Thursday, July 05, 2007

911 and the British Broadcasting Conspir...


911 and the British Broadcasting Conspiracy - new documentary by Adrian Connock and David Shayler about the BBC's selective and distorted ... all ยป 911 coverage. With particular reference to the Conspiracy Files programme aired on BBC Two on February 18th 2007.


MORE "MUST WATCH" Documentaries

Oscar-winning filmmaker Bruce Petty with GLOBAL HAYWIRE a documentary fable that blends live action with animation to examine how East and West have reached the present crisis point.

Global Haywire (2006)

Director: Bruce Petty
Starring: Robin Niven, Barry Otto, Gore Vidal, Noam Chomsky, Tariq Ali, Robert Fisk

Tagline: If this wasn't a cartoon you wouldn't believe it

Essentially a political lecture, this movie attempts to explain the current situation of the world and in particular how relations between the Middle East and the West became so bad. One of the theories it puts forth that 9/11 was also an attempt to grab the wheel of an already out of control system.

What makes this different from the usual left-wing tirades you ignore from your friends and cross the street to avoid Green Left Weekly spruikers is that this story is animated and engaging. Starting in the 14th century, we follow "Vince" and his designing a "freedom machine" with the help of his offsider Mona.

Centuries later and a council of Global Haywire is convened to find out what went wrong with it. The council is composed of animated characters, important persons from history and moderated and recorded by real people (or at least they think they are real.) These segements are intercut with opinions from many well known writers, political thinkers, journalists and students.

I really like the animation style of Bruce Petty as I have enjoyed his previous work. He shows that you don't have to draw perfect lines for something to have character and be fun to watch. There is also a lot of live action footage, multimedia montages and title cards in this film which can make it confusing sometimes.

This film is really aimed at students of political history and geopolitics and people who already have some of these views as I can't see it changing anyone's mind. There was a lot of laughter from the screening audience during some scenes and predictable tut-tutting, but it wasn't as annoying this time.

This film would be best seen on television in a prime time slot on SBS or on a Sunday afternoon on the ABC. I am sure it will also be popular on DVD with people who are interested in studying politics.

Rating: 8/10

Emily Dunn
June 14, 2007

IF THE Western world, after the September 11 attacks, is divided into two camps - those who label terrorism the work of madmen and those who question its origins - Bruce Petty is unquestionably in the latter.

In creating Global Haywire, his 11th film, Petty spent three years questioning the Middle East crisis, interviewing everyone from experts such as Gore Vidal, Noam Chomsky and Robert Fisk to university students from Lebanon, Britain and the United States, and compressing 150 years of history into 80 minutes.

The cartoonist, animator and writer then faced perhaps a bigger challenge: making the academics, history and politics entertaining.

"This is the stuff that is in thick books that you don't have time to read. It was a big ask to keep the entertainment level up," he says.

"It is such a huge problem. Iraq is getting tedious and repetitive - it is almost numbing now. But the idea was to try and compress it into a political cartoon. Satire lets you make these great outrageous leaps."

As the film veers towards the academic, Petty pulls it into line with his "doodle bomb" style of animation.

Interviews alternate with Petty's historical analogy, the animated story of Vince (or Leonardo da Vinci), who, to impress Mona (Lisa), builds a ship. The West books cabins on "A deck" while the East is left with the second-rate "B Deck", living in poverty without proper sewerage.

A double-booked cabin on B Deck explains the war between Israel and the Palestinians, while the Cold War is an engineering competition.

Throughout the documentary, a committee made up of animated figures such as Virginia Woolf and anonymous members played by the actors Robyn Nevin and Barry Otto, observes and discusses each new stage in Vince's creation.

Petty's "alternative history" of the Middle East crisis is brought into question when Vince is cross-examined by the committee.

"The economics are so boring you go to sleep. So we draw the apparatus and show the economics as an image of pulleys and ropes and pipes," Petty says.

With the help of his son Sam, a sound engineer, Petty spent six months taking his drawings from the computer screen to film. He is not expecting an Academy Award for Global Haywire, such as the one he won in 1976 for Leisure, but is bracing himself for accusations of political bias. "What is the point of doing a balanced version of a world that is so grotesquely out of equilibrium as this world is?" he asks. "We have to question whether this East/West or top deck/bottom deck or this kind of dis-equilibrium started as something inevitable or if you can fix it."

The answer, he says, lies in the students in the film acting on the suggestions of the academics. "Tariq Ali [a writer and filmmaker] will talk about this until the cows come home. But the Lebanese students are there and they are the ones who will have to solve this problem."

Global Haywire: A Short History of Planet Malfunction

(Documentary - Animated -- Australia)

A Film Finance Corp. Australia presentation of a Bruce Petty Films production. (International sales: Hopscotch Films, Sydney.) Produced by Claude Gonzalez. Executive producer, Susan MacKinnon. Directed, written by Bruce Petty.

With: Robyn Nevin, Barry Otto, Marjella O'Shea, Juliet Darling, Winnie Shih, Gore Vidal, Arundhati Roy, Noam Chomsky, Robert Fisk, George Monbiot, Tariq Ali, Suad Amiry, Amin Saikal.
Narrator: Tom Baker.

Colonialism, capitalism and the West's abrasive association with Islam are densely compressed into a partially animated, mostly satisfying history lesson in satirical fable cum docu-essay "Global Haywire: A Short History of Planet Malfunction." Directed, drawn and conceived by Oz political cartoonist and 1976 Oscar-winning animator ("Leisure") Bruce Petty, ambitious pic occasionally creaks under the weight of strained metaphors, but intelligent talking heads and engagingly shambolic cartoons conquer unwieldy narrative and sporadic glibness. Pic's local release, coinciding with upcoming, but unannounced, Australian elections, will reap strong arthouse interest. Fests and pubcasters campaigning for stimulating political fare will also vote for this.

Combining Petty's trademark rough animation, real thesps and archival footage, pic deploys as a framing device a fictional international committee examining the political and social phenomenon of "global haywire."

After contemplating the Crusades, which first saw Europeans profit from the wealth and wisdom of Middle Eastern Muslims, the committee considers the responsibilities of an archetypal Western inventor named Vince. Latter created a centuries-old traveling machine that accommodates passengers in two highly stratified categories, Deck A (for the First World) and Deck B (for, surprise, surprise, the Third World).

Bulwarked by interviews with leftist commentators Noam Chomsky, Robert Fisk, George Monbiot and Gore Vidal, Vince's fable illustrates how those greedy twins, colonialism and capitalism, are fearful of the global democracy they espouse, and have ensnared the world in a self-destructive spiral. Avoiding the pratfall of falling prey to the very problem they seek to expose, speakers such as Palestinean architect and activist Suad Amiry and Sydney-based academic Amin Saikal ensure that the Arab world gets to speak for itself, too.

Vox pops with university students from around the globe strive to create relevance and a youthful atmosphere for the film's debate.

While Petty's narrative occasionally loses direction, his certainty of purpose never waivers. Left-leaners will be most inspired by this effort, but all stripes should find some food for thought.

Reminiscent of the mechanical contraptions created by Petty's New Yorker magazine predecessor, Rube Goldberg, the pic's visually complex illustrations are an acquired taste and may overwhelm some auds. Nevertheless, they contain an essential simplicity and political directness that appealingly usurp the cluttered visual style.

Thesps playing members of the committee (alongside cartoon figures and Terry Gilliam-esque cutouts) are somewhat wooden. Narration by British thesp Tom Baker hits the right note of dry humor and veiled disdain for a world wobbling on its axis like a wonky gyroscope.

Kaleidoscopic editing and sound design by Petty's son Sam, as well as the soundtrack by Elena Kats-Chernin, do much to propel the film's narrative and help entertainment value keep step with its discursive, intellectual discussion.

Camera (color/B&W, HD), Michael Pearce; editor, Sam Petty; music, Elena Kats-Chernin; sound, Michael Pearce, Matt O'Brien, Andy Postal, Martin Harrington; sound designer, Sam Petty; animation, Bruce Petty. Reviewed at Sydney Film Festival, June 16, 2007. Running time: 79 MIN.


From the DERANGED department:

Ruthless corporate leaders smuggled their box-cutter lies on to the aircraft of state

FROM THE LEFT - CHRIS TROTTER - The Dominion Post | Friday, 6 July 2007

Let's roll this juggernaut back

It was one of the many extraordinary acts of heroism which ennobled the dreadful slaughter of 9/11: the storming of the cockpit of United Airlines Flight 93.

Realising that their Boeing 757 airliner was about to be used as a massive cruise missile against either the White House or the United States Capitol building, some of the passengers decided to try to overpower the terrorists who had hijacked their flight.

One of those passengers, Todd Beamer, communicated the details of their plan to Lisa Jefferson, a cellphone credit supervisor.

As they readied themselves to storm the cockpit, she heard Todd say: "Are you guys ready? Let's roll."

"Let's roll" immediately became America's battle cry in the War Against Terror.

But, had the departure of Flight 93 from Newark International Airport not been delayed by 40 minutes, it is doubtful the passengers would ever have apprehended the hijackers' true intentions.

Having seized control of the plane, the terrorists attempted to lull their victims into the false belief that they were involved in nothing more than a routine hijacking.

Air Traffic Control recorded the reassuring words of Ziad Jarrah, the terrorist "pilot": "Ladies and gentlemen, this is the captain speaking, please sit down and remain seated. We have a bomb on board the aircraft and are returning to the airport. Please try to remain calm."

It was only through the in-flight telephone service, and by using their personal cellphones, that passengers learned of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

They knew then that there was no bomb on board the plane.

The plane was the bomb. That Todd and his friends failed to force the cockpit door in time to prevent Jarrah from slamming the aircraft into a near-vertical dive and crashing it into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, is less important than the fact that they did not "go quietly into that good night".

They went down fighting, and saved the lives of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of their fellow citizens.

The heroic resistance of the passengers on Flight 93 offers us a potent metaphor of the dynamics of authority and obedience. It is also a powerful demonstration of the courage that flows from facing an awful reality and then doing something about it.

Finally, it bears testimony to the critical importance of accurate information to effective decision-making.

Since the 1980s humanity has been made hostage to an ideology every bit as fanatical as that which inspired the hijackers of Flight 93.

Deranged bureaucrats and ruthless corporate leaders smuggled their box-cutter lies on to the aircraft of state, wrested control from the pilots and the crews, and set us all on a new and deadly course.

Their mouthpieces, too, have attempted to secure our compliance by telling us that there is a bomb on the plane; that if we attempt to regain control, the "markets" will "lose confidence" in our governments and our economies will crash.

But, as the friend to whom I am indebted for this metaphor put it in a recent e-mail: "What nobody seems to have realised is that neoliberalism is not, in fact, sustainable, that if you let the hijackers do what they want they will fly the plane into the ground."

Because the fanaticism driving neo-liberalism's behaviour is remarkably similar to that of the jihadists, both groups are seized by an overwhelming fear of failure.

The neo-liberals believe that human happiness is born of selfishness. The jihadists equate it with universal submission to Sharia law.

They've staked everything on their definitions of social perfection being true.

But Sharia law is cruel and oppressive and creates societies in its own image while selfishness, enforced through market mechanisms, undermines the ethical values that make long-term economic relationships viable.

Like all fanatics, however, the neo-liberals and the jihadists "can't handle the truth" of their ideology's/religion's failure and so project it on to the rest of us. We are the ones who have failed; we are the ones who are weak; we are the ones who must be punished.

The jihadists scourge us with hijacked aircraft and car bombs; the neo-liberals with an out-ofcontrol economic juggernaut that ploughs nations under while spewing out greenhouse gases.

As evidence of their failure accumulates, the punishment intensifies.

That, ultimately, they will share the fate of their victims never occurs to fanatics.

How much longer before humanity cries: "Are you guys ready? Let's roll."

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posted by u2r2h at 7:22 PM


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