A Good American — Bill Binney

I have for a num­ber of years now been involved with a glob­al group of whis­tleblowers from the intel­li­gence, dip­lo­mat­ic and mil­it­ary world, who gath­er togeth­er every year as the Sam Adams Asso­ci­ates to give an award to an indi­vidu­al dis­play­ing integ­rity in intel­li­gence.

This year’s award goes to former CIA officer, John Kiriakou, who exposed the CIA’s illeg­al tor­ture pro­gramme, but was the only officer to go to pris­on — for expos­ing CIA crimes.

The award cere­mony will be tak­ing place in Wash­ing­ton on 25 Septem­ber at the “World Bey­ond War” con­fer­ence.

Last year’s laur­eate, former Tech­nic­al Dir­ect­or of the NSA Bill Bin­ney, is cur­rently on tour across Europe to pro­mote an excel­lent film about both his and the oth­er stor­ies of the earli­er NSA whis­tleblowers before Edward Snowden — “A Good Amer­ic­an”.

The film is simply excel­lent, very human and very humane, and screen­ings will hap­pen across Europe over the next few months. Do watch if you can!

This is a film of the pan­el dis­cus­sion after a screen­ing in Lon­don on 18th Septem­ber:

A Good Amer­ic­an” — pan­el dis­cus­sion with ex-NSA Bill Bin­ney from Annie Machon on Vimeo.

The war on drugs funds terrorism

Here is a short excerpt from a pan­el dis­cus­sion I took part in after the Lon­don première of the new cult anti-pro­hib­i­tion film, “The Cul­ture High”. This is an amaz­ing film that pulls togeth­er so many big issues around the failed glob­al 50 year policy of the war on drugs. I ser­i­ously recom­mend watch­ing it.

Also in the clip: Brett Har­vey (the dir­ect­or of the film) Niamh East­wood (the dir­ect­or of Release) Jason Reed (exec­ut­ive dir­ect­or of the nas­cent LEAP UK — watch this space) and comedi­an and compere Rufus Hound.

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The Culture High

Culture_High_InterviewI had a fab­ulous time doing an inter­view on behalf of LEAP for the new anti-pro­hib­i­tion film, The Cul­ture High.

Made by Adam Scor­gie, who dir­ec­ted the cult film, The Uni­on, his new work prom­ises to be the film on the sub­ject of can­nabis pro­hib­i­tion.  Thanks to the team for a wide-ran­ging, lively and stim­u­lat­ing inter­view.

If you want to sup­port their work, click here.  And the film will be released next sum­mer.

Publicity for the film, “The Bank Job” (2008)

I did a PR inter­view for the 2008 film “The Bank Job”, which was included in the extras on the DVD

In the inter­view I dis­cussed MI5 dirty tricks and spy influ­ence over the media.

New Film by Ryan JW Smith

I had the pleas­ure recently of work­ing with a tal­en­ted film maker called Ryan JW Smith, and his partner/producer, Bri­anna. 

Bri­anna is an artist by train­ing, and also a mean hand at pro­du­cing. Ryan seems a bit of a renais­sance man — film maker, poet, writer, act­or.  In fact, he wrote a play called “New World Order” in, I believe, iambic pen­ta­met­er, and per­formed it to packed audi­ences at the Edin­burgh Fringe a couple of years ago, and recently had a short film called  “Army Strong” screened at a Pol­ish film fest­iv­al.

Any­way, they are in the middle of mak­ing a fea­ture-length film about the post-apo­ca­lyptic, post-9/11 world we all share — the lies of intel­li­gence and gov­ern­ment, the illeg­al wars, the erosion of our demo­crat­ic rights.  Just the sort of light mater­i­al that I like to work with — and cer­tainly what I think is of vital import­ance. 

I’m work­ing on help­ing to pro­mote the film later this year, and organ­ise some screen­ing tours for them across Europe and North Amer­ica.

I think it’s going to be a very power­ful wake-up call to us all.  Watch this space for more news.

Here’s a trail­er Ryan and Bri­anna cut from my inter­views with them called “Using Her Intel­li­gence”.  I like:

FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds

Sibel_EdmondsI strongly recom­mend you take the time to watch this film about FBI whis­tleblower, Sibel Edmonds.

Kill the Mes­sen­ger”  joins some inter­est­ing dots, not just about what might have been going on round Sibel’s case, but also adds a dif­fer­ent per­spect­ive to the notori­ous out­ing of CIA officer, Valer­ie Plame.

Of course, a film that invest­ig­ates how the might of the state can be used to stifle the legit­im­ate dis­sent of a whis­tleblower will always res­on­ate with me.

Same mes­sage, dif­fer­ent coun­try.

Last Man Out

Amstie_poster In July 2008 an excel­lent film, Last Man Out, was screened at the New York Inde­pend­ent Film Fest­iv­al.

LMO is a film dir­ec­ted by Jonath­an Kerr-Smith and is a doc­u­ment­ary fol­low­ing 9/11 sur­viv­or, hero, and cam­paign­er on behalf of the fam­il­ies and first respon­ders, Wil­li­am Rodrig­uez, as he tours the UK and Europe.  I organ­ised the tours and fea­ture in the film.

Film Review of “Secrecy” on Cinepolitics, January 2009

Over the last few years I have been a reg­u­lar guest on polit­ic­al dis­cus­sion pro­grammes on the rap­idly grow­ing Press TV.  Occa­sion­ally I am invited onto the film review show, “Cinepol­it­ics”, by the host (and film maker) Rus­sell Michaels

The film under review is a doc­u­ment­ary called “Secrecy”, look­ing at the stifling effect cen­sor­ship and the creep­ing concept of nation­al secur­ity have had on demo­cracy in the USA under the former pres­id­en­tial régime.  When this was filmed in Janu­ary, there was hope that the new pres­id­ency might roll this back.  How­ever, “Secrecy” is just as per­tin­ent now that the issue of tor­ture and Guantanamo Bay is being addressed more openly by the media.

The Elephant in the Room

In Septem­ber an award-win­ning inde­pend­ent doc­u­ment­ary, “The Ele­phant in the Room” was screened at the Por­to­bello Film Fest­iv­al in Lon­don.

The film, made by Brit­ish dir­ect­or Dean Puck­ett, had already won “Best Doc­u­ment­ary” at the Lon­don Inde­pend­ent Film Fest­iv­al earli­er this year.  At Por­to­bello, Dean won the “Best Dir­ect­or” award.

The film doc­u­ments Dean’s per­son­al jour­ney and response to the tra­gic events of 9/11.  In Octo­ber 2001 he vis­ited New York with his fath­er, who was run­ning in the mara­thon.  As a bud­ding 19 year old film maker, Dean recor­ded images of the trau­mat­ised city and his per­son­al response to the events, and includes this early foot­age in the film.

He then goes on to meet act­iv­ists in the UK and Europe who ques­tion the offi­cial account, and inter­view 9/11 hero Wil­li­am Rodrig­uez and US Pres­id­en­tial can­did­ate Cyn­thia McKin­ney, amongst oth­ers.  He also deals sens­it­ively with the first respon­ders who are ill and dying because the US gov­ern­ment lied about the safety of the air in NYC after the attacks.  These people are gen­er­ally ignored and giv­en little help or sup­port.

I helped Dean in some sec­tions of the film, and he accom­pan­ied Wil­li­am Rodrig­uez on the European leg of the speak­ing tour I organ­ised for him last year — I’m chuffed to have an “Assist­ant Pro­du­cer” cred­it!

The film can be down­loaded and watched here.

BBC Radio Bristol Interview

A recent inter­view on BBC Radio Bris­tol to pub­li­cise the screen­ing of an award-win­ning new doc­u­ment­ary called “The Ele­phant in the Room”, made by tal­en­ted dir­ect­or Dean Puck­ett.

I had the chance to explore the mech­an­isms by which the UK media is con­trolled by the spies and the gov­ern­ment, includ­ing the sec­tion in MI6 called I/Ops, which plants false stor­ies in the media to the bene­fit of MI5 and MI6.