Two new films, The Report and Official Secrets, are chilling reminders of the scurrilous deeds governments can get up to when trying to hide their actions from the people they represent.
Both are based on true events.
The Report, directed by Scott Z.Burns, is a gripping account of how the US Central Intelligence Agency tried to shut down a shocking report into the CIA’s illegal torture of suspected terrorists.
Official Secrets tells how the British Government pursued a young woman translator at the top-secret Government Communications Headquarters, after she’d leaked a damning email from the US National Security Agency.
In the email, the NSA was requesting British intelligence to bug United Nations member countries to pressure them to support the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Katharine Gun (Keira Knightley), hoped that if word got out of the damning email, public pressure would prevent the British Government from supporting war with Iraq.
Instead, The Government did its best to discredit the email when it was published in the Observer and embarked on a full-scale investigation at CGHQ to discover the source of the leak.
Gun confessed that she was the whistle-blower, risking conviction of treason and life imprisonment under the Official Secrets Act.
Director Gavin Hood (Eye In The Sky), who wrote the script with Sara and Gregory Bernstein, has produced a disturbing film about the conflict between idealism and political reality.
The Report stars Adam Driver as Daniel J., Jones, who spent five years delving into the murky details of the CIA’s systematic use of torture on Middle Eastern suspects after the 9/11 attacks in 2001.
Senator Dianna Feinstein (Annette Bening), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, gave Jones the job after learning that the CIA had destroyed hundreds of hours of tapes of those secret interrogations.
Despite active opposition from the CIA, Jones and his team doggedly combed through 6,000,000 pages of documents to expose how 119 prisoners were taken to hidden locations and subjected to waterboarding, sleep deprivation, fake burials and other “enhanced interrogation techniques”.
When Jones finally produced a red-hot 7000-page report, the CIA and the US security apparatus pulled out all stops in an effort to bury it.
The Report is a riveting film about how the reality of American torture was covered up and the use and misuse of power in Washington politics.
Official Secrets is now showing at Luna Leederville, Luna On SX, the Windsor, Camelot Outdoor and Luna Outdoor.
The Report seems to have disappeared from Perth theatres but hopefully will return.
Watch the Trailers…