Journalist Jeremy Scahill is not the kind of reporter who sits back in the hotel and phones in his stories based on anonymous quotes from official sources. Scahill—a war reporter who has covered conflicts in Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and the Middle East—is not averse to challenging the powers-that-be. Author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, Scahill has more recently been at the forefront of reporting on the so-called War on Terror and how government secrecy and new technology are combining to outrun Constitutional constraints on the President’s power to make war.
In the documentary DIRTY WARS, Scahill eschews the shelter of embedded journalism. Risking his personal safety, he reports on how night raids in Afghanistan, drone strikes and targeted killings in countries with which the United States is not legally at war reveal a dark truth: The United States government is unconstrained by the strictures of international law and the Constitution.
Dirty Wars, directed by Richard Rowley, plays as a noirish thriller as it follows Scahill into dangerous, lawless districts of Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia. Unwilling to accept the official story at face value, Scahill interviews the relatives of drone strike and night raid victims. In the course of his reporting he exposes the operations of the Joint Special Operations Command, in essence a secret army operating globally, and challenges the legitimacy of the President’s expanding “kill list.”