I suppose so [laughs]. Exhausted? Yes. I’ve
enjoyed making them all, though.
I never really worry about personal danger
much, except when I’m flying on dodgy
airlines. I’ve done a number of undercover
projects, though, where the danger has been
getting the film out. In Czechoslovakia in
the 1970s, for example, when there was a
Stalinist dictatorship, I went in with a
film crew disguised as Austrian campers. On
the way out, the border guards decided to
give our camper van a thorough going over.
They didn’t find our equipment under the
floor because we’d made the van such an
appalling mess that it scared them off. We
also scattered copies of Playboy and
Penthouse all over. They made off with the
magazines and we got away.
What are your
views on what’s happening in Lebanon?
Israel’s attack on Lebanon was clearly a
precursor to an attack on Iran or Syria or
both. That’s been stopped for now. I think
Israel will try again to subdue Lebanon and
Hezbollah. But, of course, nothing will ever
be resolved in the region until Palestinians
are given their homeland and have the same
freedoms as the Israelis.
You’ve made two
films, 28 years apart, with the same title:
Palestine Is Still The Issue. What changes
did you see in Palestine?
No change - that’s why I used the same
title. Palestinians are still denied basic
justice and Israelis still suffer the
insecurity that comes from running an
illegal occupation. The Palestinians want
only 25 per cent - if that - of historic
Palestine. That should have been theirs a
long time ago and the result would have been
peace for them and peace for Israel.
Iraq presents a different situation in that
it has the world’s second-biggest oil
reserves, so there were other incentives for
invasion. But as far as the Arab people are
concerned, Palestine is an open sore in the
Middle East and, until that’s sorted,
there’s always going to be uncertainty,
insecurity and almost certainly violence.
The criticism is many years late. It should
have begun a long time ago. What was done in
another age to the Jewish people is the
reason why this has only arisen now. Europe
has a bad conscience over Israel, and the
Palestinians have been designated to suffer.
It’s arisen now because what Israel is doing
in Lebanon is so blatant. You can say there
are two types of terrorism. There’s the
small, rather dislocated terrorism that is
always associated with al-Qaeda. That has
undoubtedly been strengthened by the
invasion of Iraq and everything Bush has
done. Then there’s state terrorism, which is
almost never talked about. We’ve just seen
it in Lebanon. That was a terror war where
they deliberately bombed civilians. That’s
the terrorism that should be worrying us.
It’s a pity people believed in it from the
start. There isn’t a war on terror. It’s
impossible for the world’s greatest
terrorist organisation - the United States -
to conduct a war on terror. It’s absurd.
Since 1946, they’ve overthrown some 50
governments, many of them by terrorist means
- that’s terrorism. One of the biggest
issues today is understanding the complicity
of ‘our side’ in all these events around the
world. Looking at the polls, I think British
people understand that. In a poll the other
day, they found that about 70 per cent of
Britons are highly sceptical of this alleged
terror plot at Heathrow. I don’t know how
much of this current alleged plot is true or
not, and neither do most of the people in
this country. An overwhelming majority also
regard the Prime Minister as deceiving them
and are opposed to the war on Iraq. Popular
awareness and understanding of the lies
people are being fed and the implications of
them are pretty widespread.
What do you think
the War On Terror is really about?
It’s presented as something new but it
isn’t. The only way I can make sense of
what’s happening in the world is in terms of
empire and imperial ambitions. This
situation in Lebanon is a classic example.
The United States was complicit with Israel
in trying to get to a point where it could
attack a country it sees as its main enemy:
Iran. It’s not just about the oil but about
control of strategic resources and keeping
other great powers away from these areas.
What troubles the United States is China -
it has a booming economy that needs oil.
How much is the
Project For The New American Century that
you’ve written about part of this?
The blueprints for the project were laid
down in the 1990s by Dick Cheney, Paul
Wolfowitz, Colin Powell and William Kristol.
It was based on paranoia that the United
States was losing its world domination. They
had to be, they said: ‘The cavalry on the
new American frontier.’ War was essential to
this project. And 9/11 really gave these
so-called neoconservatives the excuse they’d
been looking for.
What’s your latest
It’s called The War On Democracy and it’s
set in Venezuela, Bolivia and Chile. It’s
about how some of the poorest countries have
been able to construct their own
independence and democracies.
You met Venezuelan
President Hugo Chavez. What’s he like?
Very interesting. I’d never spoken to a
politician before who actually answers your
questions - that was quite a new experience.
What has caused
the rise in terrorist attacks in Britain?
It’s happening because Britain has sided
with Bush and enthusiastically taken part in
the invasion of Iraq.
What could be done
to make Britain safer?
Withdraw from Iraq tomorrow - that’s number
one. And for this government to support
international law in Palestine and
international law generally - that’s all.
But, in the short term, withdraw from Iraq
and Afghanistan. I think that would have a
huge effect. It would send a message to the
rest of humanity that Britain has joined it