Disinformation Company // 2005 // 35 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Jeff Andreasen (Retired) // October 15th, 2005
Stirring the pot.
Aftermath: Unanswered Questions from 9/11, produced by the Guerrilla News Network (GNN), is not 60 Minutes...and that's a good thing. For all the plaudits and notoriety 60 Minutes and other respected TV news magazines, like 48 Hours, Dateline, and At Large with Geraldo Rivera, rake in, there has been and continues to be an aversion in major news media to investigating many of the questions raised in this 35-minute video.
That doesn't mean Aftermath does a great job expounding upon them, either, but it raises the questions, and it points viewers on the right track to perhaps raising their own awareness of certain aspects of September 11, 2001, as well as the days and months leading up to and following the events in New York City on that day.
The documentary kicks off with a clip of controversial billionaire George Soros addressing the University if Pennsylvania on April 8, 2002. He points out the unseemliness of the (at the time) stifling of any criticism of Bush Administration policy, and contends that questioning leadership has always been at the cornerstone of successful democracies. That's the last we hear of Soros, though. The presentation moves right on to the eleven "unanswered" questions that the packaging presents as the most critical issues surrounding September 11:
1. To what extent should airlines have been prepared for September 11?
2. What did the Bush Administration know, and when?
3. Why wasn't the US military able to intercept the hijacked planes?
4. How did the Bush Administration respond to the failures of the military and intelligence agencies on September 11?
5. What ties, if any, did the US Government and intelligence agencies have with the terrorists or their supporters?
6. Were there plans for a war in Central Asia prior to September 11?
7. Is there an underlying motive, besides the War on Terror, for the US military presence in Central Asia?
8. Is there any historical evidence to suggest that the government may have used the September 11 attacks to justify its war in Central Asia?
9. How has the government's reaction to the terrorist attacks impacted the rule of law in the United States?
10. How has recent legislation, like the Patriot Act and Homeland Security Bill, affected the lives of the American people?
11. What can we do?
Not a bad starting point as far as controversial issues surrounding September 11 goes. Many of these questions have been elaborated upon in books, interviews, and tireless Internet speculation. However, some of the answers presented do more to raise questions about the answerers than they answer the questions posed. And the first question answered taints virtually the entire proceedings with its arguable conclusions.
Mary Schiavo, billed as an "Aviation Disaster Attorney," argues that the US Government should have foreseen an attack by hijacked airplanes on American targets because four airliners were hijacked in Jordan on September 12, 1970. I stifled a groan at this dubious assertion out of respect for the gravity of the material, but thought to myself, "If the rest of these 'experts' are as big quacks as this lady, what a useless video." Fortunately for Aftermath, there are several contributors who have valuable points about many of the issues, and credentials that suggest they might know what they're talking about.
Unfortunately, the logic whereby Schiavo arrived at her conclusion is not the only instance of "It happened a hundred years ago. They should have known it might happen again"-thinking in Aftermath. Alex Jones of InfoWars.com and one of the experts interviewed for Aftermath, puts it most succinctly when he implores viewers not to take his word for it or the word of any of the other people interviewed for the show. Educate yourself. Look it up. Answer your own questions. There are a vast number of web sites, books, newspapers, and expert commentary available for the curious. This DVD aims you in the right direction with web links and references throughout, though I would caution that anyone thinking this is all part of some vast Illuminati conspiracy might do well to remember that this is the American government we're talking about. The real American government, the one that pays a thousand dollars for a toilet seat and uses "Because..." as a legitimate argument, not the one that controls all activity on Earth in the fantasy world of The X-Files.
I was impressed by GNN's eschewing footage of the airliners smashing into the towers, or the lurid images of people leaping to their deaths to escape the flames inside the towers. They might have exploited such footage to illustrate their points, but instead restricted themselves almost entirely to footage of the rescue efforts and the debris at Ground Zero in the days following the attacks. The scenes of impact and defenestration have been used in practically every pompous and overwrought news magazine dealing with September 11, and probably will be special-effected to even more disturbing degrees when Hollywood finally decides the Statute of Good Taste has expired on the moment of respect the entertainment industry has shown in regards to the attacks, so it was refreshing to see that a documentary with inflammatory intent decided not to use inflammatory content.
The DVD is otherwise professionally produced, as well. The animations, though simple, illustrate their intended points well enough. The narration is clearly articulated and the video and audio quality is top notch for a low-budget presentation like this one. The cover graphic says all it needs to say. There is a distracting and needless use of zoom and music video technique during the interviews, but that's a personal gripe. The style has been used often elsewhere to emphasize the importance of a particular point or quote. Of truly baffling note, though, is the producers' decision to not include any of the 90 minutes of extra interview footage in the main feature. The extended interviews, in some cases, were far more informative than the clips included in the 35-minute piece. If it weren't for the presence of this more complete interview footage in the extras, Aftermath could probably be dismissed as shallow, paranoiac pap.
But Aftermath's goal to raise questions and make an uninformed public thirsty for more dirt on this apparently very dirty topic, is realized well enough in this documentary. While some of the interviewees here do little justice to the proceedings with their woeful conclusions, there is enough to stir interest in anyone wanting to know more about September 11 -- why it happened, and what our government did, and has done since, in the name of that disastrous morning, and in the pursuit of quelling international terrorism...and securing all that oil!
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Scales of Justice
* 14-Day Most Popular: #1
* All-Time Most Popular: #11
Studio: Disinformation Company
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 35 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Extra Interview Footage
* Unanswered Questions.org
* Guerrilla Funk Recordings
* The Writings of Greg Palast