Monday, May 29, 2006

Mansel Report / Closed

I believe that truth has only one face: that of a violent contradiction.

- Georges Bataille


The caution tape covering the end of the tunnel has been burned away. The throat of American politics is gushing blood and television elects and impeaches. The political landscape is riddled with land mines that could erupt without warning. All it would take for these mines to erupt is one simple admission of the truth.
I’m disgusted and I am tired. The smell of death that is written all over the nation is only getting worse and I feel in the next year and a half will see some horrific changes. So as far as the Mansel Report is concerned the shotgun is taped to the door handle so any rattling of the door will ensure a last breath.



- Chris Mansel

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Merciless Grenades of the Far Right

If anything you can give a bit of praise to the victor when they have outfoxed the bloody smear on the nose of the hound who has been treed by the fox. The far right has established a new and convenient way of throwing the country off track as to enable them to out flank democracy and goodness. You may not have noticed it but recently the far right has announced that the only way to fix the mess that they are in is to lose the house and allow the democrats to be in charge. Oh how the charge of the light brigade has been inducted into the Iraqi war tent of oil fires.
The tactic and it was a masterful one is this. Throw as many scandals, wrong doings, and general law breaking as you can at the press and general public and as the ramparts are cleaned and sorted deposit in your war chest the scorn of your attackers and reap the rewards when the attackers come to power. Misinformation has reached the level of assassination, break-in’s, and bloody war fronts all rolled into one.
The evidence is clear. The architect of this horrific but successful ploy is Karl Rove. His second in this duel is Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch is currently courting Sen. Hillary Clinton. Who does the far right enjoy bashing more than the Clintons? Once Sen. Clinton is in office they will begin the offensive. Their plan I am sure is for Hillary to be in office for one term, after that term has expired they no doubt plan to install a candidate for another eight-year stay in the oval office.
When fear comes in at you hard and swift, stand tall and grace despair with strength and darkness. Now you know their ploy, so get to work.


- Chris Mansel

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Flashing The Hash at the Watergate (part six)

Once Karl Rove had hit a stopping point in his mind he shoved the two women into the wet grass and began taking photographs of them. As they writhed in some kind of illicit blessing of Ronald Reagan, Rove began kicking at them in his sock feet. Agents had circled the area and had re-directed tourists away. As we tried to inch closer and closer we noticed a startled Juan Williams, the regular Fox news contributor getting out of a SUV. One thing was unusual however the SUV had diplomatic plates.
Jack and I at seeing Juan Williams stood up and walked gingerly towards the scene. We had had several conversations in secret with Williams and whenever he saw us around town he would begin trembling, as he had been a bit too honest for his parties good. He had detailed one night how the party had during the 2000 election attempted to impregnate several Gore staffers by force.
We knew that if we could get a photo of Williams alongside Karl Rove kicking two half undressed women in Arlington National Cemetery we could get Williams to open up about the tree house in the White House as he has been long rumored to be the one with the apple in his mouth.
Rove was in ecstasy. He didn’t get the warning that Williams was approaching as agents had told him. As the women were beginning to scream now, the agents didn’t notice us either. As we got closer we could hear Rove’s ranting, “We’ll call this HR 666! Yea, take that Bay Buchanan betrayer of the chair!” The harder Rove kicked the women the louder they would chant, “Four more years, four more years!”

- Chris Mansel

I Am A Witness. What can I do?

This article is from the (RED) edition of The Independent, guest-edited for 16 May 2006 by Bono. Half the revenue from the edition will be donated to the Global Fund to Fight Aids.

May I say without guile, I am as sick of messianic rock stars as the next man, woman and child. I am also tired of average work being given extra weight because it's attached to something with real gravitas, like the Aids emergency. So I truly try to tread carefully as I walk over the dreams of dignity under my feet in our work for the terrible beauty that is the continent of Africa. I'm used to the custard pies. I've even learnt to like the taste of them. But before you are tempted to let fly with your understandable invective, allow me to contextualise. Not for the sake of my vanity, but for the sake of people who are depending on you - the reader - to respond to the precariousness of their lives.
Picture this: a village where the disappearance of a whole generation has left children to bring up children (the Lord of the Flies syndrome).
I'm a witness to this. What can I do?
Or this: my new friend Prudence, who even if she had access to anti-retroviral therapies would not have shared them with her now dead sister or best friend Janny, because her fellow activists were more important to keep alive.
Why? Because picture this: most activists and trained nurses cannot afford the drugs available to us in any corner chemist.
I am a witness to this. I have watched these brave and beautiful souls who are fighting a forest fire of a pandemic with watering cans, knowing they will not see the light of a day when their work will be honoured. I have been a witness to their conversations around canteen tables, deciding who will live or die, because they do not have enough pills to go round. I've seen Zackie Achmat refuse his medications until he won his action against the South African government, forcing their hand on universal access. What a witness he was. And so I testify.
These firefighters deserve fire engines with sirens and low-flying aircraft with bellies full of of rain. At the very least, they deserve their situation to merit the classification of an emergency. Code Red, like Hurricane Katrina or the tsunami in south Asia, which swept away a hundred and fifty thousand lives. These were natural catastrophes. Africa loses a hundred and fifty thousand men, women, and children every month to Aids, a wholly avoidable disaster, a preventable, treatable disease.
Colin Powell describes the tiny little virus HIV as the most lethal weapon of mass destruction on the planet. So forgive us if we expand our strategy to reach the high street, where so many of you live and work.
We need to meet you where you are as you shop, as you phone, as you lead your busy, businessy lives. Those of us who campaign on these issues feel we have made a dent on the pop consciousness with Live Aid and 8, Red Nose Day, Comic Relief and Make Poverty History. But we are still losing the battle: 9,000 new infections every day across the developing world.
There will be those that think that RED is the worst idea they've ever heard.
On the far right, we will hear the usual carping about it being Africa's own fault (the same warped logic that would pass by a drunk driver's car accident). This despite the fact that the largest increasing group of HIV-positive people are monogamous married women. We'll hear the "Africans can't take pills because they don't have watches to tell the time" line. Even though Africans have the best record of us all at sticking to their drug regimens.
On the far left, we will meet "better dead than RED", a reaction to big business that is not wholly unjustified. But given the emergency that is Aids, I don't see this as selling out. I see this as ganging up on the problem. This emergency demands a radical centre, as well as a radical edge. Creeping up on the everyday. Making the difficult easy.
Product RED cannot replace activism. For anyone who thinks this means I'm going to retire to the boardroom and stop banging my fist on the door of No. 10, I'm sorry to disappoint you. We have to keep our marching boots on and hold our leaders to account for the promises they have made to Africa - and get them to promise more. The incredible movement we saw gathering around last year's G8 is what will, in the end, win the day. But for too many people, that day will be too late. Right now, people you will never meet, who will never be able to thank you, are depending on you for the life-saving drugs which buying this paper will buy. For those people, my motivation or our (RED) motivation is irrelevant.
May I say without guile, I am as sick of messianic rock stars as the next man, woman and child. I am also tired of average work being given extra weight because it's attached to something with real gravitas, like the Aids emergency. So I truly try to tread carefully as I walk over the dreams of dignity under my feet in our work for the terrible beauty that is the continent of Africa. I'm used to the custard pies. I've even learnt to like the taste of them. But before you are tempted to let fly with your understandable invective, allow me to contextualise. Not for the sake of my vanity, but for the sake of people who are depending on you - the reader - to respond to the precariousness of their lives.
Picture this: a village where the disappearance of a whole generation has left children to bring up children (the Lord of the Flies syndrome).
I'm a witness to this. What can I do?
Or this: my new friend Prudence, who even if she had access to anti-retroviral therapies would not have shared them with her now dead sister or best friend Janny, because her fellow activists were more important to keep alive.
Why? Because picture this: most activists and trained nurses cannot afford the drugs available to us in any corner chemist.
I am a witness to this. I have watched these brave and beautiful souls who are fighting a forest fire of a pandemic with watering cans, knowing they will not see the light of a day when their work will be honoured. I have been a witness to their conversations around canteen tables, deciding who will live or die, because they do not have enough pills to go round. I've seen Zackie Achmat refuse his medications until he won his action against the South African government, forcing their hand on universal access. What a witness he was. And so I testify.
These firefighters deserve fire engines with sirens and low-flying aircraft with bellies full of of rain. At the very least, they deserve their situation to merit the classification of an emergency. Code Red, like Hurricane Katrina or the tsunami in south Asia, which swept away a hundred and fifty thousand lives. These were natural catastrophes. Africa loses a hundred and fifty thousand men, women, and children every month to Aids, a wholly avoidable disaster, a preventable, treatable disease.
Colin Powell describes the tiny little virus HIV as the most lethal weapon of mass destruction on the planet. So forgive us if we expand our strategy to reach the high street, where so many of you live and work.
We need to meet you where you are as you shop, as you phone, as you lead your busy, businessy lives. Those of us who campaign on these issues feel we have made a dent on the pop consciousness with Live Aid and 8, Red Nose Day, Comic Relief and Make Poverty History. But we are still losing the battle: 9,000 new infections every day across the developing world.
There will be those that think that RED is the worst idea they've ever heard.
On the far right, we will hear the usual carping about it being Africa's own fault (the same warped logic that would pass by a drunk driver's car accident). This despite the fact that the largest increasing group of HIV-positive people are monogamous married women. We'll hear the "Africans can't take pills because they don't have watches to tell the time" line. Even though Africans have the best record of us all at sticking to their drug regimens.
On the far left, we will meet "better dead than RED", a reaction to big business that is not wholly unjustified. But given the emergency that is Aids, I don't see this as selling out. I see this as ganging up on the problem. This emergency demands a radical centre, as well as a radical edge. Creeping up on the everyday. Making the difficult easy.
Product RED cannot replace activism. For anyone who thinks this means I'm going to retire to the boardroom and stop banging my fist on the door of No. 10, I'm sorry to disappoint you. We have to keep our marching boots on and hold our leaders to account for the promises they have made to Africa - and get them to promise more. The incredible movement we saw gathering around last year's G8 is what will, in the end, win the day. But for too many people, that day will be too late. Right now, people you will never meet, who will never be able to thank you, are depending on you for the life-saving drugs which buying this paper will buy. For those people, my motivation or our (RED) motivation is irrelevant.


BONO

Flashing The Hash at the Watergate (part five)

Any member of the press core will tell you that if you shove the head of a baby into an airsickness bag and pop the bag immediately you will completely unsettle anyone near you. The mother will confess immediately every cock she had ever sucked and whether or not she saw what she had seen and testified what she had testified to in a case against a politician. This has been done in the case against the Bush administration. We saw the tale and we were there to report it.
Jack Random and I armed with cameras, starkly open and brutal honesty, we traveled to the tomb of the unknown soldier where we had been told Karl Rove held private conversations as tourists watched two guys in dress uniform flip around rifles in peace time and during war. Rove would appear we had learned with a hat pulled down over his misshapen ears. So there we sat waiting for Rove to appear when we noticed a representative from the Fox network we had photographed once on the balcony of a hotel in Maryland. He watched as he exposed him self to a group of Catholic priests. The Priests stood motionless in the tourist bus windows.
Waiting for Karl Rove had gotten to be a favorite pastime for Jack and I. We would sometimes pay someone to tip off the Secret Service that he had seen a photograph of one of them transporting illegal aliens into the streets of San Antonio and watch as the agent shoved the tipster against the wall. We didn’t do it too often as it usually cost us a couple thousand dollars and once it took the promise of an introduction to a certain celebrity who enjoyed urine in more than a relieving manner.
As Jack listened again to the tape from the hotel I saw a couple of tourists taking a few steps backwards. I watched closely as two agents opened one of the men’s shirts to reveal a listening device. I grabbed the camera from around Jack’s neck as he cussed me loudly. The agent took notice of Rove arriving in a sedan flanked by two women.
The man with the listening device made an attempt to punch the agent in the face and the agent was beating him senseless immediately. Every tourist eyes’ went right away to the noise. Rove and the two women made their way past the tomb to section thirteen of Arlington National Cemetery. As they walked we strolled quietly by the violent outburst of several agents now subduing the individual. By the time we were in the wet grass of the cemetery they had the man down to his underwear.

- Chris Mansel

Monday, May 15, 2006

Ashes In A Pan

Dried and deposited the past holds a vacancy in any knowledgeable portion of truth. If Ambrose Bierce were around today is revised edition of The Devil’s Dictionary would have to include a special pop-up section dedicated to the way the Bush administration processes information. Maggots could pull bodies from burning wreckage better than the truth can leak out of this gestalt collection of butchered body parts lounging in the west wing.
Weapons of mass destruction, invasion of privacy, male penis envy just pick a topic for this hinterland. The doors were hardly nailed open from Scott McClellan’s exit before new Fox contributor Tony Snow hoofed in on a sow’s ear to determine the cameras position in the press briefing (outside if you are wondering.)

- Chris Mansel

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Bizarre But True Love Between Lou Dobbs and Bill O’Reilly




The full figured, mainlined, arm banded, soft serve full fuck beast that is television news has finally struck its final blow against censorship and has allowed the likes of Lou Dobbs to rant away nightly on the pleasure of racism, border control, and the right of every wealthy American to own dogs worthy of gutting stock market analysts within an inch of Rupert Murdoch’s door. Secretly its known that Dobbs receives daily phone calls from the offices of Bill O’Reilly that are so obscene as to riddle the minds of the inhabitants of Echelon listening station the world over. It’s aid that O’Reilly spent his last raise in pay on his own satellite to relay the calls to Dobbs. On the cover of Lou Dobbs new book he is standing with his crotch in full view sources say so as to enable O’Reilly to view the full cardboard standup while he is on the air so he may manipulate him self in torrid ways.


- Chris Mansel

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Flashing The Hash at the Watergate (part four)

As we left the bar we saw a group of Secret Service running to the salon located in the Watergate. We followed behind them to see a drunken Scooter Libby rubbing mud on his face and screaming about a free facial. Karl Rove was standing across the room from Libby talking into his cell phone. The Secret Service stormed into the room and Libby twirled the chair around at them and grabbing the terrified makeup attendant he started spitting on her neck and rubbing it in and screaming in a voice reminiscent of Truman Capote, “Isn’t it pretty, isn’t it pretty!”
The agents tackled the lady and Libby and began kicking them both. Rove sat down at the front desk and began flipping through the call caddy and copying down the names. One agent turned to secure the area and noticed us photographing the scene. The agent grimaced and started toward us but he slipped in the blood pouring from the woman’s forehead.
We ran down the hallway and were almost out of the hotel when Jack suggested we head for the conference room Rove had just left. We ran across the lobby and through the door. Down the stairs we met by a cleaning crew. We flashed our I.D.’s and took the garbage bag from them for inspection. They could have cared less why we needed it or for our identifications.
Back in the car I eased into traffic as Jack fished through the bag. He began laughing hysterically when he found a list of congressmen who had participated in the Duke Cunningham hooker scandal. Rove had the names circled and beside several of the names were amounts of money and personal phone numbers. One name in particular hit us more than others, Matt Drudge.


- Chris Mansel

Friday, May 12, 2006

Footage

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Flashing The Hash at the Watergate (part three)

In the bar we met up with a photographer who had been staying at the Watergate at the behest of the manager of the hotel in order to photograph the renovation. For his pay he was paid a flat fee and given a room at the end of a hallway on the first floor. He explained to us that more than once he had been accosted by the Secret Service for what they describe as “loitering with intent.” He explained that he had overheard some of the recording and with a smile added that maybe we might be interested in some of the photographs he had taken around the hotel. Something in the way he said this made us believe that there was something a bit more to these photos. He opened the satchel in front of him and we joined him in his booth.
The photographs were amazing. Some were of the hospital staff in compromising situations, photos of the restoration included the construction workers smoking pot and generally laying around on the job out of sight of the hotel surveillance system. As we looked Jack asked if he had anything more official, and with that question he lit up and turned towards the back of the collection to reveal covert photos of the Secret Service removing stuff from hotel rooms. In one of the photos a Secret Service agent carries a life-size sex doll made into an exact replica of G. Gordon Liddy. In another, an agent was holding a drunken Scooter Libby against the wall while he awaited the elevator. Jack leapt to his feet and stormed over to the bar and grabbed at the phone to make a call. The bartender came down the bar and said something to Jack that I didn’t hear and Jack screamed, “If you’re mother was in this kind of situation you’d be on this side of the bar asshole!” The bartender who had seen many crazed looks like the one in Jack’s eyes, many from politicians sulked back down to his newspaper.
“News desk! Hey. Mike! What would you do for a photograph of Scooter Libby being sodomized by an agent?”
The photographer looked at Jack and back down at the photograph and then to me.
“Well, you know the darkroom can do many things but these days a fraud can be spotted right away.”
I told him that it didn’t matter if the story was true or the photograph genuine. As long as it existed and was leaked in the right way it would show up on the news and get picked up by the wires.
I added, “If bullshit was the ration card of power the entirety of Washington would be bent over backwards digging corn.”


- Chris Mansel

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Flashing The Hash at the Watergate (part two)

Fear looks like hope in the tall grass and that’s where we were, two inches of steel surrounded by a hard durable casing, the smell of cordite, and the kind of smell you recognize that the weapon has been recently fired. Secret Service who when they surround someone they began chattering on their communication devices and slamming themselves in place. They took a few minutes to analyze the fake identifications we showed them and slowly there was a look of recognition in the lead agents face if I didn’t know better I thought the cocksuckers was going to drop to the street and begin his prostrations. I noticed a scar behind his right ear and Jack saw it too. It was the mark of a true believer, West Pointer. Somewhere along the line he had been burned by something, he had known the smell of human flesh being singed into an emblem.
A huge crowd had gathered around us, a crowd of civilians. The agents knew he had to save face so he immediately started ordering his agents to make way for us and reducing the citizenry to a mass of insecurities. Their violent wand of intimidation about no cameras or questions led those around us to believe we were important. I could sense the onlookers squinting their eyes and trying to remember what we looked like so as to be able to identify us if we ever showed up on the news.
After the melee Jack retrieved the recorder from the car and we quickly made our way into the Watergate. Slamming into a booth in the bar we began to listen back to the tape.
We knew we had to try and hunt up Libby but first we wanted to hire what we had managed to capture on tape. The following is what we were able to transcribe.

Two or three agents will be enough
The word is out on the limos and Duke (Cunningham) has fucked that for us.
Hell we could get some pickup for that matter. If anyone can operate a shifter on the column it’s a hooker.
How much you think it would take to get the old Arab to squat over Durbin and piss?

- Chris Mansel

Monday, May 08, 2006

Flashing The Hash at the Watergate

Television news crews surround the steps of the courthouse as Scooter Libby begins his slow walk to his car after another day of testimony. Down the street looking like a moth eaten turtle in a helmet of burnt hair sits Karl Rove slipping rounds into an eighteen shot clip. Cursing quietly under his breath Karl Rove ponders erratically the choice of taking out the cause of the spotlight on him or to empty the clip into his face.
Jack Random and I were strolling by having recently relocated to Virginia to research a book on terror warnings, bank defaults and their ties to the white supremacist movement. I noticed Rove slamming his weapon into the dash of the car and jus as I level the camera lens Rove hit the accelerator and sped down the street in reverse. The press up the street hardly took notice having heard the sounds of violence in the streets of Washington before.
Then Scooter Libby made his way out of the courthouse and to his car. The press following and asking questions but not expecting any response. Like prison guards watching the monotony of inmates coming and going they hardly notice when a guard is attacked and the alarm doesn’t sound but the alarm will sound for Karl Rove soon enough.
We tracked Rove to the Watergate Hotel and down the stairs into a conference room. Jack stood by the door with a high-powered microphone to ease drop on whatever would go on. I questioned the hotel staff tipping those on the lowest rungs of the pay scale and threatening with expulsion those who never got their hands dirty. Jack captured the goods and came back out to the car to play back the tape and as he hit rewind secret service agents surrounded the car. We showed our hands and they drew their weapons. Exiting the vehicle we were ask for identification. Some time ago we had made two press I.D.’s that showed we worked for the Washington Times that is owned by the Rev. Sun Yung Moon, a name that would open any door in the city of Washington, certainly the beltway. As we were held against the car we noticed Scooter Libby driving by in a taxi and exiting into the Watergate.

- Chris Mansel

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Maggots For The Prosecution (for Bob Kincaid)

At long last the bloody scared hand of seething animal skin inhibition has finally escaped the last or more current beast that is America. Marchers of illegal aliens, the discussion to remove the all-seeing eye of the live feed, the camera from the White House press room and the first indecision and false start attempt to reap blood from the tragedy of September 11 have all come into view.
Pennies over the eyes of trauma victims and the incoming devastation in New Orleans this hurricane season, the requests for former FEMA manager Michael Brown for interviews, face time, leads the citizen of the world to strike back with words but not votes. It is no longer enough to kill a mockingbird; today you must define that act of violence by downed power lines and residue from discharging the weapon.
Like the German army in the Russian snow we have become the bodies thrown across ox carts like Napoleon except these bodies travel in first class with unseen American flags falling from the skies, the thread of fabric catching on every wire service radar. Bats hang in desolation waiting for darkness to jump out like political consultants, precinct captains in the mid-term elections to label the war as high gas prices and not body bags. The winning of Iraqi hearts and minds left to postmortem explanations.


- Chris Mansel