A half-hour portion of Cristina’s speech before the Argentine parliament the other day, which lasted about four hours in all. This portion specifically concerns the AMIA and Israeli embassy bombings. If you can understand Spanish, you really need to see this. It’s just stunning. She calls out ALL THE BULLSHIT. And all the bullshitters, too.
Hot off the dismissal of a scandalous so-called case against her by a prosecutor later found dead of an apparent suicide, the president of Argentina is turning the spotlight on the very country that wants this negative attention the least. No, it’s not Iran. Guess again…
Argentine president Cristina Fernández requested of Israel that the former ambassador, Itzhak Aviran, testify in regard to the cause of the attack on the Jewish mutual centre, AMIA, in 1994, in order to explain why he said months ago to the media that his country killed the terrorists.
During her speech opening the legislative year, the president announced that “since no judge has requested it”, she herself will “formally request of the state of Israel that ex-ambassador Itzhak Aviran please come to testify”, so that Argentines may know “at least, [who were] the material authors” of the AMIA attack.
Aviran, who was ambassador in Buenos Aires between 1993 and 2000, caused a great controversy early in 2014, when he stated in an interview that “the great majority” of those responsible for the attack that left 85 dead in 1994 “are now in the other world, and we ourselves did that”, referring to the state of Israel.
The Argentine foreign office at the time deemed the declarations to be of “extreme gravity” and accused Israel of concealing information, but the Israeli government denied the information and called Aviran’s statements “pure fantasy”.
“21 years have passed and we don’t have a single person sentenced, nor even one prisoner due to AMIA,” the president said, accusing the Argentine judiciary of failing to advance in investigating the attack, as well as that against the Israeli embassy two years before, which left 29 dead.
“It has always strongly called my attention, I still can’t understand why the state of Israel accuses [Argentina] over AMIA, and not for the bombing of its own embassy,” Fernández pointed out.
“Does anyone know, can anyone inform this president what is the result of the investigation (of the attack against the embassy) by the Supreme Court? Can anyone inform me why the state of Israel isn’t making accusations about the embassy?” Fernández asked.
The attack on AMIA has come to the forefront of the political scene after the death, in circumstances still unexplained, of Alberto Nisman, the special prosecutor charged with the investigation, who was found in his home with a gunshot wound to the head on January 18.
Four days before, Nisman had presented a denunciation against the president, foreign minister Héctor Timerman, and several directors of the ruling party, over a supposed plan to cover for the Iranians suspected of carrying out the attack.
The denunciation was dismissed last Thursday by magistrate Daniel Rafecas, on the basis that there was no evidence to support the accusations.
Well. Wasn’t that a party? Cristina sure knows how to drop a bombshell, doesn’t she. Imagine an Israeli ambassador — or former one, rather — being called to testify before an Argentine court about the attacks on his country’s embassy and on the AMIA centre, too! I doubt he’d show (because diplomatic immunity blah blah, and also BAWWWWK buk buk bk bk), but it sure would be interesting to hear him clear up his statements to the effect that Israel disposed of the guilty parties already, without so much as a word of by-the-way to Argentina! Because if Israel did that, then why this twenty-year campaign to pin the blame for the still-unresolved crime on Iran? And why the current campaign to discredit Argentina in the eyes of the world? And if the assassins were in fact, as Israel insists, Iranian — then why hasn’t there been an international incident in which Iran declares war on Israel as a result? Because I doubt very much that Tehran would take the murder of Iranian nationals lying down, especially if Israel were behind it.
All of this comes at a very interesting time for Argentina, when the country has shrugged off its debts and kicked the vulture capitalists out of country. Little wonder, then, that the right-wing international media are out to demonize Cristina Fernández by any means possible — even publishing that ridiculous, superstitious bullshit about her standing godmother to a Jewish young man in order to save him from becoming a werewolf! Can’t let her look good for righting the dire economic situation that led to Argentina’s debt default in the wake of the crash of 2001, can we?
And suddenly the bizarre accusations of Alberto Nisman start to make a horrible kind of sense. If Nisman was indeed working at the behest of Mossad handlers, then we can place him (and maybe his death as well) in the context of a demonization campaign by Israel against Argentina. And this in the face of all Argentina’s extensive efforts to co-operate with Israel. Talk about bad faith!
In the end, this will be an own goal for Israel. And they’re already losing badly on the global stage, so they can ill afford to look any worse.
Yes, I know they’ve got a new album out; I bought it just the other day. This one’s off their first, and it’s one of my favorites, not just of theirs, but of any I’ve ever heard. Nervous, intuitive, and more than a little witchy.
Lidia Falcón in an archival photo, likely taken before her seventh and final arrest under the Franco dictatorship. The leftist lawyer and feminist was falsely linked to a crime allegedly carried out by Basque separatists in Madrid in September 1974. A café frequented by secret police was the target. Falcón had nothing to do with the attack at all, but that didn’t stop the dying dictator’s sadists from doing their worst to her. For 40 years she was unable to talk about it. Now, she tells her story to Público:
Lidia Falcón was tortured to the limit in the fall of 1974. She was beaten, insulted and humiliated. But not only in prison. In the official media as well. The daily newspaper, ABC, didn’t hesitate to publish her photo on the front page and link her to an ETA attack on the Rolando coffeehouse in Correo Street, near the Puerta del Sol, on September 13, 1974. Falcón had nothing to do with that massacre. But for the police, the Franco régime, and for its hangers-on, it was all the same. She was arrested in Barcelona and transferred to Madrid three days after the attack. She thought she would never get out of jail. That they would kill her first. Franco was near death, and the hatred of his Political and Social Brigade was running rampant throughout Spain. Tortures unimaginable today were commonplace.
The lawyer, writer and founder of the Feminist Party has taken 40 years to recount that dramatic episode of her life. The nine months she spent in prison and the nine days she suffered the interrogations of Billy the Kid and Roberto Conesa. She kept it hidden as much as possible, she doesn’t really know why, she says. Every victim manages the trauma of torture as well as they can. Every person has their own defence mechanism. Silence and pretending were the methods Falcón chose.
Today, forty years later, she has decided to put those tortures in writing and present a denunciation before the Argentine embassy in Madrid as part of the so-called Argentine Case, the only judicial proceeding currently investigating the crimes of the Franco dictatorship and the Spanish Civil War.
“They arrested me seven times between 1960 and 1974, but no one has ever been told what I lived through during that last detention. Why? I don’t know,” Lidia Falcón told Público. She says she finally decided to take that step and make the denunciation in order to “help my comrades who are making such a great effort to put an end to the impunity of Franco-fascism.”
On September 16, 1974, three days after the ETA attack, the Politico-Social Brigade (BPS) arrived at Lidia Falcón’s office to arrest her and take her to Madrid, accusing her of taking part in the attack by planting an explosive charge in the Rolando Coffeehouse in Madrid, a place frequented by the BPS police. They had no evidence. They probably also knew that Falcón was not implicated. But it was all the same to them. They forced her into a car and drove her to Madrid. The same for her daughter and her companion, Eliseo Bayo. They wouldn’t even let her go to the bathroom during the 12-hour trip.
The worst, obviously, was still to come. Falcón spent nine days in the Franco-fascist terror’s station. “They threw Grimau out the window there. They tortured him to the point of uselessness. One thinks it’s possible not to talk about it, that it not come out,” Falcón said, in front of the Argentine embassy in Madrid. “They were furious and hungry for revenge. We can’t forget that 13 people had just died, and there were 84 injured,” Falcón continues.
A doctor examined her upon arrival. “Do you suffer from any illness?” he asked her. “I’ve recently had hepatitis,” she replied. Billy the Kid and Roberto Conesa now had the perfect target to destroy their victim: “They hit me in the stomach and in the liver and tugged at my arms until I thought they’d fall out.” This for three days. No sleep, no food, no drink. Between beatings, they talked about her daughter: “She’s in jail. Maybe she’ll find a boyfriend.”
After 72 hours in detention, she was visited in her jail cell by the instructing judge, the commander of the First Military Tribunal of Judges and Officials of Madrid, and after a lengthy interrogation, Falcón signed a declaration in which she did not confess to participation in the attack, nor any relations with the terrorists. “I’ve asked myself whether the CIA was implicated in the attack,” Falcón remembers, describing how the judge thumped his chest and exclaimed, “I will not allow betrayals of this uniform!”
After the official left, she was returned to her cell. The next day, Billy the Kid and Conesa came back for her. They handcuffed her to two hooks in the ceiling, but Falcón’s wrists were too small. Her 50 kilograms of body weight were not enough to fill the cuffs. Falcón fel again and again. Finally, they tied her with ropes and began to punch her in the abdomen, stomach and liver.
“Do you recall anything Billy the Kid said to you during the interrogation?” asked a journalist.
“Yes. Of course. There’s one thing that I’ll never forget. Ever. While he was beating me about the stomach, he said to me, ‘Now you’ll never stand up again, whore,'” replied Falcón, recalling that after the interrogations, she had to have five surgeries to try to repair the damage from the tortures to her shoulders, stomach and uterus.
Like other victims of Antonio González Pacheco, alias Billy the Kid, Falcón remembers his face well. Those eyes that sparkled upon seeing another’s pain, which enjoyed inflicting terror and exercising the superiority of having a victim tied up and free rein to torture. “He was a sadist. He liked it. You could see he was enjoying those moments,” Falcón adds, recalling that she finished most of the torture sessions by losing consciousness.
When she fainted, they untied her and laid her on the floor. They woke her with a bucket of water. Then the doctor examined her, checking the whites of her eyes and her blood pressure. “Let her rest,” he usually recommended. She remained on the floor, wet, for hours, until they brought her back to her cell. The next day, the tortures continued. On the sixth day, the torturers could not continue with the same abuses. They could not hang her from the wall because she would lose consciousness quickly as a result. Then, when she awoke, she went on receiving punches and kicks while lying on the ground.
On the ninth day, they transferred her to the Women’s Prison of Yeserías in Madrid. The tendons of her arms were torn, as were her uterus and abdominal muscles. She spent nine months in that prison. On June 11, 1975, they gave her provisional freedom and a fine of 30,000 pesetas. Though she had been accused, she never went to trial. In fact, No one ever went on trial for that ETA attack. Neither she, nor the other 21 accused.
Years later, Falcón went to the Historical Archive to look for the documents from her stay in prison, her detention, and the seven arrests. They didn’t exist. Her name only appears on a document which recounts a conversation between two police officers. “Everything has been eliminated. It’s part of the pact of silence of the Transition. Everything stays behind. There are no guilty parties. No one was sentenced. No investigations. Spain is a single country, and bipartisanism shares a big part of the blame,” Falcón says.
In case you wonder why Argentina should be involved in this case, you may recall what I blogged a few weeks ago about the exchanges between the military academies of Spain and Argentina. Even as Franco’s régime was in its last gasps (literally, since the dictator was on his deathbed), that of Argentina was just around the corner. Already the fascist (“anticommunist”) brigades, both military and civilian, were harassing Argentine leftists, and bodies were beginning to fall. In a country with a long history off generals-as-presidents, a military coup is never far behind, and in 1976, it finally happened. The fragile Argentine democracy crumbled even as an equally fragile and uncertain so-called democracy emerged from the dictator’s death in Spain. It was like the two countries sat at either end of a see-saw: as one went up, the other went down.
But even as the public balance was shifting, something covert was going on, something that would assure the continuation of fascism, its migration between one Spanish-speaking land and another. Spanish and Argentine military officers were involved in an exchange program, and specifically one dealing in so-called “counterinsurgency” methods. In plain English: Terrorism, murder, torture, abduction, permanent disappearance of victims, and erasure of their very names from the records. Officers from one country went to train in the other, and vice versa. The new Spanish democracy was a sham, as much as the former Argentine one had been. In truth, fascism would continue unabated, hidden. Just as the Argentines had their secret prisons in places the public never suspected, so did the Spaniards harbor their torturers in plain sight. And this even with Franco in his grave, and a two-party electoral system supposedly now in place. Officers and torturers of both régimes enjoyed total impunity, and some still do to this day.
It’s getting late, and yet there is so much still to be done to bring real democracy to Spain and Argentina. As long as the victims live, the torturers’ crimes can still come to light…even after 40 years or more.
Good lord. I would have thought that teaching kids the facts of life at public school was no longer even a little bit controversial, but apparently it’s become just that. AGAIN. And today, in the Ontario Legislature, the pot boiled over:
Progressive Conservative MPP Monte McNaughton (Lambton-Kent-Essex), a leadership hopeful, attacked Premier Kathleen Wynne on Tuesday for not doing enough to consult parents before implementing the new syllabus that takes effect in September.
McNaughton told the house that the premier should not be imposing views upon mothers and fathers concerned about the revised program designed to protect children by better informing them about sex.
Note that the oh-so-concerned-for-concerned-parents Mr. McNaughton is a Conservative “leadership hopeful”. Hence all his laudable, laudable concern for the unheard voices of parents who don’t want their kids learning anything about sex at school. His leadership hopes took a bit of a trouncing, though, at the hands of the woman whose job he’s eyeballing:
Wynne, Ontario’s first female premier and lone openly lesbian first minister, suggested the Tory MPP was being homophobic when he said Monday “it’s not the premier of Ontario’s job — especially Kathleen Wynne — to tell parents what’s age-appropriate for their children.”
“What is it that especially disqualifies me for the job that I’m doing? Is it that I’m a woman? Is it that I’m a mother? Is it that I have a master’s of education? Is it that I was a school council chair? Is it that I was the minister of education?” she told the house.
“What is it exactly that the member opposite thinks disqualifies me from doing the job that I’m doing? What is that?”
Yeah, Monte, go on going after her job. After all, she’s just a trained schoolteacher with a master’s degree, a former provincial education minister, AND a parent. What the hell would SHE know about age-appropriate sex ed?
Could the real reason he’s so squiffy toward her new curriculum be none other than the simple fact that she’s gay? Or is it something more sinister, namely the anti-intellectual bent that we’ve seen so much of in the Ontario SupposiTories since the bad old days of Mike Harris and his No-Sense Devolution, when he put a high-school drop-out in charge of the provincial education ministry and basically ordered ol’ Snowballs to ransack it and leave no textbook untorn? The same generation that grew up on a starved education system now takes such governmental neglect for not only normal, but a correct course of action. Twenty years of undoing the good work of William B. Davis, the Education Premier?
Yeah, let’s stay the course. That’s still an electable strategy, right? I mean, just look at the peanut gallery these guys are playing to:
McNaughton and one of his rival PC leadership candidates — MP Patrick Brown (Barrie) — met with the raucous protesters, many of whom brandished anti-abortion signs.
Yup, it’s the anti-intellectual brigade, out in full force against anything that might inform their kids more and better than they themselves would! To hear this crowd talk, you’d think that just not telling kids anything about sex at all, other than “don’t do it till you’re married, and only for procreation” would be an effective means of preventing unwanted pregnancy, STDs, and that deadliest of all sins, Teh Ghey. Meanwhile, the precious, protected children of people like these grow into the kind of harassers who stand outside women’s health clinics, baptizing imaginary “murdered” babies.
But what am I saying? Nobody knows better than a parent what’s really good for the kids, right? RIGHT???
“Parents should be the first educators on serious issues like sex education . . . Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals are not respecting parents,” McNaughton told a rally of more than 200 people outside the legislature.
Oh, but of course. Parents are the bestest sex educators a kid could have. And the government has no right to “interfere”! That’s why schools that teach “abstinence only”, in accordance with religious parents’ wishes, have higher pregnancy rates and STD rates than schools that teach comprehensive sex ed. That’s why so many people whose parents “protected” them by withholding all sex information other than “Just Don’t Do It” are parents before their time, perpetuating the vicious cycle faster and faster than ever before. That’s why antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea and syphilis are wreaking havoc on kids whose folks told them condoms were the devil’s toys. That’s why AIDS is still incurable and there’s no vaccine on the market for it yet. The same people who think a few shots of Gardasil will turn their daughters into harlots when those girls haven’t even put down their Barbie dolls yet. The same whose kids are so desperate to learn anything at all about sex that they turn to porn for info. Yeah, those people are the greatest sexperts on Earth, and nothing they say could possibly be fallible.
By now, this should be a familiar story to anyone who’s been following the War on Terra even casually: A country’s intelligence resources get shamelessly gobbled up by the CIA and Mossad in an effort to blame any domestic terrorism on whatever country the US and Israel currently have in their sights. It’s happened a handful of times in Argentina, where Iranians have been taking the blame for what are in fact false flags staged by none other than Israel. The bombings of the AMIA centre and the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires were not the work of Iranian car-bombers, as was widely reported, but inside jobs, with Mossad agents and Shin Bet behind it all. The objective: To sabotage the then-ongoing Israeli peace talks with the Palestinian authorities, by claiming that the Iranians were their puppet masters, and also by making the Iranian government out to be a state sponsor of terror. Never mind that Iran is guiltless in all this. The smearing of the country’s name was enough.
And it’s not just happening in Argentina. As this Al-Jazeera investigative report indicates, it’s been happening in South Africa as well. State security agents, offices and funding have been diverted from what they should be doing — tracking domestic neo-Nazi terror cells, South Africa’s biggest real menace to society — and turning them against Iran, in order to make that country out, again, to be a state sponsor of terror.
Among the revelations, the Spy Cables disclose how:
*Israel’s Mossad told its allies that Iran was not working to produce nuclear weapons just a month after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned it was barely a year from being able to do so;
*The CIA made attempts to contact Hamas directly despite the US government listing the Palestinian group as a “terrorist organisation”;
*Britain’s MI6 sought South African help in an operation to recruit a North Korean official who had previously refused their cash; and
*South African and Ethiopian spies struggled to “neutralise” an assassination plot targeting a leading African diplomat.
The files unveil details of how, as the post-apartheid South African state grappled with the challenges of forging new security services, the country became vulnerable to foreign espionage and inundated with warnings related to the US “War on Terror”.
The report goes on to note some of the absurd lengths the South Africans had to go to in order to spy on Iran. My personal favorite was the use of Persian rug shops as supposed Iranian spy fronts. Maybe the CIA and Mossad had better learn how to decode secret messages woven into those fancy floor coverings, eh?
Notice the ludicrous mention of North Korea in there, too? Presumably the country poses a nuclear threat. What do you bet the real reason isn’t Kim Jong Un’s alleged nukes, but a whole lotta potential oil and gas reserves, sitting right near the North Korean shore? It’s not unreasonable to speculate that the eternally oil-hungry US, with the help of its Israeli buddies, would want to get at it before the Chinese, the Mongolians, and heaven knows who all else. So of course they’re going to keep polishing that ol’ turd about how dangerous and crazy Kim Jong Un is. Never mind that if he were really all that, he’d have given a lot more concrete proof than we’ve seen to date…which, by the way, is bupkus. He didn’t kill his alleged mistress (she’s still alive and performing on state TV, a position she surely wouldn’t still hold if she were out of favor, much less dead); the Sony hack was an inside job, probably done by a disgruntled former employee; and the scary, scary missiles that we’ve heard so much about have been rather modest, and seem to have been aimed at warning the South Koreans away — hardly a global menace. Meanwhile, the US and South Korea are about to stage military exercises close to the DPRK border, very soon. Keep your eyes on that oil, people, because that’s the real reason Kim is in the kimchi.
What ought to be abundantly clear from all this is that Iran is the US’s main target (and North Korea, a secondary target) in the War on Terra. And that oil is behind it all, same as it ever was.
And for Israel? Well, access to nearby oil is a definite plus because Israel doesn’t have a whole lot of its own, but the more immediate goal is a tightening of the Likud grasp on power. It’s kind of hard for Bibi Netanyahu to maintain it without a shitload of bogus “existential threats” for Israel. Which could, inconveniently, turn real if Israel keeps up at the rate it’s currently going, and alienating all its neighbors any further. They have more than enough cause to mistrust Israel as it is.
The new Mexican cardinal, Alberto Suárez Inda, thinks that cases of pedophile priests are not to be published, due to the delicacy of the topic.
“They’re such delicate matters, pardon, that they are not to be published, I think,” Suárez said in a press conference on Saturday in Morelia, Michoacán.
Following the call made by Pope Francis a few days ago for bishops and Catholic religious authorities throughout the world not to cover up cases of pedophilia, the cardinal stated that he had no reason to denounce anyone.
“If you have any information, I beg you to come forward and denounce it, to give news of something you know, but I have no reason to (publicly) denounce anyone.”
This is not to say, he explained, that the church must not follow up on these cases.
“Sadly, pederasty is like a virus, like an epidemic that travels around the world, not only through the Catholic church, but also outside the church. Sometimes even family members and teachers commit that crime,” Suárez declared.
Pope Francis named Suárez Inda as a cardinal on February 14.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Mexico. Just what you always wanted, a cardinal to sweep everything back under the rug. In direct contravention of what the Pope himself has been urging priestly authorities to do.
“No to the eroticization of sexual violence! Boycott Fifty Shades of Grey.”
A sentiment I can heartily get behind. This article from Mira Sigel, of the German radical-anarcho-socialist-feminist blog, Die Störenfriedas, basically says it all for me, too:
It’s February 2015 in Germany, and as a feminist, one wants to pull the covers over one’s head and wait till summer so that the sexist shitcrap that’s currently washing over us from TV and movie screens will at least be made tolerable by sunshine and ice cream.
On Thursday, in Berlin, there was the world premiere of Fifty Shades of Grey. The film version of the book, which is a — yawwwwwn — love story about an emotionally disturbed, violently inclined, rich and dominant man and a woman inferior to him in every way, is creating buzz around the world. There’s talk of “eroticism” and “lust”, and even Germany’s top-ranking feminists are applauding approval, because it has something to do with women’s liberation. That’s right: Getting your ass paddled or playing the choking game is just as sexually liberating as playing the prostitute in a bordello. The eroticization of violence and exploitation is a wonderful instrument of oppression that the patriarchy has just begun to discover. We now think of Playboy Bunnies as kindergartners, and the nonsense of Sex and the City, which for ten years was meant to prepare us for a life as constantly horny luxury queens.
But let’s go on. What’s really upsetting about the story is not that Anastasia sets out to finally find the limits of her sexuality and to cross them, but that she gets “seduced” by a rich, smart, and — naturally — “mysterious” man. What exactly is self-determined about that? It’s the age-old tale of King Bluebeard. Didn’t you know? Well, then, read up. A patriarchal fairytale par excellence. She naturally somehow “senses” that Christian Grey needs emotional rescuing, because hey, why else are we women here, with our bodies, our psyches, and our whole lives, to take care that it goes better for men, insofar as they can take it all out on us? Anastasia isn’t into S/M. She lets him do it to her, because she thinks she’ll get access to Christian’s disturbed emotional world this way. She realizes that he’s overstepping her boundaries, and still keeps going on. As well, she was a virgin before she met him, and has nothing, literally nothing, to compare his sexual experiences to.
Christian likes to hit women because his bad mama neglected him and was also a drug-addicted prostitute. Naturally, the whole wide world of women has nothing but understanding for that, and willingly sticks out its butt, so that the poor boy can take out his feelings on it. In turn we get to see him constantly in the film with his bare chicken breast. Because Anastasia takes his boundary-crossings so self-sacrificingly, eventually he does let his guard down a bit — and makes her his princess. One might laugh about that, because it’s so silly. In reality, though, it’s dangerous. Because it idealize a toxic view of relationships, in which women consequently deny their own needs and boundaries so that they’ll be better off. Women become clumsy twits, who fall so far under the influence of an experienced man’s sexual wishes that they become willing partners for damaging relations. It’s called grooming.
At the Berlin premiere, minors sashayed around with leather whips and other paraphernalia that they presumably consider sexy — because everyone tells them that sexuality is the thing of the hour. A chance to find out for themselves what they like, and to look for a corresponding partner, though, is something that neither our society nor Germany’s leading feminist group will concede to them.
Even the fact that there are also submissive men is no argument. What turns them on is subservience. The fact that a WOMAN is debasing them. Not a man. A woman. A woman who, however, is socially far beneath them. Therein lies the arousal — that is, it comes out of a deeply sexist and misogynous world-view. Sexuality is always to be viewed in the context of social reality. Why else have chambermaids been in the Top Ten list of male sex fantasies for centuries? Why do colonialist world-views express sexual desire in terms of white women and black men, and vice versa? Why are pornos full of racist stereotypes? Why is the horny secretary or nurse a fantasy that gets passed down from generation to generation? Why not a female professor or politician? Because female power — real female power — doesn’t stand for the male dominance of sexuality in a patriarchal society.
Soon, as well, we’ll see the next installment of Germany’s Next Top Model. Heidi ate burgers, döner and sausages in order to shut up the thinness critics. “I’ve been watching the show for ten years,” shrieks an 18-year-old hopeful. “It’s always been my dream to take part.”
Why doesn’t everyone wake up? Shouldn’t girls dream of high-school graduation, university, science, creative heights and successes, instead of making monkeys of themselves with Heidi & Co.?
Society shows young women their place. Either as sex toys for male power fantasies, or as skinny models without dignity.
Hopefully it will be summer soon.
Full disclosure: I’m not a kinkster. I’m not even remotely curious, having read enough already to know quite well what it’s all about. I have no desire to try it for myself; what I’ve read and seen doesn’t resonate with me — at least, not in a titillating way. I will admit to feeling disturbed by a lot of it, though, and for the very reasons Sigel outlines so succinctly here. The overwhelming majority of it plays to the age-old male power fantasy of “owning” a woman. Even the reversed situation derives its power mainly from the temporary inversion of the accepted order of things. But it doesn’t question that order, nor does it seek to subvert it in the real world. What happens in the dungeon, stays in the dungeon. And anyway, even the most submissive of male subs has his safeword, meaning the action stops when he orders it to. So in the end, even he still has power — even if his male privilege is momentarily (and voluntarily) doffed. The same cannot be said for female subs, whose submission is socially encoded as “normal”.
Worse, the ugliest aspects of the male-dominant power dynamic are so egregious in Fifty Shades that even the most ardent kinksters feel the need to dissociate from the franchise. I may not share their proclivities, but I don’t blame them a bit. They say they don’t stand for Christian’s blatantly illegal moves to control Anastasia, for stalking, for isolation, for abuse, and for the actual, slave-master ownership of a person, right down to a ludicrous, legally unenforceable “contract”. I would hope not! Who’d want to be associated with something so conservative, so un-edgy, so damn OLD? Because really, this is indentured servitude, when you get right down to it; good old-fashioned indentured servitude with a side order of medieval torture.
And yet, heterosexual kink* does partake of the same old dynamics, and that’s what makes it so primal and titillating to some, and fraught — and frankly, ripe for abuse. The kink community has always had its Christians, out to exploit a ready and willing pool of inexperienced young women. And every female sub has found herself at least once, it seems, in Anastasia’s unenviable shoes, being sexually assaulted and having her bounds blatantly overstepped by a dom who refuses to hear NO. And has had to warn others away from that freak. Who is not, unfortunately, that much of a freak.
Sometimes, the only thing that separates a kinky abuser from a garden-variety one is the leather costumery. And even Christian, in his “kinky” mode, is not that much of a one for the leather gear. He can play out his “master” role just as well in banker’s grey flannels. (But hey, at least we get to see him shirtless and sweaty. Whoopee!)
The disturbing thing about Fifty Shades is not the boring-ass sex (which has been described in detail elsewhere, and if you want to read about it, just google) — it’s the mental abuse. And the most abusive thing is that it teaches girls that if they submit enough, they’ll be rewarded with the prince and a tiara and, presumably, a whole stable full of sparkly pink Pegacorns with mauve manes and tails, who piss perfume, fart rainbows, and poop marshmallows, and heal all hurts with the magical light of their crystal horns. That sacrificing themselves and having no desires of their own is the way to a man’s heart, and that they’ll cure him of all his demons that way.
In real life, as has been often pointed out, that way leads straight to the women’s shelter, and often the morgue.
Abusive men aren’t for women to cure, and they don’t even want to be cured. They’re as hooked on their violence as a junkie on the needle. The power fantasy has been marketed to them, too, as a drug that they need to score and go on scoring in ever greater hits, for ever higher highs. The fact that they become numb to it eventually is never mentioned. They end up not in control, but in thrall. The fact that they end up in jail or dead in a grisly murder-suicide is the only logical outcome for that power dynamic. And it’s a fact that gets glossed over by the media time and again. When we do hear talk of a guy going to jail for beating his female partner to death, or of one who shoots first her (and/or their kids) before turning the gun on himself, it’s always couched in nonsense phrases about “senseless violence” that “no one could have predicted”.
In fact, the violence makes a lot of sense, and is dead simple to predict, given the dynamics of the patriarchal, capitalist world we live in. This “fantasy” is a big, money-making reality. Every little Joe Schmoe wants to be a Christian, on some level. With access to an Anastasia, who takes every slap, every punch, every rape, without complaint…just as she’s been taught.
Even the stuff you grow up thinking is so “subversive” and “transgressive” really isn’t. The Marquis de Sade? Hardly a libertarian “citizen” of revolutionary France, but an opportunist who took full, gory advantage of the old droit du seigneur. His perversions weren’t even particularly extreme for his day, at least insofar as literature went; there was already plenty of “blasphemous” spanky-spanky erotica kicking around even then. He didn’t invent a libertine tradition; he grew out of one like a fleur-de-lys from shit. Most of what he cut his teeth on was anticlerical, clandestinely published, and meant to shock with its childish defiance. And it shaped his tastes, without a doubt. His contemporaries were blasé about that. But what made him truly grotesque and ultimately a criminal in their eyes was not what he read and wrote, but what he actually did. To powerless underlings who had virtually no rights in pre-revolutionary France. This was no harmless fantasy of consensual role-play. His victims were predominantly young women in poverty and/or prostitution, who had no choice but to submit to whatever he meted out to them, even death. (Oh yes, did I mention that he was most likely a serial killer, one who pre-dated Jack the Ripper by about a century? Plus ça change…)
Even now, the “sadists” of BDSM are slow to wake up to the fact that their cherished fantasies are the products of some mighty banal evils. Not necessarily childhood abuse, or mommy/daddy issues (lots of kinksters have no history of those), but forces from the larger society writ small and personal, marked “private” and for individual sale only. Some, to their credit, are at least distancing themselves from the mad Marquis, recognizing that a man of the upper class, who poisoned, mutilated and flayed young peasant women without pity, is no role model. They stress safety, sanity, consensuality. They take it as a bounden duty to provide aftercare, and laudably tend to the wounds they inflict. They are seeking alternative terms for their kink, words that don’t hark back to droit du seigneur — at least not so blatantly. Bless them for trying. It’s just a pity that those same terms they stress so hard — safe, sane and consensual — are also being used by some, who are far less scrupulous, to gloss over the serious examination of kink’s background forces that is long overdue.
But that, too, is quite understandable, in light of the blinding obvious. People want to have their cake, and their fetishes too. What else is there to do on your own time in this god-awful crapitalist soul-eating world? Why kill the buzz of kinky “transgression” with structural analysis of its deep-down conservatism, with examination of class and privilege, with history, with the nasty inconvenient fact that the playing field is not finally level now, but still every bit as lumpy and unfairly tilted as it’s ever been, even without the old seigneurial class?
Take a wild guess. Take several. Take all the time you need.
*Gay kink — more liberating/liberated than straight? Don’t bet on it. A lot of butch/femme and even racist and homophobic stereotypes are played out there, following problematic templates similar to those of the straights. After all, they all have the class consciousness of a heterosexist society as their biggest (and really, only) role model.
Celerino Castillo busted his ass in the 1980s trying to get to the bottom of the Nicaraguan cocaine trafficking networks in Central America. Imagine his horror when he found out that the very same US government he was working for was actually behind it all, and not in a small way. That the cocaine was being imported into the US, where it was converted into crack and laid waste to entire inner-city neighborhoods, primarily black ones. And that his own agency, the Drug Enforcement Agency, was being used as a false front by the CIA, who were in the illicit operations up to their eyeballs, along with a group of well-known “assets”: death-squad leaders and terrorists and goons who have the strangest habit of popping up all over Latin America like sinister Jacks-in-the-box, leaving trails of death and destruction wherever they go. Cele Castillo saw it all, and has been persecuted for telling the truth about it ever since.
So, when asked to comment about the DEA’s latest “star witness” to supposed cocaine trafficking in Latin America, and specifically in Venezuela, of course Castillo isn’t surprised to see a traitor with US ties in the mix. Nor would it surprise him at all to learn that the traitor, Leamsy Salazar, may well be an assassin himself:
“The CIA has always used the DEA as its bastard son to hide its crimes.” The speaker is none other than former DEA agent Celerino “Cele” Castillo, who denounced the criminal activities of the terrorist Luis Posada Carriles in El Salvador.
Asked about the Venezuelan Leamsy Salazar, former bodyguard of Hugo Chávez who is now seeking asylum in the US, Castillo did not hesitate an instant, and said: “I witnessed many murders by the CIA. I have archives of cases and passports from the individuals who were killed.”
Leamsy José Salazar Villafaña, the Venezuelan traitor officer who confessed to having informed to the DEA, raised the suspicions of his current boss, Venezuelan national assembly president Diosdado Cabello, and was removed from service, and later fled. He is now suspected of having been part of a possible plot to assassinate Chávez with induced cancer.
Corvette captain Salazar, 40 years of age, was collaborating with the DEA “from mid-2013″, according to sources close to the DEA and right-wing media. The date is hardly credible.
Castillo is the former DEA investigator who saw with his own eyes and denounced how Posada Carriles, under cover of the CIA and the DEA as well, led an operation trafficking weapons in exchange for cocaine at the Salvadoran airbase at Ilopango.
In the 1980s, Castillo denounced the Reagan/Bush administrations as accomplices in narcotrafficking and contraband weapons trafficking. Bipartisan investigations in the House and the Senate confirmed his allegations against the US government.
“While I was in Central America as a DEA agent, we were accustomed to CIA operatives like Randy Capister and Victor Rivera. They paid Rivera $5,000 a month to use his death squad (made up of Venezuelans) in El Salvador.
“The gang assassinated a major of the Salvadoran army. They captured him in Guatemala and later took him to El Salvador and tortured him in order to finally kill him. They told us he was trying to escape.”
Victor “Zacarias” Rivera Aguaje later became an advisor to the Guatemalan Ministry of the Government in the Colom administration.
In 2008, a Guatemalan reporter interviewed Celerino Castillo about the topic. “The President of Guatemala fired Rivera. A week later he was killed, along with his secretary. The FBI moved quickly to investigate the murder because Victor was a documented agent of the CIA.”
The murder of “Zacarias” took place on April 7, 2008, at about 11 p.m., when he got into his car on Vista Hermosa Boulevard in Guatemala City, along with his aide, María Melgar.
Celerino Castillo has directly tied “Zacarias” to the CIA operation directed by Posada Carilles at Ilopango, where they met with Félix Rodríguez Mindigutía, a known CIA terrorist agent said to be the killer of Che Guevara.
Castillo resides in Texas, and is constantly harassed by the federal authorities.
In 2009, the federal prosecutor, Johnny “House of Death” Sutton, managed to put him on trial in San Antonio, Texas, for an ordinary purchase of a weapon without a licence, something which is common in that state. In August 2009, Castillo was sentenced to 37 months in prison, thanks to the complicity of a corrupt judge, Royal Furgeson.
Celerino Castillo documents many of his investigations on his website, Powderburns.org.
So, Cele Castillo wouldn’t be shocked if Leamsy Salazar turned out to be another Luis Posada Carriles? Well, neither would I. Let’s recall that Posada was, for a time and under a pseudonym, a chief of the infamous Venezuelan political police, the DISIP, at a time when leftists were kidnapped, tortured and “disappeared” in that country. How an ex-Cuban terrorist could make it to a top job in the secret police of a country not his own may seem a head-scratcher in itself, but the trail of dead bodies behind him is no mystery, and neither is his impunity. Luis Posada Carriles is a fanatical right-wing psychopath. Of course there will be deaths in his wake. The man’s a veritable Grim Reaper, and the fact that he’s the US’s Grim Reaper is clear from the way he’s been coddled by the justice system since he illegally showed up in Miami. Considering that the US normally hunts illegal immigrants down like vermin, that’s highly unusual. But it’s perfectly explicable when you remember that the CIA protects its loyal assets. And Posada is nothing if not loyal! So it’s no wonder that he got shoehorned into that plum job at the DISIP. He was a bastard, and he was Washington’s bastard.
And now Leamsy Salazar has shown where his own true loyalties lie. It should be fun to watch him dissolve under the harsh spotlight as revelations of his illegal activities in Venezuela come to light. I can hardly wait.
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All opinions here are the brain-wrackings of Sabina C. Becker, unless otherwise credited. If you cite them, please give credit where due.
Fear doesn't travel well; just as it can warp judgment, its absence can diminish memory's truth. What terrifies one generation is likely to bring only a puzzled smile to the next.
--Arthur Miller, "Why I Wrote 'The Crucible'", The New Yorker, October 21, 1996
All opinions here are the brain-wrackings of Sabina C. Becker, unless otherwise credited. If you cite them, please give credit where due.