Monday 10 Mar 2014
In May this year, US Special Forces shot and killed Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan. Publicly Pakistan is one of America's closest allies – yet every step of the operation was kept secret from it.
Filmed largely in Pakistan and Afghanistan, this timely and enthralling two-part documentary series reveals the hidden story of how for a decade Pakistan allegedly deceived America and the West – from 9/11 to the present day – and was then found out.
It is a charge denied by Pakistan's military establishment. As one former head of intelligence agency the ISI says: "Unfortunately, one guy we missed – that's the number one guy [Bin Laden] ... and so we got all the blame."
But it is an accusation lent credence by serving Taliban commanders, to whom the programme gained unique access. They describe the support they get from Pakistan, both in terms of weapons, training and a place to hide.
The programme tells the story of how Pakistan, a supposed ally, stands accused by top CIA officers and Western diplomats of causing the deaths of thousands of coalition soldiers in Afghanistan – deaths that continue to this day.
In episode one, Double Cross, clear signs of duplicity begin to emerge after 9/11. And although denied by Pakistan's Army spokesman – "Nothing could be further from the truth" – by 2006, when the British went into Helmand, the pattern had been set. As Colonel Richard Kemp, the UK's former head of intelligence on international terrorism in the Cabinet Office, explains: "I think it was quite clear to us that the Pakistanis were playing very much a double game..."
Based on Christos Tsiolkas's best-selling novel, The Slap is a new eight-part Australian adaptation that traces the shattering repercussions of a single event upon a group of family and friends.
Hector, the host, is a seemingly happily married man in his early forties. Handsome and financially secure, he is married to beautiful veterinarian Aisha. They have two children. Some people resent Hector, believing that his adoring Greek working-class parents have handed him everything on a plate. But Hector himself knows that life is more treacherous than the seemingly ideal façade of his inner-city family life. For the past year he has been having an affair with a 17-year-old, Connie, who works part-time at Aisha's clinic. The slap and its consequences force him to examine his own behaviour, his own weaknesses and his own regret.
Jonathan La Paglia plays Hector, Sophie Okonedo plays Aisha and Sophie Lowe plays Connie. The cast also includes Melissa George as Rosie, Essie Davis as Anouk, Alex Dimitriades as Harry, Lex Marinos as Manolis and Blake Davis as Richie.
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