All too often, the phrase "corporate free press" is something of an oxymoron. Whether to maximise sales, to attract advertisers, or simply to promote the interests of their wealthy owners, the mass media open strange, self-serving and grossly distorted windows onto the world.
This website is another window. Here you'll find documentaries, lectures and interviews following a different editorial line.
Taxi to the Dark Side is an excellent documentary charting the recent history of the US Governments use of torture. I hadn’t realised that a high level legal adviser to the President, John Yoo, went as far as publicly arguing that “there is no law that could prevent the President from ordering the torture of a child of a suspect in custody – including by crushing that child’s testicles.” Rationality gone mad – his name has gone on my list of people whose testicles do need crushing.
As a side note, I enjoyed Stephen Kings recent comments on the debate as to whether waterboarding is torture or not “if the Bush administration didn’t think it was torture, they ought to do some personal investigation. Someone in the Bush family should actually be waterboarded so they could report on it to George. I said, I didn’t think he would do it, but I suggested Jenna be waterboarded and then she could talk about whether or not she thought it was torture.”
“This is dedicated to two people who are no longer with us, Dilawar, the young Afghan taxi driver, and my father, a navy interrogator who urged me to make this film because of his fury about what was being done to the rule of law. Let’s hope we can turn this country around, move away from the dark side and back to the light.” Alex Gibney, Director, Academy Award acceptance speech.
John Pilger’s first collaboration with fellow Australian director Alan Lowery, looks at the worldwide struggle for soft drink supremacy by the Coca Cola company, and illuminates the power of multinational corporations.
It’s not fascism, so ignore the hysterical Hitler references. However, this short film (14 mins), compiled from the police’s own footage, is definitely one to watch.
Anyone who’s been on a demo in the last few years will have clocked the police intelligence teams, snapping up faces with their oversized cameras. This footage shows how the operate – and reveals the lengths to which the police will go to enforce their authoritah.
A bizarre but compelling examination of humour in the Third Reich (58 mins). At first this was tolerated, and even encouraged – back then, no-one took the Nazis too seriously, and the more people were snickering the less they were rising up – but as the war drew on jokes became a channel for subversive informationand dissent, and by the end laughter out of turn was cracked down upon severely.
An important short documentary (24 mins), made shortly before the emergency, on the disappearances in Pakistan. Pakistan, like most military dictatorships, has a pretty terrible human rights record, but the state kidnappings of The War Against Terror are a disturbing new development.
Released just as Tony Blair was leaving office, this film documents his ten-year war against civil liberties, begun as a way of protecting businesses from ‘harrassment’ but dramatically escalated as part of The War Against Terror.
I had a few things lined up to go with this film, but decided they detracted from the seriousness of the issue. However, the soundtrack is ace, and that last song deserves reposting in its entirety without being talked over. So here, for your listening pleasure, is Jarvis with Running The World.
Today, Congressman and Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich is attempting to kick off impeachment proceedings against Vice President Dick “DarthVader” Cheney, through the use of what’s called a priveleged resolution. The charges one could bring against Cheney are legion, and polls show that 54% of Americans want to see him impeached (the idea of impeaching President Bush, is slightly less popular, at 45%, but that’s still more than ever wanted to impeach Nixon).
This PBS documentary (56 mins) charts some of Cheney’s struggles for greater power, pitting the White House against Congress and the Department of Justice in particular.
The great Israeli historian Ilan Pappe has described the JNF as Israel’s main agency of ethnic cleansing. In UK, US, Canada and Australia on the other hand, this organization receives tax-deductible charity status. In the guise of a nature conservation agency, this quasi-governmental organization has long assisted the Israeli state in the expropriation of Palestinian land. Some of the villages ethnically cleansed by the Israeli military now have JNF parks built on top to cover the evidence. These parks usually carry the name of the country whose donors helped build them. Here is Canadian TV’s look from 1991 at the Canada Park which conceals the ruins of the ethnically cleansed Palestinian villages of Imwas, Yalu and Beit Nuba.
This special report (52 mins) from 2004 sees John Pilger explode the War On Terror myth with revealing interviews and shocking coverage of warzones. The segments on Afghanistan are particularly illuminating – especially if we bear in mind that, eclipsed by the disaster that is Iraq, the violence has only been escalated there since this film was made – and it’s also the source for that “pre-fascist” quote.
This documentary (50 mins) revisits the infamous 1970 experiment in which the Psychology Department of Stanford University recreated a prison environment, staffed and inhabited solely by healthy students with no history of mental imbalance.
The resulting brutality shows that, quite apart from bizzare individual pathologies, acts of great evil can come simply from people trying to conform to a role – as borne out by the recent experiences of occupying forces in Iraq and Gaza.