Are You Afraid of the Digital Taleban?

•October 3, 2010 • Leave a Comment

by Maximilian Forte,

A Medal of Honor for Imperialism: But don't look at this image! A digital transfer of Taleban contagion will begin downloading if you do.

In the latest in militainment news, Electronic Arts has bowed to pressure from military officials in the U.S. and UK–not that it wasn’t already predisposed to their sentiments–and to the overreaching complaints of family members of those who died killing Afghans, and removed mention of the Taleban from the upcoming release of “Medal of Honor.” Players can now play as part of “Opposing Force” rather than “Taliban.” Had EA not made the change, the game faced outright banning: British Secretary of State for Defence Liam Fox called for retail stores to ban the game, and it was to be banned on U.S. bases, even though U.S. military personnel participated as consultants and testers to make it “more respectful” of their side, and of course, “accurate.” The only accuracy achieved is that, as in our mainstream media, the other is suppressed, and colonial disrespect is officially permitted and encouraged.

Being quite clear about the militarist propaganda functions of Medal of Honour, the executive producer Greg Goodrich stated: “the heartbeat of ‘Medal of Honor’ has always resided in the reverence for American and Allied soldiers.” Not such respect, rather reverence. Reverence, as in adoration, deification, genuflection, worship, and religiousness. Goodrich, speaking of the complaints, said: “This is a voice that has earned the right to be listened to.” Apparently listening to these voices is required of all us, but more than that, strict obedience to those voices, so that no competing images can be seen. The assumption seems to be that where there are competing images and labels, there are competing sentiments, and that needs to be shut down.

It’s not the war that is offensive; it’s not the killing of Afghans in their own country; and it’s not the marshaled rage against those who dare to fight back and defend their home that bothers the militarists, the indoctrinated, and those bleating families who would rather not think about the real reasons why their camouflaged spawn were sacrificed by the state. No, what’s really offensive is that not even in the imagination should any players, in any part of the world, be allowed for a moment to walk in the shoes of the Taleban. Why not? Because the fear is that in reality we might take a side other than the authorized one–Goodrich ends his patriotic spew with this sugary nonsense:

“To all who serve – we appreciate you, we thank you, and we do not take you for granted. And to the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines currently serving overseas, stay safe and come home soon.”

Apparently, the Taleban do not have families, and so the foreign invaders and occupiers need not bother with showing any sensitivity to Afghan families of the fallen. Once again, the video and the actual merge since this is no longer about playing but about training.

If anyone wishes to challenge the function of this game in training users to think like American militarists and war mongers–one can note that on the website of EA, only one single complaint was posted in what is apparently the only surviving thread (a user mentions that others were deleted). EA forum administrators would also like to hide from view any impression that there was debate, dissent, and complaints from other angles. The lone critic stated: “Glorifying war is disgusting. Glorifying only the parts of war fit to be sold is even more sick” and wondered if friends and families of the Taleban had contacted EA to express concern over the apparent lack of sensitivity toward them. Still having difficulty in spotting how military and commercial interests ideologically collude to censor and indoctrinate the young? Have a look at the responses, at how “community” pressure is mounted to sanction different views: knee jerk resorts to 9/11 sanctimony, and a flood of LMAO, GET A LIFE, STUPID THREAD image bombs. Not allowed for discussion.

It seems that the never ending 9/11 commemoration can only exercise a weak grasp on the minds of the young, which are also to be feared, as they may drift into the wrong intellectual neighborhoods, get lost, and perhaps never return. No wonder anthropologists had to be recruited for the Human Terrain System and other military programs–lest they become a domestic voice for the other, lest they question and criticize. This is war, and in war there can be no democracy. The totalitarian impulse of the “families of the fallen” required more than respect: it was not enough that they are free not to play the game, they want to ensure that no one else has the freedom to play the Taleban. For all of the insemination of the official state religion, the repetitive preaching of 9/11, none of it is enough. Now we are told that the Taleban have a slick and sophisticated propaganda effort–because they have a website, and a near dead YouTube channel, and oh my god Twitter and Facebook buttons! (We will take up the latter issue in the upcoming Encircling Empire report.)

In many video games one can still play in the role of Nazis. Correction: in all video games, it seems all we are allowed is to play the Nazi.

Happy 911 deception day !

•September 11, 2010 • Leave a Comment

no comment !

Medal of Horror

•July 22, 2010 • 1 Comment

Medal of Honor 2010

Everyone who likes FPS will be happy for the coming release of Medal of Honor in its modern warfare version. Unlike the precedent series which took place during WWII, the new Electronic Arts game is set in the actual Afghanistan battlefield; players will be virtually in the shoes of a special squad sent in the combat zone to deal with the Taliban. A note in EA’s website says that the very special death squad really exists to counter the asymmetric warfare US Army have to cope there – which means that the military force on the other side doesn’t have the same average $500 billion per annum defense budget –, they proudly say that the “TIER 1 Operators”, whom the game was inspired by and whose so-called elite soldiers gave their counselling for the details, are the new warriors for a new enemy in a new war.

The 2min YouTube trailer promises an intense adrenaline-hyped action (on your computer screen of course) but, I feel like sick of all this non ending killing campaign against Arab people and want to be on the other side, a kind of renegade. Thanks to FPS video game, I came to know various rifles used in the combat zone like the HK G36, M4 sopmod, Tavor or the LRRS CheytacM200 and Barrett .50 sniper rifles; no matter how hard is the game setting, it seems that it’s easy to kill the enemy when you use modern weapons and drone assistance while the terrorist only have AK 47 and old RPG-7 to defend themselves. So I think it is far more exciting to be in the boot of the enemy trying to score a large number of body count with only few magazines, making your way through obstacles when playing a suicide bomber or choosing the best place for an IED for a maximum damage. Not only it will sharpen your sense of survival but makes you proud of the cause you defend: an entire people, a culture, a country, a civilization snatched by force and on the verge of annihilation just for the oil greed of Western countries.

Indeed, FPS video games are part of western countries’ strategy to nurture among youth the hatred towards people who, when refusing to cooperate in unfair deals with them, are treated as terrorists. Bin Laden was not a terrorist when he worked with the CIA to fight the Soviet occupation, the Taliban were given financial support from the USA before they refused the pipeline deal of Unocal. An episode of Al Jazeera’s the Listening Post show tries to get into the intricacies of how the corporate media and the military PR focus on Hollywood action movies and video games to make a part of the population rally their agenda. I forget to mention that Al Jazeera itself may be considered a voice of the terrorists like in Call of Duty 4 where there is a scene I play (without knowing it) besieging Al Jazeera office full of terrorists (which is normal) shouting Arabic language and wearing Palestinian scarf. It is no longer fun to play FPS when you notice that guys who pilot “Predator” drone do it in distance via satellite just like in the video game and like you, they are not morally accountable for civilian massacre, I mean collateral damage. If you plan to buy Medal of Honor, think deeper about the whole agenda behind it because you are not only virtually kill villains (who hate America coz American women wear G-string) but contribute also to the real daily grief and sorrow of an entire population. Don’t let them deprive your humanity.

AVATAR : between fiction and reality

•January 8, 2010 • 3 Comments

As an alternative to 3D theater non existent here in Madagascar, you can always rely on rental pirated VideoCD for only 500 Ariary (our national currency) and enjoy the latest US blockbuster sci-fi movie Avatar; for that price don’t expect a good quality sound/image but rather be happy that you don’t contribute to the capital-intensive entertainment of Holywood where the movie got 1 Million USD for only one week because it’s exactly what the movie want to rail against: Captalism and Imperialism. Just like Michael Moore’s former documentaries or Wachovskys’ Matrix, the movie director James Cameron had no other way to project his political views than using the same system he – I suppose — want to crumble down. In an interview, Cameron says that he plans to move in New Zealand, away of western civilization when it will fall (BTW why NZ? ) .

The first movie that came into my mind while watching Avatar is, not “Dance with Wolves” nor “Pocahontas” but “Age of Stupid”, a environmental documentary released last year who stated that at the rate this western capitalism-driven development lead us, mankind have to find 5 another Earth-like planets to satisfy their greed or just to survive and this happens in Avatar. In a near future, planet earth dwellers colonize a distant planet called Pandora to take from it an important mineral needed in industry regardless the being of the population there, the Nav’is. The plot is predictable with an happy ending after a Mel Gibson-like battle against the Alien (people from Earth) but beyond fiction and digital animation prowess lays the very reality of modern Imperialism and Neo-colonization. Aren’t the Nav’is the indigenous peasants in Bolivia expelled by the Government from the forest they’re living in because it will be used by Multinational (backed by Monsanto) for industrial Soya plantation. Isn’t Pandora a place that exists here somewhere in Africa particularly in Congo (or Sudan), undermined by years of civil war as ill luck would have it because their land have an abundance of Coltan (mainly used in electronic industry). Aren’the Military in Avatar an alegory to Rio Tinto and Sheritt in Madagascar, destroying the local fabric of Anosy region’s society for illmenite titanium sand’s sake, bringing bane than boon (prostitution, criminality, corruption) to local people of Moramanga for Nickel and Cobalt. Now as we can read on the newspaper, a first series of remittances — according to former mining contracts — will be given to the Malagasy Government both from Rio Tinto and Sheritt company but I doubt that it would bring considerable change to the economic situation of the local people and for the whole country. And above all, like in the movie Avatar, environmnent destruction is inevitable in mining extraction no matter how “environmentally responsible” these mining company would pretend as they always tried (like Exxon Mobil and Total funding research on climate change).

Well, Avatar can be considered as a mere distraction movie but for a Malagasy’s point of view it just brings the message of mutual respect between people culturally different and having different approach of life. Imagine You live in a environmetally peacefull place along with your community (not Robinson Crusoe), grow vegetable (bio) and run a small farm, sometimes you buy goods like TV from the money you earn from your masonry-work skill( I mean a society with a monetary system) and suddenly De Beers comes and says you have to move away and find another place because there is diamond in your garden, or if you like you can work for them as a nightwatchman. I mean who have the right to coerce other people to adopt a specific way of life based on profit since Mining Industry is just a tool in expanding capitalist system through technology appliances, is it hard to understand that some people don’t want Ferrari and luxiruous watch (and offcourse ipod). I don’t want to put it in the field of Anthropology in a Levi-Strauss style but … just leave us alone.

See also:
Blood Mining Industry
Coltan info
Age of Stupid Review

Happy New Ago(a)ny

•January 4, 2010 • Leave a Comment

The original title I wanted to give for this post was “Our Darwin’s Nightmare” but as we have reached a brand new year and AGOA is still in the limelight, this one sounds better I think.

I’ve just had the opportunity to watch an interesting documentary last week (I mean last year); Darwin’s Nightmare released in 2004 talks about the tragedy that happening in Mwanza, a small town of Tanzania near the Lake Victoria, one of the biggest lake of the world. After an experience where a predator fish was been introduced into the lake, its proliferation destroyed 95% of the indigenous fish species and destabilized the whole ecosystem of the lake, source of the Nile river and said to be the cradle of mankind. The Perch of Nile, the fish responsible of the mess there feed 2 million Europeans every day with an average of 500 tons export per day. The World Bank and the European Union support financially any further fish factory implantation all owned by foreigners.

In the documentary, an Arab factory owner proudly says that it’s a lucrative business for them and the population there rely mainly and only on fish exportation. But behind the job creation at the fisheries where local peoples’ work are to catch fishes in the lake under the supervision of a master (whose job is to assure that every fish caught from the lake are sent to the factory not in the table of fishermen and local vilagers) and prepare the fish (take the flesh) before packaging, the rest of the population wait for the carcass waste few kilometers away. Despite the great quantity of “perch of Nile” taken from the lake, many Tanzanian suffer from undernourishment and famine, they just can’t eat the fish from their own lake neither can they afford to buy other goods while poverty and famine prevail.

The similarity between Tanzania’s case and Madagascar is I think the AGOA clothing factories which use thousands of low cost labourers. What if these free zone factories mainly owned by French, Chinese and Mauritians have spread all around the regions of Madagascar, turning a great part of the population into menial workers hence make the government easily subjected to any US economical conditions. As we see now, the suspension of Madagascar to be elligible in the AGOA “trade agreement” is purely for political reason. It is more or like the same as Iraq’s embargo during the 90’s because they failed to deal with Sadam Hussein about oil price. Like Tanzanian’s fish factories, AGOA helped poor people to make their ends meet, these Malagasy people who fled from rural area where agriculture can not feed them anymore, trying to find solution by working in free zone factory, but in no way a pillar for the Malagasy economy as some pretend. I guess that if Tanzanian in Mwanza had a choice they would chose to live by their own in their own land and lake. In a nutshell, Agoa is a necessary evil for more than 100,000 people and another thousand who rely on indirect factory input but it’s still an evil created to perpetuate low cost labours of a greedy capitalist system and should not drive the fate of 21 Million Malagasy. Good riddance !

See aslo:
Film review’s_Nightmare

Another Cult of Shame

•December 29, 2009 • 5 Comments

Here we go again when the supposedly Shepherds run wild and lead the Lambs of God to the wrong path. If only I were an atheist and mock this situation where these substitutes of God or guardians of God’s words act on the behalf of the believers, interpret God’s real intention according to the scripture and dictate what is good for you and for your country. According to history, they played important role in turning men’s evil intention into God’s will and made people to kill in the name of God. It’s odd to think that they never learn from their mistakes, that their most important duty is to preserve the flock from earthly life in order to keep their soul safe during the judgement day. But as we witnessed, it’s an hard task for them to not take the so-called state subvention for Churches and their respective leaders nor they can easily refuse luxury cars on the basis that giving importance to earthly life is like chasing wind (Ecclesiastes).

Fortunately, I’m not an ordinary Christian, I am insensible to these hatemongers’ discourse, my faith* won’t be shaken because a bunch of priests, minister and bishop from my church who decide to choose on which side of a particular political tendency God sides with. After the first meetin held by the presbyterian church of Madagascar FJKM in Mahamasina few time after Ravalomanana’s eviction from power, another cult of shame took place yesterday at Antsahamanitra arena where these same men of faith overtly proclaim their political color but this time – with the least ethic they have — invitations were not distributed in church, only an ad from the FJKM’s official radio “Fahazavana” to come on monday.

Yesterday’s cult was particularly marked by quotations from the Book of Ester as I’ve heard on the radio, this woman of faith who brave the danger to save her fellow people. Though prayin for the sake of the country is not a bad thing( if only it works), enticing believers to support a particular political ideology in time of crisis is not a divine mission. At this rate they will tell the people to be like King David who killed 22,000 Syrians (I Chro20:3); why they didn’t take Paul’s saying that people have to respect the authority since they represent Christ on earth. As far as I know, Madagascar is still and should remain a secular nation, churches should keep their role as a balance between authorities regarding the social aspects of political decisions not interfering in politicians’ feud. Not only they put trouble between Protestant believers they are supposed to represent, but also Catholic against Protestant and above all irate the pagan and the antitheists.

*Beware of the word “faith”, there are many definitions as many untold meanings in the bible.

Not Another War Movie !

•September 19, 2009 • Leave a Comment

hurtlockerposterDue to time-lag, I’ve only seen yesterday the latest war movie “the Hurt Locker”, recounting the life of three Soldiers in Iraq and especially about IED bomb defusing. Described by some as apolitical, the movie focuses more on individual psyche on war field, the tension and details of modern war (modern war = between armies technologically unequal that urges the other to use archaic technique as weapon =Improvised Explosive Device and suicide bomber). You won’t see an adrenaline-hyped patriotic Rambo-type guy who can blow 5 Soviet divisions by himself . Rather, the movie tries to give more detailed images of what to be on the frontline means, knowing that death can hit you at every move, every corner, that American loss exists (yet far from the reality of Iraqis casualties mainly civilian). Yet, death issue is almost disregarded by the main character since he is just doing what he is supposed and told to do. And like every action movies, it depicts also some combat techniques like using a Barret .50 long range riffle vs a 7.62 mm Russian based sniper riffle and of course the M4 SOPMOD for close firing.

Barret cal .50

Well, as apolitical “The Hurt Locker” shirks the overwhelming question: what the fuck are they doing in Iraq ? Like in “Black Hawk Dawn”, I want to see many GIs down, shot by the Iraqis nationalists; I want to see the reality the native Iraqis people live under US occupation like in “Redacted” and “Battle for Hadhita”. Pretending to describe reality also is a failure for the movie. In the first scene where an Iraqis get closer to the soldiers and only told to move away. The reality is: every child throwing rocks or old women screaming obscenities (That would include anyone who did not lie on the ground in submission — something the non-English speaking Iraqis are supposed to automatically understand.) are shot right away without warning. The reality is that IED is not that bad because it’s the only weapon Iraqis have to protect their country whereas American have helicopters to drop people out of, white phosphorus to mummify them, napalm to cook them to a crisp, cluster bombs to shread them, Predator drones, DU etc. So don’t try to sell us that Holywood crap .