All too often, the phrase "corporate free press" is something of an oxymoron. Whether to maximise sales, to attract advertisers, or simply to promote the interests of their wealthy owners, the mass media open strange, self-serving and grossly distorted windows onto the world.
This website is another window. Here you'll find documentaries, lectures and interviews following a different editorial line.
The US company Raytheon is one of the largest arms manufacturers in the world, supplying guidance systems for many of the missiles and bombs used by US and Israeli forces in the Middle East. Raytheon systems guided the Qana bomb to the bunker where it blasted and crushed at least 51 people, including many children, to death.
A meticulous and moving reconstruction of an incident in late 2004, in which US marines are accused of slaughtering several Iraqi families in revenge for an IED attack on their convoy. Directed by Nick Broomfield (Ghosts), with performances from real Iraqi refugees and real ex-marines. See my review.
In 2003 Robert Newman toured his one-man political/musical comedy show From Caliban To The Taliban – 500 Years Of Humanitarian Intervention, the precursor to his acclaimed A History of Oil which was filmed for More4, and his BBC TV series The History of the World Backwards.
In a breathtaking ninety minute performance filmed in front of a live audience at the Brighton Corn Exchange Theatre during the 2003 Paramount Comedy Festival, From Caliban To The Taliban details an unlikely but true history of modern imperialism, from the Virginia Company to the occupation of Iraq, and demonstrates the towering intelligence and sparkling wit of comedy superstar and former teen heart-throb, Robert Newman.
Filmed in the 1990s, this series takes journalist Robert Fisk through Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt and Bosnia. He warns that the crimes of the West and Israel are breeding a culture of resistance, resentment and religious radicalism in the Middle East – a warning that the last decade has surely vindicated.
In the sixties too, the U.S. was engaged in an unpopular, unjustifiable and ultimately unwinnable war. Then, a whole generation of young men were drafted to fight, to die, and to kill in Vietnam. This is the story (50 mins) of how those young men said “no”.
Hollywood eventually made a few excellent anti-war films about Vietnam, but even the best of these focussed on the suffering of American troops. Even today, the Vietnamese people are excluded from the mainstream narrative of the war. This 1 hour film by Mickey Grant is intended to rectify that imbalance (h/t RadicalFilms.co.uk).
Compiled from Vietnamese eyewitness testimony and archival footage shot by Viet Cong cameramen (to whose memory the film is dedicated), it tells of the network of tunnels that linked the villages of Cu Chi and in which the resistance movement created an underground society, complete with music, theatre and rudimentary military hospitals allowing them to fight and win a guerrilla war against the world’s most powerful army.
How to win a battle against terrorism and lose the war of ideas. Children shoot soldiers at point-blank range. Women plant bombs in cafes. Soon the entire Arab population builds to a mad fervor. Sound familiar? The French have a plan. It succeeds tactically, but fails strategically. To understand why, come to a rare showing of this film.
… which, strangely enough, brings me to Iraq.
Hidden Facts: a message from the Iraqi Resistance
Purporting to be the work of the Resistance group 1920 Revolution Brigades, this is an insightful and compelling video (16 mins) with surprisingly high production values. I can’t guarantee it’s real, but I can guarantee it’s worth watching.
The slow destruction of Palestine is not just the work of bullets, but of bulldozers and barriers; not just against people, but against communities, homes and centuries-old trees. With a wealth of footage and interviews from within the OPT, this documentary by activist Donia Mili is a long (125 mins) but incredibly important one. (h/t to Khobbeizeh for putting it online).