Thursday, February 10, 2005

The Power of Documentaries

I just finished watching the final part of a three part BBC documentary called, “The Power of Nightmares: The Rise and Fall of the Politics of Fear.”

It was great!!! I highly recommend everyone watch this. My suggestion would be to search the Net to download it (torrent files or other sharing systems) or just to keep your ears/eyes open and hopefully come into contact with it.

Granted, some scepticism is always warranted, but the BBC has some credibility while most American news networks I already know to be sketchy at best. They definitely have a thesis they are presenting, but much of what they are saying is that “there was no evidence,” which is easily refuted by evidence. Of course, one of the main points made is that ‘evidence’ doesn’t seem to matter as much as it should. There were numerous edits during interviews, which I hope is only due to time and not selective information presentation. Otherwise, there might have to be a 4-part series about “The Power of Editing Documentaries like The Power of Nightmares…”

The documentary intelligently describes the rise of religious fanaticism in both America and the Middle East. It also wonderfully demolishes various opinions on certain events simply because there was never any evidence to support them. From Soviet abilities to Al Qaeda to Dirty bombs… none of these exist as presented by the media and governments. Absolutely stunning.

An American group (Team B) was cataloguing the Soviet threat and brought this info to the CIA. The CIA said most of it wasn’t true. Team B asked why. The CIA said there statement was based on, get this, the fact the CIA made up the info! And the group STILL didn’t believe them.

“Al Qaeda,” as a term, was never used by Bin Laden until after 9/11 when Americans used it to refer to him and a theoretical network of power. There is no network “in 60 countries,” there is just a small, detached fraction of people with similar views occasionally helping each other.

The dirty bomb is simply not plausible. It wouldn’t kill thousands; it just doesn’t work that way. The one estimate that said it would cause damage used calculation based on the notion that the people afflicted would have stayed in that spot for a year!

Here are two points that stood out (transcribed from video of them saying it):

Bush, in September 2000, “I just don’t think it’s the role of the United States to walk into a country and say ‘we do it this way, so should you.’” (Wow! What a flip-flopper! :P Either they worked on him for a while or 9/11 made him nuts like it did Dennis Miller.)

John Ashcroft, before a commission, “We had to make a shift in the way we thought about things. So being reactive, waiting for a crime to be committed, or waiting for there to be evidence of the commission of a crime, didn’t seem to us to be an appropriate way to protect the American people.” (Even Minority Report’s pre-cogs couldn’t do it!)

Makes me never want to watch the news. Well, American news at least. I see how hard it is to see beyond what is being presented. Even if you think, “They selected this story instead of others, they have people who are just giving their opinions, and they are a TV station that has to make money” you can still get trapped by thinking “these people care about the truth, right?” No, no they don’t. At least not like I do. Meaning, I will examine evidence contrary to my viewpoint and make sure I get the closest thing to truth before I present it. Or, I at least mention my sources and the lack of research that I’ve done.

If only others felt beholden to the aforementioned practices instead of those of deception, fear mongering and sophistry.


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