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Thread: Just Like In The Moovees

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Dublin & Wicklow, Ireland

    Default Just Like In The Moovees

    As the Western Racist Paranoia continues ...

    "Citing the "Prevention of Terrorism" act, British Police have arrested and interrogated three of the stars of the award-winning film "The Road to Guantanamo", together with the three ex-Guantanomo detainees on whose story the film is based.

    Acclaimed director Michael Winterbottom ("A Cock and Bull Story", "24 Hour Party People", "Welcome to Sarajevo") had been showing the film at the Berlin Film Festival, where it has won a number of top awards.

    "The Road to Guantanamo" traces the true story of Shafiq Rasul, Asif Iqbal and Ruhal Ahmed, three Muslim friends from Birmingham who were picked up as aliens in Afghanistan by US forces and ended up in Guantanamo for three years, where they suffered brutal and humiliating treatment.

    Even more worrying, the three actors who portrayed them in the film were also arrested and questioned. The actors have no particular political or religious affiliation and were also arrested apparently purely on the basis that they were Asian. None of the white members of the group were arrested.

    Following legal intervention by Gareth Peirce, the group were eventually released. Special Branch claimed they had not been arrested, merely detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act

    More at Craig Murray's Blog

    At his blog, Craig claimed on Saturday that
    , "I was in Winterbottom’s office yesterday, and heard it first hand, from people who were there when it happened. Nowadays the real news isn’t in the mainstream media, I am afraid. Leave them to their celebrity stories, and if you want to know what’s important, come to the web."

    Nothing strange or unusual here, just hysterical American "standard" practices now making an appearance in the UK and Fortress Europe. The US has been doing precisely this to visiting artists and film-makers from the gratuitously labelled "axis of evil" [Cuba, Venezuala, Iran***, Palestine] and its allied states for years without even a blink of the eyeballs from American gliberals ...

    The TV premiere of "The Road to Guantanamo" will be broadcast on Channel 4 on 9th March, 2006.

    *** A trivial example:

    The following is the full text of the open letter to the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures and the international media from renowned Iranian
    film director Jafar Panahi. The letter recounts his harrowing experience at the hands of US immigration officials while attempting to travel from Hong Kong to film festivals in South America via New York City. Panahi is the
    director of The White Balloon (1995), The Mirror (1997) and The Circle (2000).

    The National Board of Review bestowed its "Freedom of Expression" award on Panahi for The Circle in December 2000. The Board is a prestigious film-appreciation society (originally established in 1909 as a censorship organization) based in New York City.

    April 30, 2001

    To The National Board of Review of Motion Pictures

    Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

    As the winner of your Freedom of Expression Award for my film, The Circle, I would like to call your kind attention to what happened to me in your country, an event which takes place every day in US. I look forward to
    seeing your reaction to these inhuman events. Since you have seen fit to honor freedom of expression, this is something you clearly value, so I would like to call upon you to defend it. You have honored my film, and I hope
    that you and all your colleagues in the US media will dare to condemn the savage acts of US Immigration officials. I feel that such condemnation would uphold the values of your Freedom of Expression Award. Otherwise, what would
    winning such an Award mean for me? And what honor would I have in keeping it? Perhaps if I have no freedom of expression, I should return this Award to you so you may find another figure who would be more appropriate.

    In the booklet you kindly sent me together with your Award, I read that the prestigious film personality, Orson Welles, has already received this Award. Should I be happy that this great man is not among us now to hear how the American police behave toward filmmakers and other people who enter your country? As a filmmaker obsessed with social issues, my films deal with
    social problems and limits, and naturally I cannot be indifferent to racist, violent, insulting and inhuman acts in any place in the world. However, I certainly do separate the acts of American police and politicians from
    cultural institutions and figures, as well as the great people of the USA, as I was informed my film was very well received by film critics and audiences in your country. Nevertheless, I will inform the world media about
    my unpleasant experience in New York and I hope you members of the National Board of Review, who honor freedom of expression, will join me in denouncing
    these policies.

    * * *

    On April 15, I left the Hong Kong Film Festival for the Montevideo and Buenos Aires Festivals on United Airlines' flight 820. This 30-hour trip was via New York's JFK airport, where I was to stay for two hours and board my
    flight to Montevideo. Further to my requests, the staff of all the said Festivals had previously checked if a transit visa is required, and they assured me there is no need for such visa. Moreover, the airline issued me
    the ticket via NY. Nevertheless, I too asked the United Airlines staff in the Hong Kong Airport about the need for a transit visa, and I received the same response. But as soon as I arrived at JFK airport, the American
    immigration police took me to an office and asked that I be fingerprinted and photographed because of my nationality. I refused to do it, and I showed
    them my invitations from the Festivals. They threatened to put me in jail if I would not be fingerprinted. I asked for an interpreter and to make a phone call. They refused. Then, they chained me like the medieval prisoners and
    put me in a police patrol and took me to another part of the airport. There were many people, women and men from different countries. They handed me off
    to new policemen. They chained my feet and locked my chain to the others, all locked to a very dirty bench. For 10 hours, no questions and answers, I was forced to sit on that bench, pressed to the others. I could not move. I
    was suffering from an old illness. However, nobody noticed. Again, I requested that they let me call someone in New York, but they refused. They not only ignored my request, but also that of a boy from Sri Lanka who
    wanted to call his mom. Everybody was moved by the crying of the boy, people from Mexico, Peru, Eastern Europe, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and ... I was
    thinking that every country has its own law, but I just could not understand those inhuman acts.

    At last, I saw the next morning. Another policeman came to me and said that they have to take my photograph. I said, "never". I offered to give them a picture of myself that I had with me. They said no, they have to take my
    photo (in the way criminals' photos are taken) and do the fingerprinting. I refused. An hour later, two other guys came to me and threatened to do the fingerprinting and photography by computer, and again I refused and asked
    for a phone. At last, they accepted and I could call Dr. Jamsheed Akrami, Iranian film professor at Columbia University and I told him the whole story. I asked him to convince them, since he knows me well, that I am not a
    guy to do what they were looking for. Two hours later, a policeman came and took one of my own photos of myself. They chained me again and took me to a
    plane, a plane that was going back to Hong Kong.

    In the plane and from my window, I could see New York. I knew my film, The Circle, was released there two days before, and I was told the film was very well received too. Perhaps, audiences would understand my film better if
    they could know the director of the film was chained at the same time. They would accept my belief that circles of human limits exist in all parts of this world, but in different ratios. I saw the Statue of Liberty in the
    waters, and I unconsciously smiled. I tried to draw the curtain and there were scars of the chain on my hand. I could not stand the other travelers gazing at me and I just wanted to stand up and cry that I'm not a thief! I'm
    not a murderer! I'm not a drug dealer! I ... I am just an Iranian, a filmmaker. But how could I say this? In what language? In Chinese, Japanese or in the mother tongues of those people from Mexico, Peru, Russia, India,
    Pakistan, Bangladesh, ... or in the language of that young boy from Sri Lanka? Really, in what language? I had not slept for 16 hours and I had to spend another 15 hours on the way back to Hong Kong. It was just a torture
    among all those watching eyes. I closed my eyes and tried to sleep. But I could not. I could just see the images of those sleepless women and men who were still chained.

    -Jafar Panahi

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Dublin & Wicklow, Ireland


    Update on Arrested Documentary Stars [via Lenin's Tomb]

    One of the arrested gives his account:

    “When our flight landed at Luton Airport from Berlin, Shafiq Rasul was stopped at the Immigration Desk. Soon after, I was detained and questioned. I was not told the reason for this.

    The officer had initially questioned me extensively by the baggage claim, taking notes from my answers and from my passport. When I asked what all these questions were for, and whether this was an interview, she led me to a small interview room and said that it was “if I want it to be”.

    I gave my basic details, explained about the festival, and the film being the reason for our visit to Berlin, which she said she believed. She said they need to stop us and the Tipton boys as anyone with “terror links” must be questioned – not that I had any necessarily, she said. I added that the Tipton Three didn’t either, as is widely documented.


    I was denied access to legal advice, supposedly officially, under powers used to detain me. However the specific powers under which I was being held were deliberately made unclear by the detaining Special Branch officer. She gave me a blank copy of a “Section 7 of the Terrorism Act Detention Form” to explain why I couldn’t contact anyone. The form stated that someone detained under its powers can be prevented from contacting anyone, including legal advisors, for up to 48 hours, by a superintendent officer. I asked her whether she was a superintendent. Her reply was that I was not in fact being held under the powers outlined in this form. I was only being denied legal advice for the first hour of questioning, rather than 48hours. The reason why I had been given this form was now unclear.

    She left the room, and said she was bringing in a male colleague to enforce the wallet search, since “a lot of Muslims don’t like dealing with women do they.”


    Under the threat of “prolonging” my detention, I cooperated in allowing her to go through my wallet. She took detailed notes on all its contents. All of my bankcard details were noted down, as were the details on other people’s business cards I had in my wallet. I was searched for objects that I might use to “hurt” the officers. However this took place about halfway through the interview after I had been with the interviewer alone for some time.

    While searching through my wallet she asked me whether I intended to do more documentary films, specifically more political ones like The Road to Guantanamo. She asked “Did you become an actor mainly to do films like this, you know, to publicise the struggles of Muslims?”.

    She also asked me what my political views were, what I thought about “the Iraq war and everything else that was going on”, whether the Iraq war was “right” in my view.

    She then asked me whether I would mind officers contacting me regularly in the future, “in case, for example, you might be in a café, and you overhear someone discussing illegal activities”.


    When I told the interviewer I’d have to take a call from Gareth Peirce’s office shortly, she said she wouldn’t allow me to. She started raising her voice, and behaving in a more urgent and aggressive way. She called in a male colleague who threateningly told me to give him the phone before gripping my hands and wrestling it from me. He then sat on a table in the room, grinned at me, winked and went through my phone. I protested, but he ignored me and continued to go through my phone. Then a third officer entered, and all three adopted very aggressive stances, threatening to take me to a police station, calling me a “fucker”, moving in very close to my face, pointing and shouting at me to “shut up and listen”. I complained at being called a fucker. The officer who still had my phone, and who had sworn at me, smiled at me and then said “now you’re making things up, no one called you that”.

    I finally convinced the original officer to allow me to call Ms. Peirce’s office simply to ascertain the validity of the detention and the denial of full access to lawyers. She agreed on condition that if I tried to ask any further questions of the lawyer my phone would be taken away. As soon as I got through to the lawyer, she suddenly said “we’re done with you, you can go, whats the point in calling lawyers”. The lawyer on the phone told the officer (again, speaking directly to her on my phone) that he hadn’t heard of such powers existing in Section 7 of the TACT. She changed the subject and said that I was free to go now anyway and that I was now prolonging my detention by my own insistence on calling lawyers.


    I asked for any notes from the interview, and for names/ranks of the officers. I was denied both, and given a small, pink, police search record sheet - specifying that the purpose of the search was for “intelligence” and that I had been examined under the “TACT 2000”. The reverse of the sheet, “Sheet 2 “which as stated on the form itself “officers must also complete” was missing.”
    ***And another trivial blast from the pre-Iraq-invasion past:

    One of the world's most renowned film-makers, Iranian Abbas Kiarostami, was denied a US visa to attend the New York Film Festival in 2002. His letter in response:

    Thank you for inviting me and my film TEN to your festivals [New York Film Festival].

    The enclosed letter will explain the reason why I shall not be attending.

    As you see, I was refused an entry visa to the United States of America,
    despite the exceptional circumstances and your kind attention as well as the
    protection and help of many friends.

    I certainly do not deserve an entry visa any more than the aged mother
    hoping to visit her children in the US, perhaps for the last time in her
    life, or myriads of other urgent cases.

    I feel deeply about this unfortunate situation. I am not just sorry
    I was not granted a visa or can not attend your celebrations but as a
    privileged person with access to the means of public expression and media, I
    feel profoundly responsible for the tragic state of the world, for the
    betterment of which we the public people have not done enough to insure.

    For my part, I feel this decision is somehow what I deserve.

    Signed Abbas Kiarostami)

    ...and an extract of an argument I had at the time with an American ["leftwing" playwright no less] gliberal at the time, soon all coming to yer auld pal the UK:

    7th October, 2002 FORUM

    > there are a lot of other things I've been writing my senators about, and
    > to my mind getting particularly wound up about someone not making the nyff
    > is about as bourgeois/privileged as it gets ("well, sure, subborn an
    > election, and then the system of checks and balances, and, okay, then the
    > constitution in general, but deny a visa to my favorite foreign film
    > director - that's where I draw the line!")

    No, you're missing the wider issues. It's not just about Kiarostami, and
    you know it; its about the willful - and fuck it, this thread does not help
    matters, like the shit being posted elsewhere - criminalisation of Iranians and
    other nationalities as a prelude to the US invasion of Iraq and elsewhere.
    In case you didn't know, G, the Kiarostami issue has impacted very
    significantly in Europe and further afield, sufficient for many of its
    leading artists (Kaurismaki was just the first taste, though coming after Panahi)
    to boycott the US, and its spreading; so dismissing the Kiarostami Visa rejection
    as bourgeois/privileged yap or minor politicing is way off the mark. I personally
    know of four other resolutely working-class film-makers who have just
    cancelled their US visits, and its going to get worse ... but I trust you: keep on
    sending those irate letters to yer Senators, at least; maybe they studied the
    other side of Greek and Roman civilisation as part of their undergraduate
    studies, once upon a time!

    And the disavowed, smug silence is deafening ... yip, the Americans, to paraphrase Wenders, have colonised yer quaint unconscious ...

    Didn't the Americans, now routinely practicing a much more brutal form of such state-bureaucratic racism over the past decade or so, originally learn it all from the British, when Thatcher introduced The Prevention of Terrorism Act in the 1980s, targeted at IRA terrorism? [And don't those IRA folk now seem like cuddly little harmless kittens compared to the New Evil Other, "the terror of the Islam menace." etc?

    Same old, same old ... now gone global.

    Ex-IRA volunteer, 2006, in the back garden of his £4m South-Dublin Kitty Townhouse


    Ex-Islamofacist, 3006, following the One Thousand Year "Clash of Kitties" War
    Last edited by Padraig; 21-02-2006 at 02:53 AM.

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