Film review: Kill the Messenger and the Contra-cocaine-CIA scandal

I saw this yesterday and it was excellent. The filmmakers wisely decided to make the entire film cover the two year period 1996-1997 which saw Gary Webb break the series of stories titled Dark Alliance for the San Jose Mercury News that exposed the shady links between the US-backed Contras in Nicaragua, the CIA, and the drug dealers who were ravaging the black communities in the inner cities of the US by flooding them with crack cocaine. (See my earlier posts on this story and film here and here.)
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New documentary on Snowden released

Award-winning documentarian Laura Poitras has just released her new film Citizenfour about Edward Snowden. (The title of the film is taken from one of the aliases he used in his initial communications with her.) Spencer Ackerman provides a review of the film while George Packer provides a lengthy profile of the notoriously publicity-shy Poitras and also discusses the film which he saw in Berlin before its release.
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Killing the Messenger

When a mainstream media organization describes someone as their ‘national security reporter’, I immediately pigeonhole them as basically public relations flacks for the agencies they cover because often their main method of ‘news gathering’ is to cultivate sources at high levels within the agencies who will feed them self-serving leaks that these reporters then pass on to us. There are some good reporters on this beat, one being Jane Meyer for the New Yorker magazine and James Bamford who writes for a number of publications, but they tend to be the exception.
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O Lucky Man (1973)

This brilliant but strange and fascinating film by director Lindsay Anderson stars Malcolm McDowell and Helen Mirren and a raft of first-rate British character actors. It is a biting satire on the ruthlessness of the capitalist system in which McDowell plays a naïf who thinks that he can become rich by doing the will of wealthy people and thinks that they will show their gratitude by taking care of him and rewarding him, and ends up in one mess after another. It is an illusion shared by many today. I liked one gag where the graffiti on a wall has the message “Revolution is the opium of the intellectuals”.
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Black Jesus

There is new comedy show appearing on cable TV.

The new show stars Gerald “Slink” Johnson as a modern-day black Jesus living in rough-and-tumble Compton, Calif., spreading “love and kindness” with a “loyal group of downtrodden followers,” according to Turner Broadcasting System’s press release.

In a statement, Adult Swim said “Black Jesus is a satire and one interpretation of the message of Jesus played out in modern day morality tales; and despite what some may consider a controversial depiction of Jesus, it is not the intent to offend any race or people of faith.”

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