Hollywood Producer Was Mossad Agent: Arnon Milchan Used Hollywood for Israeli Nuke Projects, Arms Dealing

The revelations that Hollywood producer and chair of New Regency Films Arnon Milchan, the man behind Pretty Woman, Fight Club, LA Confidential, and Mr. and Mrs. Smith, was a Mossad agent, a spy, and an arms dealer are just hitting the mainstream press, but in 2011, Joseph Gelman and Meir Doron wrote a book called Confidential: The Life of Secret Agent Turned Hollywood Tycooon–Arnon Milchan which made very little splash on Amazon:

This is the story of a secret agent, of nuclear proliferation, billion-dollar high-tech defense transactions, ideology, patriotism, love, heartbreak, and the awe inspiring Hollywood career of a mysterious mogul. In a true story that puts James Bond to shame, Confidential details with nail-biting suspense how producer Arnon Milchan evolved from his youth into one of the most important covert agents that Israeli intelligence has ever fielded…Confidential is packed with stunning new revelations and opens a window into the world of a key covert operative, who evolved into a genuine member of Hollywood’s royal elite.

Here are some the quotes bolstering the authors’ claims and those of Milchan:

Arnon is a special man. His activities gave us a huge advantage, strategically, diplomatically, and technologically. In my present position as president, I am restrained from recommending any single individual for our highest defense-related honor, but undoubtedly, Arnon Milchan is worthy of such an acknowledgment, and that’s as close to a recommendation that I, as president, can give.

–Shimon Peres, President of Israel.

Never, never tell jokes about a man with easy access to weapons of mass destruction.

–Peter Chernin, former CEO of Fox Entertainment Group.

Arnon Milchan…is a loyal and generous friend who also happens to be a great longterm and trustworthy partner.

– Rupert Murdoch, CEO, News Corporation.

Creepy much?  Milchan spoke to Israeli investigative documentary program Uvda (Fact) in an interview that will air this week on Israel’s Channel 2 (interesting timing with Iran nuke deal now agreed to). The program includes interviews with Russel Crowe, Robert DiNiro and Ben Affleck. Milchan was recruited by Israeli president Shimon Peres in the 1960s and became a liaison for the secretive Bureau of Scientific Relations and worked to further Israel’s nuclear program, handling clandestine deals involving Israeli military acquisitions in the 1970s He admits that the late producer Sydney Pollock was

a real partner

who helped him obtain arms and other military equipment for Israel and was fully aware of what he was doing. Milchan also used an unwitting Richard Dreyfuss in an attempt to recruit senior U.S. scientist and expert on nuclear weapons Arthur Biehl for Israel, inviting Biehl to Dreyfuss’ house on the premise that the two men would discuss music.

Milchan says of dual career:

I didn’t attach enough significance to the image I had created of myself. I should have confronted the image of an arms dealer. In Hollywood they don’t like working with an arms dealer, ideologically. [They don't like working] with someone who lives off selling machine guns and killing. Instead of someone talking to me about a script, I had to spend half an hour explaining that I’m not an arms dealer. If people knew how many times I risked my life, back and forth, again and again, for my country. … And suddenly, to defend myself — ‘I’m not an arms dealer, I don’t sell guns, I don’t sell rockets’ — I should have been aware of that, of what I’ll go through, and said ‘F— you. You know what? I did it for my country, and I’m proud of it.’

Milchan’s choice of films doesn’t reflect a bias towards Israel or an attempt to brainwash the public, but still this is, well, creepy. Milchan’s latest film, starring Russell Crowe is the story of Noah, directed by Darren Aronsofsky.

I’m not an expert on espionage laws, but this raises some questions:  Isn’t what Milchan did in the 1970s illegal?  And will people ever take Chuck Barris’ claims of being a CIA assassin seriously?

Photo of Arnon Milchan: Screengrab

Santorum Says Satan Controls Hollywood

Rick Santorum spat a frothy mouthful on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, plugging his first foray into film production, The Christmas Candle, due out this holiday season. The movie, from EchoLight Studio, is a period piece set in a Thomas Kinkade-esque village and tackles modernity vs (Christian) tradition as electricity and progressive thinking threaten the  town’s visit from a Christmas angel. Now the CEO of EchoLight, Santorum said, seeming a little uncomfortable:

This is a tough business, this is something that we’re stepping out, and the Devil for a long, long time has had this, these screens, for his playground and he isn’t going to give it up easily.

Shifty eyes much?

I’m not going to go into Santorum’s (il)logic about Satan controlling Hollywood which at some point will end up in a grand conspiracy, but ye gods and little fishes, if Satan controls the film business, why did the self-proclaimed White Witch of Los Angeles give a lecture about the film industry and how it controls the mind? Inconceivable!

And speaking of inconceivable,  Santorum’s position on  Satan in the film biz puts him at odds with fellow conservative Sen Ted Cruz who admitted that in addition to playing video games (also a tool of Satan)

I’m a huge movie buff. Love watching movies. So we’ll often go and watch a movie.

Cruz’s favorite movie? The Princess Bride which has a wizard bringing Westley back to life. Blasphemy!! Clearly Ted Cruz is thus a tool of Satan, which makes his opposition to the current administration a Satanic plot. But wait, conservatives think Obama is Satan, or at least the Anti-Christ…

Screw it, I’m gonna go watch an MK-Ultra produced, Illuminati/Satan mind control movie. Like  Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or Fantasia.

“Are You Now or Have You Ever Been–?” Marking HUAC’s Foray into Hollywood

The Blacklist. Sixty-six years ago the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) began a nine day hearing on Communist influence and propaganda in Hollywood, resulting in the boycotting, or blacklisting, of 300 actors, directors, radio commentators, and  screenwriters. Those called before HUAC had been named in a Hollywood Reporter column written by the trade paper’s founder, William Wilkerson entitled “A Vote For Joe Stalin.” In subsequent columns, Wilkerson named others he suspected of being commies and pinkos.

Ten of those called before HUAC, now known as the Hollywood Ten,  refused to answer some of committee’s questions and were cited for contempt of Congress. Bertold Brecht who was also called did give names, while director Edward Dmytryk later announced that he had once been a Communist and was prepared to give evidence. When Congress announced that they would go forward and press charges against the Hollywood Ten, the Screen Actors Guild voted to make its officers swear to a non-Communist pledge, while Hollywood executives hastily cobbled together an agreement that the Hollywood Ten would be fired or suspended without pay, and until they were cleared of contempt charges and had sworn that they were not Communists, they would not be reemployed.

In response to HUAC, director John Huston and actors Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, and Danny Kaye organized the Committee for the First Amendment to protest the government targeting of the entertainment industry, Bogart later had to defend himself in print against charges of being a Communist sympathizer. HUAC’s influence, which cast a chill over Hollywood, lasted until the late 1950s. Even J. Edgar Hoover’s favorite comedienne, Lucille Ball, was questioned.

The Hollywood Ten

Casting Edward Snowden for Hollywood Film

Now that a WikiLeaks movie is about to hit the screens, Hollywood has turned its hungry maw to the next real life story: Glenn Greenwald’s upcoming book about Edward Snowden. According to the New York Times:

20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures Entertainment and the cable television powerhouse HBO were among potential buyers that had considered the project, according to several people who were briefed on it, but spoke on condition of anonymity because of confidentiality strictures.

Note the use of the past tense “had considered,” that’s because there are some problems with the story from a filmmaking perspective.

There is the issue of “life rights” because while the film could be based on Greenwald’s book,  Snowden, journalist Lauren Poitras, and Snowden’s WikiLeaks traveling companion, journalist Sarah Harrison may not have their life rights available, meaning  filmmakers would have to rely on material publicly available under Fair Use, and hope that these principals (and Julian Assange who will no doubt figure in the film) will not interfere.

There are some hurdles in terms of plot–some could say the the final act has yet to be played out, though, actually being alive and free is pretty much a happy ending. Oh and wait, there’s this whole thing about how some people in the government and the public are very very upset at Snowden….

But none of that detracts from the fun of playing casting director: Joseph-Gordon Levitt or maybe dreamy Twilight star Robert Pattinson as Snowden,  John Cusack as Greenwald, though some of have been championing  Ben Stiller. Maybe Megan Fox as the dancer girlfriend, Lindsay Mills, Snowden abandons in Hawaii (who thankfully hasn’t decided to pose for Playboy–yet),  Emma Stone as Sarah Harrison, Ryan Philippe as Assange…

Who would you cast?

Glenn Greenwald’s book is due out March 2014 from Macmillan’s Metropolitan Books. His agent and the Guardian newspaper, which originally published Greenwald’s reporting on Snowden declined comment.

Late Night: Kim Fowley Is the Lord of Garbage

I met Kim Fowley, the man who discovered created the Runaways, when I was 16, and at the time I thought he was the scariest man on earth. Tall, skinny with huge deep-set eyes and giant teeth, he had a rapid fire series of phrases he’d rattle off as he leered. A typical sentence might sound like this

 The bitch is gonna do the dog on a pussy-eating guitar godhead level or I will make her crawl like garbage while she goes waaaaagn. W-A-A-A-A-G-N waaaagn!

Yes, he spelled waaaagn letter my letter. Fowley was already legendary when I first met him; along with Runaways, he’d produced a Helen Reddy record and  done the Tomorrow Show with  Tom Snyder discussing New Wave, and a couple of us from Westlake School for Girls had the idea of starting a punk fanzine, so I bravely called the recording studio where he worked to ask for an interview–and he said yes! I credit Kim with my career as a writer, because he has this attitude of if you say it, you can be it, and since we had said we had a punk ‘zine and wanted to interview him, we had to carry through on it.

Somehow Kim ended up marrying one of my high school friends who shall remain nameless, though she is pictured on the cover his 1978 solo album in a dress she borrowed from me; I also did her makeup.  The marriage was annulled and the bride never spoke to me again, but Kim and I stayed in touch sort of once I was back from college at UC Berkeley, where I had gotten really sick. He called my mom and asked if he could take me to church (!), and showed up on a Sunday in cab wearing a suit with a banana and a stack of restraining orders in his jacket pocket. He was a perfect gentleman always to me, despite rumors of all sorts of bad behavior whispered to me by others.

Kim is a weird, super bright genius and he would occasionally, before we lost touch, tell me stories about his past in his hyperbolic, adjective-filled, convoluted way. So when I saw that the first volume of his memoir, Lord of Garbage, had been published–how could I resist? Covering from his birth to age thirty, Lord of Garbage is a Dickensian tale of a California childhood besmirched by divorce and remarriages, bad medicine, polio, teen gangs, and the redemption of rock n roll.

Fowley was mentored by Alan Freed, the man who coined the phrase ‘rock and roll’ (three words that changed the world, says Fowley). He went on to write or co-write hundreds of songs, produced what are now cult records, as well as hits like “Alley Oop” and the novelty hit “They’re Coming to Take Me Away,” and written and directed over a dozen low-budget movies. Fowley also wrote a lot of poetry, some of which is included in Lord of Garbage.

Fowley says he dictated Lord of Garbage  into his publisher’s voicemail while recovering from bladder cancer, whacked out on drugs and potential death. It’s glorious prose; visual vulgar, brilliant and bold, rolling off the page, rocking in the brain.   I can’t wait until volumes two and three are released. Fowley does two radio shows a week on Steve Van Zandt’s Sirius XM station, and is currently recovering from additional cancer surgeries.  He’ll be reading from Lord of Garbage on October 5th at La Luz de Jesus, the mega-gallery/cool stuff shop in my neighborhood. I’m going, I’d like to thank him for the influence he played in my life.

Check out his take on cancer, home health care, life, and death here:

Syria: Oh Hollywood, Wherefore Art Thou?

The silence of the sheep? As we teeter on the brink of bombing Syria, there is a huge void, a vast emptiness, a vacuum. We have no hot air, no rousing speeches nor paparazzi photo ops. Celebrities are curiously absent from the “Bomb/Don’t Bomb Syria” dialogue.

Recall, if you will the anti-war rallies of the Aughts and Nineties. Who was there rallying for peace, calling for an end to war?  George Clooney, Sheryl Crow, Danny Glover, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Martin Sheen…And where are they now? (Sean Penn gets a pass from me–Haiti)

Granted most of the anti-war celebs campaigned hard for Obama and other Democrats (as did many readers of Firedoglake). But so what? If your elected officials, even the ones you supported morally and financially, are acting in a fool-hardy manner, freakin’ call them out on it. That’s what democracy is about, that’s what free speech is for. And the Syrian situation is complex (Did he or didn’t he gas his citizens? Is this a false flag? Are the rebels better than Assad? WTF are we doing and why?), but still how about: NO!

Earlier this year, ABC News speculated that celebrities’ anti-war stances in the past could have bearing on their future earnings:

[a]nti-war celebrities, including Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon, have been labeled “unpatriotic,” or “un-American.”

The Dixie Chicks, for example, won several Grammys this year, but their criticism of President Bush still has radio listeners calling for stations to quit playing their music, and many stations have.

Columnist Richard Johnson of the New York Post headlined more than a dozen entertainers as “Saddam Lovers” and urged readers to boycott their work.

Worried about their own bottom line when the world could be plunged into war? How venal.

But in the Hollywood Reporter, Ed Asner and Mike Farrell offer up some other explanations:

Asner said the lack of an organized effort against war in Syria is a matter of timing. Bush took months to make the case for war in Iraq, giving the antiwar left plenty of time to prepare a response.

“It will be a done deal before Hollywood is mobilized,” Asner said. “This country will either bomb the hell out of Syria or not before Hollywood gets off its ass.”

Really? Um, actors have social media and assistants. Surely they can get this figured out.

Also, said Asner, unsuccessful efforts to prevent war in Iraq led to complacency among left-wing activists.

“We had a million people in the streets, for Christ’s sake, protesting Iraq, which was about as illegal as you could find. Did it matter? Is George Bush being tried in the high courts of justice?” asks Asner. “

Ennui? Hollywood, along with liberals and progressives, are bored by the idea of another war?

Asner adds another more disturbing explanation:

A lot of people don’t want to feel anti-black by being opposed to Obama.

Wow. Is that a real reason? That is the dumbest reason to stand silent on a war/bombing/action/strike ever. The race of the president doesn’t matter when it comes to war. Actually, and maybe I am naive here, it’s more racist to think  you can’t speak up because the president is black. Who cares what race he is? He’s doing something dangerous and bad. Call him on it.

Mike Farrell says:

This administration ought to insist that the international community charge [Assad] with a war crime and prosecute him, and in so doing Obama would be following the law instead of flaunting the law…It’s incredibly improper for the president to call for a strike. I have said it everywhere I can and I suspect a lot of others will do the same, but whether there will be an organized effort, I don’t know. We’re talking about the difference between an invasion in Iraq and a limited action in response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

And we’re talking about opposing a military action called by a Democratic president. So what? Protest!

Both Republican Representative Ted Cruz and Democrat Dennis Kucinich oppose taking action against Syria. If these two dudes on opposite ends of the political spectrum can find something to agree on–staying out of Syria– maybe Obama, Pelosi, Kerry, and McCain should pay attention.

In the meantime, according to Gallup, 51% of Americans oppose the United States taking military action against the Syrian government. Support for action in Syria is lower than for any military action, including the Balkans, since 1991.  Something politicians may want to remember, since mid-term elections are coming in 2014.

THE GOOD OLD DAYS: Obama at anti-war rally

Jeffrey Katzenberg Throws Hollywood Muscle, Money Into Kentucky Senate Race

Hollywood mega-mogul and major Democrat donor Jeffrey Katzenberg, the guy who dined with Obama the night he was last on The Tonight Show, wants to make it rain in Kentucky, hoping his efforts will produce clouds and curtains for the KY Republican Senator Mitch McConnell.

The really rich, really powerful uber-producer–CEO of Dreamworks Animation, former chairman of Disney Studios who reportedly raised $15 million for Obama at a 2012 fundraiser held at George Clooney’s Los Angeles home, and who personally donated a total of $3 million to the pro-Obama PAC Priorities USA Action–has made unseating conservative Senate Minority Leader McConnell his top political priority for the 2014 mid-term elections. McConnell has already raised $10 million dollars, so Katzenberg & Co. has some catching up to do.

Putting his mouth where is money is, Katzenberg’s thrown his name behind Kentucky secretary of state Alison Lundergan Grimes’ effort to unseat   McConnell, sending out a letter Tuesday urging his thick Rolodex of wealthy Los Angeles Democrats to turn out on Grimes’ behalf during a Sept. 25 and 26  fundraising visit she’s making to the City of Angels. Katzenberg, who has already maxed out his  personal donations to Grimes’ campaign, said in a letter obtained by the Hollywood Reporter:

Alison is the antidote to McConnell and all he represents. She can win, and she will win if she gets the support she needs. Despite McConnell’s name recognition and long tenure, an August 1st Public Policy Poll actually showed her leading by one point — 45 percent to McConnell’s 44 percent. …There is no more important election being held next year in this country. As the Senate’s minority leader since 2007, McConnell has used the filibuster 420 times to block legislation and appointments that were supported by a clear majority of senators. … We are talking about outright obstruction of the democratic process.

Katzenberg is asking his pals to also max out their donor levels, suggesting individual donations of $5,200 and $10,000 per couple. On the agenda so far, a luncheon at Il Moro restaurant with more presumably star-studded events  to be announced.

Thing is, having been to Kentucky, I can safely say that having Hollywood types meddling in their state’s affairs might not be looked at kindly; it’s sorta like having a revenuer take a stroll in your woods.  Kentucky is also a heavily red state, with McConnell winning every race since 1984.

McConnell vs Grimes battle for Senate in 2014

Left Behind: Nic Cage Whores Himself Out


Times must still be tough for Nic Cage. He’s offered himself up to God the Left Behind movie series, and it’s really kinda gross. Well, maybe there are some gross points involved, though I wouldn’t hold my breath on the Academy Award-winning actor getting rich off those: The original Left Behind only grossed $4.2 million at the box office in 2001, making it the 18th most successful  Christian-themed/Christian-produced movie of all time, lagging far behind the The Passion of the Christ, the Narnia series, both The Omega Code movies (that  is pretty sad, those Omega Code flicks sucked massively), and a lot of movies that no one outside of a mega-church supper has ever heard of, like Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed  (no comment), End of the Spear, and One Night with the King (why do those last two titles make me think of M2M porn?).

According to the Christian Post, Paul Lalonde, CEO of Stoney Lake Entertainment and co-founder of Cloud Ten Pictures, which produced and distributed the first three Left Behinds, two of which went straight to video, said his company was rebooting Left Behind in order to give it the blockbuster treatment many fans and one of the bestselling novels’ authors, Tim LaHaye, had felt the original version deserved.  Producer Lalonde, who co-wrote the script for this version of Left Behind as well as co-writing the direct-to-video Left Behind II: Tribulation Force and having solo writing credits for the initial Left Behind, told the Christian Post:

It has always been my goal to produce a big-budget version of ‘Left Behind’ that would appeal to a wider audience. The resources to do this exist now where they didn’t back in 2000.

The “big budget” is estimated at $15million, small by today’s blockbuster standards but big enough to cover special effects and with teen-fan faves Chad Michael Murray and Ashley Tisdale (from High School Musical) and a PG-13 rating, it might draw enough to make its money back. Expect a lot of action: Director Vic Adams has worked as a stunt director on numerous films like Raiders of the Lost Ark, Rambo III, The Green Hornet, and Charlie’s Angels, and  began his career as a stuntman in You Only Live Twice and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. He has directed one film, Army of One, but has an impressive résumé as a second unit director.

But Nicolas Cage? Srsly wtf are you thinking?  Nic Cage, by starring in this movie, you’re promoting a worldview that is negative, narrow, destructive, jingoistic, rigid, anti-sex, anti-comic books, anti-cool, and uptight. Left Behind upholds the pre-tribulation, absolutely nutbag, we-have-to-be-right-so-we’ll-bring-about-the-end-of-the-world thought process that’s at the foundation of the Assemblies of God, other Seven Hills Dominionists, and prophetic, evangelical Conservative Christians. Nic, don’t you understand that eschatology is scatology? Didn’t you used to be edgy, underground, bizarrely hip? This is not a risky role, this is pathetic. All I can think, aside from you needing cash, is that you wanted to give the internets some new memes. But Cage denies he takes roles for paychecks, telling the Guardian:

I’m one of those Americans who believes in working. If you’ve made mistakes in the past, you don’t just roll over on people or cave in, you find a way through it. But in film acting, for some reason you get criticised for working.

But this was the best role you felt you were offered for the time period? Wow.  In all fairness, Cage has three movies released or scheduled for release in 2013, the animated The Croods, Joe, and Frozen Ground which co-stars John Cusack and came out in June on limited release and video-on-demand. Left Behind, still in production, and Tokarev, an action film set in the Russian mob, now in post-production, will be released next year. Four other films have Nicolas Cage’s name attached, but only the Paul Schrader-directed  The Dying of the Light has a release date listed on IMDBpro.com.

At least Kirk Cameron, who starred in the original three  Left Behinds and Michael York who appeared in the execrable laugh/shite fest  The Omega Code and Megiddo: The Omega Code 2 have the excuse they are fundie Christians to fall back on. (Same could be said about John Travolta and Battlefield Earth, though Vinnie Barbarino was promoting a different, totalitarian belief system altogether.) The only thing that makes sense is that Cage needs money: At one point he owned two castles, fifteen luxury properties, a fleet of Rolls Royces, and a Gulfstream jet, and yet owed millions in back taxes to the tune of $14 million which he is paying off, And faced three multi-million dollar lawsuits. He blamed his business manager, who in turn blamed the actor’s lavish lifestyle, saying he had urged actor to cut back and to set aside $10 million as cushion:

to alleviate the financial pressure to take film roles that might be detrimental to his career.

Wow, a slave to Mamon indeed. I wonder how much of the estimated $15 million budget Cage is being paid. And did the film producers do their due diligence? Cage has said he has no religion and he donated to Al Gore’s campaign. But maybe that doesn’t matter to Cloud Ten Productions. But it might matter to the audience, though clearly, from the film’s poster, Cage does get left behind, so maybe that’s fairness in advertising.

(And Chad Michael Murray, who played super dreamboat Lucas Scott on One Tree Hill, is this the best you can do? I’m embarrassed for you. Maybe you’re embarrassed too, because your website doesn’t mention Left Behind in its news section. Though you did play young David Alexander in Megiddo: The Omega Code 2, so maybe you’re acting on faith.)

Tim LaHaye, who conceived of and co-wrote the hugely successful Left Behind books with Jerry Jenkins, was a member of the original board of directors of the Moral Majority and an organizer of the Council for National Policy. And if that’s not enough conservative credentials, LaHaye was the former co-chair of Jack Kemp’s presidential campaign. But LaHaye is not happy about the script, telling the Christian Post:

It’s probably the worst script I’ve ever read. And I’ve read scores of them. The plot line is nothing like the book. The only thing they retain are the names of the people, and maybe places. There is no redemptive value to this movie.

But hell, LaHaye has never been happy about the Left Behind movies in the past, calling them

church basement movies.

He took Cloud Ten to court in a case that lasted nine years because he was disappointed that 2001′s Left Behind starring Kirk Cameron didn’t get the initial theatrical production he said the contract had called for and he had dreamed about. Um, because no one cared enough to invest in a large production?  Granted the film rights were negotiated between June 1996 and April 1997, before the Christian prophecy novels became a publishing phenomenon, but that’s a gamble everyone took. LaHaye lost the lawsuit, but had the option to remake the series, and if he did not exercise that option (which he didn’t), the rights would revert back to Cloud Ten (which they have). According to Left Behind’s website:

The LEFT BEHIND reboot will focus on the hours immediately following the rapture. It will not cover everything that the first book includes, but will be more specifically concentrated on those first few hours and the chaos of the world in the wake of millions of people vanishing with no explanation…

Without warning, millions of people around the globe simply vanish.

All that remains are their clothes and belongings … and an overwhelming sense of terror. The vanishings cause unmanned vehicles to crash and burn.

Emergency forces everywhere are devastated. Gridlock, riots and looting overrun the cities. And there is no one to help or provide answers. In an instant, the earth has been plunged into darkness.

For RAY STEELE, the pilot of a jumbo jet, it means trying to calm his hysterical passengers who saw loved ones vanish before their eyes.

It remains to been seen if Nic Cage,who stars as Ray Steele, can redeem the Left Behind  franchise and/or if Christians will  flock to the  theaters to see a movie that stars a former -Papist-turned-non-believer and who’s been so crucified by the man who immaculately conceived the original canon. I just know I’m going to hell for making these jokes.

HT: Truth-out.org

Trayvon Martin Verdict: So Far, Peaceful Protests in L.A.

Update: By 1am, when the Hollywood crowd had moved south to Sunset and Cahuenga, close to the Cinerama Dome, the LAPD gave the order to disperse. Most did, however the police eventually fired beanbags at the lingeres and severla arrests were made, one for assualt on a police officer. More protests are planned today.

Los Angeles is on citywide tactical alert tonight, Sunday. One protestor arrested in Hollywood, a woman.

Peaceful marchers shut down the 10 Freeway for about half an hour, from 6pm to 6:30pm. About 50-100 protestors  walked onto the freeway, the east/west artery  also known as the Santa Monica Freeway. Police stopped traffic and the freeway marchers dispersed before the police could broadcast an order. That march moved back onto Crenshaw Blvd. and splintered into smaller marches. Some bottles were thrown, but no arrests made.

At 9pm, a march north on La Brea Blvd. included walkers and slow moving cars, about 100 people and maybe 30 vehicles, stopped traffic at La Brea and Beverly. La Brea is a major north/south street which runs from near Los Angeles International Airport, acting as a divide for the the Fairfax District and Hancock Park. Further north it is the eastern border of West Hollywood (WeHo is a city separate from LA; it uses the sheriffs as law enforcement) and the western border of Hollywood (which is part of LA proper). Cops in riot gear showed up at at La Brea and Beverly and the crowd moved further north towards Hollywood.

By 10pm, the march had reached Hollywood Blvd, shutting that street down from La Brea east to Highland (that would be in front of the Chinese Theater and the Dolby Theater at Hollywood and Highland, where the Oscars  happen; across the street are the El Capitan Theater and Jimmy Kimmel’s studio).

Protesters blocked the intersection at Hollywood and Highland by 10:30pm, while tourists snapped photos. The Hollywood Bowl, just up Highland, with more people on foot and in cars, is about to let out at 11pm.  Police were getting ready to broadcast

get on on the sidewalk and get moving.

Commander Andy Smith who handled Occupy LA (and did a pretty decent job) said that he didn’t want to interfere with First Amendment rights, but that safety was a priority as well as adhering to legal protest laws.

California Highway Patrol are also blocking the freeway entrances and exits along the 10 in the areas around Leimert Park, an historic black district which is really messing up traffic (we already have two major freeways, the 5 and 2  closed for a few miles because of a tanker fire and fuel spill Saturday in the northbound  interchange tunnel).

While a news report on KCLA 9 said protesters wanted to march to Beverly Hills, a five mile walk that would take them through West Hollywood and the sheriffs (and during the LA riots, the Beverly Hills Police set up armed barricades at all intersections leading into that city), protestors were moving east, the opposite direction, toward my direction.  If they get here, I’ll be dressed and ready, but as my housemate pointed out, it’s getting late, and this is L.A. (which is why I took photos of my TV!)

protestors on the 10 Freeway

Protest locations. The La Brea and Wilshire protests moved north to Hollywood Blvd.

La Brea and Beverly, about 2 miles south of La Brea and Hollywood.

Police cars, protestors and tourists on Hollywood Blvd.

Hollywood and Highland, 10:15 pm


Police line at Hollywood and Highland.

The one arrest.

Protestors moving east at 11:08pm.

“Julian Assange, Superstar” aka “WikiLeaks, The Musical”

If Hollywood has its way and the check clears, Julian Assange, the international man of mystery currently enjoying Ecuadorian hospitality whilst planning his birthday party inside that country’s embassy, will be the subject of a biopic fraught with cyber espionage and condomless sex. According to the Wall Street Journal, HBO Films, DreamWorks Studios, Universal Pictures and Annapurna Pictures are all frothing and panting to bring Assange’s story to a megaplex or cable box near you.

There are a lot of loose ends though–not the least of which being who would play the pale and lanky leader of WikiLeaks; Tim Robbins, even though he’s a bit older than Assange, possesses plenty of boyish charm and height–dangling plots points like Bradley Manning who is in prison and on trial; what happens with the Syrians cables; Assange’s potential extradition to Sweden…

Here’s a solution: A musical! As Spiderman Turn Off the Dark proves, stage plays are constantly evolving. As the Assange/WikiLeaks story unfolds, the libretto could be adjusted; and it’s a sure Tony Award winner, and once things are resolved in real life, the film would be ready to go. Along with Assange’s all singing, all dancing  grandstanding and honeypot sampling, Bradley Manning’s character would be onstage throughout as the tragic counterpoint and moral compass, first at a computer screen, then behind bars, always present, a contrast to Assange’s hubris.

Plus there would have to be a Greek chorus of Anonymous in EFG masks performing catchy numbers like “Low Orbit Ion Cannon,”  and “DDoS Us All” while Loooong Cat and Nyan Cat dance. It’s all a hummable, teachable-moment multi-media extravaganza! And Neil Patrick Harris would be SUPER in the starring role! Or maybe Zac Efron. Think Clay Aiken for the touring company.

If any Broadway producers are interested, you know where to find me…

The EFG Greek/geek chorus can get serious at times, while Manning’s character is the musical’s moral compass.

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