Promoted by Steven D with some minor edits for formatting purposes.

I know we are all wrapped up in the events of the day (Cheney, Cheney and more Cheney) but this is a movie documentary about Fallujah by a very courageous film maker which deserves widespread dissemination, and not only in progressive circles. And yes, I bought the DVD of Mark Manning’s Fallujah documentary after reading this diary. I hope you will too, and then show it to all your conservative family and friends. That’s what I intend to do.

Filmmaker Mark Manning Bravely Journeyed to the Epicenter of Hell to Film his Documentary

“Caught in the Crossfire, the Untold Story of Falluja”

Los Angeles — Falluja will go down in history as a cauldron of chaos. On March 31st, 2004, four American contractors were killed and dragged from their cars near the bridge spanning the Euphrates River. The assembled crowd then burned their bodies and hacked them to pieces hoisting their blackened body parts into the air for the world to see.
The U.S. Military reacted with two separate sieges of the city of Falluja, one in April and a second, more deadly attack in November, labeled Operation Phantom Fury.

With Caught in the Crossfire, the Untold Story of Falluja, Independent Filmmaker Mark Manning turns his lens on Falluja and drives a stake through the heart of the Administration’s assertion that America is not at war with the Iraqi people. Caught in the Crossfire brings to light the most compelling story of the Iraq war: the plight of civilians suffering due to U.S. military operations in Iraq.

By working with Iraqi film producer, journalist and humanitarian aid worker Rana Al-Aiouby, Manning was able to enter Falluja and move un-embedded through the Iraqi landscape as one of the Iraqi people. Together they filmed and documented the horrors of war from the perspective of the Iraqi civilians.

Through Caught in the Crossfire, Manning provides a searing eyewitness account as the only Western civilian to actually live with the people of Falluja and enter the city following the siege. This film exposes the devastating humanitarian disaster that is the result of American foreign policy in Iraq. In one city alone, the film shows that hundreds of thousands of lives have been destroyed by one American Military action that spanned the course of only 8 days.

Prior to the siege, there were at least 350,000 people living in the farming community of Falluja, a city comparable in size to Cincinnati, Ohio. Most of those civilians were evacuated before the siege without any clear idea of where to go. In the middle of winter, they found themselves living in cars, abandoned chicken coups, and storage shelters. Many are still sick, hungry and living in desperate conditions without humanitarian aid from the outside world. If a child is sick in Falluja, a child dies in Falluja.

Nothing is whitewashed in Manning’s film. Accompanied by a beautiful and compelling soundtrack, the screen is filled with images of burnt buildings, dead animals, twisted metal, heaps of rubble. And children. A Greek chorus of Fallujan kids, bearing not so much silent witness as unspoken accusation.

The filmmaker is an unlikely hero in a time of war. American born and bred, Mark Manning is coming up fast in the Hollywood Documentary firmament. Possessed, obsessed, tenacious and courageous, he is a man that thrives on drive. A former deep sea oil rig diver turned documentary filmmaker, Manning left sunny Santa Barbara in January of 2003 on a journey that took him across America. Tall, dark, and ruggedly handsome, Manning set out to hear what real Americans had to say about the impending war. What he found was a country that had chosen to change the course of the world whose population was largely uninformed and apathetic, fearful and confused. Realizing his own responsibilities as a U.S. citizen Manning decided to explore the consequences of his government’s actions.

When the president aimed our military sword at Iraq, Manning found himself riding a wave of destiny that eventually took him to the Middle East, where he met his co-producer and guide Rana Al- Aiouby. Together they formed a bond and journeyed into Falluja where they lived with the refugees and experienced life from their point of view. They walked alongside the farmers, the women and the children to see their destroyed city after the siege. The people in Falluja befriended Manning, telling him if Americans knew the truth of what their government was doing, the American people would work to stop the killing and destruction.

Falluja DVD on sale to aid Iraqi civilians in need because of the Iraq War. Mark Manning is an independent journalist filming in Fallujah, Iraq during the war.

Unknown to any American or Iraqi authorities, Manning recorded on film what life is like now for the people of Falluja. He went through the danger and humiliation of checkpoints, witnessed the devastation of thousands of homes, shops and mosques. He documented the horrors of the siege as recounted by those who survived inside the city during the battles. The people of Falluja asked him to tell their story to the world. Manning is now fulfilling that promise with the release of Caught in the Crossfire.

Falluja is the city that time forgot. Located on one of the bends of the Euphrates that extends into the great Syrian Desert, the city is on an ancient trade route linking the oasis towns of the Nejd province of what is today Saudi Arabia with the great cities of Aleppo and Mosul to the north. Falluja is a crossroads, a seaport on that great desert, a place that binds together people in what are today Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq and Jordan. People in the city are linked by tribe, family or marriage to people in all these places.

Falluja dates from Babylonian times and was host to important Jewish academies for many centuries. Within Iraq, it is known as the “City of Mosques” for the more than 200 mosques found in the city and surrounding villages. It is one of the most important places to Sunni Islam in the region.

The city enjoyed a pre-war population of about 350,000 inhabitants in 2003. Now, after the siege, the current population is unknown but estimated at less than 100,000. Many of these people have been forced to return to Falluja despite the dismal humanitarian conditions.

To this date, the majority of the city is in rubble; very little infrastructure has survived, and almost no aid is getting within the city walls. The war has reportedly damaged a majority of the city’s buildings, including 60 of the city’s mosques. The Sunni triangle has become so dangerous that independent journalism is out of the question. Thus, the absence of war images – apart from Pentagon propaganda videos and the limited viewpoint of embedded journalists.

The city of Falluja has been deemed “pacified” and the battle of Falluja has been declared a victory by the American administration. Yet the American attack on Falluja was a major turning point in the rise of the resistance in Iraq. Prior to the siege, the Pentagon estimated the insurgency in Iraq to be in the thousands; after Falluja, that number rose to over 100,000. Falluja has become a battle cry of anti-American sentiment for a large part of the world. Caught in the Crossfire exposes the annihilation, not the liberation, of the Iraqi people. By detailing what is actually happening to these civilians, the film shows why the people of Iraq have lost faith in the stated American policy goals and why, with the loss of “hearts and minds” in Iraq, there is now no way for America to win this war.

Caught in the Crossfire is a joint production between Iraqi and American filmmakers. The film was directed by Mark Manning and produced by Rana Al-Aiouby and Mark Manning. This documentary short was filmed inside Falluja during the height of the U.S. bombardment and its aftermath (November 2004 ~ April 2005). Manning’s film details the conditions experienced by civilians as they endured the violent clashes and consequences of Operation Phantom Fury only to become refugees outside the eyes and care of the international community. Caught in the Crossfire was filmed entirely un-embedded, outside the protection or influence of the military or corporate media. It contains exclusive footage that has never before been seen in western media.

Caught in the Crossfire captures the unique and honest perspective of the men and women of Falluja. But it is the children that haunt Manning. The searing looks from innocent eyes. “I traveled thousands of miles and risked my life to look at the war through their eyes,” Manning recounts, “But more than once, I had to look away. I felt responsible for the actions of my government and those actions are destroying these children’s lives.”

*Manning’s film company, ConceptionMedia, is donating 25% of the net profits from the sale of Caught in the Crossfire to relief efforts bringing medical and humanitarian aid to civilians who are suffering in combat zones in Iraq today.


For anyone in the Charlotte North Carolina area, or in NC and interested.

We are still working on the details of showing the film “Sir! No Sir!” and following with a discussion – on March 25 at the main library auditorium in Charlotte.

We have reserved the space and equipment we will need.

Sir! No Sir!! – Site

Click To Watch Trailer

Cable, DSL or Other Broadband connection

56 or 28k modem connection

National Theatrical Release of “Sir! No Sir!” This Spring

I have purchased ‘Caught In The Crossfire’ and hope to add this documentary to the showing.

I will have a more firmer idea of the showing soon and will pass this information on, for those interested.
If you visit the ‘Sir! No Sir! site, they have been rebuilding it, but do have up information of Pre-Release dates and places, some have already started. You may also want to set up a showing yourself, in your area, and also one of ‘Caught In The Crossfire’, visit the sites for further information!

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