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The Power of Nightmares

The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear" consists of three one-hour films, consisting mostly of a montage of archive footage with Curtis's narration.

The films compare the rise of the American Neo-Conservative movement and the radical Islamist movement, making comparisons on their origins and suggesting a strong connection between the two. More controversially, it argues that the threat of radical Islamism as a massive, sinister organized force of destruction, specifically in the form of al-Qaeda, is in fact a myth perpetrated by politicians in many countries — and particularly American Neo-Conservatives — in an attempt to unite and inspire their people following the failure of earlier, more utopian ideologies.

"The Power of Nightmares" has been praised by film critics in both Britain and the United States and have also been the subject of various critiques and criticisms from conservatives and progressives.

Part 1 / “Baby it's Cold Outside“

The first episode explains the origins of Islamism and Neo-Conservatism. It shows Egyptian civil servant Sayyid Qutb, the founder of Islamism, visiting America to learn about the education system, but becoming disgusted with what he saw as a corruption of morals and virtues in western society through individualism.

At the same time in the United States, a group of disillusioned liberals, including Irving Kristol and Paul Wolfowitz, look to the political thinking of Leo Strauss after the general failure of President Johnson's "Great Society". They come to the conclusion that the emphasis on individual liberty was the undoing of the plan. They envisioned restructuring America by uniting the American people against a common evil, and set about creating a mythical enemy.

Part 2 / The Phantom Victory

In the second episode, Islamist factions, rapidly falling under the more radical influence of Zawahiri and his rich Saudi acolyte Osama bin Laden, join the Neo-Conservative-influenced Reagan Administration to combat the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan. They are successful in repulsing the Soviet armies and, when the Eastern Bloc begins to collapse in the late 1980s, both groups believe they were the primary architect of the "Evil Empire's" defeat and thus have the power to carry out their revolutions in their homelands. Curtis instead argues that the Soviets were on their last legs and were doomed to collapse without intervention.

Both factions' revolutions end in failure. The Neo-Conservatives' aspirations to use the United States Army's power for further destruction of evil are thrown off track by the ascent of George H. W. Bush to the American Presidency, followed by the 1992 election of Bill Clinton leaving them out of power. The Neo-Conservatives, with their conservative Christian allies, attempt to demonise Clinton throughout his presidency with various real and fabricated stories of corruption and immorality. To their disappointment, however, the American people do not acknowledge him as an enemy as they intended and remain indifferent to Clinton's alleged evils.

The Islamist attempts at revolution end in massive bloodshed, leaving the Islamists without popular support. Zawahiri and bin Laden flee to the sufficiently safe Afghanistan and declare a new strategy; to fight Western-inspired moral decay they must deal a blow to its source: the United States.

Part 3 / “The Shadows in the Cave”

The final episode addresses the actual rise of al-Qaeda. Curtis argues that after their failed revolutions, bin Laden and Zawahiri had little or no popular support, let alone a serious complex organization of terrorists, and were dependent upon independent operatives to carry out their new call for jihad. The film instead shows the United States government wanting to prosecute bin Laden in absentia for the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings, and needing to prove him to be the head of a criminal organization to do so. They find a former associate of bin Laden, Jamal al-Fadl, and pay him to testify that bin Laden was the head of a massive terrorist organization called "al-Qaeda". With the September 11th attacks, Neo-Conservatives in the new Republican government of George W. Bush use this created concept of an organization to justify another crusade against a new evil enemy, leading to the launch of the War on Terror.

After the American invasion of Afghanistan fails to uproot the alleged terrorist network, the Neo-Conservatives focus inwards, searching unsuccessfully for terrorist "sleeper cells" in America. They then extend the war on "terror" to a war against general perceived evils with the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The ideas and tactics also spread to the United Kingdom where Tony Blair uses the threat of terrorism to give him a new moral authority. The repercussions of the Neo-Conservative strategy are also explored with an investigation of indefinitely-detained terrorist suspects in Guantanamo Bay, many allegedly taken on the word of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance without actual investigation on the part of the United States military, and other forms of "preemption" against non-existent and unlikely threats made simply on the grounds that the parties involved could later become a threat. Curtis also makes a specific attempt to debunk fears of a dirty bomb attack, and concludes by reassuring viewers that politicians will eventually have to admit that their claims of threats are void of reality.

The title of this episode appears to refer to Plato's allegory of the cave, which is mentioned in the course of this part of the film, and to the belief in the complex in Tora Bora.

Project for the New American Century

THE REAL THING : NEW AMERICAN CENTURY

THE ANTIDOTE : OLD AMERICAN CENTURY

THE CORPORATION

The Corporation, Canada's most successful documentary in history, is the winner of 26 international awards and 10 Audience Choice Awards including the 2004 Sundance Film Festival.

The film charts the development of the corporation as a legal entity from its genesis to unprecedented legal protection stemming from creative interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, that is from its origins as an institution chartered by governments to carry out specific public functions, to the rise of the vast modern institutions entitled to some of the legal rights of a "person."

One central theme of the documentary is an attempt to assess the "personality" of the corporate "person" by using diagnostic criteria from the DSM-IV; Robert Hare, a University of British Columbia Psychology Professor and FBI consultant, compares the modern, profit-driven corporation to that of a clinically diagnosed psychopath. Watch it here...
http://freedocumentaries.org/teatro.php?filmID=102&lan=en&size=big

FILE UNDER / MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY ;)

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