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.

9/11 Hero in London

RodriguezLast week 9/11 hero Wil­li­am Rodrig­uez was back in Lon­don, speak­ing at the Glob­al Peace and Unity Con­fer­ence in London’s Dock­lands. Wil­li­am is invited every year, and addressed an audi­ence of thou­sands last Sunday.

Wil­li­am was the last sur­viv­or to leave the Twin Towers on 9/11. He sur­vived being bur­ied alive by the col­lapsing North Tower after he ran from the build­ing and dived under a firetruck. After he was pulled from the rubble, mira­cu­lously with few injur­ies, he was imme­di­ately inter­viewed by CNN, before return­ing to help with the res­cue effort. Since then, he has become a spokes­per­son for the fam­il­ies of the vic­tims and the sur­viv­ors.

Wil­li­am is recog­nised in Amer­ica as a nation­al hero. He had one of the few mas­ter keys to the WTC com­plex, and repeatedly re-entered the North Tower after the attacks to unlock secur­ity doors and help the fire­fight­ers res­cue trapped people. For his bravery he has been recog­nised at the White House.

He was instru­ment­al in lob­by­ing for the 9/11 Enquiry and, when the com­mis­sion failed to address a wide range of evid­ence and ques­tions from the sur­viv­ors, eye­wit­nesses and fam­il­ies, he began cam­paign­ing for a new, inde­pend­ent enquiry on behalf of these groups.

He now travels the world doing inter­views, meet­ing politi­cians and heads of state, and recount­ing his amaz­ing story of sur­viv­al and hope. He also cam­paigns against the overt politi­cisa­tion of the 9/11 tragedy, which has been used and abused by gov­ern­ments to jus­ti­fy the wars in the Middle East, the unend­ing war of ter­ror, and the res­ult­ing roll-back of our freedoms and civil liber­ties. His is an amaz­ing story and acts as an inspir­a­tion to many people.

Over the last 2 years I’ve organ­ised three nation­al and inter­na­tion­al speak­ing tours for him across the UK and much of Europe — sadly not yet reach­ing Ire­land des­pite reports to the con­trary! — and his exper­i­ence has touched thou­sands of people, both at the events them­selves and via the extens­ive media cov­er­age he has received. On this vis­it to Lon­don I arranged inter­views for him on Sky News and Press TV.

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.

International Islamic Fair, Malaysia 2007

In July 2007 I was invited to speak at the Inter­na­tion­al Islam­ic Fair in Malay­sia along with 9/11 hero Wil­li­am Rodrig­uez.

The Fair is designed to increase under­stand­ing and co-oper­a­tion between Islam­ic and non-Islam­ic com­munit­ies.  Politi­cians, dip­lo­mats and cam­paign­ers from around the world are invited to speak.  Thou­sands of people atten­ded the four day event, and the Fair made head­lines across the Far East.

Here is the photo gal­lery of the 2007 IIF Con­fer­ence.

I was hon­oured to receive a stand­ing ova­tion, and com­ments included:

Former Brit­ish MI5 agent & Amer­ic­an depleted urani­um expert among best received paper presenters”

and

The IIF2007 Con­fer­ence ful­filled most of its pre-event prom­ises – as far as con­tent goes. In addi­tion to the pres­ence of Wil­li­am Rodrig­uez (last sur­viv­or of 9/11) as a ses­sion mod­er­at­or, the con­fer­ence par­ti­cipants were also ‘thrilled’ by the lec­tures of oth­er over­seas speak­ers includ­ing Sheikh Imran Hosein (former N.York mosque imam), H.E. Mahdi Ibrahim Muhammad (Ambas­sad­or / mem­ber of Nation­al Assembly, Sudan), Annie Machon (former Brit­ish Intel­li­gence MI5 agent) and Khaled Taha of Aljaz­eera, Qatar.”