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.
In 2003 Robert Newman toured his one-man political/musical comedy show From Caliban To The Taliban – 500 Years Of Humanitarian Intervention, the precursor to his acclaimed A History of Oil which was filmed for More4, and his BBC TV series The History of the World Backwards.
In a breathtaking ninety minute performance filmed in front of a live audience at the Brighton Corn Exchange Theatre during the 2003 Paramount Comedy Festival, From Caliban To The Taliban details an unlikely but true history of modern imperialism, from the Virginia Company to the occupation of Iraq, and demonstrates the towering intelligence and sparkling wit of comedy superstar and former teen heart-throb, Robert Newman.
People say that there are two issues in this year’s elections: the war and the economy. But in many ways, that’s just one issue – Joseph Stiglitz talking at the London School of Economics last month(paraphrased from memory).
Wars are always expensive affairs, but the occupation of Iraq has taken that to new levels. Private armies of “civilian contractors” and cost-plus “reconstruction firms” have notoriously pushed up the price, but caring for wounded veterans also takes its toll on the economy, as does the increase in the price of oil.
However, few of these costs made themselves felt in the first four and a half years of war. The Federal Reserve has created a bubble of debt, allowing half a trillion to be spent on the military (never mind all the hidden costs) without any associated tax increase. That bubble is now bursting – or so argues the Nobel Prize-winning economist and notorious World Bank whistleblower Joseph Stiglitz in this address to Colombia University.
In the sixties too, the U.S. was engaged in an unpopular, unjustifiable and ultimately unwinnable war. Then, a whole generation of young men were drafted to fight, to die, and to kill in Vietnam. This is the story (50 mins) of how those young men said “no”.
Welcome to a new 21st century year, and how better to kick it off with a bit of real life sci-fi? This 29 minute documentary examines the American establishment’s attempts to consolidate its hegemony through the militarisation of space.
Okay, there’s unintentional hilarity from the low production values – including the worst autocue reading I’ve ever seen, and the old confusion between, on the one hand, Cheney and Rumsfeld’s wildest and most sinister fantasies and, on the other, the real world – but serious points are raised and it’s worth seeing through the medium to the message
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.