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Festival update:  JANUARY 4, 2021

Dear Friends and Associates:

Great news!

Barbara Bowen’s film “UNCHECKED” has won First Place in the Documentary category in the NEW YORK WOMEN IN FILM 2021 ONLINE SHORTS FEST!   We are delighted to share the important message of this film, and to celebrate the creativity of women!

Thank you so very much!

Barbara

 

More about this film…

In the 1990s, the late FBI counter-terrorism chief, John P. O’Neill, had blasted through a wall of resistance inside the government to uncover the global nature of the al-Qaeda network. In this film, O’Neill’s allies recount their trail to the doorstep of the September 11th plot using their traditional security methods, only to be derailed from preventing the attacks. Their devastating account holds the keys to public trust for a wiser approach to counter-terrorism. To this day, their voices remain under heard. In this film you will meet real life officials who were featured in Hulu’s “The Looming Tower” by author Lawrence Wright: a recent ten-part dramatization of John O’Neill’s FBI career.

Background:

A note of heartfelt thanks to Warren Flagg and others who restored my faith, and to those whose supportive feedback kept me going through this film’s long arc of evolution: one that its subjects deserve.

I began reading about al-Qaeda in 1998, when the world was blindsided by the then-obscure group’s attack on two U.S. embassies in East Africa.  Unforeseen circumstances later led me, a private citizen, to an improbable encounter with some of our country’s finest law enforcement individuals at the center of counter-terrorism in the years leading to September 11th. Through them, I discovered a factual basis for the nagging intuitive sense that the official narrative about 9-11 was somehow incomplete.

The Bush administration’s reaction to September 11th was excruciating for many Americans, and it certainly was for me, the kind of ache we feel when someone or something we love is suffering, but we can’t stop it. The disastrous war in Iraq, the new policies of torture and surveillance, and a new level of secrecy: these were signposts of something dangerous to our democracy. We could feel, almost viscerally, the floor cracking beneath us. In 2004, we sensed that the 9-11 Commission Report, while informative, was lacking in full portrait. Also disheartening was the distorted charge of nation-wide conspiracy taking root in the soil of that omission. Years later, when I had the privilege of interviewing these counter-terrorism officials, the perception that something important was missing from public view –was confirmed. Even after all these years, a wide swath of the American public still lacks sufficient information about what these officials endured, and the example they set for our continuing confrontation with Islamic terrorism.

In an environment where indecency now threatens to dissociate truth from fact, we are reminded of our founding principle: that a well informed public is essential.  In my view, we will defeat Islamic terrorism, not by force alone, but through the power of our nation’s core values and by trusting those of our leaders who adhere to them.

Thank you for visiting! If this subject interests you, PLEASE, POST YOUR COMMENTS HERE BELOW. Your feedback is invaluable at this time. And any sharing you might do with your friends via social media and/or email lists would be greatly appreciated.

 

Related Videos:

 

Film: The Invasion of Afghanistan
(58:53 mins.)

2003 Mark Rossini: on Selling the Iraq War (11:53 mins)

2016 Keeping our Rights: Rebecca MacKinnon, TED Talks (11:16 mins)

 

2015 Ali Soufan: We Need a Counter-terrorism Strategy (1:47 mins) (

2018 Ali Soufan: Why he wrote his new book: “The Anatomy of Terror” (9:48 mins)

Interview: The Author and Stars of the drama, “The Looming Tower” (30:26 mins)

 

11 Responses

  1. les Aaron
    les Aaron · November 6, 2018 at 02:06:05 ·

    I was sitting in a Tunisian restaurant late at night having dinner by myself and there was only other group there that was hidden behind curtains in this restaurant of little alcoves shaped like a boat on Atlantic and Henry Street and listening to talk that was inflammatory. At the time, I didn’t know ONeill, but I was hearing some scary stuff coming out and I realized that whomever was there didn’t know some other was in attendance… Something was going on. But I didn’t have much luck expressing my fears to anyone of consequence. Now, I know who it must have been….The following week, Rabbi Kahane was murdered. The following week the restaurant was blown up. The Blind Prophet taught at the school across the street and used to eat there regularly. That was before the explosion and after two other episodes involving terrorism that affected my family. the first was the Achille Lauro when one of our friends in a wheelchair was thrown off the ship and drowned by Terrorist Arabs in the Middle East where my family had gone on vacation. The Metropolitan produced an opera written about that…. Another time, my friend from childhood, Peter Mayer, Chairman of Penguin and senior editor, was threatened by an edict arrived at by the same Blind Prophet for the writings of Salman about the Prophet that raised hackels and led to a fatwah. Peter used to have his chauffeur drive us into Manhattan and all of us feared that one day or another a bomb would go off…. I asked a cab driver once what if he knew he was riding with the the publisher of the book what he would do, without blinking he told me that he would kill him. I asked why if you hadn’t read his book. He said it didn’t matter.
    On still another occasion in 93, I was living in a brownstone in Boerum Hill when the 93 bombing took place that O’Neill knew was going to happen, and working with a client in New Jersey, one of the top 100 companies in the world and we learned that the bomber worked in the lab of this giant client company. When they finally attacked the team which was made up of Al Queda’s number two man’s nephew, who was the bomber, they had already escaped to the Philippines to try to destroy planes using bombs hidden in the inside, and it was working. the bombers lived within working distance of my home in Brooklyn it turned out…That’s a simple overview. My family was totally involved in the 9/11 situation with two daughters working close to the WTC as was my wife. And I was working as Vice President for a start up publishing company. and covered what had happened. I was invited at the time by the president of the organization of Engineers and Architects who believed that the buildings had not fallen on their own and I was asked to take on the responsibilities of president but I was already working most of each 24 hours and couldn’t do it but thought about writing a book. I had also followed Bill O’Neills career and saw how Lewis Freeh responded to him as if he were a show boat and kept him out of the investigation of the Cole…. Anyway, I intend to view your movie and thank you for having given some attention. It also turned out that the republican selected by the final committee himself could not understand what had gone on during the hearings a nice way of suggesting that there were many unsatisfied questions to their questions. Thank you for your movie it needed to be told….

  2. William Baltz
    William Baltz · October 7, 2018 at 10:25:13 ·

    I have looked at your remarkable documentary several times. Each time I learn something more and gain additional insight. Fantastic job! I was unaware of the facts you so skillfully present. Thank you for bringing them to light. We all need to know! Honest, thoughtful and hardworking journalists are wrongly labeled by some as purveyors of “fake news” when in fact they are providing a much needed and essential service. This is proof. You did a brilliant job as a journalist, reporter, interviewer, photographer, writer, director, editor–everything. Outstanding, high-quality, first rate…I can’t say enough good things about your achievement. It is my sincere hope that an ever-growing audience sees and learns from your important and enlightening documentary. I will certainly sent it to many others.

    Did (or will) your film show on public television? It should and I hope it does.

  3. Moser Elizabeth
    Moser Elizabeth · September 16, 2018 at 23:08:08 ·

    Hi Barbara,

    The film is brilliant and you did a wonderful job putting it all together. The hubris of the CIA not including the FBI is very sad commentary that goes on today with the Republicans and Democrats. Will we ever learn? What will it take?

  4. David Kettlewell
    David Kettlewell · September 16, 2018 at 13:28:55 ·

    Superb film, enjoyed every minute. Engaging, important.

  5. Lorri Flagg Fay
    Lorri Flagg Fay · September 14, 2018 at 13:12:03 ·

    this documentary was thought provoking and it angered and upset me. I fear that the coverups of government still continue and it makes me sick. Barbara, thank you for your dedication to making all aware of what happened behind the scenes.

  6. Sandra Dawson
    Sandra Dawson · September 14, 2018 at 12:27:50 ·

    Barbara, thank you, this documentary is eye opening, powerfully sad but also hopeful that the truth is out there and there are people who care enough to try to reveal it.

Leave a Reply

11 Responses

  1. les Aaron
    les Aaron · November 6, 2018 at 02:06:05 ·

    I was sitting in a Tunisian restaurant late at night having dinner by myself and there was only other group there that was hidden behind curtains in this restaurant of little alcoves shaped like a boat on Atlantic and Henry Street and listening to talk that was inflammatory. At the time, I didn’t know ONeill, but I was hearing some scary stuff coming out and I realized that whomever was there didn’t know some other was in attendance… Something was going on. But I didn’t have much luck expressing my fears to anyone of consequence. Now, I know who it must have been….The following week, Rabbi Kahane was murdered. The following week the restaurant was blown up. The Blind Prophet taught at the school across the street and used to eat there regularly. That was before the explosion and after two other episodes involving terrorism that affected my family. the first was the Achille Lauro when one of our friends in a wheelchair was thrown off the ship and drowned by Terrorist Arabs in the Middle East where my family had gone on vacation. The Metropolitan produced an opera written about that…. Another time, my friend from childhood, Peter Mayer, Chairman of Penguin and senior editor, was threatened by an edict arrived at by the same Blind Prophet for the writings of Salman about the Prophet that raised hackels and led to a fatwah. Peter used to have his chauffeur drive us into Manhattan and all of us feared that one day or another a bomb would go off…. I asked a cab driver once what if he knew he was riding with the the publisher of the book what he would do, without blinking he told me that he would kill him. I asked why if you hadn’t read his book. He said it didn’t matter.
    On still another occasion in 93, I was living in a brownstone in Boerum Hill when the 93 bombing took place that O’Neill knew was going to happen, and working with a client in New Jersey, one of the top 100 companies in the world and we learned that the bomber worked in the lab of this giant client company. When they finally attacked the team which was made up of Al Queda’s number two man’s nephew, who was the bomber, they had already escaped to the Philippines to try to destroy planes using bombs hidden in the inside, and it was working. the bombers lived within working distance of my home in Brooklyn it turned out…That’s a simple overview. My family was totally involved in the 9/11 situation with two daughters working close to the WTC as was my wife. And I was working as Vice President for a start up publishing company. and covered what had happened. I was invited at the time by the president of the organization of Engineers and Architects who believed that the buildings had not fallen on their own and I was asked to take on the responsibilities of president but I was already working most of each 24 hours and couldn’t do it but thought about writing a book. I had also followed Bill O’Neills career and saw how Lewis Freeh responded to him as if he were a show boat and kept him out of the investigation of the Cole…. Anyway, I intend to view your movie and thank you for having given some attention. It also turned out that the republican selected by the final committee himself could not understand what had gone on during the hearings a nice way of suggesting that there were many unsatisfied questions to their questions. Thank you for your movie it needed to be told….

  2. William Baltz
    William Baltz · October 7, 2018 at 10:25:13 ·

    I have looked at your remarkable documentary several times. Each time I learn something more and gain additional insight. Fantastic job! I was unaware of the facts you so skillfully present. Thank you for bringing them to light. We all need to know! Honest, thoughtful and hardworking journalists are wrongly labeled by some as purveyors of “fake news” when in fact they are providing a much needed and essential service. This is proof. You did a brilliant job as a journalist, reporter, interviewer, photographer, writer, director, editor–everything. Outstanding, high-quality, first rate…I can’t say enough good things about your achievement. It is my sincere hope that an ever-growing audience sees and learns from your important and enlightening documentary. I will certainly sent it to many others.

    Did (or will) your film show on public television? It should and I hope it does.

  3. Moser Elizabeth
    Moser Elizabeth · September 16, 2018 at 23:08:08 ·

    Hi Barbara,

    The film is brilliant and you did a wonderful job putting it all together. The hubris of the CIA not including the FBI is very sad commentary that goes on today with the Republicans and Democrats. Will we ever learn? What will it take?

  4. David Kettlewell
    David Kettlewell · September 16, 2018 at 13:28:55 ·

    Superb film, enjoyed every minute. Engaging, important.

  5. Lorri Flagg Fay
    Lorri Flagg Fay · September 14, 2018 at 13:12:03 ·

    this documentary was thought provoking and it angered and upset me. I fear that the coverups of government still continue and it makes me sick. Barbara, thank you for your dedication to making all aware of what happened behind the scenes.

  6. Sandra Dawson
    Sandra Dawson · September 14, 2018 at 12:27:50 ·

    Barbara, thank you, this documentary is eye opening, powerfully sad but also hopeful that the truth is out there and there are people who care enough to try to reveal it.

Leave a Reply