Over the past decade, the United States military has shifted the way it fights its wars, deploying more technological systems in the battlefield than human forces. Today there are more than 7,000 drones and 12,000 ground robots in use by all branches of the military. These systems mean less deaths for US troops, but increased killings with less political risk for the United States. With lethal drone strikes being carried out in secret by the CIA and occurring outside of declared war zones such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, the use of robots and drones evokes serious questions about the operations of the United States and what this means as more and more autonomy is developed for these technologies...
We is a visual essay exploring the politics of empire, war, corporate globalisation, imperialism and history; using the words of Indian author and political activist Arundhati Roy, from her speech Come September given in Santa Fe, New Mexico one year after the September 11th attacks--not long after the invasion of Afghanistan. The result is a mix of archive footage illustrating specific historical events throughout South America, the Middle East and elsewhere, in context with the September 11th attacks; placed alongside the themes of empire, global economics and a short history of neo-collonialism...
Just as mobile phones and wireless capability dramatically changed the way technology interacts with modern society, drones--or 'Unmanned Aerial Vehicles'--are set to become the next major influence in technocratic life, directly impacting and seriously expanding the already extensive capabilities of surveillance. Rise Of The Machines takes a look at already developed drone technology and how governments, military and even civilians are rushing to adopt the gadgets which can be purchased off the shelf for just a few hundred dollars and controlled by already existing smart phones. So what will a world of drones look like? And what of the many, serious, unexplored implications on how society will function in a world of drones?
Robot Wars visits companies in the United States that are producing robots for the military to disarm bombs, fly unmanned aircraft (drones), withstand repeated attacks and even choose targets and fire without any human intervention. The rapid development of autonomous robots and the use of them right now is surging ahead at a crazy rate, all with little regard to ethical and psychological questions, concerns about technological privilege and other obvious impacts. With military robots currently being operated using video game controllers, is the line being blurred between fantasy and reality?
Modern society loves mobile phones -- the selection between different models and gadgets has never been bigger. But the production of this technology has a hidden, dark, bloody side. The main minerals used to produce mobile phones are coming from the mines in the Eastern DR Congo. The Western World is buying these minerals up at a furious rate, financing a bloody civil war which, during the last 15 years, has cost the lives of more than 5 million people. Blood In The Mobile explains the connections between mobile phones and the civil war in the Congo, while technology corporations whitewash the issue to "supply and demand" and claim ignorance...
War is hell, but for Hollywood it has been a Godsend, providing the perfect dramatic setting against which courageous heroes win the hearts and minds of the movie going public. The Pentagon recognises the power of these celluloid dreams and encourages Hollywood to create heroic myths; to rewrite history to suit its own strategy and as a recruiting tool to provide a steady flow of willing young patriots for its wars...
In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg shook the United States to its foundations when he leaked top-secret Pentagon documents to the New York Times that showed how five Presidents consistently lied about the Vietnam War. Consequently, National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger called Ellsberg "the most dangerous man in America," who "had to be stopped at all costs." But Ellsberg wasn't stopped. Facing 115 years in prison on espionage and conspiracy charges, he fought back...
In the 1960s and 70s, the polarisation of the political situation in the United States was becoming acute with the Vietnam War abroad and civil rights at home being but the most obvious issues. For the youth political movement, the futile methods of peaceful protest led to the rise of an idealistic faction that undertook a more extreme approach to resistance. This faction, called the Weather Underground, attempted to team up with the Black Panthers to overthrow the US government -- starting with street riots, escalating to bombing government targets. Thorough archival footage and interviews of the veterans of both sides, this film covers the movement, until changing times and disillusionment brought it to an end, alongside the FBI employing an illegal series of projects called COINTELPRO to hasten it...
Militainment Inc. examines how news coverage of war in the United States has come to resemble Hollywood film, video games, and reality television in its portrayal of war as entertainment. Using a range of media examples--from news anchors' idolatry of military machinery to the impact of government propaganda on war reporting--the film asks: How has war taken its place as a spectacle of entertainment? And how does presenting war as entertainment affect the ability of the population to evaluate the necessity and real human costs of military action?
The Pentagon has a long tradition of cooperation with Hollywood. Movie studios can save millions of dollars and achieve spectacular success by securing use of military stock footage, military equipment, weapons and manpower. But the catch is that Hollywood must alter scripts, whitewash history, censor and present their films to display war and the military in a favourable way. As a consequence, mainstream commercial films become the best and most powerful, widespread propaganda...
Between 1964 and 1973 the United States conducted a secret war in Laos -- dropping over 2 million tons of bombs, making it the most heavily bombed country in history. Millions of 'cluster bombs' did not explode when dropped, leaving the country massively contaminated with "bombies" which are as dangerous now from when they fell over 30 years ago. Bombies documents unexploded cluster bombs through the personal experiences of a group of Laotians and foreigners who go about dismantling the bombs. These weapons are still a standard part of the United States military arsenal and were recently dropped in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq...
Sir! NO Sir! tells the story of how--from the very start of the war, such as with the Green Berets--there was resentment within the ranks over the difference between the war in Vietnam and (as persons state in the film) the "good wars" that their fathers had fought. In the beginning some simply left the military as individuals, though over time, it became apparent that so many were opposed to the war that they could speak of a movement -- which over time eventually made the military almost inoperable...
Reaching into the Orwellian memory hole, War Made Easy exposes the some 50-year pattern of government deception and media spin that has dragged the United States into one war after another from Vietnam to Iraq. Using archival footage of official distortion and exaggeration from LBJ to George Bush, this film reveals how the American news media have uncritically disseminated the pro-war messages of successive governments -- paying special attention to the parallels between the Vietnam war and the war in Iraq...
They brought us war in Iraq, the promotion of "American global leadership", pre-emptive strikes, the "spreading of Democracy"... This is the Project for the New American Century. But what do the hawks in Washington have in store for the world now? This film investigates the neo-conservatives, the interconnected, dispersed group of new conservatives running the White House during the Bush years. Is it surprising how little has changed?
On 8th August 1945, the United States dropped its second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan, three days after the bombing of Hiroshima. The city was a veritable apocalyptic vision, devastated by this new type of weapon. Nagasaki -- The Horror Of Fat Man documents the memories of survivors, both Japanese civilians and Western Prisoners Of War, as they relate the morbid aftermath of the bombings, the United States occupation, and the segregation that still effects fallout victims to this day.
For the people of Vietnam, war is not over. Three generations on from 1975, babies are still being born with serious birth defects and genetic abnormalities -- the legacy of the United States intensive use of chemical weapons. To this day, it is still unknown just how many have been affected. In 2005, on the eve of a historic lawsuit to determine the culpability of the United States, this film directly portrays the powerful effects of Agent Orange.
US Foreign Policy -- The War Against The Third World is a video compilation series of 10 segments about CIA covert operations and military interventions since World War II.
For many years now the American foreign policy has been characterized by the strong tie between the United States and Israel. Does the United States in fact keep Israel on its feet? And how long will it continue to do so?
Department of Defense documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act expose horrific government funded experimentation upon citizens conducted without their knowledge or consent. Is the United States knowingly using a dangerous battlefield weapon banned by the United Nations because of its long-term effects on the local inhabitants and the environment? Beyond Treason explores the illegal worldwide sale and use of one of the deadliest weapons ever invented. Was "Gulf War Illness" actually known by the military before hand?
An Act of Conscience documents the story of two couples Randy Kehler and Betsy Corner who refused to pay income tax throughout the 1980s in an act of defiance against military spending and war. The film captures the support community that formed in response to the seizure of their home by the IRS, and the conflict with the young couple with a newborn who bought the home at a government auction. Was this an effective protest?
In 1975, John Pilger reported the end of the Vietnam War from the American Embassy in Saigon, where the last American troops fled from the roof-top helicopter pad. Twenty years later, he returns to Vietnam to revive the Vietnamese past and present from the plethora of fake Hollywood images which pity the invader, and overshadow one of the most epic struggles of the 20th century.
John Pilger travels to Cambodia to investigate how the United Nations has allowed the Khmer Rouge regime to grow stronger. Why has Pol Pot's organisation grown stronger and more menacing since the arrival of the UN? Cambodia -- Return To Year Zero looks behind the façade of the so-called 'peace process' and asks: Has the unthinkable for Cambodia at last been made acceptable for the rest of the world?
From 1974, Hearts and Minds documents the events of the Vietnam War using news clips as well as directly captured footage showing actions and other happenings on the ground by the United States military during the war. The film also follows Vietnamese people themselves as to how the war affects them and why they fight back. Hearts And Minds reveals a racist and self-righteous militarism of the west, ironically in stark similarity to recent happenings in Iraq and elsewhere.
The Panama Deception documents the invasion of Panama in December 1989--codenamed Operation 'Just Cause'. The film gives context to the events which led to the invasion, and explores the real impact on the ground and devastating aftermath -- all contrary to the views portrayed by mainstream media and rhetoric espoused at the time by government officials in the Bush administration. News footage and media critics reveal the extent of media control and self censorship of the invasion, relevant to any news coverage today, particularly during times of war.