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The Power of Nightmares, a BBC documentary in three one- hour parts by Adam Curtis, is available free online and free from intellectual property burdens. It is in the Creative Commons so you can just download it from


Watch it and rebroadcast it anywhere you can. The series takes as its subject a comparison of two ideological groups that have tried to shape the entire world for the past fifty years using money, power, influence, religion, violence and finally fear.

This doc also seeks to define and address a change in policy makers: from positivists who seek to represent humanity toward a better life into negativists who perpetuate stereotypes of fear to remain in power. But fundamentally the series is a comparison of two radical groups who now hold the world in their grip:

The Islamic Fundamentalist Extremists and
The US American Neoconservatives

The series begins with an examination of the intellectual pursuits of Egyptian philosopher and Islamic Fundamentalist scholar Syed Qtub and Neo-conservative Scholar and University of Chicago professor Leo Strauss in 1949 and details how their pursuits led to what would become the ideology behind these two currents of hyper-conservative thought that have been extremely active: struggling against their own societies, subsequently working together to defeat the Soviet Union in Afghanistan and ending up in direct conflict in a Winner-Take-All-Fight-to-the-Death, which is taking place even now in the guise of the War on Terror [which ought rightfully be called the War of Terror].

But more, this series properly addresses the tactic of fear used by both groups, and especially that used by the neocons, to propagandize humanity into electing politicians willing to use the fear model for their own selfish interests – Tony Blair is really exposed as an opportunist by this series.

I deeply wish more people could see this doc so we could begin a discussion to reframe the global power conversation that is being dictated to us by military and militant authorities.

Curtis’ series does not address the possibility of Neocon or US American complicity in the attack on 9/11 nor does it properly address the Clinton era in context:

He says 9/11 was executed by extreme readers of Islamic Fundamentalism and leaves it at that [he says the actual events were executed by a plan drawn by KSM (that’s Khalid Sheik Mohammad in CIA-speak)] and that Clinton was a fundamentally good agent who was buried by a neocon cabal which trained its powers of attack at him [painting Clinton as a victim].

In these readings, I have differences with Curtis, but he doesn’t take a stance on these matters that threatens the possibilities lined out by many other researchers and documentarians with more access and focus on them. He simply leaves them as generally accepted media ideas for the sake of a wider, more historiographic perspective that is really very brilliant.

He proposes very effectively that the neocons have used the exact same exaggerative tactics to take down first the Soviet Union, then Bill Clinton and now, finally, Muslim Fundamentalism under the vague rubric of Terrorism.

The series goes further and proposes that “there is no al Qaeda.” And fully debunks the Bush administrations claims of successful anti-terror work in the USA post-9/11.

This is a GREAT historical view of conflicts authored by and between the Neocons and the Islamist Extremists … really important work.

Please find some one with high speed connection universities would be perfect places to achieve this – and broadcast them widely.

Film clubs, organizations, peace groups, non-profits, NGOs, students or professors or faculty or staff with access to computer labs with high-speed connections: please download this important three part series from the BBC and have public viewings and showings.

I urge this because I think it would make a great beginning to reframing the 21st century conversation.

M.T. Karthik
31 October 2005