In 1975, when Fleetwood Mac was seeking a new guitarist, Mick Fleetwood told keyboardist Christine McVie that “there’s another girl involved. You’re going to have to meet her and see if you like her.” Lindsey Buckingham, the main candidate for the guitarist position, would only join the British-founded group – then made up of Mick Fleetwood and spouses John and Christine McVie – if his artistic and romantic partner at the time, Stevie Nicks, could participate as well. The drummer’s comment to Christine reflected the clichés and sexism of the music industry at the time. Within an overwhelmingly male-dominated space, the idea that two talented women (both songwriters and singers) who didn’t know each other would share a stage seemed potentially dangerous to some. But that was not at all the case for the women themselves. Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks’s alliance and mutual support as they battled egos and clashes with their soon-to-be exes saved them and the band itself from the chaos that accompanied Rumours (1977). The title of their best-selling album – which made history and sold around 45 million copies – references the many headlines about the band’s romantic dramas and the heavy alcohol and cocaine consumption that defined the 10 months they spent recording in Sausalito, California.
After learning about Christine McVie’s sudden death on November 30, Stevie Nicks took to Instagram to express her grief. “A few hours ago I was told that my best friend in the whole world, since the first day of 1975, had passed away. I didn’t even know she was ill …until late Saturday night. I wanted to be in London; I wanted to get to London – but we were told to wait,” Stevie wrote. Nicks also posted the lyrics of a song that she said had been “swirling around in my head” since she heard the news, “Hallelujah,” the song that Alana Haim, of HAIM, dedicated to her best friend who died in a car accident.
“We met and I instantly liked her. She and I are not competitive in any way at all. We’re totally different, but totally sympathetic with each other. We are dear, dear friends. We don’t have any competition on stage,” McVie told Rolling Stone of her bandmate Nicks in 2014; that was but one of the many compliments the two artists have exchanged in public over the years. “We made a pact, in the very beginning, that we would never be treated with disrespect by all the male musicians in the community. And we really stuck to it. I think we did the pinky swear thing that, if we ever feel like we’re being treated like that, we would just get up and walk out – and we did. We would just say, ‘Well, this party is over for us,’” Stevie told The New Yorker earlier this year.
Barely two years went by between the day the five artists first met in a Mexican restaurant in 1975 and the release of Rumours. In the meantime, they had recorded their first album (Fleetwood Mac, 1975), which began the group’s commercial success and ended their romantic relationships with other bandmembers. By the time they returned to prepare the next album, John McVie, the bassist, and Christine were separating after eight years of marriage. She had begun a relationship with the lighting director who accompanied the band on tour, for whom she wrote “You Make Living Fun”; the song was included on the new album. “When they found out I was seeing him he got fired shortly after – because of it! I didn’t really bring fellas on the road with me after that,” the keyboardist told The Guardian in 2014.
Nevertheless, McVie told the same newspaper that her in-studio tensions with John were more manageable than the ones between the group’s other couple, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. She was never “as melodramatic” as her American colleagues, who called it quits during the same period and drifted into a complex love-hate relationship, the tension of which never quite dissipated. In 2018, Lindsey was fired from the band for good. The work of one or the other was featured in hits like “Dreams” and “Go Your Own Way.” Things became even more tense when Nicks and Mick Fleetwood, the drummer, had an affair. Mick Fleetwood had not come out of recording Rumours unscathed, either; around that time, he discovered that his partner, with whom he had just had a baby, was cheating on him with his best friend.
Disappointment and pain mixed with copious amounts of alcohol and cocaine and did not help calm the spirits in Fleetwood Mac, which earned the popular nickname “the rock soap opera.” The recording sessions began at 7pm and lasted into the wee hours of the morning. Taking drugs was the order of the day; it was almost a prerequisite for the profession. “You could go shopping and buy beautiful little coke bottles that you would hang around your neck: gold, turquoise, all kinds of colors, with diamonds, and a little spoon. Stevie and I would wear them, it was very aesthetic,” Christine explained to the British newspaper. She said that the boys “were given cocaine in Heineken bottle caps on stage, but Stevie and I just did it with the teaspoons.”
Despite considering herself a moderate drug user compared to the rest of the bandmembers, McVie acknowledged on the Desert Island Discs radio show that “I don’t know if I would have written Songbird had I not had a couple of toots of cocaine and a half bottle of champagne …or written any of the songs that were on that album because I think we were all pretty loaded.” In any case, she fared better than Stevie. McVie got clean during her retreat to Switzerland to record her first solo album in 1984, while two years later Nicks checked into the Betty Ford Center for rehab and subsequently developed an even stronger dependence on Klonopin (a sedative).
“We were cool onstage,” Nicks says. “But offstage everybody was pretty angry. Most nights Chris and I would just go for dinner on our own, downstairs in the hotel, with security at the door,” Stevie Nicks recalled of the band’s post-Rumours tours in a 2014 interview with The Guardian, which McVie and Nicks did together for their first reunion tour with the whole band. The tour took place 15 years after Christine McVie left Fleetwood Mac to pursue what she called her “delusion that I wanted to be an English country girl” and retired to her mansion in Kent.
At that time, the two women also reflected on the professional and personal disparities of life on the road. They decided to leave their boyfriends at home to avoid behind-the-scenes drama with their exes. That situation made planning a family difficult. “There were never any children [for me],” she says. “There was always a career in the way. It was a case of one or the other, and Stevie would say the same. The lads went off and had children but for Stevie and I it was a bit difficult to do that. So that was never able to happen. And I never found the right man. Not through want of trying.” As Tim Jonze, the journalist who interviewed Nicks and McVie for The Guardian, observed, “Pragmatism, and a sense that they really were above such petty things, seems to have kept the two women sane, and quite probably the band together.”
Moreover, the 1988 release of Fleetwood Mac’s Greatest Hits demonstrated that the women were the songwriters behind the band’s most successful songs. The album contained 16 songs, eight of which were authored or co-authored by McVie and four by Nicks, compared to Buckingham’s three.
Between 2018 and 2019, McVie joined Fleetwood Mac on a second reunion tour, this time without Lindsey Buckingham’s participation. In one of her last interviews, speaking to Rolling Stone in June upon the release of her album Songbird (A Solo Collection), Christine explained that distance had affected her relationship with the band and Stevie: “I don’t communicate with Stevie [Nicks] very much either…When we were on the last tour, we did a lot. We always sat next to each other on the plane and we got on really well. But since the band broke up, I’ve not been speaking to her at all.”
McVie’s sudden death after a brief undisclosed illness caught Fleetwood Mac’s other members by surprise and prompted Nicks to dedicate the following words to her friend: “See you on the other side, my love. Don’t forget me.”
When the Navajos fooled John Ford | Culture
At the end of his career, John Ford wanted to use Cheyenne Autumn to apologize to Native Americans for the way he had treated them in his films. Shot in 1964, it was his last western. “There are two sides to every story, but for once I wanted to show their point of view. I’ve killed more Indians than Custer, Beecher and Chivington put together,” the master explained to Peter Bogdanovich in the interview book John Ford. “Let’s face it, we’ve treated them very badly — it’s a blot on our shield. We’ve cheated and robbed, killed, murdered, massacred and everything else, but they kill one white man and, God, out come the troops.”
Cheyenne Autumn recounts a historical episode in which a group of Cheyennes flee to their ancestral lands from the squalid reservation where they are confined and end up being massacred, after being tricked time and again by U.S. authorities. The problem is that Ford shot in Monument Valley, the setting for his great Westerns, which belongs to a Navajo reservation. Members of this tribe acted massively in the film, in which Mexican actors also play Native Americans. It is something that would be impossible to explain to the public today, but Ford had no choice if he wanted to shoot the film.
Of course, the Navajos who were playing Cheyennes took their revenge on the white men. Since no one but them understood Navajo on the set — a language so difficult that it was used as a secret code during World War II — instead of reading the script they decided to say whatever they wanted. They made all sorts of comments about the small size of the white officers’ penises and other nonsense during the film’s most tragic scenes. At least, that’s what an old Hollywood legend says, but John Ford made the doctrine clear at the end of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance: “This is the West: when the legend becomes a fact, print the legend.”
Author Tony Hillerman wrote a series of noir novels set on the same Navajo reservation where Ford filmed Cheyenne Autumn, and his books serve as the basis for the terrific series Dark Winds (the two seasons can currently be seen on AMC+). In one of them, Sacred Clowns, he describes a drive-in movie theater in Gallup where Navajos used to see the film again and again. Jim Chee, one of the policemen who stars in the show, recounts that at the screening “they would honk their car horns and laugh their heads off” at what were, in theory, the most dramatic moments. And he recalls what he felt when he attended a session with a Cheyenne who didn’t understand Navajo: “In the exact same scene, he was watching the destruction of his culture. We were watching as our people laughed at the whites.”
None of this could have happened to Martin Scorsese, another director at the height of his creative powers, who tried his hand at westerns at age 81 with Killers of the Flower Moon (available on Apple TV). The Osage tribe plays an essential role in the film, which has garnered 10 Oscar nominations. Set in the 1920s, the film tells the story of how dozens of Osage were murdered with impunity to steal the property rights to their oil wells. Scorsese not only relied on numerous Native advisors to lend credibility to the film, but he also worked directly with tribal representatives. Of the 63 Native American actors in the film, 49 are Osage.
Both Ford and Scorsese wanted to remember a forgotten history, buried by a vision of the past in which the roles are totally reversed — the invaders became the invaded, and vice versa. In fact, David Grann, the New Yorker journalist on whose book, Killers of the Flower Moon, Scorsese’s film is based, notes that it was precisely the will to remember something that should never have been forgotten that led him to investigate the crimes against the Osage for years. “One day in the summer of 2012, fresh from New York, where I live and work as a journalist, I visited Pawhuska for the first time hoping to find information about the murders that had occurred almost a century ago. Like most Americans, when I was in school I never read any books about these crimes; it was as if they had been erased from history. So, I started researching when I stumbled upon a reference to those events. From then on, I was consumed with the urge to solve the unanswered questions, to tie up the loose ends that the FBI investigation didn’t.”
The star of the film, Lily Gladstone, has a good chance of becoming the first Native American actress to win an Oscar. For the movie, she took lessons in Osage culture, which included the stories that ground the group’s traditions as well as the language. “There are elements in this film that just scream Osage,” Jim Gray, one of the tribal members who helped make the film, told The Harvard Gazette. “Even though 99 percent of the audience will be non-Osage and are not going to know as much about this story as we do, Osage people sitting in the audience are going to get a lot of the observances that Scorsese incorporated into the film that could only have come from collaboration with the tribe.”
Decolonizing — museums, mentalities, the vision of the past — also represents the different way in which two masters of cinema, Ford and Scorsese, faced the same problem 60 years apart: telling the story of the United States from the perspective of those who were exterminated.
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Conflicted History: ‘Oppenheimer’ And Its Impact On Los Alamos And New Mexico Downwinders
‘Oppenheimer’ And Its Impact On Los Alamos And New Mexico Downwinders
The Voice Of EU | In the highly anticipated blockbuster movie, “Oppenheimer,” the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the man behind the first atomic bomb, is portrayed as a riveting tale of triumph and tragedy.
As the film takes center stage, it also brings to light the often-overlooked impacts on a community living downwind from the top-secret Manhattan Project testing site in southern New Mexico.
A Forgotten Legacy
While the film industry and critics praise “Oppenheimer,” a sense of frustration prevails among the residents of New Mexico’s Tularosa Basin, who continue to grapple with the consequences of the Manhattan Project. Tina Cordova, a cancer survivor and founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, expresses their feelings, stating, “They invaded our lives and our lands and then they left,” referring to the scientists and military personnel who conducted secret experiments over 200 miles away from their community.
The Consortium, alongside organizations like the Union of Concerned Scientists, has been striving to raise awareness about the impact of the Manhattan Project on New Mexico’s population. Advocates emphasize the necessity of acknowledging the human cost of the Trinity Test, the first atomic blast, and other nuclear weapons activities that have affected countless lives in the state.
The Ongoing Struggle for Recognition
As film enthusiasts celebrate the drama and brilliance of “Oppenheimer,” New Mexico downwinders feel overlooked by both the U.S. government and movie producers. The federal government’s compensation program for radiation exposure still does not include these affected individuals. The government’s selection of the remote and flat Trinity Test Site, without warning residents in the surrounding areas, further added to the controversy.
Living off the land, the rural population in the Tularosa Basin had no idea that the fine ash settling on their homes and fields was a result of the world’s first atomic explosion.
The government initially attempted to cover up the incident, attributing the bright light and rumble to an explosion at a munitions dump. It was only after the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Japan weeks later that New Mexico residents realized the magnitude of what they had witnessed.
Tracing the Fallout
According to the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, large amounts of radiation were released into the atmosphere during the Trinity Test, with fallout descending over a vast area. Some of the fallout reached as far as the Atlantic Ocean, but the greatest concentration settled approximately 30 miles from the test site.
“Now I Am Become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds.”
J. Robert Oppenheimer
The consequences of this catastrophic event have affected generations of New Mexicans, who still await recognition and justice for the harm caused by nuclear weapons.
A Tale of Contrasts: Los Alamos and the Legacy of Oppenheimer
As the film’s spotlight shines on the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, a contrasting narrative unfolds in Los Alamos, more than 200 miles north of the Tularosa Basin. Los Alamos stands as a symbol of Oppenheimer’s legacy, housing one of the nation’s premier national laboratories and boasting the highest percentage of people with doctorate degrees in the U.S.
Oppenheimer’s influence is evident throughout Los Alamos, with a street bearing his name and an IPA named in his honor at a local brewery. The city embraces its scientific legacy, showcasing his handwritten notes and ID card in a museum exhibit. Los Alamos National Laboratory employees played a significant role in the film, contributing as extras and engaging in enlightening discussions during breaks.
The “Oppenheimer” Movie
Director Christopher Nolan’s perspective on the Trinity Test and its profound impact is evident in his approach to “Oppenheimer.” He has described the event as an extraordinary moment in human history and expressed his desire to immerse the audience in the pivotal moment when the button was pushed. Nolan’s dedication to bringing historical accuracy and emotional depth to the screen is evident as he draws inspiration from Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer.”
For Nolan, Oppenheimer’s story is a potent blend of dreams and nightmares, capturing the complexity and consequences of the Manhattan Project. As the film reaches global audiences, it also offers a unique opportunity to raise awareness about the downwinders in New Mexico, whose lives were forever altered by the legacy of nuclear weapons testing.
The Oppenheimer Festival and Beyond
Los Alamos is determined to use the Oppenheimer Festival as an opportunity to educate visitors about the true stories behind the film’s events. The county’s “Project Oppenheimer” initiative, launched in early 2023, encompasses forums, documentaries, art installations, and exhibits that delve into the scientific contributions of the laboratory and the social implications of the Manhattan Project.
A special area during the festival will facilitate discussions about the movie, fostering a deeper understanding of the community’s history. The county aims to continue revisiting and discussing the legacy of the Manhattan Project, ensuring that the impact of this pivotal moment in history is never forgotten.
As “Oppenheimer” takes audiences on an emotional journey, it serves as a reminder that every historical event carries with it complex and multifaceted implications. The movie may celebrate the scientific achievements of the past, but it also illuminates the urgent need to recognize and address the human cost that persists to this day.
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The Complex World of Cyber Warfare & Digital Battlefield
The Cyber Warfare And Digital Era
By Raza Qadri
In digital age, the world has witnessed an unprecedented rise in cyber warfare – a new frontier where nations and threat actors engage in battles beyond traditional borders. The evolution of technology has brought with it the emergence of cyber weapons and tactics, leading to a complex web of cyber espionage, attacks on critical infrastructure, and nation-state cyber operations.
As technologists, it is imperative to comprehend this rapidly evolving landscape and the challenges it poses to our global security. Here, we will explore Cyber Warfare in detail.
. Understanding Cyber Warfare
. Cyber Weapons and Tactics
. Nation-State Cyber Operations
. Spying in the Digital Age with Cyber Espionage
. Cyber Attacks on Critical Infrastructure Including Power Grids, Water Systems, and More
. Cybersecurity Measures: Safeguarding Nations against Digital Threats
. Attribution Challenges: Unmasking the Culprits Behind Cyber Offensives
. Offensive Vs. Defensive Cyber Capabilities
. The Evolution of Cyber Warfare with Past, Present, and Future Trends
. The Global Impact of Cyber Warfare — Diplomatic, Economic, and Societal Ramifications
Understanding Cyber Warfare
Cyber warfare encompasses the use of digital tools and technologies to conduct offensive and defensive operations in the virtual realm. It involves exploiting vulnerabilities in computer systems, networks, and data to achieve military or strategic objectives.
Key components of cyber warfare include hacking, malware deployment, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, and cyber espionage. The cyber battlefield extends beyond government agencies to encompass private corporations, institutions, and individuals.
Cyber Weapons and Tactics
In the arsenal of cyber warfare, sophisticated tools are employed to infiltrate and compromise target systems. Malware, such as viruses, worms, and ransomware, is utilized to disrupt operations and steal sensitive information. Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) are employed for long-term espionage, allowing attackers to remain undetected within a system for extended periods.
Additionally, social engineering techniques, such as phishing and spear-phishing, are commonly used to deceive users and gain unauthorized access.
Nation-State Cyber Operations
Nation-states have recognized the potential of cyber warfare to advance their strategic interests, leading to the proliferation of state-sponsored cyber operations. Countries invest heavily in developing cyber capabilities and often maintain specialized cyber units responsible for executing offensive operations.
Such operations can range from stealing intellectual property and sensitive information to launching disruptive attacks against adversary nations. However, attributing cyber attacks to specific countries remains a complex challenge.
Spying in the Digital Age with Cyber Espionage
One of the primary objectives of cyber warfare is espionage, where state and non-state actors seek to gather classified information and gain a competitive edge. Advanced cyber tools and techniques enable clandestine access to government, military, and corporate networks. Cyber spies operate stealthily, exfiltrating valuable data without leaving a trace. This form of espionage poses significant threats to national security and can lead to severe economic consequences.
Cyber Attacks on Critical Infrastructure Including Power Grids, Water Systems, and More
Critical infrastructure, including power grids, transportation systems, and healthcare facilities, has become prime targets for cyber attacks. Disrupting these systems can cause chaos and destabilize a nation.
Attackers exploit vulnerabilities in Industrial Control Systems (ICS) and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems to gain control over infrastructure components. Securing critical infrastructure against cyber threats is crucial to safeguarding society’s basic functioning.
Cybersecurity Measures Safeguarding Nations against Digital Threats
As the cyber threat landscape intensifies, nations must strengthen their cybersecurity measures. Robust defense mechanisms, such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and encryption, are employed to protect networks and data from unauthorized access.
Additionally, regular security assessments, incident response plans, and cybersecurity awareness training play pivotal roles in mitigating cyber risks.
Unmasking the Culprits Behind Cyber Offensives
Identifying the perpetrators behind cyber attacks is fraught with challenges. Attackers often use sophisticated techniques to conceal their origins, employing proxy servers and compromised infrastructure. The absence of clear attribution can lead to misjudgment and further escalation of conflicts. Overcoming these challenges requires international cooperation, technical expertise, and intelligence sharing.
Offensive Vs. Defensive Cyber Capabilities
Nations must strike a delicate balance between developing offensive and defensive cyber capabilities. While offensive operations offer advantages in intelligence gathering and deterring adversaries, they can lead to retaliation and escalate tensions.
“Defensive capabilities are vital to protect national assets, infrastructure, and citizens from cyber threats. The reach of these threats is evolving at the same rate as the capabilities of not just computing, but science and even art.”— John Elf
Striving for equilibrium is essential to avoid the perilous repercussions of unchecked cyber warfare.
The Evolution of Cyber Warfare with Past, Present, and Future Trends
Cyber warfare evolution, a critical facet of modern conflict, has seen profound evolution shaped by technological advancements and geopolitical shifts. Its origins trace back to the late 20th century with events like the Morris Worm incident in 1988, marking one of the first large-scale cyber attacks. As the internet gained prominence, cyber espionage and criminal activities burgeoned. By the late 1990s, nation-states recognized the strategic potential of cyber operations, exemplified by the Stuxnet worm in 2010, targeting Iran’s nuclear program. Presently, state-sponsored cyber operations are ubiquitous, with the SolarWinds hack of 2020 highlighting their sophistication. Ransomware attacks, typified by the Colonial Pipeline incident in 2021, pose substantial economic threats. The proliferation of advanced persistent threats (APTs) further complicates the cyber landscape, with groups like APT29 and APT28 linked to high-profile breaches.
Looking forward, the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to revolutionize cyber warfare. AI-powered attacks can adapt swiftly, evade detection, and exploit vulnerabilities with unprecedented precision. The rise of AI-driven defense mechanisms will be crucial in countering cyber threats. Quantum computing presents both promise and peril, with its computational power potentially revolutionizing cryptography, while simultaneously posing a threat to current encryption methods. Preparing for a quantum-secure cyber environment will be imperative. The evolution of cyber warfare reflects a trajectory of increasing complexity and sophistication. With geopolitical tensions and technological advancements driving this evolution, governments, organizations, and cybersecurity experts must remain vigilant. Understanding the past, present, and future trends of cyber warfare equips us to adapt to this ever-changing landscape. Embracing robust cybersecurity measures, fostering international cooperation, and investing in cutting-edge technologies will be paramount in securing our digital future.
The Global Impact of Cyber Warfare — Diplomatic, Economic, and Societal Ramifications
The ramifications of cyber warfare extend beyond the digital realm, influencing diplomatic relations, economies, and societal well-being. Nation-states engage in cyber espionage to gain geopolitical advantages, resulting in strained international relations.
Economies face significant losses due to cyber attacks on businesses and critical infrastructure. Furthermore, cyber warfare poses risks to individuals’ privacy, freedom of speech, and online safety.
Finally, we can conclude that cyber warfare has emerged as a powerful tool in the hands of state and non-state actors, with the potential to reshape global dynamics. As technologists, understanding the intricacies of cyber warfare is crucial to developing effective defenses and advocating responsible use of technology.
By collaboratively addressing the challenges posed by cyber warfare, we can safeguard the digital future and foster a secure and resilient world.
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— By Raza Qadri | Business, science & technology contributor ‘THE VOICE OF EU’
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