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  • Writer's picturePeter K F Cheung SBS

1st Line of Defence

  1. FADE IN.


  2. Act 1


  3. INT. STUDY - MORNING


  4. Lying on the sofa with the CNN channel on, PETER closes his eyes.

  5. PETER (V.O.): I was exhilarated that I couldn't sleep last night.


  6. We hear someone speaking on screen:...unfolding situation in Afghanistan...my national security team...to prevent terrorist attack on American homeland...mission on counter-terrorism...not counterinsurgency or national building...never a good time to withdraw US forces...a war that Afghan political leaders gave up and fled the country...Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves...give them every chance to determine their own future...


  7. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Pretty unpersuasive defence, except to let Afghans determine their own future. And they've done it swiftly.


  8. Peter gets up to surf the website of the Central Intelligence Agency. We see on screen: ...nation's first line of defence...CIA is vital to US national security...We accomplish what others cannot accomplish and go where others cannot go...US policy makers, including the President of US make policy decisions informed by the information we provide.


  9. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Yes, which country doesn't concern its national security? That's why US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 after 9/11.


  10. We hear from the BBC channel: A historic defeat of western powers...very disturbing...if US can't lead, UK should...but we follow the US...accepting millions of Afghans seeking asylum?...UK in the international stage...Brexit...Covid...


  11. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): Another line of unpersuasive defence. What's UK's CIA version.


  12. Peter surfs the web. We see: The Secret Intelligence Service, often know as MI6, collects Britain's foreign intelligence...promote and defend national security...


  13. Act 2


  14. INT. STUDY - NOON


  15. Holding his iPad mini, Peter checks the facts and fiction about working as a British spy.


  16. PETER (V.O.): Is life in secret service about Aston Martins, international travels and disguises?


  17. Reading.


  18. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): It's not. Not even close.


  19. Reading.


  20. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): But they can tell close family members or a close friend what they do for a living.


  21. SEQUENCE OF PETER'S ENCOUNTERS WITH SECRET AGENTS


  22. A. INT. LECTURE THEATRE, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL - DAY (2003)


  23. Checking the tent card of the one placed next to him, Peter sees below someone#1's name: CIA.


  24. SOMEONE#1: Where are you from?


  25. PETER: Hong Kong, China.


  26. Then, that someone takes away her tent card and sits further away from Peter.


  27. PETER (V.O.): Me as a secret agent?


  28. B. ENFORCEMENT AGENCY, US DAY (2007)


  29. A visiting Peter is being introduced to SOMEONE#2. Checking his name card, Peter looks shocked.


  30. PETER (V.O.): You're a Secret Agent?

  31. SOMEONE#2 (Proudly): Yes, I'm!


  32. END SEQUENCE


  33. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): Those're the two secret agents I came across overtly.


  34. Recalling.


  35. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): I had a strange intern who was a former US marine. He proudly transferred a distraction technique to me: "you just touch your private parts and people would look away."


  36. Reading a text on his mobile screen.


  37. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): In US, covet action means non-apparent and not-publicly-acknowledged Government activities intended to influence political, military and economic conditions outside US.


  38. Pausing.


  39. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): But US' invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 was a blatant one.


  40. Peter researches further with this mobile.


  41. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): Historically, Soviet invaded Afghanistan in 1979 as it began to become US-friendly. The Taliban resistance force, funded by US and Pakistan, was formed to defeat the Soviets.


  42. Pausing.


  43. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): And when it was invaded by US/UK in 2001, the Taliban defeated them, militarily and diplomatically .


  44. Thinking.


  45. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): Legally speaking, the claims of both US and UK that their military actions were preventive self-defence or retaliatory defence have no basis under international law.


  46. Act 3


  47. INT. STUDY - EVENING


  48. The CNN channel is broadcasting live stories on the ground in Kabul.


  49. PETER (V.O.): Ordinary life has returned to normal now. The Taliban rules Afghanistan again. They've declared a general amnesty to all.


  50. Peter reads a story on his mobile screen.


  51. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): It reports that US' political co-ordination with China. China tells US that a foreign model can't be arbitrarily applied to a country with different cultural and historical conditions.


  52. Thinking.


  53. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Has US learned another lesson as to what can and cannot be achieved by military intervention?


  54. Peter sees a CNN TV banner: Fall of Afghanistan.


  55. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): No, it should be the Fall of US/UK-backed Afghanistan, or the Revival of Afghanistan.


  56. Recalling.


  57. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Pompeo once proudly said: "I'm a CIA Director. We lied. We cheated. We stole."


  58. Pausing.


  59. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): The US' first line of defence has caused more moral/legal injuries...


  60. On the CNN channel, an emotional reporter on the ground in Kabul is questioning the Pentagon Press Secretary. We hear:.. American assurance...


  61. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): US' new first line of defence?


  62. Peter looks very tired.


  63. FADE OUT.


  64. THE END


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