War School is a simple and effective short film written and directed by Ben Newman, in which a military training camp is transposed into a British classroom. The film brings home the brutal reality that affects 300,000 children in over 30 countries worldwide.
With thanks to Das Kraftfuttermischwerk
The War You Don’t See is a must-see documentary by Emmy-award-winning journalist John Pilger, who examines the news media’s failures, mistakes and crass ineptitude when reporting the truth about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
In The War You Don’t See, Pilger, himself a renowned correspondent, asks whether mainstream news has become an integral part of war-making.
Focusing on the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, Pilger reflects on the history of the relationship between the media and government in times of conflict stretching back to World War I and explores the impact on the information fed to the public of the modern day practice of public relations in the guise of ‘embedding’ journalists with the military.
Featuring interviews with senior figures at major UK broadcasters, the BBC and ITV, and high profile journalists on both sides of the Atlantic, including Rageh Omaar and Dan Rather, the film investigates the reporting of government claims that Iraq harboured weapons of mass destruction.
Pilger also speaks to independent film makers, and whistleblowers, including the founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange and to former senior British Foreign Office official Carne Ross to investigate why what he believes were key voices and key details did not figure prominently on the mainstream media’s agenda. The film also includes hard-hitting footage from independent media sources showing scenes in Afghanistan and Iraq, including footage leaked to Wikileaks.
Dan Rather, the famous CBS news anchor, and BBC World Affairs Correspondent Rageh Omaar both reflect on their own roles during the lead up to hostilities in Afghanistan and Iraq and the lessons they have learned. Rather speaks about pressure felt by journalists who face the danger of becoming what he calls mere ‘stenographers’. Rageh Omaar speaks about the proliferation of 24 hour news and the effects this has on war reporting, including his own experience reporting on the liberation of Basra.
Fran Unsworth, the BBC Head of Newsgathering and David Mannion, Editor in Chief of ITV News, both face questioning on their news departments’ reporting of the Iraq war and the scrutiny of George Bush and Tony Blair’s claims about weapons of mass destruction.
The documentary also focuses on the abuse of Iraqi civilians by British soldiers and speaks to Phil Shiner, a lawyer who is representing a number of Iraqi victims. It examines the notion that our media distinguishes between ‘worthy’ and ‘unworthy’ victims of conflicts and how.
The War You Don’t See also looks at the balance of the media’s reporting on the hostilities between Palestinians and Israelis, with particular focus on mainstream broadcasters’ coverage of the Israeli attack on the aid flotilla in Gaza earlier this year. Both the BBC and ITV are asked about the influence of Israeli government efforts to shape the reporting of such incidents on their coverage.
Now in his seventy-first year, Pilger has lost none of his investigative skill as journalist or any of his anger at injustice and falsehood, and while it can be argued that he has his own agenda, Pilger is a very much needed David, pitched against the dangerous Goliath of Fox News. As Pilger once said:
“It is not enough for journalists to see themselves as mere messengers without understanding the hidden agendas of the message and the myths that surround it”
Parts 2-7 of John Pilger’s ‘The War You Don’t See’ after the jump…
Two leading members of Russia’s radical art group Voina (“War”), Oleg Vorotnikov, 32, and Leonid Nikolaev, 27, have been charged with “criminal mischief”, after turning over police cars in St. Petersburg as a protest against police corruption, last September.
Nikolayev and Vorotnikov were arrested at a Moscow apartment on 15 November, and brought to St. Petersburg the next day, where they have since been held in custody at a pretrial detention center.
According to witnesses, the pair were handcuffed and had bags put over their heads when arrested. The police searched the apartment and confiscated computers, hard drives, USB flash drives, cell phones and various papers.
The police said that the damage inflicted on the police cars totaled 98,000 rubles ($3,146).
If convicted, the two artists could face up to five years in prison. The charges have surprised members of Voina, as the arrests come two months after the car-flipping incident and the police targeted only two of the seven individuals involved. The St. Petersburg Times reports:
Nikolayev and Vorotnikov’s lawyers appealed the artists’ pretrial detention Tuesday, according to the web site Free Voina, which is campaigning for the release of the artists.
Both have refused to speak to investigators, referring to the Constitution, which guarantees the right of accused people not to give evidence against themselves, the site reported.
According to the web site, investigators have expressed their intention to re-arrest another Voina artist, Natalya Sokol, who was briefly detained on 15 November but was released because she has a young son.
In emailed comments to The St. Petersburg Times, Voina’s spokesman Alexei Plutser-Sarno described the charges as “illegal.”
“The criminal case was filed for the artistic stunt ‘Palace Revolution,’ when the artists demanded, metaphorically, the reform of the Interior Ministry and an end to police arbitrariness,” he wrote.
“In response to this demand, the Interior Minister is insisting that prosecutors demand [five] years in prison. Effectively, the artists are charged with ideological hatred against the social group ‘corrupt authorities.’
“Previously, the Interior Ministry’s official representative was talking about 500 rubles ($16) of damage — one broken mirror and a flashing light. Now the cost of the used mirror of the police Lada has increased up to $3,000 and continues to grow. Apparently, the mirror was set with diamonds; it’s a pity that the artists didn’t notice that.”
Earlier this week, a campaign demanding the release of the imprisoned artists and raising funds for them was launched.
Voina is a highly controversial conceptual art group, of up to sixty different members, including poets, artists, journalists and students. The group was founded in 2007 by philosophy students at Lomonosov Moscow State University, under the leadership of Petr Verzilov and Oleg Vorotnikov.
Voina has achieved considerable notoriety in their homeland since their first event on 1st May 2007, when a group of activists threw dead cats inside a McDonalds restaurant in Moscow.
In 2008, they made international news with their performance piece Fuck for the Heir Puppy Bear, in which five couples (including a heavily pregnant woman) had sex in the State Museum of Biology. The event was staged the day before the election of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, whose last name is derived from the word medved, “bear” in Russian.
More recently, Voina staged In Memory of the Decemberists - A Present to Yuri Luzhkov, which presented the hanging of two gay men and three Central Asian guest workers, as a direct attack against Moscow Mayor Luzhkov, whose policies have been denounced as racist and homophobic, and the frequent murders of guest workers in the city.
Also, as Dangerous Minds’ Marc Campbell recently reported:
Russian performance artists and political activists, Voina, demonstrate how to liberate food from the supermarket using a woman’s vagina. Perhaps inspired by Divine in Pink Flamingos, these chicken snatchers have developed a simple but effective way to provide their collective with free nourishment.
A more subdued act took place earlier this year, when the group painted a giant phallus on a drawbridge leading to the headquarters of the Federal Security Service in Saint Petersburg.
The news of the arrests has shocked certain parts of Russia’s art community, but it is yet to be seen what affect the possible loss of one of the group’s leaders will have.
More work by Voina after the jump…