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 premiere 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.


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 regime.  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.