What drives a young Westerner to volunteer as a peace activist in the Middle East? Visit Palestine follows Caiomhe Butterly—a young woman from Dublin, Ireland; who is one of a growing number of volunteers who risk their own lives to intervene in the long-running and bloody conflict of the occupation of Palestine. Activists such as Butterly are usually stereotyped as lunatics, meddlers or saints. This film offers a first-hand insight into a brave, honest, determined yet self-critical woman who takes direct action to the limit, with no quest for glory. The film also serves as a real conduit into the everyday lives of Palestinians, fighting for their lives…
Ghosts of Rwanda marks the 10th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda—a state-sponsored massacre in which some 800,000 Rwandans were methodically hunted down and murdered, as the United Nations and other states refused to intervene. The film examines the social, political, and diplomatic failures that converged to enable the genocide to occur. Through interviews with key government officials, diplomats, soldiers, and survivors of the slaughter, Ghosts of Rwanda presents first-hand accounts of the genocide from those who lived it—the diplomats on the scene who thought they were building peace only to see their colleagues murdered; the Tutsi survivors who recount the horror of seeing their friends and family slaughtered by Hutu friends and co-workers; and the UN peacekeepers in Rwanda who were ordered not to intervene in the massacre happening all around them.
The United States proudly self-identifies as the major purveyor of peace and democracy across the world. But does this perception of self match up to the actual policies and history of military actions throughout recent decades? Are the United States’ seemingly constant wars of aggression befitting to achieving peace? These are some of the central dichotomies addressed in this short film In Whose Interest? We see internal documentation of the US involvement in countries like Vietnam or Guatemala which indicate that the main factors motivating American foreign policy are clearly economic concerns. In Guatemala, the United States overthrows a democratically elected government to install a military-backed dictatorship that is suitable to the American United Fruit corporation. A similar pattern emerges in Vietnam, El Salvador and East Timor. Perhaps most oppressive yet is US policy in the Middle East, where the US provides Israel with more than $3 billion per year in military assistance—more aid than they give to the entire continent of Africa. We see how American policy is determined by the corporate sector, tightly linked to the state, which makes decisions in their own self-interest—in stark opposition to the rhetoric of democracy…
The belief that good triumphs over evil resonates deeply through the religious and political discourses of dominant culture. It is also a common theme in the entertainment media where the struggle between good and evil is frequently resolved through violence. The negative impacts of media violence on children has long been a public concern, but it is even more troubling when military violence, both in the news and in entertainment, is often glorified as heroic and noble. Beyond Good & Evil: Children, Media & Violent Times is a look at how mass communication distorts and manipulates language and visual imagery. It shows viewers how the media’s overriding objective of satisfying an audience converts real issues surrounding race, war, and violence into nothing more than spectacle.
Ammo for the Info Warrior is a two part series of collections of short films by the Guerrilla News Network (GNN), an independent news organisation with a mission to expose young people to important global news and information free from corporate filters. Each part consists of a selection of 5 to 10 minute videos covering a range of stories, from the violent diamond trade in Sierra Leone; to the PR industry’s manipulation of public opinion; to analysis of IBM and its role in the Holocaust; to CopWatch, a movement of people keeping police accountable; and short slam poetry clips about the business of hip-hop. Ammo for the Info Warrior experiments with format with the aim of being an innovative educational tool to tackle serious socio-political issues for a generation brought up on MTV. It can be a catalyst for discussion and debate, encouraging the viewer to develop skills in critical thinking and analysis.
In the aftermath of the events of September 11th, 2001; MIT linguist and political philosopher Noam Chomsky found himself called upon to provide much-needed analysis and historical perspective regarding this moment in American history. In the months following, Chomsky gave dozens of talks on four continents, conducted scores of media interviews, and published a book called ’9-11.’ In this film and in his book, Chomsky places the events of September 11 in the context of American foreign intervention throughout the postwar decades—in Vietnam, Central America, the Middle East, and elsewhere. Beginning with the fundamental principle that any exercise of violence against civilian populations is terrorism—regardless of whether the perpetrator is a well-organized band of Muslim extremists or the most powerful nation-state in the world—Chomsky challenges the United States to apply the moral standards it demands of others to its own actions.
The insane and horrific history of the development of nuclear weapons is examined first-hand in Trinity and Beyond. The film makes use of extensive archive footage from declassified military sources, where the sources themselves speak about the development of nuclear weapons, revealing the calamitous results of use. From the United States’s Trinity test of 1945, to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; to the rapid increase in testing and proliferation by states across the globe, culminating to the first Chinese atomic bomb test in 1964, Trinity and Beyond is a stark reminder of this culture’s insanity and death urge, and how—unless it is stopped—the expanding threat it continues to pose draws in, literally, the prospect of life on this planet for generations to come.
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?
The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power is an 8-part series based on Daniel Yergin’s book by the same name, that captures the panoramic history of the largest industry in the world and traces it’s changing face over the decades. Each episode in the series focuses on an era of oil, from beginning to today; while examining the connections and ramifications of an industry that literally transformed global political and economic landscapes—while continuing to make its mark…
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.
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.
Agent Orange was the codename for one of the herbicides and defoliants used by the United States military as part of its chemical warfare program—Operation Ranch Hand—which ran for ten years during the Vietnam War from 1961 to 1971. During this time, the military sprayed nearly 80,000,000 litres of toxic chemical and defoliants mixed with jet fuel in Vietnam, eastern Laos and parts of Cambodia. The supposed goal being to destroy forested and rural land, depriving guerrillas of cover and to induce forced-draft-urbanisation, destroying the ability of peasants to support themselves, forcing them to flee to the cities dominated by US forces, depriving the guerrillas of their rural support base and food supply…
The Secret Government, as its title suggests, is essentially an investigation into the processes, plans, operations and persons responsible for systemic abuses of power at senior levels of the United States government during the 1980s. The film covers multiple covert operations and secret projects, but takes a particular focus on the Iran–Contra affair of 1986, where Ronald Regan secretly facilitated the illegal sale of arms to Iran—which was the subject of an arms embargo at the time—to support a right-wing terrorist group called “The Contras,” and also make obscene profits from the sale of such weapons. Transported to the political happenings of today, The Secret Government is a call to remember history, and see that mass profits from weapons dealing running covert/secret wars were a reality then, and now, as well as to reveal just how far institutionalised propaganda and obfuscation works to conceal these home truths, still generations later.
The Search For Truth In Wartime investigates the changing face of war reporting and the role of the media during wartime, in context with the Crimea through the two World Wars, to Vietnam and the Falklands. “What is the role of the media in wartime? Is it simply to record, or is it to explain? And from whose point of view—the military, the politicians or the victims?”
Heroes reports on the treatment of returning combat soldiers from Vietnam in the early 1980s. The film investigates the strange cultural absence of reverence or memory to soldiers returning home, and shows with first-hand accounts and interviews with returning soldiers, opines from the front line about America’s unpopular war.
Is American foreign policy dominated by the idea of military supremacy? Why We Fight examines America’s policies regarding making war, most recently the Iraq invasion and what is termed “the Bush doctrine” that includes pre-emptive strikes. This policy has been in the works for many years on reflection of the past wars of the 20th century alone. In this film, a variety of people are asked “Why We Fight?” with a variety of answers, followed by a look at today’s U.S. military industrial complex via interviews with individuals involved with it…
In 1978, three years after the end of the Vietnam War, film-maker John Pilger travels back to Vietnam to find out what had happened under the new regime. Do You Remember Vietnam? recounts numerous personal stories: talks with a young tour guide at a war crimes museum who had been imprisoned in the infamous US tiger cages; a former North Vietnamese soldier into the underground base where he spent 20 years crawling through tunnels undetected; and views from the streets in Hanoi, where the largest single aerial bombardment in history took place.
Mr Nixon’s Secret Legacy covers the absurdity of the supposed logic behind “Mutual Assured Destruction” or MAD—a doctrine of military strategy and the national security policy of the United States during the cold war. During this time, MAD is supposedly disassembled, but replaced with a strategy called “Counterforce.” This film investigates the propositions of “Counterforce,” questioning the rhetoric of executing a “flexible, acceptable nuclear war.”
To Know Us Is To Love Us covers the public reaction to a Vietnamese refugee camp constructed outside Fort Smith in Arkansas, 1975—not long after the end of the Vietnam war. The film documents the stories of the refugees coming to the United States, along with the reactions of American troops, the public and citizens who take in Vietnamese refugees to assimilate them into American life.
After the 1973 Paris Agreement and military ceasefire, more than 70,000 soldiers and civilians had been killed in Vietnam. Vietnam — Still America’s War investigates how the Vietnamese populace still have to contend with mines and other legacies of the war, even after the ceasefire, and after the war…
Using interviews and frontline footage, Vietnam — The Quiet Mutiny reveals the internal sense of disillusionment and frustration born from the rift between bureaucracy and soldiers, that triggers the withdrawal of the United States military from Vietnam. As the US employs psychological warfare against the Vietnamese, reporter John Pilger finds himself unable to obtain meaningful information from the military—a press conference he attends is nicknamed “the 5 o’clock follies” for the evasive nature of the proceedings. And so it is with the grunts, the “wheels of the green machine,” that Pilger finds a very human side to the US presence in Vietnam: soldiers who were once ready to serve their country, now doubtful of their purpose there. Plied with visits from Miss America and ignored by Vice President Spiro Agnew, they experience the war in a way many of their superiors do not.