Breaking the Silence: Truth and Lies in the War on Terror

Breaking the Silence: Truth and Lies in the War on Terror is a 2003 Carlton Television documentary written and directed by John Pilger, produced by Christopher Martin and co-directed by Steve Connelly. In the film, Pilger presents a personal view of "the truth and lies in the 'war on terror'."[1][2]

Breaking the Silence:
Truth and Lies in the War on Terror
Screenshot of title card
Directed byJohn Pilger
Steve Connelly
Produced byChristopher Martin
Richard Clemmow
Written byJohn Pilger
StarringJohn Pilger
Music byNick Russell-Pavier
CinematographyPreston Clothier
Edited byAndrew Denny
Running time
52 min


The documentary attempts to contrast the proclaimed aims of the War on Terror with, what Pilger sees, as the humanitarian failures in countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq. It asserts that the Afghan mujahideen and Afghan Arabs including Osama bin Laden, from which later both the Taliban and Al Qaeda were created, received support from the United States and from Britain's MI6. Pilger alleges that President Jimmy Carter authorised a five-hundred million dollar programme to help set up the native Afghan mujahideen, starting as early as six months prior to the Soviet invasion into Afghanistan.


It is referred to as an "excellent film" in the book Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal.[3] It won a Commendation or Honorable Mention award at a 2004 film and video festival.[4]

Awards and festival screenings

  • Gold Award, WorldMedia Festival, Hamburg
  • Nominated for Best Documentary, BAFTA (British Oscar) Awards
  • Honorable Mention, Society for Visual Anthropology Film Festival
  • Vermont International Film Festival
  • Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival
  • Freedom Cinema Festival
  • Istanbul International Labor Film Festival


  1. "Breaking the Silence: Truth and Lies in the War on Terror". Bullfrog Films. Retrieved 11 June 2010.
  2. "John Pilger Filmography 1970-2008". Archived from the original on 3 June 2009. Retrieved 11 June 2010.
  3. Arnove, Anthony (2007). Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal. Macmillan. p. 135. ISBN 978-0-8050-8272-2.
  4. Blakely, Thomas (March 2005). "2004 AAA film and video festival". Anthropology News. 46 (3): 53. doi:10.1525/an.2005. Retrieved 23 August 2008.

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