‘Dirty Wars’ Reveals Covert U.S. Military in War on Terror

[ 0 ] February 20, 2014 |

The Academy Awards, which will be broadcast on Sunday, March 2, will be full of amazing films, actors, producers, writers, and the other important players behind the camera. And this year, a film about America’s covert wars in in Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, and beyond, is in contention for an Oscar. Dirty Wars has been nominated for this year’s Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Dirty Wars, winner of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival Cinematography Award for U.S. Documentary, follows journalist Jeremy Scahill into the center of America’s covert wars, chronicling Scahill’s personal journey as he investigates the elite units that “don’t officially exist” as they carry out the global war on terror. Dirty Wars director Richard Rowley describes the film as “the most important story of our generation.”

genConnect caught up with Richard Rowley and Jeremy Scahill at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, and they talked about revelations by whistleblowers from within American commando units that report directly to the executive branch. Watch:

dirty wars poster

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Scahill, the National Security Correspondent for The Nation magazine who has reported from Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Nigeria, Yemen, the former Yugoslavia and elsewhere across the globe, is author of the film’s companion book,  Dirty Wars: The World Is A BattlefieldScahill is also the author of the international bestseller Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, which won the George Polk Book Award

On Tuesday, Oct. 15, “Dirty Wars” releases in the United States on digital platforms, including Netflix and iTunes, and on DVD. Upcoming theatrical screenings include locations in Ann Arbor, Mich.; Riverside, Calif.; and Santa Barbara, Calif.

Scahill says the documentary is unique because it includes interviews with members of an elite covert force operating all over the world that reports directly to the executive branch of the U.S. government.

“They explain what it’s like to be in these units that are tasked by the President of the United States with hunting down the people that have been named as enemies of the state,” Scahill says. “One of the people being hunted by these American commando units is in fact an American citizen himself. And so, in our film we have people dealing with the moral questions of targeting one of their own citizens.”

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Rowley says the documentary takes viewers along with Scahill to the frontlines of “wars that aren’t actually happening.”

“When we began shooting this film in Afghanistan we never imagined that we’d end up in the ruined streets of Mogadishu (in Somalia),” Rowley says. “And when we began filming with Afghan victims of night raids in Afghanistan, we never thought we’d end up filming the family of Americans who were killed by these same units in Yemen.”

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About Jeremy Scahill: JEREMY SCAHILL is National Security Correspondent for The Nation magazine and is a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute. Scahill is author of the New York Times bestseller Blackwater: The Rise of the [...]
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