Sir David Frost on al Jazeera

For the last 6 months I’ve been producing a series of hour-long films for al Jazeera: Sir David Frost interviewing international celebrities. It’s sort of a hybrid: part chatshow, part biography and part documentary.

I’m still sitting in Westminster editing away (three films to go) but the first programme, on astronaut Buzz Aldrin, goes out tonight at 9pm UK time. It’s quite fun, especially part 1 – which has been beautifully edited by my colleague, the immensely talented Cesar Caldito.

You can catch a little promo here:


John Kiriakou, CIA, Waterboarding

I’ve just learned that a friend, former CIA officer John Kiriakou, has been charged with violating the US Espionage Act of 1917. According to the New York Times, he faces up to 30 years in jail.

Kiriakou was the first CIA official to talk openly about the US policy of waterboarding ‘high value targets’ in the War on Terror.

His crime, apparently, lay in revealing the identities of two employees involved.

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The 9/11 Decade, The Big Issue and al Jazeera

Four planes. Nineteen hijackers. Three thousand dead. Ten years on, what are we to make of 9/11? One-off atrocity? Or historical watershed? Act of terrorism – or The Day the World Changed?

What about the reaction to 9/11? Afghanistan. Bali. Iraq. Madrid. London. Hundreds of thousands more dead. Summarising 9/11 and its aftermath, one is reminded of the Peanuts cartoon in which the hapless Charlie Brown faces the exam question: ‘Explain World War II (use both sides of the page, if necessary)’.

Eight months ago, following 4 years’ research, I thought I had pretty much knocked this subject on the head. I’d interviewed hundreds of policymakers, been to Iraq, come to a few conclusions; delivered a manuscript on time (well, sort of). The book was out. It was over.

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Extract from Chapter 5: Stuff Happens

Context: Chapter 5: Stuff Happens – published in The Guardian newspaper (G2)
Location: N/A
Date: January 7th 2011
Interviewee: N/A

An extract of Chapter 5: Stuff Happens from A History of the World since 9/11 which was printed in The Guardian newspaper in the UK in January 2011.

  • Download page 1 here (938KB)
  • Download page 2 here (146KB)
  • Download page 3 here (173KB)
  • Download page 4 here (156KB)
  • Download page 5 here (165KB)
  • Download page 6 here (175KB)
  • Download page 7 here (158KB)
  • Download page 8 here (172KB)
  • Download page 9 here (190KB)

A History of the World since 9/11 – speaking dates

I will be speaking about the book, and the impact of 9/11 more generally, at the Bristol Festival of Ideas on 19 May, 2011, then again at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on 27 August, 2011.

If you really, really can’t wait that long (I’m probably addressing my parents here), Radio New Zealand has posted a podcast of an interview I did with them about the book last week. You can listen to it here:

Interview on Radio New Zealand: A History of the World since 9/11

Test your subliminal smut quotient: can you see the hidden porn in these famous images?

To celebrate the fact that spring seems to be here at last – and the fact that I’ve finally managed to transcribe the interview with Wilson Bryan Key – the world’s pre-eminent expert on the use of subliminal coercion – here’s a brief test.

Following are eight famous images, all of which have been argued – by Key, and others – to contain subliminal images. Click on each image to enlarge it, then take a long, hard and see what filth leaps out at you. What is really going on? Answers are below each image.

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Interview with Dr Ronald Sandison

Context: Research for Brainwash: The Secret History of Mind Control
Location: via Phone and at Interviewee’s home
Date: 2005
Interviewee: Dr Ronald Sandison

Dr Ronald Sandison was the first British psychiatrist to use LSD clinically. Here he talks about his involvement with the drug, its effects, his thoughts on Timothy Leary, Albert Hoffman, Aldous Huxley, R Gordon Wasson and William Sargant. At the end of the interview is a second one – much shorter, but more interesting to intelligence-watchers – in which we discuss funding for his LSD programmes in the 1950s, and debate whether he was unwittingly being used by MI5, MI6 and Porton Down as a source of information on ‘truth drugs‘.

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