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Tag: documentary

FBI-Produced ‘Chasing the Dragon’ Tackles Heroin Abuse Among Young People

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

To tackle the alarming increase in heroin and opiate abuse that is reaching every demographic, the FBI has produced a “searing film” with testimony from overdose survivors, the Washington Post reports. 

The documentary, “Chasing the Dragon,” was produced at the request of FBI Director James Comey, who has taken personal interest in the film.

Comey also plans to meet with school officials in the Washington region today to discuss the rise in prescription opiates among young people.

The rise in heroin use is linked to the increasing number of people who have access to prescription painkillers.

About 46,000 people die annually from drug abuse, about a quarter of which are related to heroin.

“The numbers are appalling and shocking — tens of thousands of Americans will die this year from drug-related deaths and more than half of these deaths are from heroin and prescription opioid overdoses,” said Acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg. “You will see in ‘Chasing the Dragon’ opioid abusers that have traveled a remarkably dangerous and self-destructive path. I hope this will be a wakeup call for folks. Please pay close attention to this horrific epidemic. Help reverse it. Save a life. Save a friend. Save a loved one.”

Son of Illegal Immigrants Became a Border Patrol Official to ‘Humanize’ Experience

border patrol 3By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Oscar Hagelsieb has a unique perspective of life on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border.

A child of illegal immigrants, Hagelsieb became a Border Patrol official, a position that seemingly put him at odds with his father, who crossed the border several times.

Before taking the job, he talked to his father.

“My dad’s my biggest hero and I didn’t want to disappoint him or offend him. He had crossed illegally several times and I didn’t know what his opinion was of border control,” Hagelsieb tells Quartz. “My parents didn’t want better lives for themselves—for them it would have been more convenient for them to stay in Mexico with their home and family—but for their children, for us.”

To Hagelsieb’s surprise, his dad encouraged him to pursue his dreams of protecting the border.

“He said that the border patrol and federal law enforcement needed individuals like me to humanize the experience,”  Hagelsieb said of his father.

Hagelsieb’s unlikely story is featured in a recently released documentary, “Kingdom of Shadows.”

Hagelsieb began working as a border patrol agent in Fabens, Texas in 2000, which meant he had to stop people like his parents, who eventually legalized their immigration status.

Hagelsieb shied away from the debate over U.S. immigration laws.

I have no opinion one way or the other,” he says. “As a federal agent, I uphold the laws that lawmakers pass.”

NYT Film Review: ‘(T)error’ Documentary ‘Leaves Too Much Unverified’

By Ken Jaworowski
New York Times

If you assume everything said in “(T)error” is true — and for the most part, I do — it’s a sobering story. Still, though the film gains your trust, it leaves too much unverified.

The movie, billed as the first documentary to embed filmmakers in an F.B.I. counterterrorism operation, follows Saeed Torres, a former Black Panther and self-described “civilian operative” who says he works as a paid undercover informant.

Lyric R. Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe, the directors, travel with Mr. Torres to Pittsburgh, where Mr. Torres says his mission is to befriend Khalifah al-Akili, a man who may have, among other things, posted pro-Taliban statements online. Mr. Torres, who is untrained, is supposed to gauge the potential for terrorist activity and help the F.B.I. build a case against Mr. al-Akili.

Mr. Torres meets Mr. al-Akili several times (none of those encounters, nor any with the F.B.I., are shown, only mentioned) and concludes that he isn’t a serious threat. Despite this, Mr. Torres says, he is told to press on, which casts suspicion on the F.B.I.’s investigation and, by association, its use of informants.

While the agency’s methods appear dubious, the film’s approach is sometimes lacking. No F.B.I. agents, current or retired, are interviewed for context or corroboration; an ending note says only that the agency did not respond to a request for comment.

To read more click here. 

Weekend Series on Crime: A Documentary on Prison Gangs

Oscar-Winning Director Sues Justice Department for Public Records of Her Airport Datainments

Laura Poitras

Laura Poitras

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Oscar-winning Laura Poitras is suing the Justice Department and other federal agencies after they have denied her access to public records documenting the dozens of times she said she has been questioned and searched at airports, Variety reports. 

The “Citizenfour” director claims in the lawsuit that she has been detained every time she entered the country from 2006 to 2012 to work on her documentary.

Fed up with being targeted, she filed a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain records about those incidents.

She said that her requests have been virtually ignored.

Weekend Series on Law Enforcement: A Documentary on the U.S. Secret Service

Weekend Series on Crime History: A Preview of a Documentary on the Rise of the Cleveland Mob

Movie review: ‘Whitey’ Documentary Gives Too Much Legitimacy to Claim That Bulger Wasn’t Informant

By Kevin Cullen
Boston Globe

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Joe Berlinger made a pretty good documentary about Whitey Bulger, but it is seriously undermined by his treating far too seriously Bulger’s claim that he was never an informant for the FBI.

Whitey insists he had no idea that when he sat there, all those years, telling John Connolly stuff about other criminals, that Connolly was writing it down back at the office. Whitey wants you to believe the FBI — not just Connolly, but other agents and supervisors who protected him and, unlike Connolly, got away with it — took care of him because he paid them and saved the life of a federal prosecutor. It’s all jive. Insulting jive.

But Joe Berlinger takes it very seriously. And his film, “Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger,” suffers for that.

In the 26 years that have gone by since I was part of the Globe Spotlight Team that exposed Bulger as being a protected FBI informant, I have repeatedly stressed that Bulger was a lousy informant, one not deserving the FBI’s protecting him from prosecution and helping him murder potential witnesses against him. It was all a scam. His handler, John Connolly, just lumped Whitey in with his partner in crime, Steve Flemmi, pretending that Whitey had inside information on the Mafia, with which the FBI was obsessed.

The Mafia wouldn’t tell Whitey if his pants were on fire. But the Mafia did talk to Stevie, and Stevie talked to Whitey, and Whitey went along with the charade, that he really knew what the Mafia was thinking, because it was good business.

To read here click here.