Going behind the line of fire to capture the truth in Iraq

Megan Schiferl

Megan SchiferlJuice Editor

Amazing things can happen with a bit of resourcefulness, a plane ticket to one of the world’s most intense war zones and a fake press pass. Mike Shiley, director and the genius behind the film Inside Iraq: The Untold Stories, can testify to that very idea. Shiley will be visiting campus Nov. 8 to present the movie he filmed and to discuss current events in Iraq.

Shiley’s movie was created when he traveled to Iraq armed with nothing more than a camera and a fake ABC News press pass.

“Part of who I am is an adventure hound,” Shiley said. “I was in Yugoslavia in “93 posing as a photographer and got hired by CNN; and I have gotten into two natural disasters using fake press passes.”

Shiley was able to enter the ABC News compound and travel with their group posing as a cameraman and journalist. He hoped to capture a side of the Iraq war that is not normally presented to the public.

“I shot what I saw,” Shiley said.

Shiley claims that the program he will be presenting at SDSU is comprised of two parts. The first is a screening of his film and the second part is an informative lecture structured around questions from the audience. The presentation will conclude by presenting solutions that may peacefully resolve the conflict.

“Most of the discussion at the end of the program will be based on history, not current politics,” Shiley said. “The question now is what will Iraq be like after the war? It’s easy to start a war, but how do we end it?”

The University Program Council is hosting the event and has been attempting to reach a larger variety of audiences with an expanded speaker line-up.

“We’ve had really good response with speakers this year,” said Sam Wangberg, the lectures coordinator for UPC. “We are trying to think outside the box and reach groups we haven’t reached before.”

Shiley said he encourages everyone to come and see what the movie has to offer, as it will be time well spent.

“For two hours, let’s focus on something bigger than ourselves,” Shiley said. “We have been at war with Iraq since the college kids today were in kindergarten.”

Justin Johnson, a SDSU history student currently in deployment training at Ft. McCoi, WI, was extremely interested in the upcoming event. Johnson said he was surprised that he hadn’t heard about the film or it’s upcoming presence on campus before.

“A non-media biased view of the situation over there would be a good thing for everyone to learn about,” Johnson said.

In addition to posing as a phony news reporter, Shiley was also able to acquire a military uniform. With only 90 minutes of training he was acting as a fake gunner on a tank in the Third Armored Calvary Regimen.

As a result of his “service” to the military, Shiley was award a civilian combat medal.

Shiley wouldn’t reveal what happened when it was made known that he wasn’t an actual reporter and had no right to be there.

“You just have to come to the event [on campus] to find out,” Shiley said.

He has had many influences in his life and people he works to emulate while reporting.

“I’m like Hunter S. Thompson, without the drugs,” Shiley said.

Besides presenting information on the Iraq situation, he will also be discussing how students can create the lives they desire. Shiley is an advocate of creating his own destiny. He claims if you don’t design a life you want to live, someone else will design it for you. Designing a unique life is something he has become a champion at, especially when he gets the opportunity to record his life and present it and encourage people to do the same.

“Show up somewhere with some confidence, have a story that doesn’t suck and go for it,” Shiley said.

#1.1743567:1138447356.png:Mike Shiley 11-03-2010 56:Although he was never in the military, Mike Shiley was able to get a hold of a military uniform, enabling him to get right into the action.:Submitted Photo