Prague Twin

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Blood Diamond (controversy put to rest)

In a libelous article by the New York Post, it was claimed that Warner Brothers reneged on their promise to provide the amputee extras in the film with prosthetics. It was claimed that Warner Brothers was delaying the process in order to garner more publicity for this weekend's opening.

The truth is that Warner Brothers never promised them anything. There is, however, a private charity organization created by the cast and crew, and run by the production manager Joao Ribeiro. This "Blood Diamond Fund", was created voluntarily, and the studio was asked to match the funds that the cast and crew donated, which they have.

So far, the Blood Diamond Fund has been responsible for building a well, fixing some roads, and repairing some schoolrooms in the impoverished areas of Mozambique and South Africa where the film was shot. The project is ongoing and the delivering of prosthetic limbs is on the list of goals for the organization.

The film's director, Ed Zwick, was quite vocal in discrediting the report. It is clear that opposition to this film exists, and certain forces are doing what they can to damage it.

Rumor on the set was that De Beers Group was pressuring Warner Brothers to delay the release of the film until after Christmas so that it would not affect diamond sales.

This film should open some eyes, and those who have produced it have done some important work, not only by raising awareness, but by acting locally on the ground where the film was shot.

Those who are trying to discredit and shame the very people who are doing this important work are amongst the lowest forms of human life.

Shame on you New York Post. You have reached a new low.



36 Comments:

  • It is so funny to me.

    The New York Times releases classified information that ultimately helps allow terrorists to evade prosecution or incarceration and you support it with lofty musings about the 1st Amendment. Yet the N.Y. post does a piece on a film critical of Warner Bros. and your up in arms.

    No one is going to die because of the Post piece.

    Plato was right.

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 7:03 PM  

  • Apples and oranges. New York Times releases information that is accurate.

    (It has not helped any terrorist evade prosecution to my knowledge.)

    The "information" that the post released was patently false and likely planted by De Beers.

    Truth and transparency Arch, that is what I advocate and I have been quite consistent on that.

    Lies shall not be tolerated here.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 7:27 PM  

  • PT

    Please by all means, let us celebrate that paragon of journalistic integrity that gave us Jason Blair, the N.Y. Times.

    While it may be apples and oranges to you, in my mind there is more to journalistic integrity than just whether or not a story is true or "libelous” It is funny how when it servers your purpose you have an uncanny ability to see things in the much maligned "black & white" you so claim to despise.

    I will lead you to the logic of my statement as it pertains to the N.Y. Times and its apparent assistance to terrorists and murderers and I further challenge you or any other reader of this blog to refute said logic.

    1. Terrorists Kill people

    2. Incarcerated terrorists are less likely to be able to kill people.

    There for; it stands to reason that;

    1. When classified government operations are successful at prosecuting and incarcerating terrorists (the Times piece in fact acknowledges this) who are guilty of committing acts of terror, less people are terrorized.

    2. When classified government operations are made public, they are likely to no longer be effective.

    What is it that is so hard to understand about this most simple logical conclusion?

    I submit that failure grasp and acknowledge the foregoing is a certain pronouncement of ones own inability to be "led to logic"

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 11:26 PM  

  • Look, I'm not going off on a tangent about the N.Y. Times.

    Write your own damn blog if you feel so strongly about it.

    I advocate truth in publishing. It is pretty simple.

    Simple enough for even you to understand.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 11:32 PM  

  • PT

    I'm glad you advocate truth in publishing.

    I advocate both truth AND responsibility.

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 11:52 PM  

  • I didn’t see your critique of CBS (two thirds BS) when it decided to run with what were easily and clearly proved to forged documents.

    Perhaps you could run that one for me again?

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 11:55 PM  

  • I didn't have a blog then.

    I didn't see you publish anything on it either.

    This article was written because of personal reasons, (i.e. my family helped create this fund) so before you go pointing fingers, why don't you get up off your butt and write yourself instead of just trying to drag me down on unrelated topics.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 8:47 AM  

  • PT

    Inasmuch as I thought the topic was "responsible journalism", I thought it was both necessary and permited to express my feelings on your blog about what I perceived and how I felt about it. Clearly that’s not what you intended, so perhaps you could explain better about what sort of response you expected to this piece.

    I am indeed off my but every day trying to engage in a meaningful manner on at least one blog: this one. Having a very limited amount of time each day and knowing the intellectual caliber of the readers here I am quite happy to post here, and have offered to submit intellectual works for you to publish and pick a part at your leisure. I am sorry you do not like pointed questions and critical analysis.

    If you wish, I will no longer post here. However, if we are agreed that my thoughts and feelings are allowed to be published here, grant me the latitude to fully express myself.

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 3:43 PM  

  • The purpose of this post was to highlight the fact that the New York Post printed lies without bothering to do even a cursory fact check.

    These lies were intended to damage the reputation of Warner Brothers, and thereby punish the people who made this film despite the fact that a team of lawyers from De Beers decended upon the set making all kinds of thinly vieled threats.

    A member of my family, my wife, gave generously to the charity that was created by the cast and crew of this film and was generously doubled by Warner Brothers.

    I took it personally when this paper went ahead and smeared the people who made this film and were so generous to the local people when they did so. What they printed were nothing more than lies.

    Had what they printed been true, but damaging, I would not have had a thing to say, but lies I will not tolerate especially when they are directed at people in my family and circle of friends.

    Self-censorship, although loosly related, is not the topic of this post. I do not censor your comments, nor will I ever, but don't expect me to take up a topic that we have already spent many, many hours discussing because you think it is relevant to this piece: it is not.

    Considering how much time you have to comment on this site (and others I have seen you comment on) I would think that you would have time to write a post once a week (I know some very good weekly and bi-weekly blogs out there).

    And I have offered to print your work on this blog in the interest of open discussion in the past. That offer still stands, yet I've received no submissions from you as of yet.

    The same offer stands for the Loop Guru kid, although to both of you, I don't understand why you don't just start your own blog. There is no requirement as to how often one has to post, and it is entirely free. You would automatically have at least one reader: me. I would also ask that others go to your site and read it.

    Yes, Arch, this blog is about open discussion, but trying to pull me into topics that are at best loosely related does make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up sometimes.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 3:57 PM  

  • The NY Post is a tabloid. The NY Times has a responsibility to the public, not the government.

    By Blogger GraemeAnfinson, at 6:50 PM  

  • Graemeanfinson

    So, how does the N.Y.Times serve the public by making known the classified opperations that have been designed to in fact help keep the public safe?

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 8:33 PM  

  • ....classified opperations that have been designed to in fact help keep the public safe?

    Some of us believe that they are not designed to do that at all, but rather to use our fear to roll back our civil rights.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 9:59 PM  

  • PT

    In this particular case even the N.Y. Times acknowledges the effectiveness of this program and showcases the terrorists who were captured as a result of this once classified operation.

    It should also be noted that while the Times piece discusses the potential for abuse, it at no time indicated definitively that the program was unconstitutional or unlawful.

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 5:33 AM  

  • PT

    Do you believe that the SWIFT program was designed to roll back your civil rights?

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 5:35 AM  

  • It should also be noted that while the Times piece discusses the potential for abuse, it at no time indicated definitively that the program was unconstitutional or unlawful.

    And the Times' opionion is wholly irrelevant in any case.

    The legality or illegality of the program is for the courts, and the courts alone to decide. A classified program that is illegal gains no special standing, no exemption, because it happens to protect the public.

    By Blogger Kvatch, at 7:16 AM  

  • Arch,

    As I've pointed out before, and mailed you a link, the general terms of such a program were discussed in a an MIT paper well before the NYT piece came out.

    As well, you have yet to provide any evidence that the SWIFT program netted anyone. I'm quite interested, and since you so deep into this one, I'd appreciate if you would do me the favor of showing me who was netted as a result of this program.

    Also, as Bush made clear directly after 911, international financial transactions would be tracked. How else would they do this aside from using the SWIFT system?

    As with all tracking systems, I believe the public has a right to know what information is private, and what information is being scrutinized by the government. This is a basic 4th Ammendment priveledge in my humble opinion.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 8:34 AM  

  • PT

    Read the original N.Y. Times piece. As I have said on numerous occasions now, it acknowledges the success of the SWIFT program and enumerates some of the terrorists who were captured as a result of the SWIFT plan.

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 3:09 PM  

  • I've been anti-diamond for a number of years now - ever since I learned about this. What is truly gross about De Beers, who has a monopoly on the diamond trade - is that they new about the atrocities committed for quite some time, yet did nothing. it wasn't till the information got out through other means that they cried "Oh dear - we'll do ANYTHING to ensure that our diamonds aren't conflict diamonds." Yeah. According to a spokesman at Tiffany & Co., they do everything they can to ensure that the diamonds they sell are not conflict diamonds - and are 99% sure - but can never be 100%. That 1% is enough for me - unless they are antique family heirlooms - I want nothing to do with something where there is even a remote possibility that someone lost a limb or was raped.

    Rape and dismemberment is a mighty horrible form of terrorism to a people, Arch. The New York Post was irresponsible. End of story. Or are you going to find a way to blame this on Clinton as well.

    By Blogger frstlymil, at 3:28 PM  

  • Frstlymil

    I guess you mistook my criticism of PT as an endorsement for conflict diamonds. I assure you I have no interest in promulgating anything but the truth about conflict diamonds.

    But while we are at it, how about endorsing "terror free oil”?

    A portion of the money you and I spend to fuel our vehicles likely goes to institutions that teach intolerance of women’s rights. Think of that the next time you say "filler-up"

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 3:43 PM  

  • Kvatch

    Now that you have raised the specter of the judicial system, let me ask you; Have there indeed been any law suites filed as a result of the SWIFT program?

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 4:44 PM  

  • Read the original N.Y. Times piece.

    Send it to me. Since you know so much about it, I'm sure you must have it somewhere. Haven't we been through this?

    The issue is oversight. Had the administration allowed proper congressional oversight, the NYT piece may very well never had broke as those who came forward were concerned that proper oversight was not being engaged in.

    So in reality, it was the lack of transparency (vis a vis Congress) that led to the breaking of the story in the first place.

    Finally, there is no way to say that the secrecy of the program is what made it effective. Money has to be transfered. Short of carrying bundles of cash around (hard to do when you are on a no fly list) there is no avoiding using the SWIFT system. Secrecy in and of itself is not effect. Surveillence is.

    Just like phone taps, you know they are listening, but you still have to talk. Knowing that there are phone taps does not help you evade the prying ears.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 5:06 PM  

  • Frstlymil,

    Welcome.

    As you say, De Beers is a horrible company that was the first to be in a position to do something about this. They continue to drag their feet and try to suppress the information as much as possible, but the cat is out of the bag.

    I commend your decision and see it as quite seperate from filling your tank at the gas station. Diamonds are a luxury item. Gasoline (especially for L.A. residents like yourself) is not.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 5:18 PM  

  • Frystlymil

    Indeed what PT says is true; diamonds are a luxury item and energy is a necessity.

    It should also be remembered that, in spite of this indisputable fact, we as Americans have chosen to - in part - fulfill our energy needs by relying on terror oil.

    We have had the opportunity for quite some time now to further domestic oil exploration that would have had the benefit of EPA oversight. Instead we have chosen to fuel our vehicles with terror oil that has been extracted from the earth with little or no environmental oversight whatsoever.

    We also could likely be driving electric vehicles (as a resident of Los Angeles you likely remember seeing GM's EV1 on the 101 or the 405) were we to embrace nuclear energy as the French did. Instead we have chosen to rely on the terror oil. I often wonder what would have become of GM's EV1 had there been a plentiful supply of low cost electricity.

    In my mind it somehow makes it worse to acknowledge that we have a necessity for energy and have chosen to satiate it with terror oil.

    What do you think?

    So next time you say "filler-up" Remember the words of PT and remember that we as a nation chose the terror oil.

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 8:12 PM  

  • Terror oil.

    Christ man, that is a little over the top. Substantiate that please.

    Also, it is not the cost of electricity that killed the electric vehicle. They have all been recalled and destroyed by GM despite the fact that user satisfaction was very hight.

    No explanation has been given for this.

    It is not us who choose oil, it is the puppet masters, pulling our strings.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 10:59 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger GraemeAnfinson, at 7:29 PM  

  • Why does not one seem to give the Wall Street Journal flak for the swift story? didn't they run a story at the same time?

    By Blogger GraemeAnfinson, at 7:34 PM  

  • Graeme,

    NYT broke the story and then everyone ran with it. But you bring up a good point. 20 people came forward to the media. If NYT didn't break it, it would have come out anyway.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 8:14 PM  

  • PT

    Terror oil;

    When the proceeds form the sale of oil is used to instigate, bring about or support terror.

    You do acknowledge that this happens, yes?

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 3:18 PM  

  • PT

    Also, since no reason was given for the withdrawl of the EV1, not only can we not say why it was withdrawn from the market, but we can also not say why it was not withdrawn from the market. As such it is unditerminable as to whether or not affordable electricity was part of the equation.

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 7:15 PM  

  • Arch,

    To your first point, yes, this happens, but I'd like you to link the instances. The proceeds from many legitimate operations find their way into terror networks. For instance construction. The Bin Laden family is a construction magnate, but you don't talk about "terror construction." If I build a house am I contributing to terror?

    It is not the fault of the consumer of a product that is necessary for that consumer's survival if the proceedes are subsequently used for terror. In the case of oil especially as we don't really know where the oil came from when we fill our tank. In California, for instance, there is a good chance that the oil was pumped out of the ground locally and locally refined. However there is no way to verify that.

    With diamonds it is completely different. You can track the stone. I'm not saying don't buy diamonds, but you should be responsible when you do.

    With regarsds to the EV1, it was forcibly withdrawn from the market despite the fact that the owners of the car were by and large satisfied.

    Your comment that "we can also not say why it was not withdrawn from the market" does not logically follow in that it WAS withdrawn from the market.

    The only real question that remains is why it was withdrawn. People who owned them had them confinscated against their will. They were compensated, but it was not market forces that pulled them off the market, it was an executive decision.

    As a free-market advocate, you must see the hypocricy in this move by GM.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 1:52 AM  

  • PT

    If I hired Bin Laden to build my house, yes I am funding terror.

    It is the fault of the consumer; when he has a choice. Am I not guilty of supporting sweatshops when I purchase clothes made in China? Not definitely but very likely. Is not one guilty of ecologic malfeasance when he/she fuels his/her car with middle-eastern oil? Not definitely but very likely. This same logic applies to terror. I could choose to buy all "labor friendly" or environment friendly products if I choose to do so. Our nation could have demanded domestic oil exploration in conjunction with alternative fuel research. We choose the environmentally unfriendly terror oil.

    About the EV1, let me clarify; if we cannot say what the factors WERE that caused GM to withdraw it from the market. We can also not say what the factors WERENT that caused GM to withdraw the car from the market. Sorry for the convulsion.

    Hahahah. There was no confiscation. No one actually purchased an EV1. Every last one of the vehicles was leased. When the lease was up GM pulled the plug (no pun intended)

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 3:38 PM  

  • PT

    Having done a little more research, it appears GM pulled the plug because it projected that it would not be able to sell enough cars to make a profit. Had the low cost electricity been available to us then who knows what the demand would have been.

    Oh well, the environmentalists in conjunction with the oil companies have pretty much assured us that we will not be receiving the benefits of fast breeder reactors anytime soon.

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 4:16 PM  

  • So you support terrorism then.

    Ok, just so long as we are clear.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 10:56 AM  

  • PT

    As part of the American plurality and their selfish "not in my ecology" notion, I stand guilty as charged. However, as an American individual who has advocated for energy independence from a multi faceted approach accepting of more than just "green" resources, I sleep well at night. Do you?

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 3:01 PM  

  • .....energy independence from a multi faceted approach accepting of more than just "green" resources.

    Can you define that for me. I'm having a little trouble with that.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 3:05 PM  

  • PT

    ..... Energy independence from a multi faceted approach accepting of more than just "green" resources.

    Inclusive of solar and wind technologies I have advocated for increased production of fission reactors, domestic oil production, and bio diesel as well as others.

    Many “environmentalists” do not consider fission and domestic oil exploration “green” and as such they are shunned. (Some also do not like bio-diesel).

    Is that more clear to you?

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 3:15 PM  

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