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The War on Democracy 2007
Description: Set both in Latin America and the United States, the movie explores the historic and actual relationship of Washington with countries such as Venezuela, Bolivia and Chile. Pilger tells that the movie "...tells a universal story... analysing and revealing, through vivid testimony, the storyline of nice power behind its venerable myths. It allows us to understand the real nature of the so-called "war on terror". According to Pilger, the film’s message is that the greed and power of empire is not invincible and that folks power is everytime the "seed beneath the snow".
Released: 15 Jun 2007 Director: Chris Martin, John Pilger, Sean Crotty Writers: John Pilger Actors: John Pilger, Philip Agee, Salvador Allende, Jacobo Arbenz Genres: Documentary
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The War on Democracy Reviews:

Students of Uncle Sam's doings in Latin America from the overthrow of Allende or earlier will search tiny fresh in Pilger's first large screen documentary. But its message needs to repeated again and again and as widely as possible: that "freedom" and "democracy" loving US regimes have stolen or overridden the rights of the terrible in each part of the world, perhaps most of all in the "back yard". I saw the film in a white liberal middle class district of London where the normally reticent audience gave it a round of applause. Preaching to the converted maybe. It needs to be shown as widely as possible. Viva Pilger!


John Pilger has won high accolades for journalism (Journalist of the Year, twice) and award-winning tv documentaries. But some folks will still ignore him because he is too 'New Statesman'. He utters unpopular views. He backs them up with evidence. But that can leave you feeling uncomfortable. His fresh movie does that in spades. Over South America.This fresh documentary is his first major movie for the cinema.When I personally have travelled in South America, I marvelled at how primary facts about Western foreign policy's role in destabilising 'unfriendly' governments is normal knowledge. From store workers to academics. Far more than in Britain. Here, most folks are actually probably aware that the CIA toppled the democratically elected President Allende of Chile. That they were responsible for the succession of the tyrant Pinochet. Those with slightly longer memories probably recall the scandal over Nicaragua when the USA backed the wrong side. Again, vs a democratically elected government. To live with ourselves (and our governments) we tend to think these were just mistakes of the past. The reality is that the truth, in those cases, couldn't be suppressed easily. The reality is that related happenings are continuing. As policy.Suppressing truth is everytime a sensitive issue. Many years ago, when I came out of the Singapore Fight Museum, there were Japanese visitors with tears in their eyes. It was the first time they had been confronted with the horrors that their government had committed during WWII. Another countries frequently feel mad that Japan does not retell more of its fight crimes in standard school books. It is simply easier, in most cases, not to. Pilger's movie is about crimes vs democracy that it is 'easier' to ignore. The culprit being a country that almost invented the word. The United States of America.Interviews are conducted with renegade CIA agents like Philip Agee, but also with Duane Clarridge, former head of CIA operations in South America. Clarridge openly defends America's right to do what they wish anywhere in the globe and to anyone, regardless of their innocence - as long as it's in America's national interest. 'Like it or lump it,' he says. A harrowing interview details an American nun, Dianna Ortiz. Ortiz reveals how she was tortured and gang raped in the late 80s by a group led by a fellow American clearly in league with a US-backed regime. Ortiz asks whether the American folks are aware of the role their country plays in subverting innocent nations under the guise of a 'war on terror'. CIA boy and Watergate conspirator Howard Hunt describes how he and others overthrew a previously democratically elected government. Hunt even mentions how he organised "a tiny harmless bombing".More controversially, Pilger details extensive footage with Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez. This is a boy demonised by President Bush, but one about whom the facts are harder to determine. That he has used much of his country's vast oil wealth to benefit the terrible is largely accepted, give or take some details. But that he has taken steps to concentrate power in himself arouses sterner debate. Fight on Democracy, uniquely, shows us the country from the inside. Many of the conditions are reminiscent of Allende's Chile. The power of the media seems unabated and is fiercely anti-government. But we see how it is owned by the rich half of the class divide. When the military test to unseat Chavez, thousands of folks come out of the slums to protest until he is returned to power. These are folks who had no voice before Chavez and they are devoted to him as passionately. Just as the wealthy classes are opposed to him. Given the forces he is up against, the assumption of power (and from a democratically elected base) seems more understandable. We recall how Allende, even with famous support, was brought down. Chavez looks like a tougher nut.Pilger's attitude towards Chavez is friendly, although he does ask him about the poverty that remains, in spite of the vast oil wealth. Should his interview have been more balanced without testing into the hands of those fabricating the lies he is trying to expose? Pilger also travels to America and uses undercover filming. The 'School of Americas' in Georgia is where Pinochet's torture teams were trained, together with death teams in another Latin American countries. The wide-ranging testimony is unsettling.Pilger's extensive travels in Latin America, in depth interviews, documentation and movie archives obtained under US freedom of information, evidence corroborated by folks in opposing camps, his own calm sincerity - they all paint a cohesive portrait of USA attacks on democracy.The main fault I found with the Fight on Democracy was not any lack of balance. Pilger argues his situation quite methodically and convincingly and gives critics ample right of reply. He is not a soundbite merchant, parading flashy quotes in Michael Moore fashion. But the difficulty - and one Moore did overcome - is that Pilger's years of experience on the tiny screen has not translated effectively to cinema. The timing is probably right - what with the re-examinations of 9/11 and criticisms of US privacy actually being acceptable subject of discussion. Horrors of Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib quickly come to mind. But it still feels like a tv programme, even if it is many notches above Panorama or Dispatches.Overall, The Fight on Democracy is an perfect primer on US destabilisation and anti-democracy measures in Latin America. To civil rights enthusiasts and Amnesty International supporters, much of it will be nothing new. But it is said with piercing insight and no sense of private axes-to-grind. Previous movies by John Pilger have done much good. $40 million was raised unsolicited by his movie on Cambodia (Cambodia Year Zero) which to support the thousands of orphaned kids there. The aim of this movie is simply to increase awareness.


I'm dual nationality US & UK, I've spent half my life across every nation and have everytime been far prouder of my American heritage but by that I mean the country, it's folks but not it's government.Let me clarify, the British government is atrocious and highly corrupt but the leaders over the pond have taken it to the next lvl ever since their creation.This wonderful piece by British journalist John Pilger is about Americas direct influence into Latin American countries such as Chile and Venezuala and the atrocities they have caused to better their own interests.Heartbreaking, strong and eye opening if you aren't aware of the steps the US go to further their economy this is essential viewing.The USA for anyone with any awareness is the proverbial man who cried wolf. They manipulate their folks using the media to such an extent with their lies that each time a fresh storyline comes out you do have to question it.They've been lying about the middle east for decades and still are. At time of writing how much of what we are said about North Korea is true? And how much is to sway public opinion to their own private agendas?The Good: Professionaly made Nice interview segments Essential viewingThe Bad: Doesn't create for the easiest watch Things I Learnt From This Movie: The US has attempted to overthrow 50 governments, more than I had originally believed



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