e Lives of Somalis through the Lens of War: Profiles by VICE

In 2011, an international peacekeeping force pushed al Shabaab Islamists from Somalia’s capital city. The fight continues in the countryside and in Mogadishu. The weakened extremists launch periodic suicide bombs and IED attacks.

For a generation, the lives of young Somalis have been obscured by the violence. Today, the fragile peace in Mogadishu allows youth to imagine a future beyond war.

Exclusive Tour Inside Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp

Guantanamo: Inside The Wire – A behind the scenes look at the state of the prison in 2009

As the filmmakers are chaperoned through the notorious Guantanamo Bay prison by a ‘tour-guide’ from the US Military Public Relations machine, we are given a rare insight into the conditions of the facility.

“I know what it is like to lose your liberty, to lose control, to have to submit to the will of your captors,” says journalist Yvonne Ridley about her experience as a captive of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Catalysed by this experience, Yvonne joins forces with filmmaker David Miller to make a documentary about the detention of ‘enemy combatants’ in the most notorious prison in the world, Guantanamo Bay. A self-proclaimed ‘fierce critic of America’s War on Terror’, Yvonne is astonished when her request is granted and the Pentagon allows her exclusive access to the compound.

Guantanamo Bay was opened in Cuba in 2002 by the US Military shortly after America’s invasion of Afghanistan. Yvonne explains Guantanamo was “designed by the Bush administration and is symbolic of the Bush presidency.” George W. Bush describes his global assault on terror: “they must be found, they will be stopped and they will be punished.”

On arrival it is revealed that any ideas they had “about hard edge journalism or creative film making were looking increasingly ambitious” as they are watched over by a team of minders, given instructions about what they can and can’t film and are informed that their footage will eventually be censored.

The documentary interviews former inmates who give detailed accounts of the treatment they faced in the hands of the US Military. Ex-detainee Moazzam Begg and explains how he spent almost 2 years in solitary confinement in Guantanamo. He says “it’s effects can actually, literally, send someone crazy.”

In London a demonstration is held for Binyam Mohamed, an Ethiopian refugee previously living in London who has endured 6 years of detention at Guantanamo, to draw attention to the fact he was tortured into making a false confession of crimes he did not commit. Yvonne reports that “when the film was made only one man had been convicted of any offence – Osama Bin Laden’s driver.”

US President Barack Obama has signed an order to suspend its proceedings, but the detention camp still remains open. The extent of the West’s reputation in the Islamic world is hard to judge, and Yvonne poses the question ‘will the Muslim world ever trust America again?’

Press TV – Ref 6210

“Superpower for Hire: Rise of the Private Military”

Vice takes an unprecedented look into the shadowy industry of Private Military Companies. For the past two decades these private companies, like Black Water, Aegis and G4S have silently consumed military operations around the world, doing everything from back end logistics, protection of government VIP’s and diplomats to actual combat duties. In this documentary we explore the origins of this industry, their rise in the war on terror and their future operations around the world.

“Narco Music is the Soundtrack to the Mexican War on Drugs (Part 3/3)”

Mexico’s narcocorrido music genre and subculture openly celebrates the most extreme aspects of the country’s drug war. The songs are filled with catchy, detailed narrations of beheadings, executions, coked-out nights, and a strangely consistent obsession with Buchanan’s whiskey.

With lyrics like “We’re bloddy and a little twisted / We love killing / Mass kidnappings are the way they should be done / All my crew with gold-plated AKs / Shooting up their bodies until they fall to pieces / A sharpened knife on hand for beheadings,” the movimiento alterado—literally the “altered movement”—is more of a “we’re-fucking-crazy-and-we-wil­l-cut-you-up” movement.

The music scene originated in the old cartel citadel of Mexico’s western Sinaloa state, and it’s an open secret that most of the artists identified with the genre are tied to the local cartel.

VICE went to Mexico to talk to some of the genre’s major producers and see whether they’re as hard as their songs suggest.