Neue Veranstaltungshinweise

Ireland / Britain

Es wurden keine neuen Veranstaltungshinweise in der letzten Woche veröffentlicht

Kommende Veranstaltungen

Ireland / Britain | Imperialism / War

Keine kommenden Veranstaltungen veröffentlicht

Movie Review: ‘OFFICIAL SECRETS’ (2019)

category ireland / britain | imperialism / war | review author Sunday August 22, 2021 21:24author by LAMA - AWSM Report this post to the editors

A review of a movie about a whistleblower in the lead up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Spy movies are popular. The James Bond series for example, has been going for decades. It provides escapism, but little to do with reality. Non-fiction spy movies are less in number and less popular. Within this category there is a sub-genre of movies that look at whistleblowers. One well known example is about Edward Snowden (Snowden 2016). A more recent film looking at a little known yet topically related case, is Official Secrets (2019).

This movie charts the actions of Katherine Gun. She was a young language expert who had grown up in Taiwan and had taught in Japan. Upon moving to England, she initially struggled to find a job that would use her linguistic skills. Then by chance she noticed a position working for an organisation she had little idea about. They were called GCHQ and had a job, so she signed on.

GCHQ are based in a big metal doughnut in Cheltenham, a town mostly known for its horse race and an elite girls school. Their function? On its current website they describe themselves briefly and with a large dose of chutzpah as “We are the UK’s intelligence and cyber agency. Our mission is to help keep the country safe”. Katherine naively bought into this description. That is until she received an email in 2003 from somebody at the National Security Agency (NSA), the US equivalent to the GCHQ. The email was asking the UK government to spy on diplomats from uncommitted countries at the United Nations on behalf of the US at a time when the Bush administration was trying to gain support for an illegal invasion of Iraq. Katherine felt uneasy. She copied the email and leaked it to the media via a peace movement activist. Soon she caved into the internal investigation and admitted to being the source of the leak. There followed a potential prosecution and efforts to gain legal representation.

The movie’s portrayal of the case is refreshingly straight forward. Both in the sense of taking a (mostly) linear narrative approach and eschewing any fancy effects. There are no flashbacks or elaborate time jumps, a limited soundtrack, simple but professional camera work and a drained colour palette. Whether these are stylistic choices and/or a sign of financial constraints, this combination of factors works in the story’s favour. Apparently the personnel attached to the project changed significantly over time, so the fact it got made at all is a minor miracle. Though the strong writing and ongoing interest in the subject, mean it perhaps had a better than average chance of winning the game of roulette that movie making often is.

The lead is taken by Keira Knightley. The actress has been around a long time and proven herself more than just a pouty sidekick to male leads (Pirates of the Caribbean series). Here Knightley does an excellent job of showing that Katherine (who she looks nothing like, by the way) was motivated by a simple sense of conscience. The actress gets a chance to slowly simmer at times, to show vulnerability and even in a few instances to get angry but in an oh-so British and non-hammy way. Her performance keeps you engaged. Kudos also goes to Matt Smith (Dr Who, The Crown) who plays the likeable journalist who helps Katherine and Ralph Fiennes (Schindler’s List, The English Patient) as the lawyer who takes her case. The latter is able to blend chameleon-like into the role, with an attractive energy that doesn’t over-power Knightley’s central character.

One potential weakness of movies like this, is that they can devolve into a series of boxed in scenes in crowded offices. Characters spew forth lots of expository dialogue that can make the drama drag in places, for example, All the President’s Men (1976). However, if you want to avoid the 007 end of the spectrum, you have to keep things grounded in reality while looking for moments of ‘thrill’. This is hard when the main protagonist is a keyboard nerd. However, Official Secrets does manage to tease out a few such scenes. Without giving vital details, one is a brilliantly calibrated sequence in a newspaper office that shows how the smallest of things, in this case a spelling issue, can have massive consequences. Another is a race against time in a car, one that thankfully doesn’t involve a car chase or guns. Lastly, the initial moments of the court case take a surprising twist. These combined with the acting and steady pacing, add just the right amount of spice to avoid the stodginess that the story could easily veer into.

Official Secrets and the case of Katherine Gun deserves wider attention. This is especially true as the war in Iraq recedes into history. An entire generation has been born and grown up since the events depicted. They are the potential victims, working people, soldiers and whistleblowers of the future. Hopefully this movie may play a small part (it is just a movie, after all) in reducing the number of victims and soldiers in times to come, while boosting the knowledge of workers and the resolve of whistleblowers.

Verwandter Link:
This page can be viewed in
English Italiano Deutsch

Ireland / Britain | Imperialism / War | en

Tue 27 Sep, 23:09

browse text browse image

No pictures allowed imageBritish Queen's Dublin Castle banquet protested by a few hundred as Garda harass activists 23:16 Fri 20 May by Andrew 0 comments

About 250 people took part in the éirígí organised march on the banquet for the British Queen staged in Dublin castle Wedensday night. WSM members joined the demonstration but Garda had intercepted the person transporting our flags and banner to the protest leaving us somewhat invisible. This was part of a pattern of suppression of visible protest that occurred throughout the visit of the British Queen despite Garda claims that they would "facilitate protest" in advance of the visit [Italiano]

article00c143e5900000578109_468x313.jpg imageWhy we don't welcome the visit of the British Queen 07:40 Fri 20 May by WSM 0 comments

The British Queen - An enemy of the working class, an enemy of the poor, head of the imperialist British state, symbol of privilege, inequality and oppression.

blairprotest.jpg imageHundreds protest war-criminal Tony Blair in Dublin 22:09 Mon 06 Sep by Julian & Andrew 0 comments

At 9:30 Saturday morning, people gathered on O'Connell Street In Dublin to protest against the presence of war criminal and ex British prime-minister Tony Blair. Blair arrived at Easons at around 10am for the book-signing of his recent autobiography, escorted and protected by a sizable gardai presence. Despite the heavy rain, hundreds of protestors took part.  At least one protester managed to get past the heavy security to try to make a citizens arrest of Blair for his war crimes. It is reported that Blair is now considering cancelling his London appearance.

e988dfebd315da.jpg imagePublic Meetings in Ireland - Haiti: Catastrophe and the legacy of imperialism 23:45 Wed 03 Feb by WSM PRO 0 comments

Public meetings to be held in Cork and Dublin this week will pose the question of how the legacy of U.S. imperialism has impacted on the catastrophe visited on Haiti in the recent earthquake.

notolisbon.jpg imageLisbon treaty and Democracy - Do We Really Have a Say? 19:21 Fri 04 Sep by James O'Brien 0 comments

It’s the time of year where we plebs get a chance to rectify our impertinence in rejecting the Lisbon Treaty. In itself, rerunning the referendum is hardly an affront to democracy. After all, people are simply being asked to confirm the decision made.

berlusconi.jpg imageNo to Lisbon - A Treaty for the Rich 18:41 Thu 03 Sep by WSM 2 comments

The WSM is calling for a No vote in the 2nd Lisbon referendum on the grounds that people in Ireland can do a lot better than a choice between the clowns in the Dáil or those in Brussels. We oppose the EU's policies of privatisation, militarisation and attacks on workers' conditions but don’t insult people’s intelligence by saying that our current society in Ireland with its severe recession, diabolical public services and corruption is anything better. The major lack of democracy in our lives is not between us and the EU but between the Irish government and us.

May 17th, Limerick. early days in the campaign imageWSM Vote No campaign on Munster's streets - 17th May to 7th June 19:45 Thu 12 Jun by Ray 1 comments

A photo-review of WSM activities in Munster cities during the Lisbon referendum campaign. The Cork WSM branch, with the help of other comrades from Limerick and Dublin, did 4 info stalls on the streets of Cork, Limerick and Waterford as part of our campaign activities. Each was blessed with good sunny weather and a public mood in some sympathy with our anarchist vote No message. We gave out thousands of leaflets, and made new contacts across the cities. It was also good to see what other campaigns were active on the ground across Munster.

250_0___20_0_0_0_0_0_20050723191234.jpg imageSinn Fein Vote To Back PSNI 21:16 Mon 29 Jan by W. 3 comments

On Sunday Sinn Fein voted to support the Police Service of Northern Ireland at their extraordinary ard fheis which was attended by approximately 1,000 delegates.

Red & black flags of the anti-war anarchist block imageAnarchist Block on anti-war demonstration in Britain 18:55 Fri 29 Sep by Northern Anarchist 0 comments

The anti-war demonstration in Manchester on September 23rd (taking place the weekend before the Labour party annual conference) was supported by a colourful and vocal 'anarchist block' with attendance from anarchist organisations and non-aligned anarchists from Manchester and across the country, at least 40 bodies in all. The block was called by the Anarchist Federation and Solidarity Federation, two of the class struggle anarchist organisations in Britain with international links (read the jointly produced leaflet 'Why We Haven't Stopped the War Yet'). The day started with an IWW picket of Starbucks in support of union workers in the USA, followed by the anti-war march.

textNot Guilty - Shannon Five war resisters acquitted on all charges 23:25 Thu 17 Aug by Sovietpop and others 0 comments

Just before the start of the war against Iraq in 2003 five Plougshares activists gained access to Shannon airport where US war planes were being refuelled. Using hammers and axes they damaged one of these planes. Loyal to George Bush the Irish government has been dragging these activists through the courts but late last month a jury ruled that the actions of the defendents were justifiable as they acted to preserve life in Iraq. These are reports and statements from the WSM on the trial.

more >>

text10 point guide for post Brexit resistance as racist right wins EU referendum Jun 26 by Andrew 5 comments

An anarchist analysis of the Brexit vote

textObservations on Brexit and Lexit in the UK EU membership referendum Jun 23 by Various 0 comments

Observations from anarchist in Ireland on the UK EU membership referendum. The referendum will take place in north east Ireland which is under British rule. Citizens of southern Ireland who live in the UK will also have a vote but because the UK is physically the gateway to Europe from Ireland all of the island will be effected by the result.

imageStormont Votes Against Ballymurphy massacre inquiry Nov 12 by Fionnghuala Nic Roibeaird 0 comments

Today the story broke that an ex-soldier has been arrested in connection with Bloody Sunday in which 13 people (and another who later died from his injuries) were murdered at a protest against internment in Derry's Bogside on 30 January 1972.

textSolidarity with Jamaica to UK's “keep your prison, give us schools, give us infrastructure, not pris... Oct 17 by Fionnghuala Nic Roibeaird 0 comments

In case you missed it, David Cameron does not believe that reparations or even apologies are the right approach when dealing with the legacy of the enslavement of the Jamaican people at the hands of British Imperialism.

imageA Brief Introduction to Modern Day Irish Republicanism. What Can Anarchists learn from Modern Day Re... Sep 29 by Joe Conlon 0 comments

Anarchists can learn a great deal from Republicanism, to make inroads to establishing our ideal in working class communities. We need to create a visible presence in all communities, we need to be seen to be believed. People are looking for answers and are falsely thinking it lies in Republicanism. Within Republicanism lies much of the same which lies in bourgeois society – that is hierarchy and privilege for the few. But I believe the secret to the salvation of society also lies within Republicanism. That is the revolutionary tradition of revolting against oppression, tyranny, and exploitation; which the working class, the oppressed and angry, gravitate towards. And likewise I think Republicans can learn a great deal from anarchism. Maybe from working together on community or workplace struggles we could both learn from each other.

more >>

imageWhy we don't welcome the visit of the British Queen May 20 Cork Branch 0 comments

The British Queen - An enemy of the working class, an enemy of the poor, head of the imperialist British state, symbol of privilege, inequality and oppression.

imagePublic Meetings in Ireland - Haiti: Catastrophe and the legacy of imperialism Feb 03 0 comments

Public meetings to be held in Cork and Dublin this week will pose the question of how the legacy of U.S. imperialism has impacted on the catastrophe visited on Haiti in the recent earthquake.

imageWSM Supports Direct Action Against RAYTHEON in Derry Aug 16 WSM 0 comments

The Workers Solidarity Movement supports the actions of the anti-war protestors who occupied and sabotaged American arms manufacturer Raytheon's Derry offices

imageAnti-War Action-Baldonnel Sunday,April 16th Apr 04 4 comments

On April 16th the Irish state is conducting a military style parade of its forces through Dublin city centre in commemoration of the 1916 insurrection and those who lost their lives in it.
Approximately 2,500 personnel representing all branches of the Defence Forces together
with representatives of ex-service personnel and veterans of UN service will be included
as will a large number of the Garda Síochána,
This celebration of resistance to British Imperialism is being funded by the Irish taxpayers, t
he same people who are paying for the murderous forces of the U.S military to use Baldonnel
and Shannon airports for the purposes of war.and imperialist domination in the Middle East.

textSouthern African anarchists condemn apparent Terrorist blasts in London Jul 08 ZACF 0 comments

We, the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation (ZACF) of southern Africa, stand foursquare with the working and poor people who were apparently the targets of the craven July 7th bus and train bombings in London.

more >>
© 2005-2022 Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by [ Disclaimer | Privacy ]