Wednesday, 25 February 2009

CULTURE JAM - Hijacking Commercial Culture

Culturejam: Hijacking Commercial Culture delivers a fascinating rap on the 20th Century movement called Culture Jamming. Pranksters and subversive artists are causing a bit of brand damage to corporate mindshare. Jammers, cultural commentators, a billboard advertiser and a constitutional lawyer take us on a wild roller coaster ride through the back streets of our mental environment. Stopping over in San Francisco, New York's Times Square, and Toronto, we catch the jamming in action with Batman-inspired Jack Napier of the Billboard Liberation Front, Disney arch-enemy Reverend Billy from the Church of Stop Shopping and Media Tigress Carly Stasko. Culturejam asks: Is Culture Jamming civil disobedience? Senseless vandalism? The only form of self defense left?

Saturday, 7 February 2009

The Genius of Charles Darwin (Richard Dawkins)

Initially broadcast on Channel 4 in autumn 2008

Part 1: Life, Darwin & Everything

In the first episode Richard Dawkins explains the basic mechanisms of natural selection, and tells the story of how Charles Darwin developed his theory.

He teaches a year 11 science class about evolution, which many of the students are reluctant to accept. He then takes them to the Jurassic Coast in Dorset to search for fossils, hoping that the students can see some of the evidence for themselves.

Dawkins visits Nairobi, where he interviews a prostitute who seems to have a genetic immunity to HIV, and talks to microbiologist Larry Gelmon. He goes on to predict that genetic immunity to HIV is a trait that will become more prevalent in the community over time.

Part 2: The Fifth Ape

In the second episode Richard Dawkins deals with some of the philosophical and social ramifications of the theory of evolution.

Dawkins starts out in Kenya, speaking with palaeontologist Richard Leakey. He then visits Christ is the Answer Ministries, Kenya's largest Pentecostal church, to interview Bishop Bonifes Adoyo. Adoyo has led the movement to press Kenya's national museum to sideline its collection of hominid bones pointing to man's evolution from ape to human. The collection includes the Turkana Boy discovered by Kamoya Kimeu, a member of a team led by Richard Leakey in 1984.

Dawkins discusses social darwinism and eugenics, explaining how these are not versions of natural selection, and that "Darwin has been wrongly tainted".

He then meets with evolutionary psychologist Steven Pinker to discuss how morals can be compatible with natural selection. He goes on to explaining sexual selection, with peafowls as an example. To find out whether sexual selection plays a role for altruism and kindness among humans, he visits women who are looking for sperm donors, as well as a sperm bank manager. Dawkins also explains kin selection and selfish genes.

Part 3: God Strikes Back

In the third and final episode, Dawkins explains why Darwin's theory is one of history's most controversial ideas.

Saving Africa's Witch Children - Channel 4 - Dispatches

In some of the poorest parts of Nigeria, where evangelical religious fervour is combined with a belief in sorcery and black magic, many thousands of children are being blamed for catastrophes, death and famine - and branded witches by powerful pastors. These children are then abandoned, tortured, starved and murdered - all in the name of Jesus Christ.

This Dispatches Special follows the work of one Englishman, 29-year-old Gary Foxcroft, who has devoted his life to helping these desperate and vulnerable children.
Gary's charity, Stepping Stones Nigeria, raises funds to help Sam Itauma, who five years ago, rescued four children accused of witchcraft. He now struggles to care for over 150 in a makeshift shelter and school in the Niger Delta region called CRARN (Child Rights and Rehabilitation Network).

Gary and Sam introduce Dispatches to some of the rescued children who have been through unimaginable horrors, such as Ekemeni, aged 13, who was tied up with chicken wire and starved and beaten for two weeks, and Mary, aged 14
, who was burnt with acid before her mother attempted to bury her alive. Other children display the hallmarks of witch-branding - acid burns and machete scars. Uma Eke, aged 17, has been left brain-damaged after having a three-inch nail driven into her skull.

Hospitals refuse to treat children associated with sorcery, so Sam's centre does its best to provide medical aid. As well as the physical scars, the children arrive at the shelter badly traumatised by their experiences, with many of them brain-washed into accepting they are possessed by the devil.

The parents or siblings of children torture them in an attempt to kill them or force confessions from them to admit that they are witches. As Gary remarks, the children at CRARN are the lucky ones - they're still alive.

Influential preachers from the more extreme churches brand the children witches or wizards and exploit their desperate parents by charging them exorbitant amounts of money in return for exorcising the spirits. The film features extraordinary access to some of the preachers who openly discuss their work. One preacher who calls himself 'The Bishop,' says he has made a fortune by carrying out 'deliverances' on children. He admits having killed 110 people in the past. Dispatches films him as he administers a mixture of pure alcohol, a substance known as 'African mercury' and his own blood to one child accused of witchcraft.

Exorcism is big business. Preachers can charge as much as a year's salary for an average Nigerian to treat children. They often hold the child captive until the parents can pay up. The Niger Delta area is oil rich - but very few have access to oil wealth; the average life expectancy is around 47.

Since this film was screened, the self-proclaimed Bishop at the centre of the Dispatches programme which revealed the extent of the abuse and torture of children branded as witches in Nigeria has been arrested and charged with murder. The film which has had widespread public support showed how people in some of the poorest parts of the country were killing children they claimed had caused death and famine.

Unseen Gaza - Channel 4 - Dispatches

Is what has been presented on our screens and in our papers a true reflection of events on the ground in
Gaza? And how do these reports differ to those aired in other countries?

With reporters unable to enter Gaza, attempted media manipulation from both sides and strict regulations governing what images that can be shown on British TV, Jon Snow asks a range of journalists from at home and abroad about the challenges of getting the full story.

Featuring images that haven't before been aired on mainstream television, Jon also examines the difference between the coverage at home and that in the US, Europe and the Middle East. He compares the coverage available on terrestrial channels with satellite TV and the internet and investigates the extent to which some British Muslims are by-passing the mainstream British media and looking elsewhere for their information.

To what extent does the choice of news outlet affect opinion of the conflict?



Friday, 6 February 2009

The Fourth World War

From the front-lines of conflicts in Mexico, Argentina, South Africa, Palestine, Korea, and the North; from Seattle to Genova, and the War on Terror in New York, Afghanistan, and Iraq, The Fourth World War is the story of men and women around the world who resist being annihilated in this war.

While our airwaves are crowded with talk of a new world war, narrated by generals and filmed from the noses of bombs, the human story of this global conflict remains untold. The Fourth World War brings together the images and voices of the war on the ground. It is a story of a war without end and of those who resist.

The product of over two years of filming on the inside of movements on five continents, The Fourth World War is a film that would have been unimaginable at any other moment in history. Directed by the makers of This Is What Democracy Looks Like and Zapatista, produced through a global network of independent media and activist groups, it is a truly global film from our global movement.

(Apologies – no subtitles)

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Poles Apart? - Capitalism or socialism ... as the planet heats up

A filmed talk featuring Glenn Morris of 'Arctic Voice' and Brian Gardner, The Socialist Party, (plus audience questions). Recorded at Conway Hall, London, April 5th 2008.

See also: Arctic Voice website and
Socialist Party website




Sunday, 18 January 2009


Clash of Worlds was a series of three documentaries broadcast between 2007 and 2008, which explored how past conflicts between a Christian West and Islam can help explain more recent violence.

Mutiny tells of the Indian Mutiny of 1857, in which both sides committed atrocities in the name of their faiths.

Palestine looks largely at British involvement in the the Middle east between 1916 and 1948. and how decisions made by the British rulers of Palestine ninety years ago have wreaked damage that continues today.

Sudan tells the story of the Mahdi uprising of the 1880s and which challenged the might of the British empire and its Christian hero, General Charles Gordon. The British went to great lengths to destroy him and his followers, but his story continues to inspire modern day militants.




Friday, 16 January 2009

Slingshot Hip Hop

Slingshot Hip Hop braids together the stories of young Palestinians living in the West Bank, Gaza and inside Israel as they discover Hip Hop and employ it as a tool to surmount divisions imposed by occupation and poverty. From internal checkpoints and Separation Walls to gender norms and generational differences, this is the story of young people crossing the borders that separate them. Featuring: DAM from Lyd, PR (Palestinian Rapperz) from Gaza, ABEER from Lyd, Arapeyat from Akka, Mahmoud Shalabi from Akka. Support the artists in the film and the filmmakers by purchasing the film or a soundtrack, featuring music by DAM, PR, Abeer, and others

Official site

Death in Gaza

In spring 2003, award-winning filmmaker James Miller and reporter Saira Shah, set out to take a first-hand look at the culture of hate that permeates the Middle East. They captured the lives of three Palestinian children growing up in the bullet-riddled streets of Gaza. Although James and Saira had planned to film the lives of Israeli children as well, in the midst of production, Miller was shot to death by an Israeli tank, falling victim to the very conflict he covered.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009


1. Shadows of Doubt. Jonathan Miller visits the absent Twin Towers to consider the religious implications of 9/11 and meets Arthur Miller and the philosopher Colin McGinn. He searches for evidence of the first 'unbelievers' in Ancient Greece and examines some of the modern theories around why people have always tended to believe in mythology and magic.

2. Noughts and Crosses. With the domination of Christianity from 500 AD, Jonathan Miller wonders how disbelief began to re-emerge in the 15th and 16th centuries. He discovers that division within the Church played a more powerful role than the scientific discoveries of the period. He also visits Paris, the home of the 18th century atheist, Baron D'Holbach, and shows how politically dangerous it was to undermine the religious faith of the masses.

3. The Final Hour. The history of disbelief continues with the ideas of self-taught philosopher Thomas Paine, the revolutionary studies of geology and the evolutionary theories of Darwin. Jonathan Miller looks at the Freudian view that religion is a 'thought disorder'. He also examines his motivation behind making the series touching on the issues of death and the religious fanaticism of the 21st Century.

Part 1. Shadows of Doubt

Part 2. Noughts and Crosses

Part 3. The Final Hour

Sunday, 11 January 2009

George Carlin: You Are All Diseased - Live at the Beacon Theatre, New York City

The late George Carlin at his best - this being the show where he famously spends 10 minutes at the end tearing into religion.


Noam Chomsky - Distorted Morality: America's War on Terror?Includes a speech at Harvard plus question and answer period. A riveting and devastating critique of the US's "War on Terror". Chomsky is amazing. Period. Don't miss this if you've never sat and listened to Chomsky. Don't miss this if you’ve seen or heard every other Chomsky talk. Don't miss this.

The wild rage that stormed through the brains of the people... turning them into temporary madmen, incapable of seeing, hearing, or thinking correctly, has spent itself. Figures are beginning to appear in their true relative proportions, and there is some likelihood that sane words will be sanely listened to.
Voltairine De Cleyre

Noam Chomsky is a renowned scholar, the founder of the modern science of linguistics, a philosopher, a political and social analyst, a media critic, an author of more than 70 books, a winner of numerous prizes and awards and ranks with Marx, Shakespeare and the Bible as one of the 10 most quoted sources in the humanities.

In this remarkable DVD, Noam Chomsky offers a riveting but devastating critique of America's current War on Terror - arguing, in fact, that it is a logical impossibility for such a war to be taking place.

Professor Chomsky presents his reasoning with astonishing and refreshing clarity, drawing from a wealth of historical knowledge and analysis. "Only those who are entirely ignorant of modern history will be surprised by the course of events, or by the justifications that are provided..."

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Darwin's Nightmare

Winner of an Oscar for Best Documentary, DARWIN'S NIGHTMARE is a tale about people, the North/South divide, globalization, and about fish.

Some time in the 1960s, in the heart of Africa, a new animal was introduced into Lake Victoria as a little scientific experiment. The Nile Perch, a voracious predator, extinguished almost the entire stock of the native fish species. However, this new gigantic fish multiplied incredibly fast, and its white fillets are today exported all around the world. Huge hulking ex-Soviet cargo planes come daily to collect the latest catch in exchange for their southbound cargo: Kalashnikovs and ammunitions for the uncounted wars in the dark center of the African continent.

This booming multinational industry of fish and weapons has created an ungodly globalized alliance on the shores of the world’s biggest tropical lake: an army of local fishermen, World Bank agents, homeless children, African ministers, EU-commissioners, Tanzanian prostitutes and Russian pilots. DARWIN'S NIGHTMARE brings us in close for an intimate and at times uncomfortable look at this world, and in doing so this film deftly unpacks the puzzle of globalization in a visually stunning and raw portrait of life on this planet.

Friday, 9 January 2009


One Nation Under Siege is a forceful unmasking of the U.S. government and those in powerful positions who are actively dismantling the United States Bill of Rights for their own gain and greed.

Through the research of over a dozen internationally distinguished authors, journalists, doctors, and military experts you will begin to understand the massive and ceaseless control projected onto an unsuspecting population by a government that may have finally crossed the line from a representative republic to a fascist state.

One Nation Under Siege features a cast of award winning journalists, writers, military experts and physicians all speaking out on issues that affect every American. Guests include: Derry Brownfield, Charlotte Iserbyt, Dr. Rima Laibow, Jim Marrs, Liz McIntyre, Dr. Stan Monteith, Niki Raapana, Joyce Riley RN, Major General Albert Stubblebine, Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, Joan Veon, Dave vonKleist and others.

Quotes from the film:

A globalist is someone who believes in globalism and globalism, essentially, is the drive for one world government, one world military, one world economy, which on a broad philosophical basis may not be that bad after all we are one humanity living on one planet, and frankly I can see the day coming when somebody’s going to say ‘where do you come from?’ and you’ll say ‘I’m from Earth.’ But the problem is we are being pushed into globalism by secrecy and by deceit and nobody’s getting a chance to consider the ramifications, or consider the methodology that’s being used to push us into this globalization.

Media blackout is nothing more than media control. It is the determination of what the public will hear, what they will not hear. And how to make it sound in such a way that the public will accept it. And it is totally against everything this country stands for. But, the average person doesn’t even know that they’re experiencing it anytime they turn on the T.V.

I think it’s important to understand that most of the educational programs that are implemented in the United States stem from the National Education Association. And, the NEA was actually founded by John D. Rockefeller. And John D. Rockefeller, I think, voiced the beliefs of this ruling elite that wants to try to homogenize our education system when he was quoted as saying ‘I don’t want a nation of thinkers - I want a nation of workers’. So I think the education system is not only pushing people into a socialized version of government, but also dumbing the individual down to the point to where he’ll be a good worker in the factory or he’ll be a good worker in silicon valley - he may know a lot about computers, but he is not gonna’ have a classic education that would allow him to take all of the facets of the culture and society and put it together and really form an intelligent opinion as to to what’s going on and what might be in the best interest of the individual.

Ok. We say we’ve got freedom of the press in this country. And some folks have said you’ve got freedom of press as long as you own it. Well who owns the media? And, when I say that, I mean not literally, but as far as who controls the information that goes out in the media. Example: NBC is owned by General Electric. And General Electric is one of the top ten if not one of the top five defense contractors. Is NBC going to expose a news story that might in some way impede a contract negotiation which could mean a lot of money for General Electric? I don’t think so. So the point here is that we have elected officials, both republicrats and demopublicans, that cater to who?…certainly not the common people. We don’t have the huge amounts of money to contribute to their election campaigns. The people that contribute the most amount of money are the corporations. So that representative, or senator, is going to do what is going to be in the best interest of those corporations. So if the corporations are controlling and influencing our elected officials we must also take a look at the mainstream media. Who pays the bulk of the advertising dollars that keep the mainstream network news’s the major corporations. So what we have now is we have corporate control of elected officials, corporate control of the media…and this is why now some people are calling it the corporate Borg because they have assimilated several different areas of our entire society. The corporations control agriculture, technology, manufacturing, industry, education, communication. They control our elected officials. This is not a government by and for the people. It is a government of, by, and for the corporation. And by definition when business controls government that is inescapably fascism.

You think the purpose of education is reading, writing, and arithmetic? The purpose of education is to change the thoughts, actions, and feelings of students. Hitler wanted to control the educational system in Germany… Stalin did in Russia, Mao Zedong in China. You have to get a hold of the minds of the young where you break the person’s values. You break their understanding of their individuality. You bring them to consensus with the group. They become a member of the collective. It’s Soviet education basically.

If they’re gonna’ have a global system of government, what type of government would that be? Of course, there are those now that are touting the UN is the only answer, because our system is all flawed and our leaders are all screwed up and there’s too much corruption here. Well they want to bring forward this world government through the UN Charter. Many people that support the UN Charter have never read it. And if they had read it and figured out where it came from, and compared the UN Charter to the United States Constitution they’ll find that they’re absolutely repugnant. You can’t have them coexisting. So common sense tells me that if the globalists want a one world government, they have to destroy the United States Constitution and our way of life. And, they’ve got to do so in such a way that we’ll actually embrace it.

The average American would be shocked to find out there is something called COINTELPRO. The FBI’s covert action programs against American citizens. That’s the name of their document - the government document, not my rendition of it. In fact it is report 94-755 called Supplementary Detailed staff reports of intelligence activities and the rights of Americans—–. This is a hearing that occurred in 1976. Now, some notable people that sat on this hearing: Philip Hart, Walter Mondale, Gary Hart, Howard Baker, Barry Goldwater, and Richard Schweiker. Now, this senate report tells what the FBI was doing against the American citizens, literally. Here is their statement. COINTELPRO began in 1956 in part because of the frustration with the supreme court rulings limiting the government’s power to precede overtly against dissident groups. It ended in 1971 with the threat of public exposure. But in the intervening fifteen years the bureau conducted, their terms, a sophisticated vigilante operation aimed squarely at preventing the exercise of First Amendment rights of speech and association. This is incredible. When you look at this and when I was able to get a copy of this document, which is over three thousand pages long, I was shocked.

One of the things we’re doing is developing all sorts of technology. Not to spy on the Russians, not to spy on the Chinese, not to spy on Osama Bin Laden, but to control the American people. We have satellites… are they monitoring what’s going on in
Russia or China today? Or, are they watching what’s going on in the United States. We have a program known as Echelon where they listen to every telephone call, every email, record every fax here in the United States. And all of this is done by computers. All of these messages are kept indefinitely on computer disks. What the American people must understand is that the massive amounts of money we are spending on defense is not to protect America, but ultimately used to control the American population as we move from freedom to fascism.