We are in your face once more with news about the sophomore season of the Emmy nominated news magazine show called VICE. The show, hosted by Shane Smith, will be in its usual time slot of 11:00pm ET on Friday nights right after REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER beginning 03.14.14. Mr. Maher, of course, is an executive producer of the show along with Eddy Moretti and BJ Levin. Fareed Zakaria serves as a consulting producer.
If you missed out on Season One, well catch it on HBOGo for yourself and then don’t miss the upcoming season. But this writer is not here just to drill the date and times into your brain. There is something new to report and that is the descriptions of the first three installments of the season. In the 2014 season, VICE investigates a broad range of topics, traveling to global locations to report on everything from rampant U.S. military waste & corruption in Afghanistan to extortion, torture and killing in Rio’s favelas, and terrorist training in Dagestan.
Show #11 – The U.S. has spent nearly $100 billion on reconstruction projects in Afghanistan, the most spent on any country in history. But John Sopko, special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, has found that much of that money has been wasted and misused, and has even fallen into the hands of the Taliban. Shane Smith heads to Afghanistan for a tour of American taxpayer dollars gone down the drain.
Rio de Janeiro is working hard to remedy its reputation as a drug and murder capital in time for the upcoming World Cup and Olympics. The Special Police Operations Battalion (BOPE) has been charged with pacifying the slums (favelas), but BOPE’s military occupation of increasing numbers of favelas has been criticized as heavy-handed. Some corrupt members of the BOPE, together with ex-police, have formed militia gangs of their own and are controlling many favelas by sinister means, openly extorting, torturing, killing and making criminals disappear. Still, there are hundreds of favelas, untouched by pacification, that remain under the control of drug gangs who act with complete impunity. Ben Anderson (pictured) looks behind the picturesque façade of Rio’s marketing campaign to reveal the dark underbelly of the city.
Show #12 – In the throes of a crippling, violent insurgency, Dagestan is Russia’s hotbed for Muslim extremism. Its jihadists have been behind many high-profile terrorist plots around the world, including alleged Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who spent six months there the year before that deadly attack. To understand why so much terrorist activity originates in the region, and to see firsthand what Tsarnaev learned during his stay, Shane Smith heads to Dagestan to follow in terrorists’ footsteps.
The Israel-Palestinian conflict is one of the most well-known and longest-standing conflicts in the world. Although the United States publicly advocates a two-state solution, it also remains Israel’s biggest ally. While significant American support comes from a strong, wealthy Jewish lobby, in terms of sheer numbers, Evangelical Christians in the heart of the Bible Belt are Israel’s strongest supporters. Thomas Morton (pictured) uncovers the rationale behind Evangelical support for the Jewish state.
Show #13 – Greenland recorded its highest temperatures ever in 2013. Though some say that’s not cause for concern, the equivalent of three Chesapeake Bays’-worth of water melts off the island every year, affecting sea levels around the world. Shane Smith embarks on an expedition to Greenland with climate scientist Jason Box to discover the reasons for the melting, and how the resulting sea level rise will mean devastation sooner than expected.
Millions of men, women and children work as bonded laborers in Pakistan’s brick kilns. This abusive practice is facilitated by the devastating disenfranchisement of workers and by the pervasive corruption of the brick kiln industry and Pakistani law enforcement. Fazeelat Aslam (pictured) goes to the brick kilns to see the conditions and learn how certain organizations are fighting back by rescuing the workers from this modern-day slavery.
This season also sees the addition of new award-winning correspondents to the show’s roster. Along with Shane Smith, 2014 correspondents include VICE Media co-founder Suroosh Alvi; conflict-zone journalist, documentary filmmaker and author Ben Anderson; Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker and journalist Fazeelat Aslam (HBO Documentary Films: SAVING FACE) VICE Media editor-in-chief Rocco Castoro; artist David Choe; filmmaker and producer Vikram Gandhi; Iranian photojournalist and filmmaker Gelareh Kiazand; and longtime VICE correspondent Thomas Morton.
VICE, always unorthodox and at times irreverent, takes viewers around the globe as its correspondents cover stories often overlooked by traditional media outlets. When reporting on today’s most pressing issues, from anti-government rebellions to hotbeds of terrorist activity to conflict and corruption, VICE uses an immersive documentary style to bring a unique perspective to the events shaping the future. This twelve episode series will open your eyes. Peace.