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Posted 1:00 AM Eastern
by NWV Staff Writer Sarah Foster
August 25, 2007
� 2007

Award-winning Hollywood filmmaker and libertarian political activist Aaron Russo succumbed to cancer early Thursday morning. He was 64.

His many friends and admirers � even those who did not know him personally but know only his work -- are devastated.

"Aaron Russo leaves an important legacy in movies, politics and popular culture," writes attorney Richard Boddie, a long-time friend and political ally. "From these significant contributions to the world, future freedom fighters have a foundation to carry on our dream of a freer society."

Born in Brooklyn, Feb. 14, 1943, Russo achieved much during his distinguished 40-year career in the entertainment industry, winning Grammy, Tony and Emmy awards. He opened a nightclub in Chicago when he was just 24, from which he promoted some of the 1960's most successful rock acts including The Who, Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane. He brought Led Zeppelin to the United States, and beginning in the 1970s managed Bette Midler and, later, the Manhattan Transfer. He was awarded an Emmy for a Bette Midler TV special, and a gold record for producing the soundtrack to The Rose. His films have been nominated for six Academy Awards, and seven Golden Globes, and have won three Golden Globe Awards.

These are major accomplishments, but he will probably be best remembered for his 2006 documentary feature film "America: From Freedom to Fascism" � which he wrote, produced, and starred in.

As a documentary it is so powerful that one critic said "it makes [Michael Moore's] Fahrenheit 9/11 look like Bambi."

Russo became involved in politics during the early 1990s, and in 1994 produced and starred in the video "Mad As Hell," in which he slammed NAFTA, the War on Drugs, the imposition of a National Identity Card, and government regulation of alternative medicine. It was a powerful film � but really just a warm-up for his magnum opus � America: From Freedom to Fascism.

Russo begins his film by examining the 16th Amendment and the Federal Reserve System, and musters compelling evidence that they are not only unconstitutional but were probably not legally adopted. Like Michael Moore, he builds his case through a series of interviews with various personages�Rep. Ron Paul, Chuck Bannister, and Edwin Vieira to name a few.

But Russo doesn't stop with uncovering the Fed and IRS. He goes on.

"'From Freedom to Fascism' exposes the big picture of how Americans have been deceived, it attacks the feeding artery (IRS) of the magical money machine (Federal Reserve System) and weaves a factual presentation so frightening, some who have seen it during the limited showings, walked out of the theater in a state of rage or total fear," writes Devvy Kidd in her review of the film.

And from Rev. Chuck Baldwin: "Russo also rightly connects the dots between developments such as the USA Patriot Act, the so-called 'free trade' deals such as NAFTA and CAFTA, and the business and political alliance promoting illegal immigration with the overall push toward globalism and fascism."

"It is quite refreshing to see a first-rate documentary film which reveals the truth about the very real efforts of elites from both major parties and from international bankers to turn America into a fascist, globalist state, which is exactly what they are doing!" says Baldwin.

Nor did the film win rave reviews only from American constitutionalists and their allies. It drew standing ovations from viewers at the Cannes Film Festival and other audiences.

Russo also tried his hand in politics. He ran unsuccessfully in the Republican primary for governor of Nevada in 1998 and for the presidential slot on the Libertarian ticket in 2004.

But his talents really lay with film making, and he is reported to have been planning to make a Part Two of "From Freedom to Fascism."

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Russo once told the Advocates for Self-Government that his goal is to "'try and get the word out to the public about what's happening to America -- and give them an opportunity to try to change things."

"And when he eventually dies and the headstone is put on his grave, he told the Las Vegas Sun (Nov. 4, 1999), I want it to say, 'Freedom Fighter.'"

Reviews of "America: Freedom to Fascism"

1, Freedom's nightmare is public ignorance � Nancy Levant, October 17, 2006
2, My review of Aaron Russo's film, "America: Freedom to Fascism" � Pastor Chuck Baldwin � July 21, 2006
3, "America: Freedom to Fascism" � a must-see movie � July 10, 2006 � Steven Yates
4, Storming the Gates of Deception � May 10, 2006 � Devvy Kidd
5, Are you a "good" American? � Deanna Spignola, March 26, 2006

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Russo became involved in politics during the early 1990s, and in 1994 produced and starred in the video "Mad As Hell," in which he slammed NAFTA, the War on Drugs, the imposition of a National Identity Card, and government regulation of alternative medicine.