September 12, 2013 |
Is he an aggressive, paranoid, pathological liar or an American hero? That's the complex question director Jamie Meltzer explores - if never quite answers - regarding left-wing radical-turned-FBI mole Brandon Darby in the compelling, well-crafted documentary "Informant. " With seemingly full cooperation from Darby (strangely, he even "acts" in dramatic re-creations of key events), Meltzer lays out the disparate facts of Darby's recent past, starting in 2005 when the Texas native drove to New Orleans to help rescue a friend, former Black Panther Robert King Wilkerson, from the ravages of Hurricane Katrina.
July 10, 2013 |
To the extent that the Obama administration has responded to the ouster of Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected president, it has largely accepted the shake-up as a necessary, if not fully legitimate, response to the bumbling incompetence and growing authoritarianism of his government. President Obama is "deeply concerned" by the military's decision to remove Morsi, but he has not described it as a "coup" - a designation that might have imperiled the $1.3 billion in U.S. aid Egypt receives annually - or called for Morsi's reinstatement.
July 7, 2013 |
LONDON -- Britain's long-running attempts to deport a radical Muslim preacher described as a key Al Qaeda supporter in Europe finally ended Sunday when the man was flown to Jordan to face terrorism charges. Abu Qatada, 53, was escorted from the London prison where he has spent most of the last eight years to an air force base for his transfer to Jordan in the dead of night. He arrived in Amman, the Jordanian capital, later Sunday morning and was immediately taken into custody by authorities there.
July 5, 2013 |
Here's some reading for the rest of the Fourth of July holiday weekend: Michael Demson's graphic history “Masks of Anarchy” (Verso: 128 pp., $16.95) traces a connection between Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem “The Mask of Anarchy,” written in 1819 as a response to the “Peterloo Massacre” in Manchester, England, and the life of Pauline Newman , a New York labor organizer of the early 1900s who once worked at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company . It's a fascinating book for all sorts of reasons, not least its portrayal of America's ongoing antipathy toward immigrants, which, of course, remains very much in the news.
June 4, 2013 |
If there was a moment when the United States could have intervened in Syria, it looks like that moment has passed. Shiite militants, including Hezbollah - partly at the behest of their paymasters in Iran - are racing to the defense of Bashar Assad's regime. According to a witness account in the New York Times, there were some 11,000 Hezbollah fighters in the besieged town of Qusair alone. A Shiite religious student in Najaf, Iraq, told the Times that his colleagues believe the leader of Qatar, a backer of Syrian rebels, is a long-prophesied demonic figure who, it is foretold, will raise an army in Syria to wipe out Shiites in Iraq.
May 30, 2013 |
When most filmmakers in Los Angeles feel frustrated by the movie business, they pick up a pen to write out their anxiety - or pick up the phone and call their therapist. Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij took a different approach. Upset by a series of Hollywood rejections four years ago, the then-aspiring actress and would-be director decided to spend the summer train-hopping with a group of idealistic drifters they'd never met. For nearly two months, they criss-crossed America, encountering strangers, diving into dumpsters and eating what they gathered, sans money.