Archive

Archive for January, 2011

Robert Baer on US-Iran Relations (Hardtalk – BBC)

January 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Robert Baer is a former Middle East specialist with the CIA. He says America is slowly facing up to the truth that Iran is a regional superpower. President Bush has likened direct diplomatic engagement with Iran to appeasement of Hitler. But Washington has sent a top US diplomat to meet Iran’s nuclear negotiators. There is also talk of an American diplomatic representation in Tehran. What is behind this apparent change of strategy?

Categories: International, Iran Tags: , , ,

Axis of Evil: Christopher Hitchens

January 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Acclaimed writer and political scholar Christopher Hitchens may just be the only writer to have recently visited Iran, Iraq and North Korea. Hitchens – known for his keen wit, sharp political insight and often controversial opinions – examines the differences between the countries once linked as the “axis of evil” while revealing intriguing connections between the nations.

Categories: International, Iran Tags: , ,

The Cult of a Suicide Bomber

January 26, 2011 Leave a comment

Robert Baer, former Middle East CIA undercover operative and the author whose bestseller See No Evil was the basis for the Syriana movie, and the man George Clooney’s character in the movie is based upon.

Robert Baer returns to his former center of operations, the Middle East, to trace the origins of the modern day suicide bomber. In this poignant documentary, Baer reveals the fascinating story of the world’s first suicide bomber, 13-year-old Hossein Fahmideh who was martyred in the Iran-Iraq war and is now a hero in Iran; and visits his highly decorated grave in the graveyard of martyrs just outside Tehran.

The Power of Nightmares (BBC Documentary)

January 23, 2011 Leave a comment

The Power of Nightmares, subtitled The Rise of the Politics of Fear, is a BBC documentary film series, written and produced by Adam Curtis.

The films compare the rise of the Neo-Conservativemovement in the United States and the radical Islamistmovement, making comparisons on their origins and claiming similarities between the two. More controversially, it argues that the threat of radical Islamism as a massive, sinister organised force of destruction, specifically in the form of al-Qaeda, is 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.

Part 1: Baby it’s cold outside

The first part of the series explains the origin ofIslamism and Neo-Conservatism.


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.

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 organisation of terrorists, and were dependent upon independent operatives to carry out their new call for jihad.


Categories: International Tags: , ,

The Great Global Warming Swindle

January 15, 2011 Leave a comment

he Great Global Warming Swindle is a polemical documentary film that suggests that the scientific opinion on climate change is influenced by funding and political factors, and questions whether scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming exists.

The film’s basic premise is that the current scientific opinion on the anthropogenic causes of global warming has numerous scientific flaws, and that vested monetary interests in the scientific establishment and the media discourage the public and the scientific community from acknowledging or even debating this. The film asserts that the publicised scientific consensus is the product of a “global warming activist industry” driven by a desire for research funding. Other culprits, according to the film, are Western environmentalists promoting expensive solar and wind power over cheap fossil fuels in Africa, resulting in African countries being held back from industrialising.

The film won best documentary at the 2007 Io Isabella International Film Week.

Secular Believers

January 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Beliefs, and believers, come in many shapes and sizes, and not all of them can be described as ‘religious’. This program provides an introduction to a fascinating range of non-religious people and their beliefs.

Categories: Science Tags: , ,

The Illusion of reality (BBC Four)

January 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Professor Jim Al-Khalili explores how studying the atom forced us to rethink the nature of reality itself. He discovers that there might be parallel universes in which different versions of us exist, finds out that empty space isn’t empty at all, and investigates the differences in our perception of the world in the universe and the reality.

The Ape That Took Over The World (BBC Documentary)

January 10, 2011 Leave a comment

In 2001, scientists announced an amazing discovery: the oldest skull of a human ancestor ever found. The 3,5 million year old fossil was remarkably complete, and unlike any previous fossil find. Its discovery – by a team led by Meave Leakey of the famous Leakey fossil-hunting family – has revolutionised our understanding of how humans evolved.

The Secret You (Horizon – BBC)

January 10, 2011 Leave a comment

With the help of a hammer-wielding scientist, Jennifer Aniston and a general anaesthetic, Professor Marcus du Sautoy goes in search of answers to one of science’s greatest mysteries: how do we know who we are? While the thoughts that make us feel as though we know ourselves are easy to experience, they are notoriously difficult to explain. So, in order to find out where they come from, Marcus subjects himself to a series of probing experiments.

He learns at what age our self-awareness emerges and whether other species share this trait. Next, he has his mind scrambled by a cutting-edge experiment in anaesthesia. Having survived that ordeal, Marcus is given an out-of-body experience in a bid to locate his true self. And in Hollywood, he learns how celebrities are helping scientists understand the microscopic activities of our brain. Finally, he takes part in a mind-reading experiment that both helps explain and radically alters his understanding of who he is.

Categories: Evolution, Science Tags: ,

Post-Oil (Crosstalk – Russia Today)

January 9, 2011 Leave a comment

What is, or should be, our energy future? Should we embrace green technology to replace our current addiction to carbon fuels? (Though there are those who believe this an unrealistic scam at the moment). Is the future path nuclear energy, considered by many as far safer today than a generation ago? A combination of both? Or is oil the only real answer for the near and medium term?