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The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear 

A series of three documentaries about the use of fear for political gain.




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Series cast summary:
Gilles Kepel Gilles Kepel ...  Self - Historian of Islamist Movement 3 episodes, 2004
Melvin Goodman ...  Self - Head of Office of Soviet Affairs CIA 1976-87 2 episodes, 2004
Stephen Holmes Stephen Holmes ...  Self - Political Philosopher 2 episodes, 2004
William Kristol ...  Self 2 episodes, 2004
Michael Ledeen ...  Self / ... 2 episodes, 2004
Richard Perle Richard Perle ...  Self / ... 2 episodes, 2004
Azzam Tamimi Azzam Tamimi ...  Self - Institute of Islamic Political Thought 2 episodes, 2004
Fouad Allam Fouad Allam ...  Self - Interrogator Interior Ministry 1958-87 1 episode, 2004
Abdullah Anas Abdullah Anas ...  Self - General Commander Afghan Arabs - Northern Afghanistan 1984-89 1 episode, 2004
Omar Azzam Omar Azzam ...  Self - Cousin of Ayman Zawahiri 1 episode, 2004
Milton Bearden ...  Self - CIA Field Officer - Afghanistan 1985-89 1 episode, 2004
Robert Bork ...  Self - Senior Member Federalist Society 1 episode, 2004
David Brock David Brock ...  Self 1 episode, 2004
Jason Burke Jason Burke ...  Self - Author 'Al Qaeda' 1 episode, 2004
Anne Cahn Anne Cahn ...  Self - Arms Control and Disarmament Agency 1977-80 1 episode, 2004
John Calvert John Calvert ...  Self - Islamist Historian 1 episode, 2004
Vincent Cannistraro Vincent Cannistraro ...  Self - Head of Counter-terrorism CIA 1988-90 1 episode, 2004
David Cole David Cole ...  Self - Professor of Law - Georgetown University 1 episode, 2004
Joe Conason Joe Conason ...  Self - Author 'The Hunting of the President' 1 episode, 2004
Bill Durodie Bill Durodie ...  Self - Director International Centre for Security Analysis - Kings College 1 episode, 2004
Essam El Erian Essam El Erian ...  Self - Senior Member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt 1 episode, 2004
Roxanne Euben Roxanne Euben ...  Self - Political Scientist 1 episode, 2004
Mikhail Gorbachev ...  Self - General Secretary Soviet Communist Party 1 episode, 2004
Kamal Habib Kamal Habib ...  Self - Founder Member of Islamic Jihad 1 episode, 2004
Ron Hansen Ron Hansen ...  Self - Reporter - The Detroit News 1 episode, 2004
Ali Haroun Ali Haroun ...  Self - Algerian Minister for Human Rights 1991-92 1 episode, 2004
David Johnston David Johnston ...  Self - Intelligence Specialist - New York Times 1 episode, 2004
Lewis Z. Koch Lewis Z. Koch ...  Self - Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 1 episode, 2004
Irving Kristol Irving Kristol ...  Self 1 episode, 2004
Michael Lind Michael Lind ...  Self - Journalist and Former Neoconservative 1 episode, 2004
Harvey Mansfield Harvey Mansfield ...  Self - Straussian Philosopher - Harvard University 1 episode, 2004
John Molloy John Molloy ...  Self - Defence Lawyer Lackawanna Trial 1 episode, 2004
Richard Pipes Richard Pipes ...  Self 1 episode, 2004
John Prados John Prados ...  Self - National Security Archive - Washington 1 episode, 2004
Theodore Rockwell Theodore Rockwell ...  Self - Nuclear Scientist and Radiation Risk Expert 1 episode, 2004
Stanley Rosen Stanley Rosen ...  Self - Pupil of Leo Strauss 1949 1 episode, 2004
Sam Schmidt Sam Schmidt ...  Self - Defence Lawyer Embassy Bombings Trial 1 episode, 2004
William Swor William Swor ...  Self - Defence Lawyer Detroit Sleeper Cell Trial 1 episode, 2004
Paul Weyrich ...  Self - Religious Activist - Republican Party 1 episode, 2004
Jack Wheeler ...  Self - Adviser to the Reagan White House 1981-84 1 episode, 2004
Paul Wolfowitz ...  Self 2 episodes, 2004


A series of three documentaries about the use of fear for political gain.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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[first lines]
Narrator: In the past, politicians promised to create a better world. They had different ways of achieving this, but their power and authority came from the optimistic visions they offered their people. Those dreams failed and today people have lost faith in ideologies. Increasingly, politicians are seen simply as managers of public life, but now they have discovered a new role that restores their power and authority. Instead of delivering dreams, politicians now promise to protect us: from ...
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Alternate Versions

For its second BBC broadcast in January 2005, part 3 was updated to reflect the Law Lords' recent ruling that the detention without trial of foreign terrorist suspects was illegal. See more »


Featured in Zomergasten: Episode #20.3 (2007) See more »


The Big Ship
Written by Brian Eno
Performed by Brian Eno (as Eno)
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User Reviews

Few can claim to know about the clash of the US/west versus Muslim fundamentalism and the interaction of US politics in that clash without seeing this video.
5 November 2004 | by intnsredSee all my reviews

This is a superb 3-part BBC documentary about how gov'ts overblow

threats to create "nightmares" which can then be used for domestic

purposes/control. It traces the US neo-cons back to the Cold War days

and examines how both the neo-cons and Islamic fundamentalists falsely

claim credit for destroying the overblown threat of the USSR. The film

then examines the so-called War on Terror (WoT). It includes

outstanding "evidence" of the terrorist "sleeper cell" trials in the US

(you have to watch and see this evidence to believe it!!). This is an

extremely well done, insightful look at the post-9/11 reactions by the

US and UK and will challenge propaganda about the WoT (e.g. the US

gov't named Al Queda not Bin Laden; nuclear scientists and the Pentagon

both say a "dirty bomb" would most likely not kill anyone) with

reasoned and well-sourced logic and arguments.

For more information, see: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/3755686.stm

The first episode is not the most exciting, since it does the

historical background to set up the last two episodes. (You can get

the gist of the entire documentary just by watching the last two.

Viewing the BBC's link above will give some add'l info.) Few can claim

to know about the clash of the US/west versus Muslim fundamentalism and

the interaction of US politics in that clash without seeing this video

-- it's that good!

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Release Date:

2004 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Siła koszmarów: Powstanie polityki strachu See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(3 parts) | (theatrical)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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