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Cyberwar, the Power of Nightmares

Summary: Today’s post by Marcus Ranum discusses Adam Curtis’ brilliant BBC documentary series “The Power of Nightmares”. Cutris deconstructs the dynamic of government as protector against unknown threats. His analysis of how generalized fears of terrorism manipulate the public apply exactly to cyberwar, as well.

“Both [the Islamists and Neoconservatives] were idealists who were born out of the failure of the liberal dream to build a better world. And both had a very similar explanation for what caused that failure. These two groups have changed the world, but not in the way that either intended. Together, they created today’s nightmare vision of a secret, organized evil that threatens the world. A fantasy that politicians then found restored their power and authority in a disillusioned age. And those with the darkest fears became the most powerful.

The Power of Nightmares, subtitled The Rise of the Politics of Fear, a BBC documentary film series written and produced by Adam Curtis in 2004.  Download here.

Article deleted at author’s request.

The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters, Goya, 1856

For More Information

Background for this post:

  1. The Power of Nightmares (Wikipedia)
  2. The Power of Nightmares – videos on Archive.Org
  3. The Power of Nightmares – transcript of part 3
  4. The Man Who was Thursday, by G.K. Chesterton – Project Gutenberg
  5. Orson Welles’ Mercury Theater performance of The Man Who Was Thursday (1938)

To see all Marcus Ranum’s articles and other sources, visit the FM Reference Page Cyber-espionage and Cyber-war!