[FoRK] [IP] The Power of Nightmares (fwd from dave@farber.net)

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Thu Nov 4 13:09:57 PST 2004

----- Forwarded message from David Farber <dave at farber.net> -----

From: David Farber <dave at farber.net>
Date: Thu, 4 Nov 2004 14:25:04 -0500
To: ip at v2.listbox.com
Subject: [IP] The Power of Nightmares
X-Mailer: Apple Mail (2.619)
Reply-To: dave at farber.net

Begin forwarded message:

From: Andy Duff <andy.duff at edengene.com>
Date: November 4, 2004 11:15:56 AM EST
To: "David Farber (E-mail)" <dave at farber.net>
Subject: The Power of Nightmares


[For IP if you wish]

The BBC has just shown the last programme of a three-part documentary 
entitled "The Power of Nightmares", which was nothing if not 
provocative, drawing parallels between the use of fear to engage 
support by the Neo-Cons in the US and Al Qaida.

Programme maker Adam Curtis contends that: "the nightmare vision of a 
uniquely powerful hidden organisation waiting to strike our societies 
is an illusion... [...] the reason that no-one questions the illusion 
is because this nightmare enemy gives so many groups new power and 
influence in a cynical age - and not just politicians. [...] Those with 
the darkest imaginations have now become the most powerful."

 There was a preview in the UK newspaper The Guardian on 15 Oct here 
that summarises some of the pre-programme controversy: 
(excerpt below). I've also included links to the BBC's own summaries.


<<Since September 11 Britain has been warned of the 'inevitability' of 
catastrophic terrorist attack. But has the danger been exaggerated? A 
major new TV documentary claims that the perceived threat is a 
politically driven fantasy - and al-Qaida a dark illusion. [...] 
Terrorism, by definition, depends on an element of bluff. [...] "The 
grand concept of the war has not succeeded," says Jonathan Eyal, 
director of the British military thinktank the Royal United Services 
Institute. "In purely military terms, it has been an inconclusive war 
... a rather haphazard operation. Al-Qaida managed the most spectacular 
attack, but clearly it is also being sustained by the way that we 
rather cavalierly stick the name al-Qaida on Iraq, Indonesia, the 
Philippines. There is a long tradition that if you divert all your 
resources to a threat, then you exaggerate it.">>

The programme also included perspectives at the philosophies of Leo 
Strauss at the University of Chicago in the 50s (and a strong influence 
on Wolfowitz) and Sayyid Qutb, the Islamist philosopher (a strong 
influence on Al Zawahiri who has bastardised Qutb's teaching).

The BBC's own summaries are at:

Programme 1: "Baby it's cold outside" 
Programme 2: "The Phantom Victory" 
Programme 3: "The Shadows in the cave: 


Andy Duff

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