In Better This World, friends David McKay and Bradley Crowder went from bandanna-wearing protesters to federal terrorism suspects at the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis. This searing documentary aims to separate the rhetoric from the facts in the polarizing case. Basically, the film documents a group of demonstrators at the Republican Convention that were infiltrated by an FBI informant, who enticed and entraps two members into constructing some Molotov cocktails (which they never used). The film centers around the actions of these two men in their early 20’s and what they were (or were not) planning on doing at the Republican National Convention. The one thing that’s not in dispute in this case is that McKay and Crowder made Molotov cocktails. Soon two young men are facing Federal Charges, and coerced into the choice between a plea deal of two years, or going to court and risking seven to fifteen years. If they can be convinced to cop a plea, the FBI’s involvement and the government’s evil machinations are never exposed to the rigors and scrutiny of a trial. The two main questions of the case are: 1) How much influence did Brandon Darby, an activist turned FBI informant, have over their actions, and 2) What were their intentions? This film does a good job of presenting the views of the activists as well as law enforcement. I agree that if McKay and Crowder had never met Darby, a left-wing activist with a history of promoting radical action, they never would have contemplated violence. These boys are sweet-hearted passionate people who actually care about their country but were suckered into Brandon Darby’s web — but they were still suckers anyway you cut it. One can’t help but remember what parents say about following others: “If someone told you to jump off a bridge would you do it?” The young men were ultimately very gullible. To call these young men terrorists, however, seems absolutely ridiculous. This documentary was deeply disturbing. It’s hard to decide who is the sleaziest, the informant Darby, or the federal prosecutor. I don’t know how they sleep at night. Darby served as cheerleader, prodding and challenging the boys all the way. And the justice system, what a joke! Offering deals, withdrawing deals, stacking the deck so that neither of these scary, scary “terrorists” would exercise the right to their day in court. David’s courage in taking it to trial, and the jurors’ awareness that the feds’ darling boy Darby was much more than an innocent observer. Whereas pre-911, informants were only allowed to observe and record; now they can lead and orchestrate. Plain and simple, the feds had invested plenty of time and resources into setting those boys up. Somebody had to do some time — that’s all there was to it. And in the end, the federal prosecutor tacked on some extra time to punish David for daring to take it to trial. It’s a sick joke, the erosion of civil rights, and we the people will pay the ultimate price. So this is what a police state looks like! It is illegal (and completely immoral!) for a law enforcement agency to foster a criminal enterprise, and then prosecute those that they have trained and coerced. This film exposes a clear case of injustice within our ‘justice’ system. This movie will leave you feeling angry at our (in)justice system. It will make you question the legal system, the federal government, and the role informants play in the FBI. The movie may anger you, but at it’s very core it is a film about right and wrong, making tough decisions, and what happened with terrorist paranoia under the Bush regime. This film demonstrates how certain elements within America’s ‘War on Terror’ have changed into something prejudicial, unjust, and criminal in nature. With the public completely co-opted and asleep at the wheel, is it really that surprising that two young impressionable kids get talked into a plan to take some revenge against the rioting, dishonest, and bullying authorities? I say not at all. The government lies and encourages illegal activity from young protesters so that they can have a reason to put them behind bars. They didn’t catch criminals so much as they, in a sense, made them into criminals. They also try to kill what is good and noble in these two boys, trying to turn friends against each other through bullying and manipulation under the threat of long unreasonable jail sentences. This is reminiscent of the way the Gestapo operated, turning German people against their neighbors. The two convictions explored in the film certainly were welcome additions to the resume of the prosecuting attorney. The film amply gives a detailed snapshot of a justice system that rewards and breeds dishonesty for the gain of the political power structure. When all is said and done, these activists were manipulated by the FBI all the way from the planning of the protest, through the protest itself, to their court trials. They were coerced in every step of the way. There are several things in this case that should deeply bother any American: The ability (and willingness) of the State to lie in order to get a confession / evidence / conviction. The State’s/media’s willingness to utilize the ignorance of the masses to serve its agenda or to justify its actions. The States willingness to ignore the law in order to catch alleged offenders. The States unwillingness to pursue evidence that might harm their case. Yes, this film may anger you and sadden you. These young men, like many others who are fed up with the situations in this country, will never get a fair shake in any trial — they will always be set up to lose. The strong arm of the law. Having been caught up in the justice system once before, this is exactly what they do. I was in an antiwar group at the onset of the Iraq war. Our group had a government agent planted amongst us. That guy tried everything in his power to incite us to violence. After it became completely clear none of were going to go along, he gave it up. But damn if he didn’t try. Finally he was pegged as the fake that he was, and instantly he disappeared — never to be heard from again. One minute he was everywhere and the next, gone. Often when I talk to these old friends the issue of the plant in our group will come up, and we always thank our lucky stars that no one would take the bait. So I can completely relate to this movie. This film is also a good (bad) example of the use of media spin. Each time this protest cycle repeats itself, the same bogus and/or completely dishonest official press releases are read by some mindless newsreader. This is followed by ten seconds of the most provocative videotape of a mass of people in a police riot, which may or may not be related to the statement. Then the camera pans back to the surprisingly shocked faces of the previously vacant newsreaders — and then on to the next bit of triviality without any sort of rebuttal or examination by anyone. And many are aware that the Media tells a different story, with some patriots and citizens looking like “home-grown domestic terrorists”. Now everyone is on the watch-list in a fake war on terror. Meanwhile, after each and every one of these major police riots, millions of public dollars are paid out to protesters for wrongful mass arrests. After this Republican National Convention in 2008 in St. Paul, Minnesota, the illegal arrest of thousands resulted in massive payments to those arrested, including a journalist. This journalist’s arrest (along with her co-workers) resulted in an undisclosed payout — and an admission of culpability by St. Paul Police Department, which is very unusual. PS: nowadays informer Darby is all puffed up, a right-wing radio clown strutting his stuff. What’s most unfortunate is that so many people in this country are fed up with what we thought was our government, only to learn it is a Corporation in Bankruptcy that is owned by the IMF. The seemingly constant police riots, as well as overall dishonesty of the security state, never get any sort of examination in the press, nor by those authorities who should be investigating crimes against citizens. The people of this country feel outrage over being shafted and not heard, by paying for crooked banker bailouts, and being continually lied to by the private News Media, who also works for the same ones who really own and run this country. This outrage is only going to get worse and boil over onto the streets, because we are no longer heard. What a shame such a proud and brave people have been lied to so much. “The only way for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing” ~Edmund Burke. This film will interest anyone looking to participate in activism or delve deeper into learning about the Republicrat hijacking of the political process, and its judicial repercussions. If you wish to make true change, study Dr. King and Gandhi because those men brought governments down and never threw a punch and sure as hell never threw bombs at people or property. Regardless of what you are protesting, in a democratic society it’s wrong to use violence to make your point. Be the change you wish to see in the world! Overall a very compelling documentary. Galloway and Vega are to be commended. They give both sides enough time. I don’t feel this film is too political either way. Regardless of political affiliation or personal convictions, you get a feel for the time, place, politics. An important film. Loved it. Everyone should see this. This movie should be mandatory viewing in every high school civics class in America. MUST SEE. Documentary 2011 NR 1hr 29m.
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