds of self-defence to counter threats these fighters pose to US troops in neighbouring Afghanistan and the US as a whole. Please ell me how?
    The US announced that targets would include low-level combatants, even if their identities were not known. How an you kill someone when the identity is not known?
    Obama had previously said drone strikes were necessary to "take out high-level terrorist targets". Is he talking about the ones that cannot be identified?

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  • Comment number 52. Posted by Colin_Allcars

    on 8 Jun 2011 22:42

    Having watched all of Adam's superb output over the years, he seems keen on using and reusing old footage of IBM machines whirring, often with a doomy, creepy sound over the top, inferring the cold and/or malevolent nature of the company. Clearly Adam is he's not afraid of ruffling a few corporate feathers, so i'm just wondering why he's not yet explored, or even touched on, in any of his films, the pivotal IBM support, via their German subsidiary Dehomag, for the Nazi's in rounding up all the people they wanted rounding up, as lavishly detailed in this book http://tinyurl.com/6zgosx2 ? Could this be too hot a potato for even Adam Curtis to touch on ? IBM did post a statement here http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/1388.wss after the book came out, but the whole subject seems ripe for some kind of documentary film coverage.

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  • Comment number 51. Posted by ASmith

    on 7 Jun 2011 09:43

    Fascinating programmes but am I the only one to detect a bit of bias? Characters and ideas with which we are meant to disagree are typically introduced with a whacky back-story and shots of mad hippies, etc, whereas others are introduced in a far more respectful way as the "voice of reason". There also seems to be a bit of reliance on using the lunatic fringe of, say, the ecology movement to discredit some vitally important ideas.

    My main gripe was with the presentation of the "Limits to Growth" study. Jay Forrester explained very clearly what this was all about - it was just a computer model of resource depletion that showed that if we carried on with 'business as usual' we were going to run out of resources sooner or later. Not the rather sinister sounding "cybernetic vision" in which humans are reduced to mechanical parts of a machine that Curtis presents.

    Adam Curtis then goes on to equate this to advocating a "static society", or to "insisting that we must no longer try to change the world". He implied that a steady state economy involves some kind of grand lunatic idea of controlling the entire world in a huge, imperialist management system, rather than simply trying to live within our means on a finite planet. And he wrongly said that when the limits to growth idea fell out of favour it spelt the end of systems dynamics. On the contrary, systems dynamics models are still being used today to model the links between social, economic and environmental factors - see the recent UNEP Green Economy study for example.

    No model is perfect, and all models involve simplification, but that does not mean they cannot be of any use to us. In this case, they can help us to realise that unlimited economic growth will destroy the resources on which our economy is based.

    A steady state economy is simply one in which we adapt to "development" rather than "growth". It is a dynamic equilibrium - not a static state. It will require far more active policies for poverty elimination, as we will have to stop relying on "trickle down", and it will require ongoing technical innovation to secure improvements in quality of life. More change, not less.

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  • Comment number 50. Posted by picpac65

    on 6 Jun 2011 23:42

    So much really good material and connections. Such a pity that Adam - like many on the Left - still subscribes (against all the evidence) to the preposterous official conspiracy story of 9/11. No, Adam, it wasn't carried out by "political Islam". There isn't a single scrap of evidence that any Muslims, or even Arabs, were involved. And the FBI admitted 5 years ago that it had no evidence to link Osama to 9/11. Please get up to speed on this. Look at the facts on the three collapses (WTC1, 2 & 7 - especially 7): all controlled demolitions. 1500+ professional architects and engineers say the official story defies the laws of physics. The FBI has also conceded that the alleged phone calls from the allegedly hijacked planes didn't happen i.e. they were faked. The inside job of 9/11 is the elephant in the room you don't want to see. It's also still the biggest story and the key to ending the neocon nightmare.

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  • Comment number 49. Posted by mariegriffiths

    on 6 Jun 2011 21:45

    Adam makes some very good points with some very well researched and enlightening material. However blaming the machine is a dumb as blaming a badly trained dog. At the moment computers are just a tool programmed with the same selfish fallibilities and models of the ruling elite. Be it Alan Greenspan and the ecconomy, Jimmy Wales and Wikipedia. Power corrupts absolutely as every reader of Animal Farm knows, shit always rises to the top. Its the selfish gene. Ironically a single super-intelligent machine would probaby be a better altruistic master.

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  • Comment number 48. Posted by richie52

    on 31 May 2011 20:29

    Hi Adam
    Another interesting programme, Nietzsche wrote in the 1880's about the 'Will to Power' that was another thing that never got included in the master computer programme, the people in the commune found out about that the hard way.
    Sarah Bakewell has also written a very good book on Montaigne. One Question and Twenty attempts at an answer.

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  • Comment number 47. Posted by hal1000

    on 30 May 2011 21:57

    Loved the ending line (on the second film) about most of us feeling powerless etc in light of this new global ideology, we are all just components in a machine subservient to the will of biggest bullies. I think the link to the ebook above (heaven or hell it's your choice) - takes a similar approach - I quote " We are all standardized graded economically and ideologically controlled off the shelf rent a products for the elite to use" very well put.

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  • Comment number 46. Posted by Garry

    on 24 May 2011 20:54

    @44 omg a blast from the past - that brings back some memories

    Great work Adam, whatever next...

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  • Comment number 45. Posted by TheMac

    on 24 May 2011 20:01

    Much appreciated Tourmanmarlow.

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  • Comment number 44. Posted by RUSirius

    on 24 May 2011 18:37

    I'm R.U. Sirius, former EIC of Mondo 2000, trying to make contact with Adam Curtis about a possible interview dealing with the TV program. There doesn't seem to be contact info anywhere on the site.

    R.U. Sirius = Sirioso@Yahoo.com

    Hope to hear back.

    thanks,
    R.U.

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