collapse, by robert smith, is an hour and a half interview with former lapd narcotics officer, and investigative journalist, michael ruppert. the documentary, shot in the basement of a former meatpacking factory in los angeles, is essentially a man, a dark room, chain smoking, and some pretty ominous revelations about the fragility of our modern world. ruppert begins the interview by walking the audience through his experience as a los angeles police officer in the 1970’s and his eventual disillusionment with justice institutions. in 1977 ruppert alleges he was recruited by the cia to help in agency drug smuggling operations, an offer he denies accepting. however today with the wealth of information available about covert cia drug operations like mk-ultra, later the iran-contra affair, and finally the crack cocaine boom of the 80’s and 90’s, i’d argue there’s a certain plausibility in michael ruppert’s claims. originally a “change it from the inside” kind of guy, ruppert tells the audience he’d hoped he could out the cia through public letters to lapd department heads and state senators, “getting on the record” as he puts it. in retrospect ruppert recognizes these ineffective attempts to confront the state as naive. but understands the process he’d gone through to realize this naivete, as the base for his future career as an investigative journalist. this career would eventually lead ruppert to write, edit and publish from the wilderness a newsletter read by more than 20,000 subscribers in 40 countries including 40 members of the US Congress. ruppert explains to the audience this career lead him to break various national scandals like the sub-prime mortgage scandal, which he’d written about nearly three years before the 2008 crisis. however since 2001 ruppert has become increasingly focused on energy, and more specifically peak oil. peak oil backers like ruppert argue the hydrocarbon energy source is finite and that both oil discovery and use mapped on a graph, create a bell curve. and more importantly that we are or have already passed the climax of this curve. so what does that mean? this is where the documentary gets interesting.
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as sarkozy finds himself ever more embroiled in an international polemic, i can’t help but wonder, what was he expecting when he began forcibly demolishing illegal camps and deporting nearly 1500 roma (eastern european gypsies) to romania and bulgaria in the first place? i’m guessing he was hoping his position wouldn’t be anything new, given that anti-roma sentiments are about as european as the euro itself. from greece to portugal, across europe, throughout history roma communities have suffered the violent manifestations of racism and xenophobia. by the 16th century anti-roma legislation had become common place on the continent. in the france of the louis XIV roma were shaven and branded to distinguish them as a separate race, while in england they were expelled from the island or faced public hanging. in germany, roma were prohibited from trading or seeking shelter. and in what is today romania, hungary and bulgaria they were captured and sold into slavery, a practice that continued up to nearly the end of the 19th century. in 1912 the republican government of france passed a variety of different laws prohibiting vagrancy, but it wasn’t long before it became clear who was the real target of this legislation. the roma were forced to register with the government and received special identity cards defining them as nomads. following the first world war, french roma were herded into “special centers” (internment camps), and some were stripped of their citizenship. the fascist vichy government that followed continued along the same logic, collaborating with the nazis to send thousands of roma to death camps. the nazis had slated the roma for extinction, even before the formal extermination camps were opened. in 1933 the german government began a program of forced sterilization and prohibition of inter-marrying between roma and non-roma. at nuremburg, nazi defendants in quixotic logic justified their crimes against the roma by citing the innate criminal nature of the roma ‘race’. they claimed that the majority of roma sent to the concentration camps were sent there not because of their race but because of their criminal histories- huh?.
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