Screened as part of NZIFF 2013
With the intrigue and energy of a thriller, Dirty Wars shines a startling light on the new shape of America’s War on Terror. Jeremy Scahill, acclaimed journalist for independent US title The Nation, travels beyond the NATO-curated cordons of Kabul to a village shattered by a botched overnight raid. The operation, which targeted a wedding party and killed five apparent innocents, among them two pregnant women, is the work of something called JSOC, Scahill discovers. His investigation into this shadowy, fast-growing Joint Special Operations Command leads him to Washington, Yemen and Somalia, just a few of the dozens of places that together define the new global frontline. For this killing force, even US citizens abroad are vulnerable.
Scahill’s dogged pursuit is detailed in intimate, poised camerawork from director Richard Rowley and a haunting score by David Harrington, performed by the Kronos Quartet. Scahill, whose work on Blackwater exposed the excesses of US mercenary armies in Iraq, reveals the alarming scope of covert units and the human and political costs of their operations, while delivering a fierce jolt to any impression that the War on Terror is being wound down under Obama; instead, says Scahill, it is being ‘transformed into a self-fulfilling prophecy’. — Toby Manhire
“A vital, gripping film demonstrating how America's secretive, any-means-necessary approach to the War on Terror, far from ending with the Bush/Cheney era, has escalated under Barack Obama... A compelling package for viewers numbed by one news report after another about civilian deaths and secret hit lists.” — John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter