Saturday, June 16, 2007

THE WAR ON DEMOCRACY - agit-doc at its best

THE WAR ON DEMOCRACY is a well-argued, well-structured agit-doc indicting America's post-war foreign policy. It posits the thesis that America is an empire in all but name. While it may portray itself as a champion of liberty and democracy, it has systematically incited coups against democratically elected regimes that do not toe its line. The "national interest" is defined by Presidential fiat and filters down through the CIA and shadowy funding organisations to "right-thinking" elite opponents of populist regimes.

The documentary works because John Pilger is a respected journalist with gravitas. There are no Michael-Moore-like histrionics or obfuscations (although history may judge harshly his skating over Chavez' emergency presidential powers). The interviews with witnesses to terror are deeply moving. The interviews with ex-CIA operatives vary from the informative to the deeply scary and gruesomely funny. But throughout, this film is compelling viewing - and I can only wonder whether it will ever get a US release. In addition, this is one of the few documentaries that deserves a theatrical release because of the stunning panoramic views of the shiny central business districts and breeze-block barrios of Latin America.

THE WAR ON DEMOCRACY is on release in the UK.

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