The Power of nightmares.
October 20, 2004 2:40 PM   Subscribe

The power of nightmares. I just saw the first episode of this, the BBC's midweek / BBC2 / largely unadvertised television series. This first episode dealt with the rise of neoconservatism from it's roots as a political "solution" to the perceived failure of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society (a) (b) (c) and the rise of Islamic Fundamentalism from Sayyid Qutb through and past the assasination of Anwar Sadat. More biased liberal information on the show here and here. I urge you to beg, borrow, steal or download this series / Commie propaganda.
posted by seanyboy (21 comments total)
And I forgot to post a link to the Committee on the present danger.

Maybe everybody knows all this, already, and maybe it's propaganda, but it gave me a new insight into political process, and the rise of the current Republican Administration. Does America really need an invisible enemy to curb moral decay, and are there people who really believe that it does?

The details about William Casey making the CIA find / prove the terror network, after they had patiently explained that they knew it didn't exist because, well, they invented it were particularly terrifying.
posted by seanyboy at 2:51 PM on October 20, 2004

I'd love to see it, but I don't get BB2 in Minneapolis.
posted by Juicylicious at 3:01 PM on October 20, 2004

If could work out how to get files off my Tivo, and also set up one of those groovy BitTorrent things, Minneapolis wouldn't be an issue. As it is, I hope Kazaa Lite or BBC America will be showing this soon.
posted by seanyboy at 3:05 PM on October 20, 2004

I wouldn't put too much hope in BBCA airing this as they cancelled Eastenders over 1-year ago due to sponsorship. bastards

Doesn't your Tivo have a "copy to tape" option?
posted by Juicylicious at 3:25 PM on October 20, 2004

c'mon, seanyboy--don't tease. I bet there's a way listed on matt's pvrblog
posted by amberglow at 3:36 PM on October 20, 2004

Bugger it, I missed this program tonight. Arse.
posted by chrid at 3:54 PM on October 20, 2004

seanyboy, the piece you linked to in your comment is great. That's an apt comparison and a chilling precedent to the failures we've seen in our intelligence operations the past few years.

By the way, what ever happened with all those threats to dismantle the BBC? I mean, after the "sexed up" report business and apology.
posted by crunchburger at 4:34 PM on October 20, 2004

mmm crunchburgers... yum. Sorry.
posted by cell divide at 4:36 PM on October 20, 2004

Threats to dismantle the BBC come and go. After they got rid of Dyke, I feared the worst, but politically I think the government is going to accept a shakeup of BBC3 as the extent of the "independently reviewed" changes. The BBC get to stay the same, and the Governement are saved from too much of a climb down.

As we're coming up to an election, Blair is probably keeping well clear of meddling with the media. After he wins his third election, we'll see. As with the Arts Council and the Lottery people, the BBC is under a serious amount of pressure to reflect the "New Labour" message.
posted by seanyboy at 5:09 PM on October 20, 2004

"Much of the currently perceived threat from international terrorism, the series argues, "is a fantasy that has been exaggerated and distorted by politicians. It is a dark illusion that has spread unquestioned through governments around the world, the security services, and the international media." The series' explanation for this is even bolder: "In an age when all the grand ideas have lost credibility, fear of a phantom enemy is all the politicians have left to maintain their power.""

This is really good stuff.

Not to mention the fact that, when you really get down to it, governments are the agencies which posess the truly nasty WMD's - nukes, biological warfare agents and "ethnic weapons"......
posted by troutfishing at 5:39 PM on October 20, 2004

Coping with global uncertainty: A 4-step plan
posted by semmi at 9:06 PM on October 20, 2004

Where's the torrent, dammit!?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:58 PM on October 20, 2004

This is a fantastic programme. I saw this last night and really felt that I learned a lot about the philosophical origins of both neoconservatism/Straussianism and the Islamist movement, as well as their respective Cold War track records. Must-see.
posted by plep at 12:24 AM on October 21, 2004

Good post, seanyboy. I don't know why you thought it was "largely unadvertised". I saw lots of trailers in the last few weeks. I missed the programme myself, but it sounds like it's worth trying to catch the rest of the series. It sounds like the sort of thing that desperately needs to be shown on US network television.
posted by salmacis at 2:13 AM on October 21, 2004

Where's the torrent, dammit!?
There's what looks like a slow poorly seeded torrent of an mpg at this site if you are desperate.
posted by chill at 2:14 AM on October 21, 2004

You want to know how scary this documentary is? By the end of the first episode Kissinger and Reagan look like level headed moderates.

But there are some remarkable parallels. Firstly the comparisson between the start of the neo-con movement and the start of Islamic extremism. Secondly, the parallel between what the neo-cons were saying and doing in the seventies and eighties and what they've been saying and doing since 9/11.

As a sidenote - it's also not quite so dry as it sounds. Much of this is darkly humourous and some of the archive footage they've found is truly great stuff.

Sell your grandmother to see this programme.
posted by dodgygeezer at 3:23 AM on October 21, 2004

Is there some way that someone can be lobbied to show this series on American TV before its too late? Maybe or some such?
posted by donfactor at 6:24 AM on October 21, 2004

I watched it. It was actually very heavily advertised - much more than I've seen any other programme of late ... and with an Eno soundtrack - how could I miss it? Fantastic programme.

I just called the BBC to see if there was a transcript available, but no joy - and they don't have any plans to repeat it as yet.

I imagine if they wanted to PBS could get it from the BBC and show it.
posted by Blue Stone at 8:42 AM on October 21, 2004

Thanks, chill. Those bastards at uknova don't want anyone to share in the goodness, but as soon as I've downloaded it I'll XVID it and post it up to SuprNova for the rest of the world to enjoy.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:23 PM on October 21, 2004

I downloaded the xvid off SuprN and yes, this programme was fucking fantastic. I love the BBC. Thanks C_D, and please post the upcoming episodes as well. I'll owe you bigtime for this!
posted by mr.marx at 11:36 AM on October 22, 2004

Continuing in the "doing the american media's job for it" vein, channel 4 is showing "The White House For Sale" on Monday (8pm). They have no web presence for it at the moment but I'm sure there will be some after the programme.

I just wish UK Journalists would turn this spotlight onto their own political scene.
posted by fullerine at 11:26 AM on October 23, 2004

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