Thursday, November 25, 2004

Three Films

Three recent political films reviewed by the Vancouver-based peace/anti-war coalition - PolPop.

Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear & the Selling of American Empire

This film examines how a radical fringe of the Republican Party used the trauma of the 9/11 terror attacks to advance a pre-existing agenda to radically transform American foreign policy while rolling back civil liberties and social programs at home. The documentary places the Bush administration's false justifications for war in Iraq within the larger context of a two-decade struggle by neoconservatives to dramatically increase military spending in the wake of the cold war, and to expand American power globally by means of military force. At the same time, the documentary argues that the Bush administration has sold this radical and controversial plan for aggressive American military intervention by deliberately manipulating intelligence, political imagery, and the fears of the American people after 9/11.

Narrated by Julian Bond, Hijacking Catastrophe features interviews with more than twenty prominent political observers, including Pentagon whistleblower Lt. Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski, who witnessed first-hand how the Bush administration set up a
sophisticated propaganda operation to link the anxieties generated by 9/11 to a pre-existing foreign policy agenda that included a preemptive war on Iraq.

At its core, the film places the deceptions of the Bush administration within the larger frame of questions seldom posed in the mainstream: What, exactly, is the agenda that drove the administration's pre-war deceptions? How is 9/11 being used to sell this agenda? And what are the stakes for America, Americans, and the world if this agenda succeeds in being fully implemented during a second Bush term?

Breaking the Silence

While President Bush refers to the US attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq as two 'great victories', Pilger asks"Victories over whom, and for what purpose?" Pilger describes Afghanistan as a country "more devastated than anything I have seen since Pol Pot's Cambodia". He finds that Al-Qaida has not been defeated and that the Taliban is re-emerging. And of the "victory" in Iraq he asks: "is this Bush's Vietnam?"

"Astonishing... should be required viewing in every home, school and office" The Guardian (UK).

Palestine is Still the Issue

In a series of extraordinary interviews with both Palestinians and Israelis, John Pilger weaves together the issue of Palestine. He speaks to the families of suicide bombers and their victims. He sees the humiliation of Palestinians imposed on them at myriad checkpoints and with a permit system not dissimilar to apartheid South Africa's infamous pass laws. He goes into the refugee camps and meets children who he says, "no longer dream like other children, or if they do, it is about death."

Continually asking for the solution, John Pilger says that it is time to bring justice, as well as peace, to Palestine.


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