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HyperNormalisation 2016 with English subtitles  
  

MUSIC: The Vanishing American Family by Scuba Z

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EXPLOSION

We live in a strange time.

Extraordinary events keep happening

that undermine the stability of our world.

Suicide bombs, waves of refugees,

Donald Drumpf, Vladimir Putin,

even Brexit.

EXPLOSION

Yet those in control seem unable to deal with them,

and no-one has any vision

of a different or a better kind of future.

MUSIC: Something I Can Never Have by Nine Inch Nails

This film will tell the story of how we got to this strange place.

It is about how, over the past 40 years,

politicians, financiers and technological utopians,

rather than face up to the real complexities of the world,

retreated.

Instead, they constructed a simpler version of the world

in order to hang on to power.

And as this fake world grew, all of us went along with it,

because the simplicity was reassuring.

Even those who thought they were attacking the system -

the radicals, the artists, the musicians,

and our whole counterculture -

actually became part of the trickery,

because they, too, had retreated into the make-believe world,

which is why their opposition has no effect

and nothing ever changes.

MUSIC: The Vanishing American Family by Scuba Z

But this retreat into a dream world

allowed dark and destructive forces to fester and grow outside.

Forces that are now returning to pierce the fragile surface

of our carefully constructed fake world.

# In dreams

# I live... #

The story begins in two cities at the same moment in 1975.

One is New York.

The other is Damascus.

It was a moment when two ideas about how it might be possible

to run the world without politics first took hold.

In 1975, New York City was on the verge of collapse.

For 30 years, the politicians who ran the city

had borrowed more and more money from the banks

to pay for its growing services and welfare.

But in the early '70s, the middle classes fled from the city

and the taxes they paid disappeared with them.

So, the banks lent the city even more.

But then, they began to get worried about the size of the growing debt

and whether the city would ever be able to pay it back.

And then one day in 1975,

the banks just stopped.

The city held its regular meeting to issue bonds

in return for the loans, overseen by the city's financial controller.

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

Today, the city of New York is offering for competitive bidding

the sale of 260 million tax anticipation notes,

of which 100 million will mature on June 3rd, 1975.

The banks were supposed to turn up at 11am,

but it soon became clear that none of them were going to appear.

The meeting was rescheduled for 2pm

and the banks promised they would turn up.

The announcement on behalf of the controller is that the offer,

which we had expected to receive

and announce at two o'clock this afternoon,

is now expected at four o'clock.

Paul, does this mean that, so far, nobody wants those bonds?

We will be making a further announcement at four o'clock

and anything further that I could say now I think would not advance

the interest of the sale, which is now in progress.

Does this mean that you have not been able to sell them so far today?

We will have a further announcement at four o'clock.

What happened that day in New York marked a radical shift in power.

The banks insisted that in order to protect their loans

they should be allowed to take control of the city.

The city appealed to the President,

but he refused to help,

so a new committee was set up to manage the city's finances.

Out of nine members, eight of them were bankers.

It was the start of an extraordinary experiment

where the financial institutions took power away from the politicians

and started to run society themselves.

The city had no other option.

The bankers enforced what was called "austerity" on the city,

insisting that thousands of teachers, policemen

and firemen were sacked.

This was a new kind of politics.

The old politicians believed that crises were solved

through negotiation and deals.

The bankers had a completely different view.

They were just the representatives

of something that couldn't be negotiated with -

the logic of the market.

To them, there was no alternative to this system.

It should run society.

Just by shifting paper around,

these slobs can make 60 million, 65 million in a single transaction.

That would take care of all of the lay-offs in the city,

so it's reckless, it's cruel and it's a disgrace.

There would be a fair number of bankers, of course,

who'd say it's the unions who have been too greedy.

What would your reaction be to that? I guess they're right in a way.

If you can make 60 million on a single transaction,

and a worker makes 8,000, 9,000 a year, I suppose they're correct,

and as they go back to their little estates in Greenwich, Connecticut,

I want to wish them well, the slobs.

But the extraordinary thing was no-one opposed the bankers.

The radicals and the left-wingers who, ten years before,

had dreamt of changing America through revolution did nothing.

They had retreated

and were living in the abandoned buildings in Manhattan.

The singer Patti Smith later described the mood of disillusion

that had come over them.

"I could not identify

"with the political movements any longer," she said.

"All the manic activity in the streets.

"In trying to join them, I felt overwhelmed

"by yet another form of bureaucracy."

What she was describing was the rise of a new, powerful individualism

that could not fit with the idea of collective political action.

Instead, Patti Smith and many others

became a new kind of individual radical,

who watched the decaying city with a cool detachment.

They didn't try and change it.

They just experienced it.

Look at that. Isn't that cool?

I love that, where, like, kids write all over the walls.

That, to me, is neater than any art sometimes.

"Jose and Maria forever."

Oh, there's a lot of things, like, when you pass by big movie houses,

maybe we'll find one, but they have little movie screens,

where you can see clips of, like, Z, or something like that.

People watch it over and over.

I've seen people, I've checked them out. All day!

I've gone back and forth and they're still there

watching the credits of a movie, cos they don't have enough dough,

but it's some entertainment, you know?

Instead, radicals across America turned to art and music

as a means of expressing their criticism of society.

They believed that instead of trying to change the world outside

the new radicalism should try and change

what was inside people's heads,

and the way to do this was through self-expression,

not collective action.

U

V

W

X

Y

Z

But some of the Left saw that something else was really going on -

that by detaching themselves and retreating into an ironic coolness,

a whole generation were beginning to lose touch

with the reality of power.

Shut up.

Shut up!

One of them wrote of that time,

"It was the mood of the era

"and the revolution was deferred indefinitely.

"And while we were dozing, the money crept in."

SOBBING

What's your date of birth, Larry?

But one of the people who did understand how to use this new power

was Donald Drumpf.

Drumpf realised that there was now no future

in building housing for ordinary people,

because all the government grants had gone.

But he saw there were other ways

to get vast amounts of money out of the state.

Drumpf started to buy up derelict buildings in New York

and he announced that he was going to transform them

into luxury hotels and apartments.

But in return, he negotiated the biggest tax break

in New York's history, worth 160 million.

The city had to agree because they were desperate,

and the banks, seeing a new opportunity,

also started to lend him money.

And Donald Drumpf began to transform New York into a city for the rich,

while he paid practically nothing.

At the very same time, in 1975,

there was a confrontation between two powerful men in Damascus,

the capital of Syria.

One was Henry Kissinger, the US Secretary of State.

The other was the President of Syria, Hafez al-Assad.

The battle between the two men

was going to have profound consequences for the world.

And like in New York, it was going to be a struggle

between the old idea of using politics to change the world

and a new idea that you could run the world as a stable system.

President Assad dominated Syria.

The country was full of giant images and statues that glorified him.

He was brutal and ruthless,

killing or imprisoning anyone he suspected of being a threat.

But Assad believed that the violence was for a purpose.

He wanted to find a way of uniting the Arab countries

and using that power to stand up to the West.

Four,

three,

two,

one.

Kissinger was also tough and ruthless.

He had started in the 1950s

as an expert in the theory of nuclear strategy.

What was called "the delicate balance of terror."

It was the system that ran the Cold War.

Both sides believed that if they attacked,

the other side would immediately launch their missiles

and everyone would be annihilated.

Kissinger had been one of the models for the character

of Dr Strangelove in Stanley Kubrick's film.

Mr President, I would not rule out the chance

to preserve a nucleus of human specimens.

It would be quite easy.

At the bottom of some of our deeper mineshafts.

Henry was not a warm, friendly, modest, jovial sort of person.

He was thought of as one of the more...

..anxious, temperamental, self-conscious,

ambitious, inconsiderate people at Harvard.

Kissinger saw himself as a hard realist.

He had no time for the emotional turmoil of political ideologies.

He believed that history had always really been a struggle for power

between groups and nations.

But what Kissinger took from the Cold War

was a way of seeing the world as an interconnected system,

and his aim was to keep that system in balance

and prevent it from falling into chaos.

I believe that with all the dislocations we now experience,

there also exists an extraordinary opportunity

to form, for the first time in history, a truly global society

carried up by the principle of interdependence,

and if we act wisely, and with vision,

I think we can look back to all this turmoil

as the birth pangs of a more creative and better system.

If we miss the opportunity, I think there's going to be chaos.

The flight has been delayed, we understand now.

Kissinger will be arriving here about an hour and a half from now,

so we'll just have the press informed

and then we'll stay in contact with you...

And it was this idea that Kissinger set out to impose

on the chaotic politics of the Middle East.

But to manage it,

he knew that he was going to have to deal with President Assad of Syria.

President Assad was convinced that there would only ever be

a real and lasting peace between the Arabs and Israel

if the Palestinian refugees were allowed to return to their homeland.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians

were living in exile in Syria,

as well as in the Lebanon and Jordan.

Have you found that the Palestinians here want to integrate

with the Syrians at all?

Oh, no. No, never.

They don't want...

Not here or neither in Lebanon or in Jordan, never.

No, because they want to stay as a whole, as...Palestinian.

As... They call themselves, "Those Who Go Back" -

"al-a'iduun", you say in Arabic.

Assad also believed that such a peace

would strengthen the Arab world.

But Kissinger thought that strengthening the Arabs

would destabilise his balance of power.

So, he set out to do the very opposite -

to fracture the power of the Arab countries,

by dividing them and breaking their alliances,

so they would keep each other in check.

Kissinger now played a double game.

Or as he termed it, "constructive ambiguity".

In a series of meetings, he persuaded Egypt

to sign a separate agreement with Israel.

But at the same time, he led Assad to believe

that he was working for a wider peace agreement,

one that WOULD include the Palestinians.

In reality, the Palestinians were ignored.

They were irrelevant to the structural balance

of the global system.

The hallmark of Kissinger's thinking about international politics

is its structural design.

Everything is always connected in his mind to everything else.

But his first thoughts are on that level,

on this structural global balance of power level.

And as he addresses questions of human dignity,

human survival, human freedom...

..I think they tend to come into his mind

as an adjunct of the play of nations at the power game.

When Assad found out the truth, it was too late.

In a series of confrontations with Kissinger in Damascus,

Assad raged about this treachery.

He told Kissinger that what he had done

would release demons hidden under the surface of the Arab world.

Kissinger described their meetings.

"Assad's controlled fury," he wrote,

"was all the more impressive for its eerily cold,

"seemingly unemotional, demeanour."

Assad now retreated.

He started to build a giant palace that loomed over Damascus...

..and his belief that it would be possible to transform the Arab world

began to fade.

A British journalist, who knew Assad, wrote...

"Assad's optimism has gone.

"A trust in the future has gone.

"What has emerged instead is a brutal, vengeful Assad,

"who believes in nothing except revenge."

The original dream of the Soviet Union

had been to create a glorious new world.

A world where not only the society,

but the people themselves would be transformed.

They would become new and better kinds of human beings.

But by the 1980s, it was clear that the dream had failed.

WOMAN GASPS

WOMAN SPEAKS RUSSIAN

The Soviet Union became instead

a society where no-one believed in anything

or had any vision of the future.

RUSSIAN SONG PLAYS

Those who ran the Soviet Union had believed that they could plan

and manage a new kind of socialist society.

But they had discovered that it was impossible

to control and predict everything

and the plan had run out of control.

But rather than reveal this, the technocrats began to pretend

that everything was still going according to plan.

And what emerged instead was a fake version of the society.

The Soviet Union became a society where everyone knew

that what their leaders said was not real

because they could see with their own eyes

that the economy was falling apart.

But everybody had to play along and pretend that it WAS real

because no-one could imagine any alternative.

One Soviet writer called it "hypernormalisation".

You were so much a part of the system

that it was impossible to see beyond it.

The fakeness was hypernormal.

TANNOY ANNOUNCEMENT IN RUSSIAN

In this stagnant world, two brothers -

called Arkady and Boris Strugatsky -

became the inspiration of a growing new dissident movement.

They weren't politicians, they were science fiction writers,

and in their stories,

they expressed the strange mood that was rising up

as the Soviet Empire collapsed.

Their most famous book was called Roadside Picnic.

It is set in a world that seems like the present,

except there is a zone that has been created by an alien force.

People, known as "stalkers", go into the zone.

They find that nothing is what it seems,

that reality changes minute by minute.

Shadows go the wrong way.

There are hidden forces that twist your body

and change the way you think and feel.

The picture the Strugatskys gave

was of a world where nothing was fixed.

Where reality - both what you saw and what you believed -

had become shifting and unstable.

And in 1979, the film director Andrei Tarkovsky

made a film that was based on Roadside Picnic.

He called it Stalker.

WIND WHISTLES

I, Ronald Reagan, do solemnly swear...

..That I will faithfully execute

the office of president of the United States.

..that I will faithfully execute

the office of president of the United States.

The new president of America had a new vision of the world.

It wasn't the harsh realism of Henry Kissinger any longer,

it was different -

it was a simple, moral crusade,

where America had a special destiny to fight evil

and to make the world a better place.

The places and the periods in which man has known freedom

are few and far between -

just scattered moments on the span of time.

And most of those moments have been ours.

The American people have a genius for great and unselfish deeds.

Into the hands of America,

God has placed the destiny of an afflicted mankind.

God bless America.

But this crusade was going to lead Reagan

to come face-to-face with Henry Kissinger's legacy...

..and, above all, the vengeful fury of President Assad of Syria.

EXPLOSION Israel was now determined

to finally destroy the power of the Palestinians.

And, in 1982, they sent a massive army

to encircle the Palestinian camps in the Lebanon.

Do you know... Do you know how strong the Israelis are?

Do you know how many tanks they have outside Beirut?

Do you know how strong they are?

HE TRANSLATES

That means "We are not ready to surrender".

Young, young, young!

NEARBY EXPLOSIONS

Keep going!

Dashed into this building here because the PLO guys with us

expect that, sooner or later, there will be a huge explosion.

There've been several of these in the last few minutes.

As you can see,

there's enormous damage in all the buildings round here.

EXPLOSION

Quick, quick!

DISTANT EXPLOSIONS

Two months later, thousands of Palestinian refugees

were massacred in the camps.

It horrified the world.

But what was even more shocking

was that Israel had allowed it to happen.

Its troops had stood by and watched

as a Christian Lebanese faction murdered the Palestinians.

This was the first of the massacres we discovered yesterday.

Now, 24 hours later, the stench here is appalling.

But the effects on the Israelis

of what their Christian allies did here

and in dozens of other places around this camp

are going to be immense.

There's always been a risk of such massacres if Christian militiamen

were allowed to come into Palestinian camps,

and the Israelis seem to have done nothing

to prevent them coming into this one.

In the face of the horror and the growing chaos,

President Reagan was forced to act.

He announced that American marines would come to Beirut

to lead a peacekeeping force.

Reagan insisted that the troops were neutral.

But President Assad was convinced that there was another reality.

He saw the troops as part of the growing conspiracy

between America and Israel to divide the Middle East into factions

and destroy the power of the Arabs.

Assad decided to get the Americans out of the Middle East.

And to do this, he made an alliance

with the new revolutionary force of Ayatollah Khomeini's Iran.

And what Khomeini could bring to Assad

was an extraordinary new weapon that he had just created.

It was called it "the poor man's atomic bomb".

CHANTING:

Ayatollah Khomeini had come to power two years before

as the leader of the Iranian revolution.

But his hold on power was precarious,

and Khomeini had developed a new idea of how to fight his enemies

and defend the revolution.

Khomeini told his followers that they could destroy themselves

in order to save the revolution providing that, in the process,

they killed as many enemies around them as possible.

This was completely new,

because the Koran specifically prohibited suicide.

In the past, you became a martyr on the battlefield

because God chose the time and place of your death.

But Khomeini changed this.

He did it by going back to one of the central rituals of Shia Islam.

MUSIC PLAYS

Every year, Shi'ites march in a procession

mourning the sacrifice of their founder, Husayn.

As they do, they whip themselves,

symbolically re-enacting Husayn's suffering.

Khomeini said that the ultimate act of penitence

was not just to whip yourself,

but to kill yourself...

..providing it was for the greater good of the revolution.

In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful,

good afternoon.

"An Iraqi Soviet-made MiG-23 was shot down

"by the air-force jet fighters of the Islamic Republic

"over the north-western Iranian border region of Marivan

"at 10.08 hours local time, Saturday,"

said the Joint Staff Commands communique numbered 1710.

Khomeini had mobilised this force

when the country was attacked by Iraq.

Iran faced almost certain defeat

because Iraq had far superior weapons,

many of them supplied by America.

So, the revolutionaries took tens of thousands of young boys

out of schools, put them on buses and sent them to the front line.

CHANTING

Their job was to walk through the enemies' minefields,

deliberately blowing themselves up in order to open gaps

that would allow the Iranian army to pass through unharmed.

It was organised suicide on a vast scale.

This human sacrifice was commemorated

in giant cemeteries across the country.

Fountains flowing with blood red-water

glorified this new kind of martyrdom.

And it was this new idea -

of an unstoppable human weapon -

that President Assad took from Khomeini,

and brought to the West for the first time.

But, as it travelled,

it would mutate into something even more deadly.

Instead of just killing yourself,

you would take explosives with you into the heart of the enemy

and then blow yourself up,

taking dozens or even hundreds along with you.

It would become known as "suicide bombing".

In October 1983, two suicide bombers

drove trucks into the US marine barracks in Beirut.

It was seeing something move that took me out of my trance.

And then I recognised, "Oh, yes, marines were in that building.

"A lot of marines were in that building."

And that's when I ran down and...

And it was a black... black marine.

He looked white.

The dust had just covered him.

The massive explosions killed 241 Americans.

The bombers were members of a new militant group

that no-one had heard of.

They called themselves Hezbollah

and, although many of them were Iranian,

they were very much under the control of Syria

and the Syrian intelligence agencies.

President Assad was using them as his proxies to attack America.

Whoever carried out yesterday's bombings - Shia Muslim fanatics,

devotees of the Ayatollah Khomeini, or whatever -

it is Syria who profits politically.

The most significant fact is that the dissidents live and work

with Syrian protection.

So, it is to Syria rather than to the dissident group's guiding light,

Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran, that we must look for an explanation

of the group's activities. Destabilisation is Syria's

Middle-Eastern way of reminding the world that Syria

must not be left out of plans for the future of the area.

There are no words that can express our sorrow and grief

for the loss of those splendid young men

and the injury to so many others.

These deeds make so evident the bestial nature

of those who would assume power

if they could have their way and drive us out of that area.

But despite his words, within four months,

President Reagan withdrew all the American troops from the Lebanon.

The Secretary of State George Shultz explained.

"We became paralysed by the complexity that we faced," he said.

So, the Americans turned and left.

For President Assad, it was an extraordinary achievement.

He was the only Arab leader to have defeated the Americans

and forced them to leave the Middle East.

He had done it by using the new force of suicide bombing.

A force that, once unleashed,

was going to spread with unstoppable power.

But at this point, both Assad and the Iranians

thought that they could control it.

And what gave it this extraordinary power

was that it held out the dream

of transcending the corruptions of the world

and entering a new and better realm.

TRANSLATION:One should defend the realm of Islam and Muslims

against heretics and invaders.

And to fulfil this duty, one should even sacrifice one's life.

We believe that martyrs can overlook our deeds from the other world.

It means that, after death,

the martyr lives and can still witness this world.

By the middle of the 1980s, the banks were rising up

and becoming ever more powerful in America.

What had started ten years before in New York,

the idea that the financial system could run society,

was spreading.

But unlike older systems of power, it was mostly invisible.

A writer called William Gibson

tried to dramatise what was happening

in a powerful, imaginative way, in a series of novels.

Gibson had noticed how the banks and the new corporations

were beginning to link themselves together through computer systems.

What they were creating was a series of giant networks of

information that were invisible to ordinary people

and to politicians.

But those networks gave the corporations

extraordinary new powers of control.

'Good morning. South-West Development. May I help you?'

Gibson gave this new world a name.

He called it "cyberspace"

and his novels described a future that was dangerous and frightening.

Hackers could literally enter into cyberspace and as they did,

they travelled through systems that were so powerful

that they could reach out and crush intruders by destroying their minds.

In cyberspace, there were no laws and no politicians to protect you.

Just raw, brutal corporate power.

But then, a strange thing happened.

A new group of visionaries in America

took Gibson's idea of a hidden, secret world

and transformed it into something completely different.

They turned it into a dream of a new utopia.

They were the technological utopians who were rising up

on the West Coast of America.

They turned Gibson's idea on its head.

Instead of cyberspace being a frightening place,

dominated by powerful corporations,

they reinvented it as the very opposite.

A new, safe world where radical dreams could come true.

Ten years before, faced by the complexity of real politics,

the radicals had given up on the idea of changing the world.

But now, the computer utopians saw, in cyberspace,

an alternative reality.

A place they could retreat to away from the harsh right-wing politics

that now dominated Reagan's America.

The roots of this vision lay back in the counterculture

of the 1960s, and, above all, with LSD.

We've got some more acid over here if you want to go ahead.

Many of those who had taken LSD in the '60s

were convinced that it was more than just another drug,

that it opened human perception

and allowed people to see new realities

that were normally hidden from them.

See, the ones that have white in them are really great.

SHE GIGGLES

I feel like a rabbit.

It freed them from the narrow, limited view of the world

that was imposed on them by politicians and those in power.

In the United States, in the next, five, ten, 15 years,

you're going to see more and more people taking LSD and making it

a part of their lives, so there will be an LSD country within 15 years.

An LSD society, there will be less interest

in, obviously, warfare,

in power politics.

You know, politics today is a disease, it's a real addiction.

Politics, politics, politics, politics.

Don't politick, don't vote - these are old men's games.

Impotent and senile old man that want to put you

onto their old chess games of war and power.

20 years later, the new networks of machines seemed to offer

a way to construct a real alternate reality.

Not just one that was chemically induced,

but a space that actually existed

in a parallel dimension to the real world.

And like with acid,

cyberspace could be a place where you would be liberated from the old,

corrupt hierarchies of politics and power and explore new ways of being.

One of the leading exponents of this idea was called John Perry Barlow.

In the '60s, he had written songs for the Grateful Dead

and been part of the acid counterculture.

Now, he organised what he called "cyberthons",

to try and bring the cyberspace movement together.

Well, you know, the cyberthon as it was originally conceived

was supposed to be...

..the '90s equivalent of the acid test

and we had thought to involve some of the same personnel.

You and I and Timmy should sit down and talk. OK. That is good.

And it immediately acquired a financial quality

or a commercial quality that was initially

a little unsettling to an old hippy like me,

but as soon as I saw it actually working, then I thought,

"Ah, well, if you're going to have an acid test for the '90s,

"money better be involved."

Instead of having a glass barrier that separates you -

your mind - from the mind of the computer,

the computer pulls us inside and creates a world for us.

Incorporates everything that could be incorporated.

It incorporates experience itself.

Barlow then wrote a manifesto

that he called A Declaration Of Independence Of Cyberspace.

It was addressed to all politicians,

telling them to keep out of this new world.

It was going to be incredibly influential,

because what Barlow did was give a powerful picture of the internet

not as a network controlled by giant corporations,

but, instead, as a kind of magical, free place.

An alternative to the old systems of power.

It was a vision that would come to dominate the internet

over the next 20 years.

Governments of the industrial world,

cyberspace does not lie within your borders.

We are creating a world where anyone,

anywhere, may express his or her beliefs,

no matter how singular,

without fear of being coerced

into silence or conformity.

I declare the global social space we are building

to be naturally independent

of the tyrannies you seek to impose on us.

We will create a civilisation of the mind in cyberspace.

May it be more humane and fair

than the world your governments have made before.

It's begun.

This is the key to a new order.

This code disk means freedom.

But two young hackers in New York thought that Barlow

was describing a fantasy world,

that his vision bore no relationship at all

to what was really emerging online.

They were cult figures on the early online scene

and their fans followed and recorded them.

They called themselves Phiber Optik and Acid Phreak

and they spent their time exploring and breaking in

to giant computer networks that they knew

were the hard realities of modern digital power.

My specific instance, I was charged with conspiracy

to commit a few dozen "overacts", they called them.

Among a number of things having to do with computer trespass and...

and I guess computer eavesdropping, interception.

Unauthorised access to federal interest computers,

which is pretty vague law.

Communications network computers and so on.

In a notorious public debate online, the two hackers attacked Barlow.

What infuriated them most was Barlow's insistence

that there was no hierarchy

or controlling powers in the new cyber world.

The hackers set out to demonstrate that he was wrong.

Acid Phreak hacked into the computers of

a giant corporation called TRW.

TRW had originally built the systems

that ran the Cold War for the US military.

They had helped create the delicate balance of terror.

Now, TRW had adapted their computers to run a new system,

that of credit and debt.

Their computers gathered up the credit data of millions of Americans

and were being used by the banks to decide individuals' credit ratings.

The hackers broke into the TRW network,

stole Barlow's credit history and published it online.

The hackers were demonstrating the growing power of finance.

How the companies that ran the new systems of credit

knew more and more about you,

and, increasingly, used that information to control your destiny.

But the system that was allowing this to happen

were the new giant networks of information

connected through computer servers.

The hackers were questioning whether Barlow's utopian rhetoric

about cyberspace might really be a convenient camouflage

hiding the emergence of a new and growing power

that was way beyond politics.

But cyberspace was not the only imaginary story being created.

Faced with the humiliating defeat in the Lebanon,

President Reagan's government was desperate to shore up

the vision of a moral world

where a good America struggled against evil.

And to do this they were going to create a simple villain.

An imaginary enemy, one that would free them

from the paralysing complexity of real Middle-Eastern politics.

The perfect candidate was waiting in the wings.

Colonel Gaddafi, the ruler of Libya.

The Americans were going to ruthlessly use Colonel Gaddafi

to create a fake terrorist mastermind.

And Gaddafi was going to happily play along,

because it would turn him into a famous global figure.

Colonel Gaddafi had taken power in a coup in the 1970s

but from the very start,

he was convinced that he was more than just the leader of one country.

He believed that he was an international revolutionary

whose destiny was to challenge the power of the West.

Gentlemen, the Queen.

GOD SAVE THE QUEEN PLAYS

When he was a young officer,

Gaddafi had been sent to England for training

and he had detested the patronising racism

that he said he had found at the heart of British society.

Yes, I attended a course.

I had been in England in 1966 from February to August.

You had the best months.

HE CHUCKLES

I was in Beaconsfield,

a village called Beaconsfield,

in an army school.

In fact, we were ill-treated in that place from some British officers.

I think the officers were Jews,

maybe Jews.

Ill-treated in what sort of way?

In many ways.

They ill-treat us every time.

By being rude or by bullying or...?

In their own behaviour towards us, they ill-treated us.

They hate us in there

because of colonisation.

It is the result of colonising.

Once in power, Gaddafi had developed his own revolutionary theory,

which he called the Third Universal Theory.

It was an alternative, he said, to communism and capitalism.

He published it in a green book,

but practically no-one read it.

He had sent money and weapons to the IRA in Ireland

to help them overthrow the British ruling class.

But all the other Arab leaders rejected him and his ideas.

They thought that he was mad.

And by the mid-1980s, Gaddafi was an isolated figure

with no friends and no global influence.

Then, suddenly, that changed.

In December 1985,

terrorists attacked Rome and Vienna airports simultaneously,

killing 19 people,

including five Americans.

There was growing pressure on President Reagan to retaliate.

It's time to rename your State Department

the Capitulation Department.

Get off of your stick, Mr President.

The American people are sick and tired of being kicked around.

You talk tough,

let's see you use some of these billions and billions

and billions of dollars' worth of weapons

that you've asked us to approve.

Your words are cheap talk.

President Reagan immediately announced

that Colonel Gaddafi was definitely behind the attacks.

These murderers could not carry out their crimes

without the sanctuary and support

provided by regimes such as Colonel Gaddafi's in Libya.

The Rome and Vienna murders are only the latest

in a series of brutal terrorist acts committed with Gaddafi's backing.

But the European security services who investigated the attacks

were convinced that Libya was not involved at all

and that the mastermind behind the attacks was, in fact, Syria -

that the terrorists had been directed

by the Syrian intelligence agencies.

But the Americans say that the attack at Rome Airport

was organised by Gaddafi, not by Damascus. What do you say?

No, we don't have any evidence... You have no evidence?

..supporting such an...affirmation.

The only evidence we have

shows a Syrian connection.

You say that it was Libya and the President

said the evidence of Libya's culpability was irrefutable.Yeah.

But the Italian authorities to whom I've spoken say emphatically

on the record that their investigations have shown

that it was entirely masterminded by Syria.

I don't agree with that at all.

Well, they interrogated the surviving terrorists.

I must just say I don't agree with that.

But you've no evidence that Libya was in on the planning either.

Our evidence on Libya is circumstantial, but very strong.

But why does the President then say it's "irrefutable",

if you call it "circumstantial"?

Well, people can be convicted and sentenced in our courts

on circumstantial evidence.

But what made it even more confusing

was that although there seemed to be no evidence

that Gaddafi had been behind the attacks,

he made no attempt to deny the allegations.

Instead, he went the other way

and turned the crisis into a global drama...

It is not a time of saying.

It is a time of war,

a time of confrontation.

..threatening suicide attacks against America.

TRANSLATION:

Gaddafi now started to play a role

that was going to become very familiar.

He grabbed the publicity that had been given to him

by the Americans and used it dramatically.

He promoted himself as an international revolutionary

who would help to liberate oppressed peoples around the world,

even the blacks in America.

Gaddafi arranged for a live satellite link

to a mass meeting of the Nation Of Islam in Chicago.

Brothers and sisters,

it is with great honour and privilege that I present to you

the leader of the al-Fateh Revolution from Libya,

our brother Muammar al-Gaddafi.

APPLAUSE

Gaddafi told them that Libya was now their ally

in their struggle against white America.

..To express my full support and support of my country

to your struggle for freedom, for emancipation.

Gaddafi promised that he would supply weapons

to create a black army in America of 400,000 men.

"If white America refuses to accept blacks as US citizens,"

he told them, "it must therefore be destroyed."

Gaddafi also invited a group of German rocket scientists

to come to Libya to build him a rocket.

He insisted that it had no military purpose.

Libya was now going to explore outer space.

I think it is peaceful and civil...

Civilian?

..civilian activity

for investigation of space

and something like this

and it has nothing to do with any military things.

But no-one believed him.

Journalists warned that Gaddafi was really preparing to attack Europe,

vividly dramatising the new danger.

That is something like this

which goes that way to put something into space.

But the same device tilted, say, to an angle of 45 degrees

could, of course, become something very different -

a missile possibly carrying a warhead.

That would put Libya within range of an enormous area.

A chilling proposition with its range of 2,000km.

The Americans and Gaddafi now became locked together

in a cycle of mutual reinforcement.

In the process, a powerful new image was created

that was going to capture the imagination of the West.

Gaddafi became a global supervillain,

at the head of what was called a "rogue state" -

a madman who threatened the stability of the world.

And Gaddafi was loving every minute of it.

So, you think, in the past,

his decisions sometimes have been taken too quickly...

Maybe, maybe. ..on world affairs?Maybe.

I think, sometimes, that is what has made people in the world

nervous of you, perhaps?Maybe.

HE CHUCKLES

Then, there was another terrorist attack

at a discotheque in West Berlin.

A bomb killed an American soldier and injured hundreds.

The Americans released what they said were intercepts

by the National Security Agency

that proved that Colonel Gaddafi was behind the bombing

and a dossier that they said proved that he was also the mastermind

behind a whole range of other attacks.

President Reagan ordered the Pentagon

to prepare to bomb Libya.

But again, there were doubts -

this time, within the American Government itself.

There were concerns that analysts were being pressured

to make a case that didn't really exist...

..and to do it, they were taking Gaddafi's rhetoric about himself

as a global revolutionary and his manic ravings

and then re-presenting them as fact.

And, in the process, together,

the Americans and Gaddafi were constructing a fictional world.

The analysts were certainly, I'm convinced...

pressured into developing a prima facie case

against the Libyan Government.

From the somewhat incoherent ravings of a maniac,

both interceptions of a clandestine nature

and interceptions of an open radio broadcast or whatever,

as well as other sources, quotations of his,

one can assemble a neatly-put-together package

demonstrating that the man had violent interests

against the United States and its European allies.

The European intelligence agencies

told the Americans that they were wrong,

that it was Syria that was behind the bombing, not Libya.

But the Americans had decided to attack Libya

because they couldn't face the dangerous consequences

of attacking Syria.

Instead, they went for Gaddafi,

a man without friends or allies.

Libya had less downsided consequences, if you will.

There's less Arab support for Gaddafi,

we figured there would be less Soviet support for Gaddafi.

There's no question that Libya was more vulnerable than Syria and Iran.

He was a soft target?And that is certainly an element, of course.

In April 1986, the Americans attacked Libya.

Their targets included Colonel Gaddafi's own house.

Immediately after the attack,

Gaddafi appeared in the ruins to describe what had happened.

TRANSLATION:The family were asleep and my wife

was, that day, tied down to the bed

because she had a slipped disc.

I tried to rescue the children

and the house started to collapse,

as you can see.

And the bombs started to land.

They concentrated on the children's room

so that they would kill all the children.

Our small adopted daughter was killed

and two of our children were injured.

But, yet again, Gaddafi might have been lying.

Ever since then,

there have been rumours that his adopted daughter actually survived.

But many other children were killed in the raid

because the American bombing was so inaccurate.

Gaddafi realised that the attention of the whole world

was now focused on him

and he grabbed the moment to promote his own revolutionary theory,

The Third Way, as a global alternative to democracy.

TRANSLATION:I feel that I'm really responsible

for conveying the Third Way theory and the Green Book

to the rising generations, to the young American and British people,

so that we can rescue America and Britain

and these generations of young people from this theory,

this electoral party theory

which enabled an imbecile like Reagan

to rule the mightiest power on Earth

and use it to destroy other people's homes

and enabled a harlot like Thatcher to rule a great nation like Britain.

MAN:Wow, look at that. What the heck is that?

Oh, my God, look at that.

Holy crap!

It's just moving really slowly. Wow!

Look, look, look! Come here, come here! What is it doing?

What the heck?!

Guys, it's...

Whoa!Oh, my gosh!

Wow!

What is happening? Dude, what is happening?!

What is going on? Oh, my gosh!

Oh, my God, guys! Guys, is that a freaking UFO?

Wait, can you get a good video? What is it?What the hell?

In the 1980s, more and more people in the United States

reported seeing unexplained objects and lights in the sky.

At the same time, investigators who believed in UFOs

revealed that they had discovered top-secret government documents

that stated that alien craft had visited Earth.

The documents had been hidden for 20 years

and they seemed to prove that there had been a giant cover-up.

But, actually, the reality was even stranger.

The American Government might have been making it all up,

that they had created a fake conspiracy

to deliberately mislead the population.

The lights that people imagined were UFOs

may, in reality, have been new high-technology weapons

that the US Government were testing.

The government had developed the weapons

because they, in turn,

imagined that the Soviet Union was far stronger than it was

and still wanted to conquer the world.

The government wanted to keep the weapons secret,

but they couldn't always hide their appearance in the skies

so it is alleged that they chose a number of people to use

to spread the rumour that these were really alien visitations.

One of those chosen was called Paul Bennewitz

who lived outside a giant air base in New Mexico

and had noticed strange things going on.

Years later,

I sat down with Paul at dinner

and told Paul exactly that everything we did

was a sanctioned counterintelligence operation to convince him

that what he was seeing was UFOs

and that what we didn't want him to know was

that he had tapped into something on the base

and we didn't want him to ever disclose that.

We kind of planted the seed in Paul

that what he was seeing and what he was hearing

and what he was collecting was, in fact,

probably, maybe, UFOs.

Bennewitz and others chosen by the agency

were, it is alleged, given a series of forged documents.

Many of them were top-secret memos by the military

describing sightings of unidentified aerial vehicles.

The documents spread like wildfire

and they formed the basis for the wave of belief in UFOs

that would spread through America in the 1990s.

What the fuck is that?That's a...

That's crazy, bro.

Is that that space, uh...?

And it also fuelled the wider growing belief

that governments lied to you -

that conspiracies were real.

What the Reagan administration were doing,

both with Colonel Gaddafi and with the UFOs,

was a blurring of fact and fiction

but it was part of an even broader programme.

The President's advisers had given it a name -

they called it "perception management"

and it became a central part of the American Government

during the 1980s.

The aim was to tell dramatic stories that grabbed the public imagination,

not just about the Middle East,

but about Central America

and the Soviet Union

and it didn't matter if the stories were true or not,

providing they distracted people and you, the politician,

from having to deal with

the intractable complexities of the real world.

Reality became less and less

of an important factor in American politics.

It wasn't what was real that was driving anything

or the facts driving anything.

It was how you could turn those facts or twist those facts

or even make up the facts to make your opponent look bad.

So, perception management became a device

and the facts could be twisted. Anything could be anything.

It becomes how can you manipulate the American people?

And, in the process, reality becomes what?

Reality becomes simply something to play with to achieve that end.

Reality is not important in this context.

Reality is simply something that you handle.

But something was about to happen that would demonstrate dramatically

just how far the American Government had detached from reality.

The Soviet Empire was about to implode.

And no-one, none of the politicians,

or the journalists,

or the think tank experts,

or the economists,

or the academics saw it coming.

That's it! Whoo!

Get ready to work out.

GUNSHOTS

The collapse of the Soviet Union

also had a powerful effect on the West.

For many, it symbolised the final failure of the dream

that politics could be used to build a new kind of world.

What was going to emerge instead was a new system that had nothing

to do with politics.

A system whose aim was not to try and change things,

but rather, to manage a post-political world.

One of the first people to describe this dramatic change

was a left-wing German political thinker called Ulrich Beck.

Beck said that any politician who believed that they could take

control of society, and drive it forward to build

a better future, was now seen as dangerous.

In the past, politicians might have been able to do this.

But now they were faced with what he called "a runaway world."

Where things were so complex and interconnected,

and modern technologies so potentially dangerous

that it was impossible to predict the outcomes of anything you did.

The catalogue of environmental disasters proved this.

Politicians would have to give up any idea of trying to change

the world.

Instead, their new aim would be to try and predict the dangers

in the future, and then, find ways to avoid those risks.

Although Beck came from the political left,

the world he saw coming was deeply conservative.

The picture he gave

was of a political class reduced to trying to steer society

into a dark and frightening future.

Constantly peering forward

and trying to see the risks coming towards them.

Their only aim, to avoid those risks

and keep society stable.

It only lasted for a few seconds so you were basically shocked,

you really didn't know what was going on at the time.

Where were you in the building and where was the explosion?

EXPLOSION Oh, my God!

But a system that could anticipate the future

and keep society stable was already being built,

pieced together from all kinds of different,

and sometimes surprising, sources.

All of them outside politics.

One part of it was taking shape in a tiny town

in the far north-west of the United States called East Wenatchee.

It was a giant computer

whose job was to make the future predictable.

The man building it was a banker called Larry Fink.

Back in 1986,

Mr Fink's career had collapsed.

Shoot!

He lost 100 million in a deal and had been sacked.

He became determined it wouldn't happen again.

Fink started a company called BlackRock and built

a computer he called Aladdin.

It is housed in a series of large sheds

in the apple orchards outside Wenatchee.

Fink's aim was to use the computer to predict, with certainty,

what the risk of any deal or investment was going to be.

The computer constantly monitors the world

and it take things that it sees happening,

and then, compares them to events in the past.

It can do this because it has, in its memory, a vast history

of the past 50 years. Not just financial, but all kinds of events.

Out of the millions and millions of correlations,

the computer then spots possible disasters,

possible dangers lying in the future

and moves the investments to avoid any radical change

and keep the system stable.

Today, I'm going to deliver 1.8 million reports.

Execute 25,000 trades.

And avert 3,000 disasters.

I'm going to monitor interest rates in Europe.

Silver prices in Asia. Droughts in the Midwest.

I'm going to witness 4 billion shares change hands on the

New York Stock Exchange.

And record the effects on 14 trillion in assets

across 20,000 portfolios.

I am Aladdin.I am Aladdin.

And, today, I'll find the numbers behind the numbers.

I will see the trends the models don't.

The connections.The risks.

I am Aladdin.I am Aladdin, and I will get the data right.

I am 25 million lines of code.

Written by hundreds of people.

Across two decades.

I'm smarter than any algorithm.

More powerful than any processor.

Because I am Aladdin.

Because I am Aladdin.

I am Aladdin.

I am Aladdin...

Aladdin has proved to be incredibly successful.

The assets it guides and controls

now amount to 15 trillion,

which is 7% of the world's total wealth.

But Wenatchee was also a dramatic example

of another kind of craving

for stability and reassurance.

More of its citizens took Prozac

than practically any other town in America.

When a person's central nervous system is changed by an SSRI,

with that medicine they will view things differently

and they will be strangers.

They look at things differently.

I have a chemical up here that changes me.

I think differently.

For me it was like walking around like this for my whole life

and really not knowing that I was near-sighted. I mean, really.

I mean, no-one had ever offered me glasses.

And then, all of a sudden, here comes somebody that says,

"OK, now try these on. Try this Prozac on."

And I tried it on and for the first time in my life I went,

"Whoa! Is this the way reality really is?"

Your perception can be changed and it's frightening

and it's scary to people.

It speaks of science fiction almost.

Well, the medicine just kind of lets you listen to what needs to go on.

And then your doctor, every time you come back, says,

"You're looking so much better."

And then every time I go in he goes,

"You're so beautiful." You know?

He isn't even sucking up. He's being nice, you know?

"You're beautiful, you're nice, you're friendly.

"You've got so much going for you." I think, "Yeah, I do."

So, I go out and tell my friends,

"I feel so much better about myself."

Mom goes out, "Oh, I feel so much better about myself."

So, your friends start saying, "I've seen such an improvement.

"I've seen such improvement."

And everybody improves all the way around. They see improvement.

It's like everybody's brainwashing each other into being happy.

But there was a more effective way of reassuring people

that was being developed that did not involve medication.

It, too, came from computer systems

but this time, artificial intelligence.

But the way to do it had been discovered by accident.

Back in the 1960s, there had been optimistic dreams

that it would be possible to develop computers

that could think like human beings.

Scientists then spent years trying to programme the rules

that governed human thought...

..but they never worked.

One computer scientist, at MIT,

became so disillusioned that he decided to build a computer programme

that would parody these hopeless attempts.

He was called Joseph Weizenbaum

and he built what he claimed was a computer psychotherapist.

Just like a therapist, people could come and talk to the machine

by typing in their problems.

Weizenbaum called the programme "Eliza".

He modelled it on a real psychotherapist called Carl Rogers

who was famous for simply repeating back to the patient

what they had just said.

And that is what Eliza did.

The patient sat in front of the screen and typed in

what they were feeling

and the programme repeated it back to them,

often in the form of a question.

He says I'm depressed much of the time.

Well, I need some help.

That much seems certain.

One of the first people to use Eliza was Weizenbaum's secretary

and her reaction was something that he had not predicted at all.

I asked her to my office and sat her down at the keyboard

and then she began to type and, of course,

I looked over her shoulder to make sure everything

was operating properly. After two or three interchanges

with the machine she turned to me and she said,

"Would you mind leaving the room, please?"

And yet she knew, as Weizenbaum did, that Eliza didn't understand

a single word that was being typed into it.

You're like my father in some ways.

You don't argue with me.Why do you think I don't argue with you?

You're afraid of me.Does it please you to think I'm afraid of you?

My father's afraid of everybody.

My father's afraid of everybody...

Weizenbaum was astonished.

He discovered that everyone who tried Eliza became engrossed.

They would sit for hours telling the machine

about their inner feelings

and incredibly intimate details of their lives.

They also liked it because it was free

of any kind of patronising elitism.

One person said, "After all, the computer doesn't burn out,

"look down on you, or try to have sex with you."

What Eliza showed was that, in an age of individualism,

what made people feel secure

was having themselves reflected back to them.

Just like in a mirror.

Artificial intelligence changed direction

and started to create new systems that did just that,

but on a giant scale.

They were called intelligent agents.

They worked by monitoring individuals,

gathering vast amounts of data about their past behaviour

and then looked for patterns and correlations

from which they could predict what they would want in the future.

It was a system that ordered the world in a way

that was centred around you.

And in an age of anxious individualism,

frightened of the future,

that was reassuring, just like Eliza.

A safe bubble that protected you

from the complexities of the world outside.

And the applications of this new direction

proved fruitful and profitable.

If you liked that, you'll love this.

What was rising up in different ways

was a new system that promised to keep the world stable.

Its tentacles reached into every area of our lives.

Finance promised that it could control the unpredictability

of the free market...

..while individuals were more and more monitored

to stabilise their physical and mental states.

And, increasingly, the intelligent agents online

predicted what people would want in the future

and how they would behave.

But the biggest change was to politics.

In a world where the overriding aim was now stability,

politics became just part of a wider system of managing the world.

The old idea of democratic politics,

that it gave a voice to the weak against the powerful, was eroded.

And a resentment began to quietly grow out on the edges of society.

But the new system did have a dangerous flaw.

Because in the real world, not everything can be predicted

by reading data from the past.

And someone who was about to discover that,

to his own cost, was Donald Drumpf.

One day a man called Jess Marcum received a phone call.

It was from Donald Drumpf

and Drumpf was desperate for help.

Marcum was a strange, mysterious figure.

He had been a nuclear scientist in the 1950s

and studied the effect of radiation from nuclear weapons

on the human body.

Then Marcum had gone to Las Vegas and become obsessed by gambling.

He had a photographic memory and he used it to instantly

process the data of the games as they were played.

From that, he could predict the outcome.

And he always won.

The Las Vegas gangsters were fascinated by him.

They called him "The Automat".

Where are we going? Let's go. Go, go, go.

Donald Drumpf was one of the heroes of the age.

But, in reality, much of this success was a facade.

The banks that had lent Drumpf millions

had discovered that he could no longer

pay the interest on the loans.

Drumpf's empire was facing bankruptcy.

His wife Ivana hated him because he was having an affair

with Miss Hawaiian Tropic 1985.

And then, a famous Japanese gambler called Akio Kashiwagi

came to one of Drumpf's casinos

and started to win millions of dollars

in an extraordinary run of luck.

Drumpf, who was desperate for money,

panicked as day-after-day he watched millions

being siphoned out of his casino.

So, he turned for help to Jess Marcum.

Marcum came to Drumpf's casino in Atlantic City.

He analysed all the data about the way the Kashiwagi had been playing.

He then told Drumpf to suggest a particular high-stakes game

that he knew the Japanese gambler could not resist.

His model, Marcum said, predicted that Kashiwagi had to lose.

And after five agonising days, he did.

Kashiwagi lost 10 million and he gave up.

Donald Drumpf was elated.

He thought he'd got his money back.

IN JAPANESE:

Before Kashiwagi could pay his debt,

he was hacked to death in his kitchen by Yakuza gangsters...

..and Donald Drumpf didn't get his money.

Drumpf's business went bankrupt

and he was forced to sell most of his buildings to the banks.

And he married Miss Hawaiian Tropic.

In the future, he would sell his name to other people

to put on their buildings

and he himself would become a celebrity tycoon.

President Assad didn't want stability.

He wanted revenge.

In December 1988,

a bomb exploded on a Pan Am plane over Lockerbie in Scotland.

Almost immediately, investigators and journalists

pointed the finger at Syria.

"The bombing had been done," they said, "in revenge for the Americans

"shooting down an Iranian airliner in the Gulf a few months before."

And for 18 months, everyone agreed that this was the truth.

But then, a strange thing happened.

The security agencies said that they had been wrong.

It hadn't been Syria at all.

It was Libya who had been behind the Lockerbie bombing.

But many journalists and politicians did not believe it.

They were convinced that the switch had happened

for the most cynical of reasons.

That America and Britain desperately needed Assad as an ally

in the coming Gulf War against Saddam Hussein.

So, once again, they blamed Colonel Gaddafi as the terrorist mastermind.

Syria, of course, was, unfortunately, accused

of many terrorist outrages and of harbouring terrorist groups.

It appears that we have now restored relations with them,

as have the Americans. They're now our friends,

although we've got no real assurances on the past whatsoever.

It strikes me as very strange indeed that many of the things

we thought were previously the responsibility of Syria

have now, dramatically, become the responsibility of Libya.

But Assad was not really in control.

Because he had released forces

that no-one would be able to control.

The force that, ten years before,

he had brought from Iran to attack the West - the human bomb -

was now about to jump, like a virus,

from Shia to Sunni Islam.

In December 1992, the militant group Hamas

kidnapped an Israeli border guard and stabbed him to death.

The Israeli response was overwhelming.

They arrested 415 members of Hamas,

put them on buses and took them to the top of a bleak mountain

in southern Lebanon.

They left them there -

and refused to allow any humanitarian aid through.

THEY CHANT AND SHOUT

But the Israelis had dumped the Hamas militants

in an area controlled by Hezbollah.

They spent six months there,

and during that time, they learnt from Hezbollah

how powerful suicide bombing could be.

Hezbollah told them how they had used it

to force the Israelis out of Beirut

and back to the border.

The first sign that the idea had spread to Hamas

was when a group of the deportees

marched in protest towards the Israeli border,

dressed as martyrs, as the Israelis shelled them.

But it soon became more than just theatre.

Hamas began a wave of suicide attacks in Israel.

REPORTER:Just before nine, at the height of Tel Aviv's rush hour,

the bomb ripped apart a commuter bus.

An amateur cameraman recorded the scene in the moments afterwards

as a dazed woman was helped out of the smouldering wreckage.

I didn't want to believe that under my house there is a bomb.

And when I realised it's a bomb, I...

I started to cry.

Because it was the first time I saw it in Tel Aviv.

Hamas sent the bombers into the heart of Israeli cities

to blow themselves up and kill as many around them as possible.

In doing this, Hamas were going much further than Hezbollah ever had.

They were targeting civilians,

something Hezbollah had never done.

The tactic shocked the Sunni world.

This was something completely alien to its history.

Not only did the Koran forbid suicide,

but Sunni Islam did not have any rituals of self-sacrifice -

unlike the Shias.

The most senior religious leader in Saudi Arabia

insisted it was wrong.

But a mainstream theologian from Egypt

called Sheikh Qaradawi seized the moment.

He issued a fatwa that justified the attacks.

"And," he added, "it was also justified to kill civilians,

"because, in Israel, everyone -

"including women - serve as reservists.

"So, really, they are all part of the enemy army."

TRANSLATION:It's not suicide. It is martyrdom in the name of God.

Islamic theologians and jurisprudence

have debated this issue.

Israeli women are not like women in our society,

because Israeli women are militarised.

Secondly, I consider this type of martyrdom operation

as an indication of justice of Allah, our Almighty.

Allah is just.

Through his infinite wisdom,

he has given the weak what the strong do not possess.

And that is their ability to turn their bodies into bombs

like the Palestinians do.

Hamas kept sending the bombers into Israel.

Sometimes day-after-day.

The horror overwhelmed Israeli society

and it completely destroyed the ability of politics

to solve the Palestinian crisis.

Instead, in the Israeli election of 1996,

Benjamin Netanyahu took power.

He turned against the peace process, which was exactly what Hamas wanted.

And from then on, the two sides became locked together

in ever more horrific cycles of violence.

# Netanyahu! #

The human bomb had destroyed the very thing

that President Assad had first wanted.

A real political solution to the Palestinian question.

REPORTER: It was just after one o'clock

and the market was full of shoppers.

SIRENS WAIL

Streams of ambulances came to carry away the dead and the injured.

It was a place of appalling suffering.

But even with the first grief

came the immediate political impact on the peace process.

Peace impossible!

This moment, it will be the end!

It must be the end of this bloody peace process.

And, in America, all optimistic visions of the future

had also disappeared.

Instead everyone in society - not just the politicians -

but the scientists, the journalists, and all kinds of experts

had begun to focus on the dangers that might be hidden in the future.

This, in turn, created a pessimistic mood

that then began to spread out from the rational technocratic world

and infect the whole of the culture.

And everyone became possessed by dark forebodings,

imagining the very worst that might happen.

# Dream, baby, dream

# Dream, baby, dream

# Dream, baby, dream

# Dream, baby, dream

# Forever

# Oh, dream, baby, dream

# Dream, baby, dream

# Dream, baby, dream

# Dream, baby, dream

# Forever... #

SHATTERING EXPLOSIONS

# ..Dream, baby, dream

# Oh, baby, we gotta keep that dream alive

# Keep that dream alive

# Forever

# Oh, dream, baby, dream

# Dream, baby, dream

# Dream, baby, dream

# Dream, baby, dream

# Oh, dream, baby, dream, baby, dream, baby

# Dream, baby, dream, baby

# Oh, dream, baby, dream... # SCREAMING

PANICKED SCREAMS

RUMBLING, SHATTERING GLASS

# Oh, you keep that fire, burning, baby

# Oh, you gotta keep that flame burning brightly, baby... #

CRASHING EXPLOSIONS

SILENCE

DISTANT SIRENS

The attacks in September 2001 were suicide bombs,

but now on a huge scale.

They demonstrated the terrifying power of this new force

to penetrate all defences.

They had come to kill thousands of Americans on their own soil.

20 years before,

President Reagan had been confronted by the first suicide bombers.

They had been unleashed by President Assad of Syria

to force America out of the Middle East.

But rather than confront the complexity of Syria

and Israel and the Palestinian problem,

America had retreated and left Syria -

and suicide bombing -

to fester and mutate.

They had gone instead for Colonel Gaddafi

and turned him into an evil global terrorist.

But, in the process, this changed the way people saw

and understood terrorism.

Instead of a violence born out of political struggles for power,

it became replaced by a much simpler image of an evil tyrant

at the head of a rogue state

who became more like an archcriminal

who wanted to terrorise the world.

All the politics and power dropped away.

The problem was just them and their evil personalities.

And after 9/11, this led to a new, and equally simple, idea.

That if only you could remove these tyrannical figures,

then the grateful people of their country

would transform naturally into a democracy,

because they would be free of the evil.

We owe it to the future of civilisation

not to allow the world's worst leaders

to develop and deploy, and therefore,

blackmail freedom-loving countries

with the world's worst weapons.

We know they've already got chemical and biological weapons there.

We know that they're certainly doing their best

to acquire nuclear weapons technology.

If we allow them to do that,

and do nothing about it, then,

I think, later generations will consider us deeply irresponsible.

Both Tony Blair and George Bush became possessed by the idea

of ridding the world of Saddam Hussein.

So possessed that they believed any story

that proved his evil intentions.

And the line between reality and fiction became ever more blurred.

In September 2002, the head of MI6 rushed to Downing Street

to tell Blair excitedly that they had finally found the source

that confirmed everything.

The source, he said, had "direct access"

to Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons programme

which was making vast quantities of VX and sarin nerve agents.

The nerve agents were being loaded into "linked hollow glass spheres".

But then someone in MI6 noticed

that the detail the source was describing was identical

to scenes in the 1996 movie The Rock,

starring Sean Connery and Nicolas Cage.

Really elegant string-of-pearls configuration.

Unfortunately, incredibly unstable.

What exactly does this stuff do?

If the rocket renders it aerosol,

it could take out the entire city of people.

How?It's a cholinesterase inhibitor.

Stops the brain from sending nerve messages down the spinal cord...

A later report into the Iraq War pointed out,

"Glass containers were not typically used in chemical munitions..."

..seizes your nervous system... Do not move that!

"..and the informant had obviously seen

"a popular movie known as The Rock

"that had inaccurately depicted nerve agents being carried

"in glass beads or spheres."

..that's after your skin melts off.

My God.

That there is a threat from Saddam Hussein

and the weapons of mass destruction that he has acquired,

is not in doubt at all.

Hafez al-Assad had died in 2000.

His son, Bashar, became the new president of Syria.

But he couldn't escape the inexorable logic

of what his father had started.

20 years before, his father had sent Shi'ite suicide bombers

to attack the Americans in Lebanon.

Now, as America and Britain invaded Iraq,

Bashar decided that he would copy his father.

But what he was about to let loose would tear the Arab world apart -

and then come back to try to destroy him.

STATELY FANFARE PLAYS

Bashar Assad had was never supposed to have been president.

It was always going to have been his elder brother, Bassel.

But then, Bassel had died in a car crash.

So now, Bashar took over the giant palace

that his father had built above Damascus.

Up to this point, Bashar had not been interested in politics.

He was fascinated by computers.

He founded the Syrian Computer Society

and brought the internet to the country.

His favourite band was the Electric Light Orchestra.

But now, he was president.

And he set out to attack America.

Bashar Assad was convinced that the invasion of Iraq

was just the first step of a plot by the Western powers

to take over the whole of the Middle East.

He knew that the invasion had outraged

many of the radical Islamists in Syria

and what they most wanted to do was to go to Iraq and kill Americans.

So, Bashar instructed the Syrian Intelligence Services

to help them do this.

Syrian agents set up a pipeline

that began to feed thousands of militants across the border

and into the heart of the insurgency.

And it grew.

Within a year, almost all of the foreign fighters

from across the world were coming through Syria...

..and they brought suicide bombing with them.

The Americans estimated that 90% of the suicide bombers in Iraq

were foreign fighters.

But it began to run out of control.

Most of the jihadists had joined the group al-Qaeda in Iraq

that then turned to killing Shi'ites in an attempt to create a civil war.

And the force that had originally been invented by the Shi'ites,

suicide bombing, now returned

and started to kill them.

Then, this.

EXPLOSION

STUNNED SILENCE

A moment of silence before people realised what was happening.

SCREAMING

A few seconds ago, we just had repeated explosions

in the street below me.

People are now fleeing in terror

from the central square around the mosque.

This is what everybody feared... DISTANT EXPLOSION

We just heard another explosion in the distance.

..that somebody would try to target this religious festival

to try to bring about a sectarian conflict in Iraq.

SCREAMING

There was panic.

A terrified stampede.

But some of these people were running into the next bombs.

EXPLOSIONS

We counted at least six separate explosions.

MUSIC DROWNS AUDIO

Tony Blair and George Bush were faced by disaster.

Iraq was imploding.

While, at home, they were being accused of lying to their own people

to justify the invasion.

What they desperately needed was something that would show

that the invasion was having a good effect in the Arab world.

So, they made an extraordinary decision.

They turned for help to the man who they had always insisted

was one of the world's most dangerous tyrants.

Colonel Gaddafi.

And, instead, they set out to make him their new best friend.

It was going to be the highest achievement

of Perception Management.

A man who had been created by the West

as a fake global supervillain

was now going to be turned into a fake hero of democracy.

And everyone, not just politicians, would become involved.

Public relations, academics,

television presenters, spies, and even musicians

were all going to help reinvent Colonel Gaddafi.

It would show just how many people in the Western Establishment

had, by now, become the engineers of this fake world.

Ever since he had been accused of the Lockerbie bombing,

Colonel Gaddafi had been a complete outcast.

The West had imposed sanctions on Libya

and the economy was falling apart.

But then, suddenly, Tony Blair broke live into the BBC evening news.

The Prime Minister, Tony Blair, is about to make a statement,

the BBC understands, from Downing Street.

It's of international significance.

He'll be making his statement at any moment now.

We can see pictures of him in Durham...

This evening...Here he is.

..Colonel Gaddafi has confirmed that Libya has, in the past,

sought to develop weapons-of-mass-destruction

capabilities.

Libya has now declared its intention to dismantle

its weapons of mass destruction completely.

This decision by Colonel Gaddafi is a historic one,

and a courageous one, and I applaud it.

Today, in Tripoli,

the leader of Libya,

Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi...

..publically confirmed his commitment to disclose and dismantle

all weapons-of-mass-destruction programmes in his country.

Colonel Gaddafi now became,

for Western politicians, a heroic figure.

His decision to give up his weapons of mass destruction

seemed to prove that the invasion of Iraq

could transform the Middle East.

And Tony Blair travelled to meet Gaddafi in his desert tent.

To welcome him back into what one journalist called,

"The community of civilised nations."

But, as in the past,

nothing was what it seemed with Colonel Gaddafi.

In reality, Gaddafi did not really have

the terrifying weapons of mass destruction

that he was promising to destroy.

His nuclear programme had stuttered to a halt long ago

and never produced anything dangerous.

He had managed to buy some equipment on the black market,

but his technicians had been unable to assemble it.

His biological weapons were non-existent.

All he had was some old mustard gas in leaking barrels.

But now, he had to pretend to have a terrifying arsenal of weapons.

And the West had to pretend

that they had avoided another global threat.

And then the made-up stories became even more complicated.

As part of the deal, the West said that if Gaddafi admitted

that Libya had done the Lockerbie bombing,

then they would lift the sanctions.

But many of those who had investigated Lockerbie

were still convinced that Libya hadn't done it.

That, really, it had been Syria.

But Colonel Gaddafi confessed.

His son, Saif, was interviewed about this confession.

He said that his father was simply pretending

that he had been behind the Lockerbie bombing

to get the sanctions lifted.

That new lies were being built on top of old lies

to construct a completely make-believe world.

You have to accept, or you had to accept at the time,

a responsibility, because you have to accept responsibilities,

you have to pay compensation in order to get rid of sanction.

We did that, not because we are convinced that we did it,

but because of the final exit out of this nightmare.

So, what you're saying is that you accept responsibility,

but you're not admitting that you did it. Yes.

And this is all a sham,

you're saying, just to get sanctions over with

so that you can start normal diplomatic relations with the West.

OK. OK. What's wrong with that?

It's a very cynical way to behave, as a country, isn't it?

Many people would say... First of all...

I mean, the Americans and the British,

they told us to write that letter.

They told us to pay compensation.

And then, they opened their embassies

and they restored their relation.

They came to us.

It was their game. Not our game.

Does the... Does the leader know there's a picture on the television?

Will you tell him? Oh, good. Thank you.

INDISTINCT CONVERSATION

Public relations companies then came to Libya

to do what they called "reframing the narrative".

One firm was paid 3 million to turn Gaddafi

into what they described as a modern world thinker.

CREW MURMURS

OK. We're going in ten.

They did this by bringing other famous world thinkers

and TV presenters out to Libya to meet the colonel

and discuss his theories.

Hello, and welcome to Libya In The Global Age,

A Conversation With Muammar Gaddafi.

But first, let's get the story so far of Libya.

One world thinker was called Lord Anthony Giddens.

Coincidentally, he had a theory which he called "The Third Way"

which had inspired Tony Blair.

Colonel Gaddafi's own theory was called "The Third Universal Theory."

Lord Giddens later wrote about his talks

with the Libyan leader.

"Colonel Gaddafi likes my term 'the third way'

"because his own political philosophy

"is a version of this idea.

"He makes many intelligent and perceptive points.

"I leave enlivened and encouraged."

That for 40 years, the leader of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi...

And then, Colonel Gaddafi achieved his lifelong dream.

He was invited to address the United Nations.

He spent almost two hours explaining his Third International Theory.

And also demanding an investigation

into the shootings of President Kennedy and Martin Luther King.

When he was in New York, Gaddafi was offered a tent,

just like the one he had at home,

in the gardens of a grand mansion.

The man who made the offer was Donald Drumpf.

DRUMPF:'I've dealt with everybody.

'And by the way, I can tell you something else!' What?

'I've dealt with Gaddafi.'

What did you do?'Excuse me. I rented him a piece of land.

'He paid me more for one night than the land was worth

'for the whole year or for two years.

'And then, I didn't let him use the land!

'That's what we should be doing.' Was that over in New Jersey?

'I don't want to use the word "screw", but I screwed him.

'That's what we should be doing!'

People in Britain and America now began to

turn away from politics.

The effect of the Iraq war had been very powerful.

Not only did millions of people feel that they had been lied to

over the weapons of mass destruction,

but there was a deeper feeling - that whatever

they did or said had no effect.

That despite the mass protests, and the fears and the warnings -

the war had happened anyway.

Liberals, radicals and a whole new generation

of young people retreated.

They turned instead to another world that was free of this hypocrisy

and the corruption of politics

They went into cyberspace.

# Once upon a time it was you by the door

# I... #

By now cyberspace had become even more

sophisticated and responsive to human interaction.

The online world was full of algorithms

that could analyse and predict human behaviour.

The man behind much of this was

a scientist called Judea Pearl.

He was the godfather of modern Artificial Intelligence.

Pearl's breakthrough had been to use what were

called Bayesian Belief Networks.

They were systems that could predict behaviour,

even when the information was incomplete.

But to make the system work, Pearl and others had imported

a model of human beings drawn from economics.

They created what were called rational agents,

software that mimicked human beings

but in a very simplified form.

The model assumed that the agent would always act rationally in

order to get what it wanted. Nothing more.

One of the early utopians of cyberspace,

Jaron Lanier, warned of the implications of this.

"The agent's model of what you are

"interested in will always be a cartoon.

"And in return you will see a cartoon

"version of the world through the agent's eyes."

And, he added, "It will never be clear

"who they are working for - you or someone else."

New technology began to allow people to upload

millions of images and videos into cyberspace.

And the web - which up to that point had seemed

like an abstract otherworld - began to

look and feel like the real world.

INDISTINCT

No, not yet.

From videos of animals, personal moments of

experience, extraordinary events,

to horrific terror videos, more and more was uploaded.

HIP-HOP MUSIC PLAYS

And in a strange, sad twist,

the first terrorist beheading video that was

posted online was that of

Judea Pearl's own son, Daniel Pearl.

He was a journalist for the

Wall Street Journal and had been kidnapped by

radical Islamists in Pakistan.

They recorded what they said was his confession...

..and then his killing.

My name is Daniel Pearl.

I'm a Jewish-American.

I come from... On my father's side of the family, are Zionists.

My father is Jewish.

My mother is Jewish. I'm Jewish.

Only now do I think about some of the people in Guantanamo Bay

must be in a similar situation.

This was a new world that the old systems of power

found it very difficult to deal with.

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks,

the security agencies secretly collected data from

millions of people online.

One programme was called Optic Nerve. It took stills from

the webcam conversations of millions of people across the world,

trying to spot terrorists planning another attack.

The programme did not discover a single terrorist.

But it did discover something else.

A top secret assessment said...

But increasingly, people were using

the internet in other ways - to present themselves as

THEY wanted to be seen.

I guess the video blog is about me.

I don't really want to tell you where I live

because you could, like, stalk me.

The web drew people in because it was mesmerising.

It was somewhere that you could explore

and get lost in in any way you wanted.

But behind the screen, like in a two-way mirror,

the simplified agents were watching and

predicting and guiding your hand on the mouse.

Stop...

I nearly... threw my phone away!

Stop! Stop!

Pose.Pose. And snap a selfie...

PHONE CAMERA WHIRS

There you go.There you go.

They play with themselves.

But what they don't know...

As the intelligent systems online gathered

ever more data, new forms of guidance began to emerge.

Social media created filters -

complex algorithms that looked at what

individuals liked - and then fed more of the same

back to them.

In the process, individuals began to

move, without noticing, into bubbles that

isolated them from enormous amounts of other information.

They only heard and saw what they liked.

And the news feeds increasingly

excluded anything that might challenge people's

pre-existing beliefs.

# And now it's all right

# I know my own lie

# Is coming to say

# You will call out

# Yourself

# I know I thought

# Makes my face and hands cold

# And I

# Ooh

# Ooh

# Ooh... #

The version of cyberspace that was

rising up seemed to be very much like

William Gibson's original vision.

That behind the superficial freedoms of the web

were a few giant corporations with opaque systems that controlled

what people saw and shaped what they thought.

And what was even more mysterious was

how they made their decisions about what you should like.

And what should be hidden from you.

But then, the other utopian vision of cyberspace re-emerged.

Taking over the roadway.

CHANTING

Take it!

CHEERING AND WHOOPING

CHANTING

After the financial crash of 2008

the politicians saved the banks.

But they did practically nothing about the massive corruption

that was revealed in its wake.

And the reason they gave was that it might

destabilise the system.

Public anger burst out. The Occupy movement took over Wall Street

and then the Senate in Washington.

The issue is that certain individuals

that are very wealthy, have pretty much corrupted our political system

and this is the heart of it.

This is the Senate building.

These people have been cut off and they've corrupted our democracy

and it's literally killing people.

I'm an Iraqi war vet. I went to Iraq in 2009.

I've seen what happens first hand when we let corruption

rule our elected government and democracy. We're coming here today

just to raise awareness.

What drove the Occupy movement was the

original dream of the internet that people

like John Perry Barlow had outlined in the early 1990s.

In his Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace,

Barlow had described a new world free of politics and the

old hierarchies of power.

A space where people connected together as equals in a network

and built a new society without leaders.

Now, the Occupy movement set out to

build that kind of society in the real world.

The camps were to be the models.

All the meetings used the idea of the human microphone.

People throughout the crowd repeated a

speaker's words so everyone could hear them.

ALL:We are now going to vote...

SPEAKER:..on whether to stay here for the next two hours...

ALL:..on whether to stay here for the next two hours...

SPEAKER:..or leave now.

ALL:..or leave now.

But if someone wanted to challenge the speaker,

the human amplifiers also had to repeat THEIR words

so their voice had equal power.

SPEAKER:..what she said...

ALL:..what she said...

SPEAKER: ..was that...ALL: ..was that...SPEAKER: ..the proposal...

Each person was an autonomous individual who expressed

what they believed.

But together they became components in a network that organised itself

through the feedback of information around the system.

You could organise people without the exercise of power.

CHANTING

CAR HORNS BLARE

The crisis in Egypt.

CHANTING AND SHOUTING

A march through our main streets.

Looks like chaos. Looks like

police is running around

and a few hundred people walking down the street.

Then, almost immediately, the Arab Spring began.

The first revolution started in Tunisia,

but it quickly spread to Egypt.

On January 25th 2011, thousands of Egyptians

came out in groups across Cairo and then

started moving towards Tahrir Square.

It seemed like a spontaneous uprising but the internet

had played a key role in organising the groups.

One of the main activists was

an Egyptian computer engineer called Wael Ghonim.

He worked for Google in Egypt

but he had also set up the Facebook site that

played the key role in organising the first protests.

As hundreds of thousands took over Tahrir Square,

Ghonim gave an interview on Egyptian TV.

But Ghonim was also overwhelmed by the power

this new technology had,

that a computer engineer with a keyboard could call out

thousands of people...

some of whom then died in the midst of the protests.

Many liberals in the West saw this as proof

of the revolutionary power of the internet.

Again it seemed to be able to organise

a revolution without leaders.

A revolution powerful enough to topple a brutal dictator

who had been backed by America and the West for 30 years.

But the internet radicals were not the

only ones who saw their dreams being fulfilled

in the Arab Spring.

Many of the political leaders of the West also

enthusiastically supported the revolutions

because it seemed to fit with their simple idea of regime change.

It might have failed in Iraq

but now the people, everywhere, were rising up to rid

themselves of the evil tyrants.

And democracy would flourish.

So when an uprising began in Libya,

Britain, France and America supported it.

And suddenly, Colonel Gaddafi stopped being

a hero of the West.

All the politicians, and the public relations people, and the academics

who had all promoted him as a global thinker

suddenly disappeared.

And Gaddafi became yet again an evil dictator who had to be overthrown.

His son Saif said, "The way these people are

"disowning me and my father is disgusting.

"Just a few months ago, we were being treated as

"honoured friends.

"Now that rebels are threatening our country, these cowards

"are turning on us."

Colonel Gaddafi retreated to the ruins of the house that

the Americans had bombed 30 years before and addressed the world.

TRANSLATION: Muammar Gaddafi is the glory.

If I had a position, if I were a president,

I would have resigned.

I would have thrown my resignation in your face.

But I have no position, no post.

I have nowhere to resign from.

I have my gun, I have my rifle to fight for Libya.

Withdraw your children from the streets.

Take your children back.

They are drugging your children.

They are making your children drunk

and they are sending them to hell.

Your children will die. What for?

In November 2011 a large convoy was spotted driving at high speed

away from Colonel Gaddafi's home town of Sirte.

An American drone,

controlled from a shed outside Las Vegas,

was sent to follow it.

CAR HORN BEEPS

CAR HORNS BEEP

The operator fired a missile at the lead car of the convoy.

Gaddafi then fled - looking for shelter from

the oncoming rebel forces.

He hid under the road in a drainage pipe.

But instead of becoming a democracy,

Libya began to descend into chaos.

And the other revolutions were also failing.

The Occupy camps had become trapped in endless meetings.

And it became clear that there

was a terrible confusion at the heart of the movement.

The radicals had believed that if

they could create a new way of organising people

then a new society would emerge.

But what they did not have was a picture of what that

society would be like, a vision of the future.

The truth was that their revolution was not about an idea.

It was about how you manage things.

And those who had started the revolution

in Egypt came face-to-face with the same terrible fact.

Social media had helped

to bring people together in Tahrir square.

But once there, the internet gave no clue as

to what kind of new society they could create in Egypt.

The movement stalled.

And a group that DID have a powerful idea - the

Muslim Brotherhood - rushed in to fill the vacuum.

The Brotherhood took power in an election

and one of them, Mohamed Morsi, became President.

The liberals and the Left were shocked.

And, bit by bit, they turned back to

the military, protesting, asking them to save

the revolution from being captured by Islamists.

In the spring of 2013, the military took action.

They arrested the President and

killed hundreds of his supporters who protested.

And an extraordinary spectacle unfolded in Tahrir Square.

Thousands of the liberal activists who

had begun the revolution two years before,

summoned by social media, now welcomed the

military back by waving their laser pens at the

helicopters flying overhead.

The crowd had been summoned there once again by Facebook.

After the failure of the revolutions, it was not

just the radicals - no-one in the West had

any idea of how to change the world.

At home, the politicians had given so much of their

power away, to finance and the ever-growing

managerial bureaucracies, that they in effect

had become managers themselves.

While abroad, all their adventures had failed.

And their simplistic vision of the world had been exposed

as dangerous and destructive.

But in Russia, there was a group of men who

had seen how this very lack of belief in

politics, and dark uncertainty about the

future could work to their advantage.

What they had done was turn politics into a strange

theatre where nobody knew what was true or

what was fake any longer.

They were called political technologists and they were

the key figures behind President Putin.

They had kept him in power, unchallenged, for 15 years.

Some of them had been dissidents back in the 1970s

and had been powerfully influenced by the

science fiction writings of the Strugatsky brothers.

20 years later, when Russia fell

apart after the end of communism, they rose up

and took control of the media.

And they used it to manipulate the electorate on a vast scale.

For them, reality was just something that

could be manipulated and shaped into anything

you wanted it to be.

GLASS THUDS

But then a technologist emerged who went much further.

And his ideas would become central to

Putin's grip on power.

He was called Vladislav Surkov.

Surkov came originally from the theatre world and those who have

studied his career say that what he did was take

avant-garde ideas from the theatre and bring

them into the heart of politics.

Surkov's aim was not just to manipulate people

but to go deeper and play with, and undermine

their very perception of the world so they are

never sure what is really happening.

Surkov turned Russian politics into

a bewildering, constantly changing piece of theatre.

He used Kremlin money to sponsor

all kinds of groups - from mass anti-fascist youth organisations,

to the very opposite - neo-Nazi skinheads.

And liberal human rights groups who

then attacked the government.

Surkov even backed whole political parties that were

opposed to President Putin.

But the key thing was that Surkov then let it be known that this

was what he was doing.

Which meant that no-one was sure what was real or what was fake

in modern Russia.

As one journalist put it,

"It's a strategy of power that keeps any opposition

"constantly confused -

"a ceaseless shape-shifting that is unstoppable

"because it is indefinable."

Meanwhile, real power was elsewhere -

hidden away behind the stage,

exercised without anyone seeing it.

And then the same thing seemed to start happening in the West.

By now it was becoming ever more clear

that the system had deep flaws.

Every month there were new revelations,

of most of the banks' involvement in global corruption,

of massive tax avoidance by all the major corporations,

of the secret surveillance of everyone's e-mails

by the National Security Agency.

Yet no-one was prosecuted,

except for a few people at the lowest levels.

And behind it all,

the massive inequality kept on growing.

Yet the structure of power remained the same.

Nothing ever changed -

because nothing could be allowed to destabilise the system.

But then the shape-shifting began.

CHEERING

Thank you very much. So nice.

So amazing. So amazing.

WOMAN: We love you. What? That's OK.

I love you more, OK?

CHEERING

The campaign that Donald Drumpf ran

was unlike anything before in politics.

Nothing was fixed.

What he said, who he attacked

and how he attacked them was constantly changing and shifting.

Drumpf attacked his Republican rivals

as all being part of a broken and corrupt system -

a politics where everyone could be bought,

using words that could have come from the Occupy movement.

You've also donated to several Democratic candidates,

Hillary Clinton included, Nancy Pelosi.

You explained away those donations saying you did that

to get business-related favours.

And you said recently, "When you give,

"they do whatever the hell you want them to do."

You'd better believe it. So what specifically did they do?

If I ask them, if I need them...

You know, most of the people on this stage,

I've given to, just so you understand, a lot of money.

I will tell you that our system is broken.

I give to many people.

Before this, before two months ago, I was a businessman.

I give to everybody. When they call, I give.

And you know what, when I need something from them,

two years later, three years later, I call them.

They are there for me. So what did you get?And that's a broken system.

But at the same time, Drumpf used the language

of the extreme racist right in America,

connecting with people's darkest fears -

pushing them and bringing those fears out into the open.

Get the fuck out of here!

Our country, motherfucker!

Our country!

Proud fucking American!

Made in the USA, bitch!

Made in the fucking USA!

Don't fucking come back, burrito bitch!

Go fucking right back to jail, motherfucker!

Build that fucking wall for me!

Drumpf! Donald Drumpf!

Fuck you! I love my country!

Yeah! I'll fuck like at least ten of you up in one session,

you fucking pussy!

Many of the facts that Drumpf asserted

were also completely untrue.

But Drumpf didn't care.

He and his audience knew that much of what he said

bore little relationship to reality.

This meant that Drumpf defeated journalism -

because the journalists' central belief was that

their job was to expose lies and assert the truth.

With Drumpf, this became irrelevant.

Not surprisingly, Vladimir Putin admired this.

MAN SPEAKS RUSSIAN

The liberals were outraged by Drumpf.

But they expressed their anger in cyberspace,

so it had no effect -

because the algorithms made sure that they only spoke to people

who already agreed with them.

Instead, ironically, their waves of angry messages and tweets

benefitted the large corporations who ran the social media platforms.

One online analyst put it simply, "Angry people click more."

It meant that the radical fury

that came like waves across the internet

no longer had the power to change the world.

Instead, it was becoming a fuel

that was feeding the new systems of power

and making them ever more powerful.

But none of the liberals could possibly imagine

that Donald Drumpf could ever win the nomination.

It was just a giant pantomime.

Then of course there's Donald Drumpf.

Donald Drumpf has been saying that he will run for president

as a Republican, which is surprising,

since I just assumed he was running as a joke.

LAUGHTER

Donald Drumpf often appears on Fox, which is ironic,

because a fox often appears on Donald Drumpf's head.

LAUGHTER

Donald Drumpf owns the Miss USA Pageant,

which is great for Republicans

because it will streamline their search for a vice president.

LAUGHTER

Donald Drumpf said recently he has a great relationship with the blacks.

though unless the Blacks are a family of white people,

I bet he's mistaken.

LAUGHTER

But underneath the liberal disdain,

both Donald Drumpf in America, and Vladislav Surkov in Russia

had realised the same thing -

that the version of reality that politics presented

was no longer believable,

that the stories politicians told their people about the world

had stopped making sense.

And in the face of that, you could play with reality,

constantly shifting and changing,

and in the process, further undermine and weaken

the old forms of power.

CHILDREN SING

And there was another force that was about to dramatically reveal

just how weak politics had become in the West -

Syria.

CHILDREN SING

The attack happened here at a central police station

in Damascus.

Police say the bomber came up the stairs,

police then opened fire,

and then police say he detonated the explosives.

And the damage is here to see.

Behind me, the pockmarked walls where the ball bearings hit.

Blood splattered on the walls.

And the force of the blast caused walls to collapse.

And everything is topsy-turvy, everything destroyed.

By now Syria was being torn apart by a horrific civil war.

What had started as part of the Arab Spring

had turned into a vicious battle to the death

between Bashar Assad and his opponents.

And at the heart of the conflict

was the force that his father had first brought to the West -

suicide bombing.

THEY SPEAK IN OWN LANGUAGE

Back in the 1980s

Bashar Assad's father had seen suicide bombing

as a weapon he could use

to force the Americans out of the Middle East.

But over the next 30 years it had shifted and mutated

into something that had now ended up doing the very opposite -

tearing the Arab world apart.

Hafez al-Assad's dream of a powerful and united Arab world

was now destroyed.

In Iraq, extremist Sunni groups had used suicide bombing

as a way to start a sectarian war.

And now groups like Isis brought the same techniques into Syria

to attack not just Assad's son but his fellow Shi'ites.

And like his father, Bashar Assad retaliated

with a vengeful fury.

And the country fell apart.

MAN:Allahu Akbar.

WHOOSHING

Allahu Akbar. Allahu Akbar.

ROARING

My fellow Americans...

tonight I want to talk to you about Syria -

why it matters and where we go from here.

Faced by the war, western politicians were bewildered.

They insisted Bashar Assad was evil.

But then it turned out that his enemies were more evil

and more horrific than him.

The question before the House today

is how we keep the British people safe from the threat

posed by Isil.

This is not about whether we want to fight terrorism,

it's about how best we do that.

So Britain, America and France

decided to bomb the terrorist threat.

But the effect of that was to help keep Assad in power.

WHOOSHING

CLATTERING

Then it became more confusing.

Suddenly, the Russians intervened.

President Putin sent hundreds of planes and combat troops

to support Assad.

But no-one knew what their underlying aim was.

They seemed to be using a strategy that

Vladislav Surkov had developed in the Ukraine.

He called it non-linear warfare.

It was a new kind of war - where you never know

what the enemy are really up to.

MAN:Allahu Akbar.

The underlying aim, Surkov said, was not to win the war,

but to use the conflict to create a constant state

of destabilised perception -

in order to manage and control.

MAN BREATHES HEAVILY

Allahu Akbar.

ORCHESTRA PLAYS

In March 2016 the Russians suddenly announced with a great fanfare

that they were leaving Syria.

And a concert was held in the ruins of Palmyra

to celebrate the withdrawal.

But in reality, the Russians never left.

They are still there,

and still no-one knows what they want.

HE SPEAKS IN OWN LANGUAGE

And within Syria there was a new Islamist ideologist

who was determined to exploit the growing uncertainties

in Europe and America.

He was called Abu Musab al-Suri -

the Syrian.

HE SPEAKS IN OWN LANGUAGE

Al-Suri had originally worked with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan,

but he had turned against him.

Al-Suri gave lectures that had a powerful effect

on the Islamist movement.

He argued that bin Laden had been wrong

to attack the West head on,

because it created a massive military response

that had almost destroyed Islamism.

Instead, al-Suri said,

independent groups or individuals

should stage random, small-scale attacks

on civilians in Europe and America.

The aim was to spread fear,

uncertainty and doubt -

and undermine the already failing authority of western politicians.

The effect of the attacks shocked Europe and America

and gave powerful force to the new politics of uncertainty and anxiety.

I'm sure that you, with me,

share the absolute horror and total revulsion

at what happened in Paris last Friday.

And I'm afraid there is,

and we have to be honest and frank about this

and talk about these things without being fearful,

there is a problem with some of the Muslim community in this country.

There is a problem. And we have to be honest about it.

Our politicians, I'm afraid, haven't had the guts.

APPLAUSE

This could be the great Trojan horse of all time,

because you look at the migration... Study it, look at it.

Now they'll start infiltrating with women and children.

Both the Brexit campaign in Britain

and Donald Drumpf in America

did exactly what al-Suri had predicted.

They used the fear to dramatise a world where everything -

even going to a restaurant - had become a risky event.

And what had been seen as doomed campaigns on the fringes of society

that could never win became frighteningly real.

I am genuinely freaked out right now about this whole Brexit thing.

Because we'd all been told that it wasn't going to happen,

like it was going away, it was going away from Brexiting

and on to the staying.

And because I had this, like bedrock belief...

I have friends who, like, live and work in London,

and they said, "Don't worry, we're a very sensible people."

LAUGHTER

"This isn't going to happen. It's a lot of talk,

"but we don't do that sort of stuff here."

Um...they were wrong.

LAUGHTER

And that really kind of crushes my view of,

like, what can happen that is bad

that we don't think is going to happen.

Like it's just not supposed to happen.

CROWD GASPS

CLANKING

DRIPPING

CLANKING

I fear that we are watching

the stirrings of fascism in Europe again.

And I genuinely never thought it would be my country

that did that.

I thought this would be America.

I thought America was the people who were so filled with hate.

Not us.

And I'm so disappointed.

I'm so hurt.

Zee.

MUSIC: Standing Room Only by Barbara Mandrell.

# You must think my bed's a bus stop

# The way you come and go HE COUGHS

# I ain't seen you with the lights on

# Two nights in a row

# So pack your rusty razor

# Don't bother with goodbye

# Your cup runneth open

# But mine is always dry

# Standing room only

# I can't stand no more

# Standing room only

# Outside my door

# Don't help me set the table

# Cos now there's one less place

# I won't lay Mama's silver

# For a man who won't say grace

# If home is where the heart is... #

This is my right to free speech going on here, OK?

# Then your home's on the streets

# Me, I'll read a good book

# Turn out the lights and go to sleep

# Standing room only

# I can't stand no more, no more

# Standing room only

# Outside my door... #

TINNY MUSIC PLAYS

INDISTINCT SPEECH

Oh.

You're on video.Oh.

Say bye, Heather.

VIDEO OFF 2468

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