Watch Control Room putlocker
||IMDB Rating: 7.8/10 from 4,687 votes
||Release: 18 June 2004 (USA) /
||Director: Jehane Noujaim,
||Stars: David Shuster, Deema Khatib, Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush, Hassan Ibrahim, Josh Rushing, Samir Khader, Tom Mintier
||Synopsis: A chronicle which provides a rare window into the international perception of the Iraq War, courtesy of Al Jazeera, the Arab world's most popular news outlet. Roundly criticized by Cabinet members and Pentagon officials for reporting with a pro-Iraqi bias, and strongly condemned for frequently airing civilian causalities as well as footage of American POWs, the station has revealed (and continues to show the world) everything about the Iraq War that the Bush administration did not want it to see. Written by Sujit R. Varma
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I spent some of last summer in Spain, traveling alone for a couple
weeks, as well as another week with my father, a Colombian immigrant.
The two and a half weeks that I spent there alone were an unforgettable
experience, despite the difficulty of speaking only the most basic,
functional Spanish. I essentially knew how to order coffee and ask
where the bathroom was, so I was limited to going into cafés and pubs
and ordering what I could point to. Once my father arrived, speaking
perfect Spanish, I was able to experience a much wider variety of what
Spain has to offer (not the least of which is the astonishingly
delicious paella), and my father, having not been back to Colombia in
35 years and never having been to Europe, was equally astounded not
just by the class and sophistication of the country and its people, but
by what could be found in bookstores.
Upon visiting the breathtaking Guggenheim Museum in a moderate sized
town in northern Spain called Bilbao, my father came upon a Spanish
book about the war in Vietnam. In perusing through the book, he and I
were both shocked at the things that were shown in it, particularly of
the atrocious acts of American soldiers. It's not portraying America in
a bad light, just not portraying them only in a good light, it shows
both sides, and it shows that the news outlets in America really play a
serious role in, to use the red flag word, propagandizing wars.
Control Room is a study of the Arab news network al Jazeera and how
this trend continues to this day. It is well known that the Bush
administration is among the most secretive administrations in United
States history, under the pretext of the struggle against terrorism and
the dangers in alerting the public, and thus the enemy, to all of its
policies and actions. What is truly disturbing, however, is the extent
to which this secrecy, at some level justified, is so grandly abused.
Donald Rumsfeld, our Secretary of Defense under President Bush, appears
a couple of times vehemently condemning anyone associated with al
Jazeera as a liar, propagandist, enemy of freedom, terrorist, etc.
Basically he makes no secret of his opinion that the network itself is
a terrorist organization populated and run by all of the above
caricatures created by the rhetorical Bush administration.
The movie's most moving sequences, interestingly enough, are those that
feature Iraqis, who look exactly what most Americans associate with the
typical insurgent or terrorist, sitting around and debating what to do
about the impending war, how to protect their children, their families,
their livelihood, their lives. Where Michael Moore went completely over
the top, showing kids dancing in the streets under Saddam and people
getting married (his intent to show some level of normal life, even
under Saddam, was instantly eclipsed by his opponents immediately
pretending that he wants people to believe Moore thought it was all fun
and games under Hussein), Control Room simply walks in with a camera,
filming normal Iraqi men and women anxiously watching the news, fearful
for their safety, not from Hussein and not even from their liberators,
but from the invaders.
In one telling scene, an Iraqi man criticizes Saddam Hussein, itself a
dangerous thing to do under the dictatorship, for not being more
prepared for the incoming attack in order to protect himself. This man
was disappointed in Saddam not for being a brutal dictator, but for
allowing the Americans to take over.
The most damaging assessment that the movie makes against Americans is
the way the Arab news outlets were destroyed. In one day, three
separate attacks were clearly aimed at news outlets, under the pretense
that they were distributing terrorist propaganda, but still with the
result that it showed the Iraqi and all of the Arab world that the
Americans want total control of what anyone hears about the war. As
Bush said, you're either with us or against us. It kind of reminds me
of how, if any newspaper or television news station or any kind of
media outlet criticizes one of the countless blunders made by the Bush
administration, it is instantly dubbed left-wing media by mostly the
more idiotic right wing nutcases, like Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage,
and the malicious Ann Coulter.
Theaters and video stores, in the run up to the 2004 election, have
been increasingly bombarded with a barrage of political documentaries,
mostly after Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 opened the floodgates of
political fervor in the film and video industry. Both sides are guilty
of underhanded tactics, and Control Room is not entirely free of taking
one side or the other, but it doesn't do it in the same way that
Fahrenheit 9/11 twisted things and theorized, nor does it do it in the
same way as Fahrenhype 9/11, which criticized Fahrenheit 9/11 as much
as possible for as many different underhanded tactics as possible, and
then went on to employ those same tactics itself.
Control Room is not a fancy documentary; it was filmed, I believe,
entirely on MiniDV, which is becoming the standard in home video
cameras, and is comprised mostly of people involved with al Jazeera
talking about what it's like to work there, as well as interviews
between al Jazeera reporters and American soldiers. Personally, the
most disturbing moments in the film were the entirely believable
suggestion that the Iraqis celebrating in the streets when Saddam's
statue was torn down were brought in by the Americans for the purpose
of the photo shoot (this is the definition of textbook military
propaganda), and the sickening scene in which one soldier absolutely
insists that the nation of Iraq is at least partially responsible for
the chaos that followed the fall of Saddam.
This, more than anything else I've ever seen in news or any kind of
media, is the clearest example of the total lack of any kind of postwar
planning by the Bush administration. They were so clueless about what
was going to happen even minutes after they succeeded in taking out
Saddam Hussein (by the way, I say 'they' referring to the Bush
administration, not to Americans as a whole, in which case I would, of
course, use 'we') that I genuinely wonder if they even planned on how
to get the soldiers back home to America, or if they thought that
Saddam was gone so let's go back to Camp David and play golf.
Oops, there I go going over the top. Now I sound like Michael Moore.
But the point that the movie sets out to make, and succeeds in very
well, is showing that all sides are necessary. No one side can be in
control of all news outlets, because that is a recipe for propaganda.
And not only do we have to make sure to allow other people to broadcast
their views, we can't just go in and destroy their news stations and
claim that it was because they were terrorist agencies, because that
act alone presents America as the bullies and, given our logic (or lack
thereof) in attacking Iraq after 9/11 rather than seeking out that
tragedy's perpetrators, we're doing badly enough in that area already.
Tags for Control Room Full Movie
, Deema Khatib
, Donald Rumsfeld
, George W. Bush
, Hassan Ibrahim
, Josh Rushing
, Samir Khader
, Tom Mintier
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