Dirty Wars Premieres at Sundance Film Festival
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      Film still from Dirty Wars

Nation Books is proud to announce that Dirty Wars, a documentary written and narrated by Nation Books author Jeremy Scahill — author of the George Polk Book Award-winning Blackwater and Nation Institute fellow — will be screened at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. 

Dirty Wars follows Scahill into the heart of America's covert wars, from Afghanistan to Yemen, Somalia, and beyond. What begins as an investigation into a US night raid gone terribly wrong in a remote corner of Afghanistan quickly transforms into a high-stakes global investigation into one of the most secretive and powerful military units in American history. With a strong cinematic style, the film unfolds like an action movie wrapped around a complex detective story. As Scahill digs deeper into the activities of the most secret and elite fighting force in US history, Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), he is forced to confront painful truths about the consequences of a war without end that extends through Republican and Democratic administrations.

Headquartered at Pope Air Force Base and Fort Bragg in North Carolina, JSOC is made up of SEAL Team Six, along with the Army's Delta Force, the Army Rangers, and the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment.

"Their business is killing Al Qaeda personnel. That's their business," Colonel W. Patrick Lang told the Nation. "They're not in the business of converting anybody to our goals or anything like that." On May 2, 2011, the day that operators from SEAL Team Six killed Osama bin Laden in Abbotobad, Pakistan, Scahill wrote a piece on JSOC for the Nation's website about former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's relationship with the covert ops team, including instances in which JSOC circumvented traditional protocol.

Scahill reports that several Special Ops sources have described President Obama as continuing this "very close" relationship. Some, in fact, even allege that the current President has used JSOC to "hit harder" than his predecessor. "The primacy of JSOC within the Obama administration's foreign policy — from Yemen and Somalia to Afghanistan and Pakistan — indicates that he has doubled down on the Bush-era policy of targeted assassination as a staple of US foreign policy," Scahill concludes.

In Dirty Wars, we meet two parallel casts of characters. The CIA agents, shooters, military generals, and Special Forces operators who populate the dark side of American wars go on camera and on the record, some for the first time. We also see and hear directly from survivors of night raids and drone strikes. We walk the bombed out streets of Mogadishu with CIA-backed warlords and meet the family of an American citizen, marked for death and being hunted by his own government — no target is off limits for the "kill list."

In this film, the camera is turned not only on the military operators who carry out executive orders but also on the people whose lives are most affected by those orders. Dirty Wars takes viewers to remote corners of the globe to see firsthand the wars fought in the name of Americans and offers a behind-the-scenes look at a high-stakes investigation. We are left with haunting questions about freedom and democracy, war and justice. 

Dirty Wars premieres at Sundance on January 18. It will be shown at the Temple Theatre in Park City at 9 p.m. Click here for the full schedule.

In addition, Scahill's newest book with Nation Books, Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield, is set for release this spring.


Tags: afghanistan war, blackwater, dirty wars, documentary, jeremy scahill, jsoc, sundance film festival

    • Brendan O'Connor
    • Brendan O'Connor is an intern at Nation Books. He graduated from Kenyon College in May with a BA in English. Now he lives a glamorous, bohemian lifestyle in New York as a wildly successful writer of poignant yet hilarious works of varying lengths.

    • Brendan O'Connor's full bio »

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