The Power of Nightmares

If you haven't seen this classic deconstruction of the "War on Terror", you really should watch it. Originally broadcast in Britain in 2005, it has never been broadcast (to my knowledge) on U.S. television, but has played in a shortened version in a few U.S. film festivals.

Downloads here:

Front page it.

Front page it.

Now Available on DVD Amazon ,Elsewhere

Thanks for that

I wanted to put these on mu blog but couldn't quit remember the name.

It Becomes a Self-fulfilling Thing Adam Curtis talks with Errol

It Becomes a Self-fulfilling Thing
The Believer

On October 31, 2005, Errol Morris, Academy Award winning director of The Fog of War, interviewed Adam Curtis, director of “The Power of Nightmares”, the documentary film which asks the question “Did Johnny Mercer bring down the World Trade Center?” Originally broadcast on the BBC, a film version was shown at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival, where it was widely praised. Drawing extensively on archival footage from the BBC Library, the film has encountered difficulties in finding distribution in the U.S.
Morris and Curtis discuss conspiracy theories, unintended consequences, and notional moles.
EM: The Power of Nightmares uses a substantial quantity of archival material and stock-footage. I call it re-processed media. Perhaps a better expression would be re-purposed media. It’s different from the traditional use of found footage in news documentaries. Here stock-footage becomes expressionistic – never literal – an excursion into a dream – or, if you prefer – nightmare. I tried at various times in the last six months to find out why The Power of Nightmares is not being shown in the United States. The archival material from the BBC library has been cleared for use in the UK but not worldwide.
AC: It’s not physical censorship, although none of the TV networks want to show it. Something I always wanted to ask you, was McNamara happy with the way you cut him?
EM: No, he was not happy. But I'm not sure that anything would’ve made him happy. He never said this to me directly, but he did tell Craig, his son, that he liked the movie.
AC: I thought you treated him just fine. You were ambiguous. It was difficult to know what you thought about him.
EM: I still don’t know what I think. The New York Times, today on the front page, had an article about new evidence concerning incidents in the Gulf of Tonkin in August 1964. The incidents – which are discussed in The Fog of War – have been disputed for over forty years. There are those that believe that they were part of a conspiracy to escalate the Vietnam War. Here’s a question: Are they right? And, in an even more general sense, is history primarily a history of conspiracy? Or is it just a series of blunders, one after the other? Confusions, self-deceptions, idiocies of one kind or another?
AC: It’s the latter. Where people do set out to have conspiracies, they don’t ever end up like they're supposed to. History is a series of unintended consequences resulting from confused actions, some of which are committed by people who may think they're taking part in a conspiracy, but it never works out the way they intended. For example, you could say the Gulf of Tonkin was a conspiratorial action to accelerate entry into war, yes?
EM: Here’s the conspiracy argument. The Johnson administration wanted to escalate the war in Vietnam. But they needed a pretext. And so they provoked these two incidents in the Gulf of Tonkin in order to get Congressional approval for escalation. The claim is: they had a grand plan. And the plan was war. I’ve never had much of an appetite for conspiracy theories. Here's my argument in a nutshell. People are too much at cross purposes with each other, too stupid, too self absorbed to ever effectively conspire to do anything....


Thanks Rep, Joe--great resource

Joe, the above story is pretty interesting background.

I will be downloading and watching.

...don't believe them!

even though very

even though very unfortunately Adam Curtis is not even Lihop or Mihop however this still stands as one of the best and well made 9/11 / war on terror based movies i have ever seen. I'd argue its possibly the most well-made documentary film of all time.
It doesn't focus too much on 9/11 luckily, it mostly spends its time explaining why the War on Terror is mostly fictional, and it does an amazing job of that.
My favorite parts of the film are when they show Zawahari as a young man and the soundtrack is wonderfully chosen. Adam curtis did a great job finding obscure footage of the war in Afghanistan and of lots of vintage footage of terrorist bombings and rallies.

the last time i saw a documentary that emotionally effected me in the same way was Fog of War
(aj films , press for truth, and loose change im not including because those are in a league of their own)

Google links...

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

*by the way, I am reading Jon Ronson's "The Men Who Stare At Goats" (which is being made into a movie with George Clooney)...there's some interesting stuff in there about a fella down in Florida named Bert Rodriguez who teaches martial arts to "ex-military guys, ex-Special Forces. Spooks." (pg.82).

"In April 2001, Bert Rodriguez took on a new student. His name was Ziad Jarrah. Ziad just turned up at the US I Fitness Center one day and said he had heard that Bert was good. Why Ziad chose Bert, of all the martial arts instructors scattered around the Florida shoreline, is a matter of speculation. Maybe Bert's uniquely occultic reputation preceded him, or perhaps it was Bert's military connections. Plus, Bert had once taught the head of security for a Saudi prince. Maybe that was it.

Ziad told Bert that he was a businessman who traveled a great deal and wanted to learn how to defend himself if a group attacked him." (pg. 83)

"Bert trained Ziad for six months. He liked him, sympathized with his tough upbringing in Lebanon. He gave Ziad copies of three of his knife-fighting training manuals, and Ziad passed them out to a friend of his, Marwan al-Shehhi, who was staying up the road in room 12 of the Panther Motel and Apartments in Deerfield Beach, Florida.

We know this because when Marwan al-Shehhi checked out of the Panther Motel on September 10, 2001, he left behind a flight manual for a Boeing 757, a knife, a black canvas bag, an English-German dictionary, and three martial arts manuals written by Bert Rodriguez, the man Stuart Heller had called "the most First Earth Battalion guy I know." (pg.84)

just thought I'd throw that out there.

Thanks for posting those links to Power of Nightmares on Google

I just emailed them to the reporter who wrote the story below.

A reporter, an airplane, a little cold tablet and a lot of guns.
How taking a vitamin tablet almost turned into a major incident.

By David Ho
Saturday, June 21, 2008


It was the day after Father's Day. I had my 3-year-old son in my thoughts and the gift of a blue tie in my luggage.

At the airport, my gadget-filled carry-on got a common close look — extra X-rays, bomb residue swabs, a hand search. I thanked the agent for thoroughness.

Expecting delays, I bought two sandwiches and two bottles of water. Sitting right beside the gate, I sorted BlackBerry e-mail, ate a banana and drank orange juice.

With no cup handy, I tipped water in the empty OJ bottle and tossed in a tablet of Airborne, the dissolving vitamin supplement intended to ward off colds. With the plane boarding and the tablet still melting, I dropped the bottle in the plastic "I Love NY" bag from the sandwich counter. I soon drank the water at my seat.

I wasn't surprised when we waited nearly an hour on the runway.

But I didn't expect a return to the gate. Certainly not the Port Authority Police car waiting for us and the four more cars and trucks speeding our way. I was really surprised by the two guys in black body armor who strode toward the front of the plane with automatic weapons.


An older officer approached.

"Here's the deal," he said. "A passenger saw you doing something suspicious."

"Like what?" I asked.

"Mixing something," he said.

Mixing something? I was stunned. This was about me?

I thought for half a second and then laughed before blurting out unwise words.

"It's Airborne," I said.

"What's airborne right now?" the officer said sharply.

"No, the cold medication you take when you go on an airplane," I said.

He asked me if it was still in my bag. Sure, I said.

"Dissolves in liquid, right?" the officer said, holding the brightly labeled plastic tube. He spoke with a resigned disgust that seemed to say he was tired of never-ending false alarms.

"Wonderful," another said. Someone muttered about wasted money.

Don't forget "The Century of

Don't forget "The Century of the self" - this is Adam Curtis' best in my opinion. The Power of Nightmares is tremendous but this gets to the root of mass manipulation via the work of psychology/sociology eggheads (including Sigmund Freud’s nephew Edward Bernays) employed by the powers that be for greater control over the masses:

The Century Of The Self - Part 1 of 4 - By Adam Curtis

The Century of the self 2 of 4

The Century of the Self 3 of 4

The Century of the Self 4 of 4

> People are too much at

> People are too much at cross purposes with each other,
> too stupid, too self absorbed to ever effectively conspire to do anything.

This is something I constantly hear and I don't understand it at all. Since a single human being can't really do anything alone, how do these people think that anything at all ever gets done? Manhattan Project? Hoover Dam?

power of nightmares just

power of nightmares just came out today on netflix....