Small Wars Journal

Updated: The Wanted

It's not often when a SWJ friend lands a starring role in a network news series -- so we were quite excited when we learned that Roger Carstens will be co-starring in NBC News' The Wanted. Congratulations Roger and best of luck with the show! From the NBC News press release:

On Monday, July 20, join NBC News for a groundbreaking television event when it sets forth on an international hunt for an accused terrorist with "The Wanted" at 10 PM ET.

"The Wanted" brings together an elite team with backgrounds in intelligence, unconventional warfare and investigative journalism. The show focuses on real operators, in search of real targets -- all in an effort to see individuals brought to justice.

"We hope this program sheds light on an overlooked story," said David Corvo, executive producer at NBC News. "It is surprising how many people with serious accusations against them are living openly and avoiding any sort of judicial process."

The faces of "The Wanted" include Roger Carstens who is recognized as one of the world's preeminent authorities on counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency; former Navy Seal Scott Tyler, an expert in urban reconnaissance and unconventional warfare; David Crane a decorated former US intelligence official and the first American to serve as Chief Prosecutor of an international war crimes tribunal since Justice Robert Jackson at Nuremberg; and Emmy award-winning investigative journalist Adam Ciralsky. Ciralsky also serves as co-executive producer of "The Wanted" with documentary filmmaker Charlie Ebersol.

"'The Wanted' is about seeking justice for the many victims of terrorism and atrocity around the world," said Crane. "It will start a national conversation, an important dialog about war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and international terrorism, as well as the indifference and political cynicism that hampers international criminal law and the quest for justice. 'The Wanted' drives home the point that the rule of law is more powerful than the rule of the gun."

The July 20 episode follows Mullah Krekar, the founder and leader of Ansar Al Islam, an internationally designated terrorist organization that has been accused of killing hundreds of Americans and other Westerners. Krekar has been called "Bin Laden 2.0" as well as an "Islamic Nazi" and yet he has been living free in Norway -- this after the Norwegian Supreme Court declared him a threat to national security and ordered him deported. In "The Wanted," viewers will be taken inside intelligence briefings in the Middle East and surveillance operations in Krekar's community in Oslo.

On July 27, viewers will travel to Germany on the trail of Mamoun Darkazanli. Called "Bin Laden's financier," Spanish officials indicted Darkazanli in 2003 for providing logistical and financial support to Al Qaeda, specifically in connection with 9/11. Still he remains free in Germany. While the team surveils Darkazanli, negotiations for his deportation begin between Spain and Germany.

Executive Producers and Co-Creators Charlie Ebersol and Adam Ciralsky said, "We are excited about our groundbreaking new TV project 'The Wanted' on NBC, and know that viewers will be intrigued by the show." Ebersol and Ciralsky added, "It's like nothing you've ever seen on TV before. The pairing of rigorous investigative journalism with high-end production values has resulted in a fast-paced show which we hope will leave viewers wanting more."


An Ex-Green Beret Models His TV-Star Hat for His Comrades - Greg Jaffe, Washington Post.

Roger Carstens went on a mission over the weekend to present his new reality show, "The Wanted," to his fellow special-ops commandos outside MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. Unlike all the other missions this soldier has undertaken since graduating from West Point in 1986, there was no way to train for this particular sort of military theater.

The earnest, 44-year-old counterterrorism expert had a case of the nerves. He downed two glasses of wine before the screening. Media ethicists and a human-rights group had already trashed the show, but if his fellow soldiers hated it too, then that would crush him. The NBC series (airing at 10 p.m. Monday) purports to track down terrorists and war criminals and deliver them to justice, no matter where in the world they are hiding. It goes after these suspected evildoers with a blend of military know-how, "The Bourne Identity" camera trickery, and gotcha journalism. Months before it aired, critics were making unflattering comparisons to "Dateline NBC's" controversial "To Catch a Predator" series.

Would real soldiers think Carstens's show - in which he is cast as the polished Green Beret alongside a Navy SEAL and an investigative journalist - is an artful, pulse-quickening action reel for their values? Or some perverse showcase for showboats?

More at The Washington Post.

'The Wanted': Set Aside Your Apprehensions - Tom Shales, Washington Post.

While most people are probably familiar with that phrase "the banality of evil," "evil" can have a pathetic buffoonery to it as well. The first of the bad guys to be tracked down on "The Wanted," NBC's new real-life espionage series that launches a different manhunt each week, is sometimes known as "Bin Laden 2.0" - the title a twisted testimonial to his abilities as a murderer.

His name, Mullah Krekar - founder of an international terrorist organization called Ansar al-Islam - sounds very much, when spoken, like "Moolah Cracker," and it is noted that his ricky-ticky whiskers are iconic to an organization whose claims to infamy include the boast that it "leads the world in beheadings." Time marches on - yet simultaneously races backward as well.

Very little of "The Wanted" is dramatized or re-enacted, because in the new era of guerrilla television, the bad guys and good guys play themselves.

More at The Washington Post.


IntelTrooper (not verified)

Mon, 08/03/2009 - 2:22pm

No, you don't need to go on. You've made your unsophisticated and unoriginal point.

If the show's producers want to find internationally famous unindicted war criminals <strong>walking among us</strong>, they don't have to go to Norway. They can find one of the top ten in Crawford, Texas. Another in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Another in Taos, New Mexico.

Need I go on?