[act-ma] Coming here soon!! Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield (the Sundance Film festival award-winner from author Jeremy Scahill)
amyh at texnology.com
Fri May 31 07:28:30 PDT 2013
l#13ef6093b87c8fd6_TopText> Attachment(s) from Susan Serpa included below]
The director, Rick Rowley, is flying in from London for the Boston-area
premiere screening the weekend of June 14th at the Kendall Square Cinema.
The Smedley Butler Brigade has asked for group discount ticket information
and we'll be receiving fliers with screening times shortly. (The screening
times have not yet been announced.) We also hope to arrange an event with
Bookmark your calendars for Friday and Saturday June 14th and 15th. I will
keep you all updated with the details as they develop.
(see flier attached)
On Thu, May 30, 2013 at 10:41 AM, Amy Hendrickson <amyh at texnology.com>
An Anti-War Blockbuster
By David Swanson
There's no end to the pro-war movies we're subjected to: countless
celebrations of bombs, guns, and torture. They come in the form of
cartoons, science-fiction, historical fiction, dramas, and reenactments
pre-censored by the CIA
Movies show us the excitement without the suffering. War in our theaters
resembles almost anything else more than it resembles war.
Journalists appear in our movies too, usually as comic figures, talking-head
air-heads, numskulls, and sycophants. In this case, the depiction is much
more accurate, at least of much of what passes for journalism.
But, starting in June, a remarkable anti-war / pro-journalism film will be
showing -- even more remarkably -- in big mainstream movie theaters. Dirty
Wars (I've read the book <http://www.dirtywars.org/the-book> and seen the
movie <http://www.dirtywars.org/trailer> and highly recommend both) may be
one of the best educational outreach opportunities the peace movement has
had in a long time. The film, starring Jeremy Scahill, is about secretive
aspects of U.S. wars: imprisonment, torture, night raids, drone kills.
Dirty Wars won the Cinematography Award for U.S. Documentary at the Sundance
Film Festival 2013 and, recently, the Grand Jury Prize at the Boston
Independent Film Festival. Variety calls it "jaw-dropping ... [with] the
power to pry open government lockboxes." The Sundance jury said it is "one
of the most stunning looking documentaries [we've] ever seen." I agree.
Typically, information that does not support our government's war agenda
appears only on the printed page, or perhaps in a power-point presented to
the usual heroic crowd of aging white activists gathered outside the range
of corporate radar. But stroll through an airport and you'll see hardcopies
of Dirty Wars displayed at the front of the bookstores. Check out the movie
listings <http://dirtywars.org/screenings/filtered/theatre/upcoming> in
June and July, and you're likely to see Dirty Wars listed right alongside
the latest super-hero, murderfest, sequel of a sequel of some predictable
I wrote a review of the book
<http://warisacrime.org/content/vile-filthy-bloody-dirty-wars> some time
back, after which I picked up a job helping to promote the film. But I'm
promoting the film because it's a great film, which is different from
calling it a great film because I'm paid to promote it. And my interest
remains less in selling the film tickets than in recruiting those who see
the film into an active movement to change the reality on which the film
This is not Zero Dark Thirty. You can't walk into Dirty Wars supporting
drone strikes, night raids, and cluster bombs and walk out with your beliefs
reinforced. Most viewers of Dirty Wars will leave the theater believing
that U.S. wars make the United States less safe. In that moment, when
people who are usually otherwise engaged have come to realize that the
Department of So-Called Defense endangers us (on top of impoverishing us) is
when we should sign those people up to take part in activities the following
week and month and year.
The film opens by contrasting embedded war journalism -- the regurgitation
of spoon-fed propaganda -- with what the viewer is about to see. And what
we see is investigative journalism. The film begins by providing us with an
understanding of night raids, including from the point of view of family
members who have survived them. We see the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff tell Scahill that night raids that kills civilians should not be
investigated. And then we see Scahill investigate them, his search leading
him to secretive branches of the U.S. military involved in a variety of
dirty tactics in various countries.
The film does have a failing. It doesn't tell people anything they can do
about the horrors they're exposed to. But, of course, activism is possible
and far more effective than any journalism -- good or bad -- will tell you.
One of the stories told in the film and the book of Dirty Wars is the story
of the destruction of al Majala. On December 17, 2009, U.S. Tomahawk
missiles and incendiary cluster bombs rained down on the tiny Yemeni village
of al Majala, killing 21 children, 14 women, and 6 men, and burning all the
homes and their contents. The government of Yemen falsely claimed
responsibility. Yemeni journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye disproved that
Shaye reported on the carnage, including photographing missile parts labeled
"Made in the United States." He reported on subsequent U.S. strikes in
Yemen, working with the Washington Post, ABC News, Al Jazeera, and other
Shaye is in prison in Yemen for the crime of journalism, at the insistence
of President Obama. A coalition has launched a petition today urging Obama
and Yemen to set Shaye free
Fans of Dirty Wars who want to begin to do something to end the crimes
committed in their names can be sent to RootsAction.org.
While the United States was searching for its citizen Anwar Awlaki to kill
him, Shaye repeatedly tracked him down and interviewed him. These were
tough and serious interviews, with Shaye asking Awlaki how he could possibly
support acts of violence. Awlaki's image was not helped. But the U.S.
government began warning media outlets not to work with Shaye, falsely
accusing him of supporting al Qaeda. The Yemeni government kidnapped Shaye,
threatened and released him, then snatched him again and gave him a
one-sided "trial," universally denounced as a sham by human rights
organizations, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.
On February 2, 2011, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, under public
pressure, had drawn up, printed out, and was prepared to sign a pardon of
Shaye. But Saleh received a phone call from President Barack Obama, who
opposed release of the journalist. Saleh ripped up the pardon.
The White House is feeling a little pressure over recent revelations of
government spying on and seeking the prosecution of U.S. journalists. It
took the targeting of a U.S. journalist for prosecution to start people like
Chuck Todd and Dana Milbank chattering
eaks-fox-ap> about Obama treating journalism as a crime. But have you
heard U.S. media outlets raising concerns over the imprisonment of a Yemeni
journalist at the instruction of the U.S. president?
There is much else that we are not regularly told to be found in Dirty Wars.
Organizations that would like to help promote this film and organize around
it in U.S. cities should contact me <http://davidswanson.org/contact> .
With any luck, together we'll change the conversation to one aware of and
unaccepting of acts of murder anywhere on earth.
David Swanson's books include "War Is A Lie <http://warisalie.org/> ." He
blogs at http://davidswanson.org <http://davidswanson.org/> and
http://warisacrime.org <http://warisacrime.org/> and works for
http://rootsaction.org <http://rootsaction.org/> . He hosts Talk Nation
Radio <http://davidswanson.org/taxonomy/term/41> . Follow him on Twitter:
@davidcnswanson <http://twitter.com/davidcnswanson> and FaceBook
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