MWRO Attends “Dirty Wars” Premiere: A Review
This past weekend (June 14th-June 16th) the highly acclaimed documentary, "Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield" , came to Chicago for its premiere. The film, based on the book written by journalist and author Jeremy Scahill, addresses the issues of the United States’ covert operations spanning from the war in Afghanistan and Iraq to Somalia and Yemen, and beyond. Jeremy follows the operations from pre-9/11 to the present with common themes surrounding the US special operations unit: Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). According to Scahill, JSOC has been covertly operating within the United States and outside of its borders dating back to pre-9/11. However, it was not until JSOC executed the assassination of Osama Bin Laden that it revealed itself to the public as a major US national security force. The private identity of JSOC allowed it to operate outside of international law guidelines and measures and played a major role in its function under the Obama Administration where it took on its own identity and could pursue its own interests, including but not limited to: conducting missions in denied areas, engaging in targeted killings, and, specific to the interests of Amnesty International, the use of direct drone strikes. Overall, the film was an incredible depiction of the US’s unrelenting pursuance of national security and its “War on Terror” as a threat to peace for the international community and the basic human rights of individuals all around the world; as the US government continues to turn the world into its battlefield.
Following the premiere of the film Jeremy Scahill, the director, and Lupe Fiasco, a rapper and Chicago-born, local political activist, directed a Q & A where Scahill brought to light two themes that were especially interesting. The first centered around a way of thinking that Scahill asserted plagues not only the US government’s foreign policy decisions but the American public as a whole. This way of thinking was described by Scahill as the idea that “American lives are worth more than lives around the world.” As an Amnesty representative hearing this perception put into words by Scahill was especially troubling and made Amnesty’s call for equal rights for ALL people that much more urgent. Under the Amnesty International campaign for the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) act to be repealed, we stand by Scahill in the sense that all global citizens have the right to life and although American citizens should enjoy security, the pursuance of this security can only truly be fulfilled while accompanied by the support for universal human rights, not the violation of.
Second, Scahill pointed out that the Bush Administration is often considered the US’s era of torture. The election of Obama in 2008 signified to the American people, and the world, a “rollback of torture,” as described by Scahill, but in fact this has not so much been the case. In fact, under the Obama Administration, a “rebranding” has taken place. The use of the word “rebranding” by Scahill, interpreted through an Amnesty lens, pointed in the direction of Obama’s continued failure to uphold his promise to close Guantanamo Bay, a Cuba-based, American prison for “suspected” terrorists, and his increasing reliance on the use of drones as a national security measure.
Here at Amnesty, we hope that films, such as Scahill’s,will allow for a growing concern surrounding the above issues to continue to form in the hearts and minds of the emerging generations and beyond. I would like to thank Jeremy for his continued efforts to assert that we, as a global community, deserve and should enjoy the basic right to life, regardless of our state of birth.
For more information on ”Dirty Wars”or Amnesty’s campaigns to protest and bring an end to the above issues, please follow the embedded links above.
Midwest Regional Office Intern