Review- "Who Killed John O'Neill?"
Behind the scenes look at an unusual film which premiered at the 9/11 Revealing the Truth, Reclaiming the Future Conference in Chicago, June 4th, 2006
WKJO- running time 1 hour 40 minutes
Produced by Ty Rauber
Written and performed by Ryan Thurston
Posted with imbedded links at http://www.communitycurrency.org/wkjo.html
In the month of May 2006, I was devoting most of my time and energy towards the 9/11 Revealing the Truth, Reclaiming the Future Conference- working on publicity, the program, and organizing a march and rally in downtown Chicago with local activist, Gray Franchi. I had been interviewed by NBC, and Meria Heller, and I felt like the bottleneck of an hourglass with so much info coming towards me, that I was unable to process and disseminate it all. I get hundreds of emails a day, plus phone calls and CDs, DVDs, from 9/11 truth activists all the time. I was contacted by Richard Grove, a whistleblower, who had heard me speak on the radio, he FedExed me a packet of stuff, including CDs and two DVDs, photos to prove he had worked in the North Tower, and an amazing story of his firsthand experience in New York on September 11th, when being late for a meeting in the North Tower saved his life. I was impressed and persuaded him to come to Chicago, even asking a donor to kick in $600 to help cover his travel expenses. Late one night, I couldn't resist watching one of the DVDs he had sent me, entitled- "Who Killed John O'Neill?"
I had organized premieres of the first documentaries on 9/11 in San Francisco, as well as the San Francisco International Inquiry into 9/11, plus two 9/11 Film Festivals last September. I had seen most of the documentaries and previews of the 9/11 documentaries in progress, but "Who Killed John O'Neill?" wasn't a documentary. It was an arty, psychological drama, with humor and surprises about the very real events of September 11th and it contained information that I hadn't come across before. I was so impressed by the film that I contacted the filmmakers and tried to include it into the program in Chicago at the very last minute. In fact, I put it in the Sunday morning slot where I had hoped to premiere my own film- "Behind Every Terrorist- There is a Bush" and missed a press conference that Senator Boxer had invited me to attend, to make sure that the film made it into the program and that the film makers could make their travel arrangements to be in Chicago for the "World Premiere."
Last Tuesday we also showed it in San Francisco to activists to gauge their reaction, and see whether they would rally behind larger public showings.
I share this information because I cannot be "objective" about "Who Killed John O'Neill?" It has touched me deeply on too many levels. The main character undergoes a soul shattering experience when he starts looking deeply into the events of 9/11, and many aspects of himself encounter one another, challenge one another, frighten one another, in dramatic ways, in dialogue, and conversation as he tries to figure things out, and pull himself together.
In the summer of 2004, I met a survivor of 9/11, an artist, Janette MacKinlay,, who lived across the street from 9/11 at the time of the attacks. She went through a number of stages processing the trauma, using art to convey her anger, her pain, and her grief. She made a dramatic transition from being a victim to being a 9/11 truth activist when she realized that the 9/11 Commission was a Cover-up Commission. She also very perceptively noted that the entire country was in the midst of an identity crisis, and the film "Who Killed John O'Neill?" illustrates that observation perfectly.
The first time I viewed WKJO, I remembered the crisis that I went through in 1992, after I saw the film JFK and began doing research on the CIA, when I made some of the same startling discoveries. My worldview was shattered, my parents, my husband, my friends and family certainly didn't want to follow the same path, and I went through a very lonely transformation over a period of eight months. That is when I became an activist, and ironically, began to use my skills in public relations to promote the film "Manufacturing Consent- Noam Chomsky and the Media" and vital stories, information, and analysis that weren't found in corporate newspapers or on the radio or on television. WKJO chronicles that dark night of the soul that those who were not born into "politically conscious activist families" experience when they begin to look into the dark shadow of our secret government, black operations, those pulling the strings in state affairs.
Ty Rauber and Ryan Thurston, both born of a different generation, possessing skills beyond my own, went through this process together and collaborated to produce a very compelling film. They poured three years of their young lives into making it, on a shoestring/nonexistent budget in Ty's apartment. When their biggest fan (the whistleblower who sent the DVD to me) first approached them after seeing their 6-minute Boston University film project under the same title, they didn't even inform him of their more ambitious project until it was completed. Paranoid? Maybe? Instead of a theatrical launch, they posted it on the Internet and invited the entire world to see it, download it, copy it, and share it. Unfortunately, the world didn't know about it, or notice it, or take advantage of the gift that was offered. Exhausted by the effort to produce the film, they had little energy left to spend on promoting it.
Fortunately, the whistleblower, Meria Heller and I, the Chicago Conference did draw it to the attention of 9/11 truth activists, and there has been a subsequent wave of interest in the film.
I must admit that I haven't watched TV since I was 17, and I don't go to the movies that often. I generally promote documentaries about issues that I am passionate about, because of their content, as opposed to style/production values. I am not the best film critic. I wondered how WKJO would look on the big screen, and whether the sound quality was good enough for large public screenings, and how it would appeal to people who hadn't been down the rabbit hole. Most activists appreciate it, although some prefer the harder hitting documentaries that look at the physical evidence, rather than the financial, money trail, 'the who, how and whys'. One older woman hated it, and felt it would be bad for the 9/11 Truth Movement, painting all of us as "conspiracy nuts." I find the "paranoid" to be a very funny character, but a good friend saw no humor in him, at all. Perhaps, some of us find it easier to laugh at ourselves than others do, and truth is sometimes very uncomfortable.
I know that I am more comfortable promoting other people's work than my own. As a Congressional candidate running on an Impeachment, 9/11 Truth, Peace and Justice platform, I should be focusing on the campaign work rather than championing conferences and other people's films. However, I remember what Ty said to me in San Francisco after we showed the film, "If it just touches one person... " Film is one of the most powerful mediums that we have to communicate. My life was changed by one film. Last year I was torn between running for Congress or making a film, but I ended up on the ballot and winning an uncontested primary (on the Green Party ticket). The reason that I have championed 9-11 Truth since 2001, is because of its power to transform lives, this country, and the world. "Who Killed John O'Neill?" just might be the perfect counterweight to the government propaganda film- "United 93" and the Oliver Stone apolitical- "World Trade Center" to help the public collectively get through that dark night of the soul, that the US must go through, if it is to redeem itself in the eyes of the world, and purge itself of the terrorists who have hijacked the country and are intent upon world domination through terror, war, torture, and psychological operations.
Ty and Ryan chose a heroic path to cast a burning light upon the darkness to help us all dispel it. Before they made their first 6-miute film, they hadn't heardabout the work of artist, Mark Lombardi, whose drawings also mapped out the relationships between global finance and international terrorism, and possibly cost him his life. WKJO sketches out and illustrates overlapping networks, naming names, and organizations, institutions, that rule the world, cloaked in entrenched, unearned legitimacy.
I spoke in Chicago on how social movements work and how the catalyst for all social movements is simply that "The System Relies on Societal Myths and is Threatened by the Exposure of Societal Secrets." The largest myth is that power holders serve society rather than "elite interests" at tremendous cost to people and planet and in violation of deeply held social values. 9/11 is the defining event of this century and how it is understood will either institute a transnational global police state or liberate us from those who use violence, terror and war for personal power and profit. We are on the cusp of hope, with half the population believing the official story and half recognizing the cover-up. The efforts of each of us, now, to educate our fellow citizens about 9/11, reality, the media, and our efforts to organize ourselves, demand government accountability, and change policies and power-holders will determine our future. For this reason, I highly recommend that everyone see the film "Who Killed John O'Neill?" (Available online at http://WKJO.com).
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