Ethos (2011) Movie Script

Every day we turn on the TV
and there's more bad news--
another environmental
somewhere or more starving
refugees or innocent victims
in war zones.
And most of us are busy
trying to make ends meet
in our own lives, and
we see these images
and feel helpless to
do anything about it.
I think the deep shame we
feel about that is paralyzing,
and certainly one of the
reasons that we turn away.
The object of this
documentary is
to look at the
flaws in our systems
that allow these
things to happen
and the mechanisms that
actually work against us,
and to show you a very
simple but powerful
way that we can actually
change the world we live in.
The material for
this film is taken
from facts available
to the public
and from interviews with some
of today's leading thinkers.
However, we do live in a world
full of conspiracy theories.
And all I ask is that
you keep an open mind,
but question everything.
Because people have got
to know whether or not
their president's a crook.
Well, I'm not a crook.
I did not have sexual
relations with that woman.
Indeed I did have a
relationship with Ms. Lewinsky.
I think that gay marriage
should be allowed.
I do not believe that gay
marriages should be legal.
I am honored to be
here with Barack Obama.
So shame on you, Barack Obama.
Iran, Cuba, Venezuela--
these countries
are tiny compared
to the Soviet Union.
They don't pose a
serious threat to us.
Iran is a great threat.
We can end illegal immigration.
We're never ever going
to be able to totally
control immigration.
You have said in
the past that it was,
quote, pretty well confirmed.
-No, I never said that.
I never said that.
I think that is--
Absolutely not.
What I said was--
Uh, it's been pretty
well confirmed.
There are no knowns.
There are things we
know that we know.
There are known unknowns.
That is to say there are things
that we now know we don't know.
But there are also
unknown unknowns.
There are things we
do know we don't know.
One of the most important
beliefs that people have
about politicians is
that politicians do
whatever polls tell them to do.
We hear a lot of complaint about
the lack of strong leadership--
that politicians find out
what the public wants and then
they pander to it, or at least
they say they'll pander to it.
Now, what this idea of the
poll-driven politician creates
is the impression that
the political system
may have all kinds of problems.
But on the whole, it's
responsive and accountable
to the public.
So, how do we explain this
contradiction between the myth
that politicians reflect
the public and the reality
that, on most
economic issues, they
actually ignore public opinion?
Media influence
on public opinion
has been studied
from many years now.
We know, for example, that the
media often play what's called
an "agenda-setting role."
Public concern
about issues tends
to follow media
coverage of those issues
rather than any changes
in the real world.
The media create the impression
that the American public
has a real choice.
You can choose Bush
or you can choose
Gore-- the implication
being that they're
both very different.
But on substantive budgetary
or economic issues,
the differences between them
are really on the margins.
But is leading Democrats
and Republicans
support a privatized
health care system.
They support corporate-backed
global trade agreements,
they support maintaining
a Cold War defense budget,
and they generally favor the
interests of big business.
But the media give
the impression
that Democrats and Republicans
represent a broad range
of opinion by focusing on civil
liberty, non-monetary issues,
like gay rights or abortion,
where Democrats and Republicans
really do differ.
And this masks the degree
of elite consensus.
There's a couple of
completely logical reasons
why our politicians
are so similar.
The end game for politicians
is to get elected.
The people who vote are, for
the most part, quite moderate
in their views.
Both parties try to occupy
that middle, moderate ground.
They are simply responding
to that majority in order
to get elected.
The second reason our
politicians are so similar
is much more sinister.
They answer increasingly
to the same master.
Thank you so much
for your time.
We're looking easily at
the first billion-dollar
presidential election.
It's much bigger money
than we've ever seen
in a presidential election.
We define a candidate
as being serious or not
by how much money they
can raise, not by what
ideas they have, what their
record in public service
might have been.
It's all about money.
We really don't have
an election anymore.
We have an auction.
And what's for sale?
I mean, these are
interesting questions to ask.
Every incoming president
rewards big donors
with ambassadorships and
other honorary appointments
like that.
There are all kinds
of policy issues.
Is a big donor
rewarded with a place
on a federal advisory panel
that might have something
to do with, say,
approving new drugs
or environmental regulations?
All of these questions about
what's for sale-- you know?
Is government for sale?
Is the White House for sale?
I think a lot of Americans
suspect that it is.
The money flows in for
a reason, and the reason
is not good government.
It is completely unrealistic
to expect democracy
to deliver representatives who
serve the people's interests
when so much money is involved.
Having so much money
in politics gives all
the power to those with money.
Yes, we are all still
allowed to vote.
But how free is our choice?
The media in the
hands of big business
will only present us
with politicians that
will serve their interests.
It would be completely illogical
for them to do otherwise.
It would also be
illogical to expect
politicians to change a system
that puts them in power.
But it certainly begs
the question-- just what
kind of democracy do we have?
Do you want to live in
a democratic society,
or do you want to live
in the society we have--
which, remember, is not
a democratic society,
and is not intended to be.
If you take a course in
political theory here,
I'm sure they'll teach
you that the United
States is not a democracy.
It's what's called, in
the technical literature,
a polyarchy.
A polyarchy is a system
in which power resides
in the hands of
those who Madison
called the "wealth
of the nation,"
the responsible class of men.
And the rest of the
population is fragmented.
But that's the way the
country was founded.
TONY BENN: Throughout
the history of the world,
the rich and powerful
have dominated it.
And very few people
have had any control
of their own governments.
But most real power in the
world is still exercised
by those we do not elect.
We are still far from
governing ourselves.
The basis of democracy
is the belief
that we were all born equal,
and that that equality must
be accepted by those in power.
But in the attempts
to win those rights,
many people have been
imprisoned and tortured
by those who have power and
were determined to retain it.
No one in power really
wants democracy,
because democracy would
challenge their power
structures and their authority.
So anyone who comes out
with a democratic idea
is dismissed as unrepresentative
or a troublemaker
or an extremists or something.
And in this way, the full
throw of a public debate
about alternatives is
being extinguished.
Big business is
about making money.
That's what big
business does well.
Governments, however,
have to balance the needs
of the whole society,
including big business,
based on ethics and social
and moral responsibility.
But if our corporations
have become
more powerful than
our governments,
then we have to understand
the effect that is
going to have on our systems.
HOWARD INN: Corporations
are artificial creations.
You might say they
are monsters trying
to devour as much profit as
possible, at anyone's expense.
The 14th Amendment was passed
at the end of the Civil War
to give equal rights
to black people.
And what happens is the
corporations come into court,
and corporation lawyers
are very clever.
And they say, oh, you
can't deprive a person
of life, liberty, or property.
We are a person.
A corporation is a person.
These are a special kind of
persons, which are designed,
by law, to be concerned
only for their stockholders,
and not say what
are sometimes called
their stakeholders, like the
community or the workforce
or whatever.
I believe the mistake
that a lot of people
make when they think
about corporations is they
think corporations are like us.
They have feelings.
They have politics.
They have belief systems.
They really only have one
thing-- the bottom line.
NARRATOR: All publicly
traded corporations
have been structured through
a series of legal decisions
to have a very disturbing
They are required, by law, to
place the financial interests
of their owners above everything
else, even the public good.
That's not a law of nature.
That's a very
specific decision--
in fact, a judicial decision.
So they're concerned only
for the short-term profit
of their stockholders, who
are very highly concentrated.
So the pressure's on the
corporation to deliver results
now, and to
externalize any costs
that this unwary
or uncaring public
will allow it to externalize.
Towards the end of 1989,
a great box of documents
arrived at my office
without any indication
where they came from.
And I opened them and found in
it a complete set of Monsanto
files-- particularly
a set of files
dealing with toxicological
testing of cows
who had been given rBGH.
BST, trade name Posilac,
is being used in more than
a quarter of the dairy herds
in the United States,
according to Monsanto.
The milk is being drunk
by a large portion
of the American population
since the Food and Drug
Administration declared it
safe for both cows and humans
four years ago.
And at that time,
Monsanto was saying
there's no evidence whatsoever
of any adverse effects.
We don't use antibiotics.
And this clearly
showed that they
had lied through their teeth.
The files described areas
of chronic inflammation
in the heart, lung,
kidneys, spleen,
also reproductive effects,
also a whole series
of other problems.
There's a cost to the cows.
The cows get sicker when
they're injected with rBGH.
They're injected
with antibiotics.
We know that people
are consuming
antibiotics through their food.
And we know that
that's contributing
to antibiotic-resistant
bacteria and diseases.
And we know we're at a
crisis when somebody can
go into a hospital and
get a staph infection
and it can't be
cured and they die.
That's a crisis.
Again and again,
we have the problem
that whether you
obey the law or not
is a matter of whether
it's cost-effective.
If the chance of getting
caught and the penalty are less
than a cost to comply,
people think of it as being
just a business decision.
Every living system
of earth is in decline.
Every life support system
of earth is in decline.
And these together
constitute the biosphere--
the biosphere that supports
and nurtures all of life.
And not just our
life, but perhaps
30 million other species.
The typical company of the
20th century-- extractive,
wasteful, abusive, linear
in all of its processes,
taking from the earth,
making, wasting.
We're leaving that
terrible legacy.
Corporations have gone global.
Regardless of whether the
corporation can be trusted
or cannot be trusted,
governments today do not have
over the corporations
the power that
they had and the leverage that
they had 50 or 60 years ago.
And that's a major change.
So governments have
become powerless compared
to what they were before.
Capitalism today commands
the towering heights
and has displaced
politics and politicians
as the new high priests.
Corporations, by law, must
increase their bottom line.
In order to expand, they
have to sell more products.
To sell more products, they
must consume more resources.
Even going back 50 years, we
could see the effect that this
was having on our environment.
Today, the effects of
pollution and industrialization
have multiplied 10-fold, and
the damage is terrifying.
And yet, these same
corporations still want
to drill for oil in the Arctic.
And that's not
just morally blind.
That's morally bankrupt.
Also corporate expansion
into other countries
to get those
resources is the cause
of so much war and conflict,
as you will see in this film.
We need our corporations to
bring us the technologies--
many of which already
exist-- that can help
us address the issues we face.
And yet the system encourages
a thirst for short-term profit.
I know many of us have heard
stories about powerful groups
of businessmen who pull
the strings of governments
from behind closed doors.
And so many rumors have sprung
up around organizations,
like the Bilderbergs
and the Council
on Foreign Relations,
that it's really difficult
to know what to believe.
However, it is an interesting
fact-- the Federal Reserve
Bank of the United
States is not actually
owned by the government.
It is owned by a
private banking cartel.
Now, whoever these men are that
can loan money to governments
have to be some of the most
influential men in the world.
And yet, we don't
know who they are.
Not all conspiracy
theories are just theories,
and the research for
this film pulled up
some interesting quotes.
NARRATOR: Gold is valuable
because it is relatively rare.
Like gold, the value of
money is determined by how
much money is in circulation.
One would think the power to
regulate the money supply that
controls our economy and
affects our lives in every way
would be in the hands of the
government of the people.
But surprisingly, it is not.
The power to control
the money supply
is in the hands of the
Federal Reserve Bank.
It is important to note
the Federal Reserve is
not a government organization.
It is a private banking cartel.
The Federal Reserve
System is a banking cartel.
It's no different than a
banana cartel or an oil
cartel or the sugar cartel.
It just happens to
be a banking cartel.
Congress, in
essence, has seated
total control of the value
of our money to a secret
to a central bank.
It's a group of very
large and powerful
private banking interests.
Congress knows nothing
of the conversations,
the plans, and the
action taken in concert
with other central banks.
The government has
given it a monopoly,
a virtual monopoly, to create
the nation's money supply.
But all these actions
directed by the Federal Reserve
alter the purchasing
power of our money.
This has significant
consequences on our economy
and our political stability.
Wages never keep up with profits
on Wall Street and the banks,
thus sowing the seeds
of class and discontent.
NARRATOR: It is bewildering
to think that we allow
an unelected and unregulated
group of private bankers
to wield such incredible
influence over our society.
The truth is that most of
us will live from paycheck
to paycheck in a continued
state of struggle,
unable to question a system
of finance that keeps
us on a constant treadmill.
And while most of us
struggle to stay ahead,
billions of dollars
in profits flow
into the hands of private
bankers at our expense.
For this is how
the system works.
Whenever the
government needs money,
it requests it from
the Federal Reserve.
But the Fed doesn't just give
the money to the government.
It loans the money at interest.
Every dollar the
government loans
from the Federal
Reserve Bank has
to be paid back with interest.
This keeps the
government, and, as such,
the people, in a
continual state of debt.
All of our income taxes are
paid back to the Federal Reserve
to pay off the debt
that the government
incurs when it borrows money
from the Federal Reserve Bank.
This is all a matter
of public record,
and easily verifiable
should you care to look.
The Founding Fathers
of America were
well aware of the
perils of central banks,
and sought to prevent them.
Several central banks were
set up but then removed.
But the ruthless and powerful
bankers-- the Rockefellers,
the Morgans, the Walburgs,
the Rothschilds--
were determined to set
up a central banking
system in America at any cost.
In the early 1920s, JP Morgan,
one of the most influential
bankers of his day, caused
massive panic in the markets
by spreading rumors
that many private banks
were about to go bankrupt.
This caused widespread panic.
Everyone started withdrawing
their deposits en masse,
and the banks had to call
in all of their loans
to try and survive.
The hysteria
destroyed the markets,
and the banking elites,
having caused the panic,
used it to influence
politicians and the public
that a central bank would
bring stability to the system.
At a secret meeting in
1910 at the estate of JP
Morgan on Jekyll
Island, the bankers
wrote the Federal Reserve Act.
They then gave their
considerable financial and
political support to Woodrow
Wilson on the condition
he would support
the bill if elected.
In 1913, Woodrow Wilson
signed the bill into law.
He later wrote, in regret.
The bankers made immediate
moves to increase
and consolidate their power.
From 1921 to 1929,
the banks drastically
increased the money supply,
making millions of loans.
Then, in October, 1929, having
quietly exited the markets,
they started calling in
those loans en masse.
The hysteria that followed
led to the Great Depression.
The conspiring
bankers bought out
rival banks and
massive corporations
for pennies on the dollar.
Their position of power and
influence had become absolute.
We get almost all of our
information from the media.
If we base our opinions on
bad or biased information,
then everything we
believe is suspect.
Political debate today is kept
within very narrow boundaries
so the media can present both
sides of these narrow positions
and give the impression
we have a free press.
However, to talk about a
left or right wing press
is to miss a very
important point.
Whatever message big
business wants carried
with whatever slant,
the media will
carry that story unfailingly.
NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, the title
is actually borrowed from a book
by Walter Lippmann written
back around 1921 in which he
described what he called
"the manufacture of consent"
as "a revolution" in the
"practice of democracy."
What it amounts to is
a technique of control.
And he said this was useful and
necessary because "the common
interests"-- the general
concerns of all people--
"elude the public.
The public just isn't
up to dealing with them.
And they have to be
the domain of what he
called "a specialized class."
Notice that that's the
opposite of the standard view
about democracy.
There's a version
of this expressed
by the highly respected
moralist and theologian Reinhold
Niebuhr, who was
very influential
on contemporary policymakers.
His view was that rationality
belongs to the cool observer.
But because of the stupidity
of the average man,
he follows not
reason, but faith.
And this naive faith
requires necessary illusion.
The point is that in a military
state or a feudal state,
or what you would nowadays
call a totalitarian state,
it doesn't much matter what
people think because you've
got a bludgeon over
their head and you
can control what they do.
But when the state loses
the bludgeon, when you can't
control by force, and when
the voice of the people
can be heard, you
have this problem.
It may make people so
curious and so arrogant
that they don't
have the humility
to submit to a civil rule.
And therefore, you have to
control what people think.
NARRATOR: 100 years ago, Sigmund
Freud, famous for giving us
the science of
psychological analysis,
suggested that's the ideal
of individual freedom,
central to the idea of
democracy, was impossible.
He said our hidden desires
were too dangerous.
Human beings could never
be allowed to fully express
themselves, that we must
always be controlled and would,
thus, always be discontent.
Sigmund Freud's American
nephew was Edward Bernays.
Beryans is almost
completely unknown today,
but his influence on
society is possibly
much greater than Freud.
Bernays took the new science
developed by his famous uncle
and used it to
manipulate the masses.
Bernays is the man who
invented the profession
the term "public relations."
He worked for most of
the major corporations,
and advised politicians on how
to win favor with the public.
Like Freud, Bernays was
convinced that humans were
driven by irrational forces.
But by stimulating
our inner desires
and then sating them
with consumer products,
he created a new way to
manage the irrational behavior
of the masses.
What Eddie got from
Freud was indeed this idea
that there is a lot more going
on in human decision-making--
now only among individuals,
but even more importantly
among groups-- than this
idea that information
drives behavior.
And so Eddie began to formulate
this idea that you had too
look at things that
would play to people's
irrational emotions.
And, you see, that
moved Eddie immediately
into a different category
from other people in his field
and most government officials
and managers of the day who
thought, if you just
hit people with all
of this factual information,
they would look at that
and say, oh, of course.
There's a psychology of dress.
Have you ever thought about it?
How it can express
your character?
You all have interesting
characters, but some of them
are all hidden.
I wonder why you all want
to dress always the same,
with the same hats
and the same coats.
I'm sure all of you are
interesting and have
wonderful things about you.
But looking at
you in the street,
you all look so much the same.
And that's why
I'm talking to you
about the psychology of dress.
Try and express yourselves
better in your dress.
He had a home in
the corner suite
of the Sherry Netherland Hotel.
And here's this wonderful suite
with all these windows looking
out on the Central Park
and across at the Plaza
and on the square.
And he would use this
place to hold a soiree.
The mayor would come.
All the media
leaders would come--
the political leaders,
the business leaders,
the people in the arts.
I mean, it was a who's who.
People wanted to know Eddie
Bernays, because, you know, he
himself became sort of a famous
man, sort of a magician who
could make these things happen.
Eddie Bernays saw the
way to sell product
was not to sell it to your
intellect-- that you ought
to buy an automobile-- but that
you will feel better about it
if you have this automobile.
I think he originated that
idea-- that they weren't just
purchasing something,
but they were
engaging themselves
emotionally or personally
in the product or service.
So it's not you think you
need a new piece of clothing,
but you'll feel better
with the piece of clothing.
That was his contribution
in a very real sense.
We see it all over
the place today,
but I think he originated the
idea of the emotional connect
to a product or service.
Democracy to my father
was a wonderful concept.
But I don't think he
felt that of those
publics out there had
reliable judgment.
And that they very easily
might vote for the wrong man
or want the wrong
thing, so that they
had to be guided from above.
You appeal to their desires and
their unrecognized longings--
that sort of thing.
You can tap into their deepest
desires or their deepest fears
and use that to
your own purposes.
influential thinkers
came to believe that the
public were incapable of making
rational decisions,
and that, as such,
democracy could never work.
Walter Lippmann, one of the most
influential political writers
at that time, argued that
if people were, in reality,
motivated by irrational
forces, then what was needed
was control by the
elites to manage what he
called "the bewildered herd."
And this could be
accomplished by using
psychological techniques
to control the unconscious
desires of the masses.
And so here you have
Walter Lippmann, probably
the most influential political
thinker in the United States,
who is essentially saying
that the basic mechanism
of the mass mind is unreason,
is irrationality, is anomality.
He believes that the mob in the
street-- which is how he sees
ordinary people-- are people who
are driven not by their minds,
but by their spinal cords.
The notion of animal drives,
unconscious instinctual
drives lurking beneath the
surface of civilization.
And so they started looking
towards psychological science
as a way of understanding
the mechanisms by which
the popular mind
works, specifically
with the goal of figuring
out how to understand
how to apply those mechanisms to
strategies for social control.
Democracy at its heart
was about changing
the relations of power that had
governed the world for so long.
And Bernays'
concept of democracy
was one of maintaining
the relations of power,
even if it meant that
one needed to sort
of stimulate the psychological
lives of the public.
So democracy is reduced
from something which assumes
an active citizenry to
the idea of the public
as passive consumers--
---driven primarily by
instinctual or unconscious
desires, and that,
if you can, in fact,
trigger those needs
and desires, you can
get what you want from them.
corporations understood
that to change our
consumer culture
from needs-based to
desire-based purchasing,
people must be trained to want
new things even before the old
had been consumed.
Bernays really is the guy
within the United States,
more than anybody else, who
sort of brings to the table
psychological theory
as something that
is an essential part of how--
from the corporate side--
of how we are going to
appeal to the masses.
He showed the corporations how
they could make people want
things they did not
mean by linking products
to their unconscious
desires, and the mass media
would be the key.
The media and marketing
men spend billions
of dollars in research.
They have developed
an entire science
based on the very best
psychology that knows exactly
which one of our buttons
to press to make us swallow
an idea or buy a product.
And they are not just
selling us laundry detergent.
They sell us everything from
plastic gadgets to warfare.
If we are to make
decisions about the future
of our society, the single
most important thing
we need it's the truth.
So I would like us to imagine
a nightmare scenario--
a powerful group of businessmen
with access to the White House,
who control the media and who
make obscene amounts of money
whenever there is war.
In the councils
of government, we
must guard against
the acquisition
of unwarranted influence,
whether sought or unsought,
by the military
industrial complex.
President Eisenhower's
concern about
the military industrial
complex-- his words have,
unfortunately, come true.
He was worried
that priorities are
set by what benefits
corporations as opposed to what
benefits the country.
MAN: Lockheed Martin
and McDonnell Douglas
and Boeing-- throughout
America, there are factories,
there are corporations that
are involved on a daily basis.
We have a snapshot in
time after September 11
where at least 71 companies
that we were able to identify
are starting to get contracts
to go in Afghanistan and Iraq.
All of the top 10 companies
had former US officials
who had worked in the Pentagon
or other parts of the US
Government on the
boards of directors.
The Carlyle Group
plays in industries
and in an area that are
heavily influenced by politics.
My understanding is they are
now the 11th or 12th largest
defense contractor--
a multi-billion dollar
annual enterprise with an almost
obscenely high profit margin.
They hire defense
experts like Frank
Carlucci are Frank Finelli.
They hire politicians
like George
Bush Senior or James Baker III.
And the iron triangle
is, in some ways,
a uniquely American phenomenon.
It's the confluence of the
military, big business,
and politics.
I will name, as the next
Secretary of Defense,
the best-qualified
man in America
to carry on Cap's
work, Frank Carlucci.
When Frank Carlucci
came on board,
he was coming straight
from the Pentagon
as Secretary of Defense.
A year, two years
later, the Gulf War hit.
And everybody knows
that wartime is
boom time for the
defense industry,
and Carlyle made a ton of money.
They did very, very well.
They really cleaned up.
After that, Carlyle said, hey.
You know, having these
politicians on board
is pretty great.
I mean, they know things
that nobody else knows.
They are able to predict trends
in global markets, predict
trends in political shifts,
and, in some ways-- and this
is sort of most insidious part.
And if you want to be cynical
about the Carlyle Group,
you have to be concerned
about their ability
to influence these trends
and actually affect change
in government policy
which would positively
affect their investments.
If you have an
organization that
is able to operate
behind the scenes
without real accountability,
and that same organization has
the ability to ruin political
careers for people who are
a little bit too inquisitive
or a little bit too honest,
or to shape public
thinking, then we
have the means for a
kind of control globally
that is probably unprecedented.
So we have this problem here.
This is a mysterious,
immensely powerful company
with virtually no scrutiny.
this February day,
as this nation stands
at the brink of battle,
every American, on some
level, must be contemplating
the horrors of war.
And yet, this chamber
is, for the most part,
dreadfully SILENT.
We have a Congress that
failed, in every way,
to ask the right questions, to
hold the President to account.
Our Congress failed
us miserably.
And that's because
many in Congress
are beholden to the
military industrial complex.
When we're speaking of the
United States of America
and the concept of
democratic representation,
I think one of the
more important aspects
is the concept of informed
consent of the people.
If you're going to go to
war, you lay out the reasons
for the war, the
justifications for the war,
and then you subject it to
debate, dialogue, discussion
amongst the elected
representatives of the people,
and, indeed, the
people themselves.
The defense budget is
3/4 of a trillion dollars.
Profits went up last
year well over 25%.
I guarantee you when war
becomes that profitable,
you're going to see more of it.
We have a process that
has a seamlessness where
the corporate interests
that stand to benefit
are so intertwined
and interwoven
with the political forces
that the financial elites
and the political elites
have become the same people.
The attack came
without warning.
And according to a
US Government source,
told CBS News that
it has Middle East
terrorism written all over it.
REPORTER (ON TV): The attack
in Oklahoma City appears
to have a familiar mark.
This was done with
the attempt to inflict
as many casualties as possible.
And that is a Middle
Eastern trait.
REPORTER (ON TV): The fact that
it was such a powerful bomb
in Oklahoma City immediately
drew investigators
to consider deadly
parallels that all
have roots in the Middle East.
ABC News has learned that the
FBI has asked the US Military
to provide up to
10 Arabic speakers
to help in the investigation.
The so-called independent
media, in a liberal society
like this, in
effect, are so lazy
and are controlled
by interests that
are commercial and
political at the same time
that there is no
investigative reporting.
It's just basically repeating
the line of the government--
Only eight day ago, I concluded
a broadcast on the World Trade
Center bombing by telling you
what senior US law enforcement
officials were telling us-- that
the threat of Muslim extremists
operating within
the United States
is an ongoing danger,
something we'll
have to live with from now on.
---and repeating the lines of
the people who have the most
influence, for whom Islam is
a useful foreign demon to turn
attention away from the
inequities and problems
in our own society.
So as a result, the
human side of the Islamic
and especially Arabic world,
are rarely to be found.
And the net result is this
vacancy, on the one hand,
and these easy, almost automatic
images of terror and violence.
The situation in
the popular media
is basically that Muslims
are really two things-- one,
they are villains of one
sort, villains and fanatics.
And B, many films end up
with huge numbers of bodies,
Muslim bodies, strewn all
over the place-- the result
of Arnold Schwarzenegger or
Demi Moore-- Chuck Norris.
Lots of films about
guerrillas going in
to kill Muslim terrorists.
So the idea of Islam is
something to be stamped out
it's easy to attract attention,
and certainly the media's
attention, for some of
the political reasons
that are obvious.
I mean, to discredit the Arabs,
to make them seem like a threat
to the West, to
keep the idea around
at the end of the Cold War
that there are foreign devils.
Otherwise, what are we doing
with this gigantic military?
The war with Iraq gives
us a snapshot in time
where we can see
the effects of all
of these powerful
influences coming together.
They have weapons
of mass destruction.
That is what this war was about.
And Saddam Hussein possesses
biological and chemical
It's a fact that there
are weapons there.
You've heard the
President say it
repeatedly-- that
he has chemical
and biological weapons.
REPORTER (ON TV): With the
drumbeat for an attack on Iraq
increasing, the
Bush Administration
may finally have the ammunition
they've been looking for.
September 11.
September 11.
September 11.
September 11.
September 11.
Dangerous world.
A grave new threat.
There is no doubt
that he is amassing
them to use against our
friends, against our allies.
A Hollywood set
designer was brought in
to create a $200,000 backdrop
for official war briefings.
In USA Today and in the major
network coverage and so forth,
you have this very elaborate
computer-generated graphic sort
of coverage of the different
US Air Force and Army planes
and gun ships and helicopters,
and a very snazzy weapons
of all descriptions.
MAN (ON TV): Well,
it's quite amazing.
I've fallen almost in love
with the F-18 Super Hornet,
because it's quite
a versatile plane.
It's not enough for us to be
told to accept this war we're
really encouraged to gain some
kind of vicarious pleasure
from it.
The Pentagon, for many
years now, since Vietnam,
has worked extremely hard
at shaping news and how
the media reports that news.
We train people to say certain
things in a certain way.
Well, a militia group linked
to terror being backed by Iran
and setting up camp
on America's doorstep?
propaganda campaign
waged by the media was so
successful that by 2003,
opinion polls showed that
vast majority of Americans
believed Saddam Hussein
was linked to 9/11.
This claim was false.
The majority believed
he possessed stockpiles
of weapons of mass destruction.
This claim, too, was false.
These claims allowed
the corporate interests
and the administration to
frame the attack on Iraq
as a justifiable
act of self-defense.
Lieutenant Colonel
Karen Kwiatkowski
worked at the Pentagon.
She saw firsthand how the
intelligence was distorted
to win support for the attack.
The information in there are
drawn from fact-- you could
find bits and pieces
of fact throughout--
but framed, articulated, crafted
to convince someone of what?
Well, of things
that weren't true.
Things that weren't true.
9/11, al-Qaeda related
to Saddam Hussein,
possibly some involvement
there-- the very things
that, a year later,
President Bush himself
denies and feigns his surprise.
"I don't know why
everybody thinks that."
We've had no evidence that
Saddam Hussein was involved
with the September the 11th.
Well, I worked in a place where
they concentrated on preparing
this storyline and selling it.
What they're trying
to do is have
an Iraq that is a friend to us,
not an Iraq that is liberated.
This is total bogus.
We never intended to
liberate the Iraqi people.
We intended to liberate
Iraq from Sadaam,
and have a footprint, a
military footprint, there.
And we've done that now.
We have Kuwait.
We have Fifth Fleet in Bahrain,
we have a nice base in Qatar,
but it's a little too far south.
And what do we have?
We have four bases in
Iraq-- beautiful bases.
We can hit Syria.
We can hit Iran.
We can keep tabs on Afghanistan.
There's all kinds of things
we can do from those bases.
The larger picture is
being driven by the fact
that we're about to
hit peak oil worldwide,
that there's this sort of
emerging global competition
between US and China.
There's the ongoing
economic rivalries
between us and Europe.
And so southwest Asia becomes
geopolitically a linchpin.
The idea that any of the
motives that brought us in
would have sufficed to get us
in if there was no oil in Iran
does not persuade me.
The pretext--
that is, the excuse
for going in-- in Afghanistan
was about terrorism
and Osama bin Ladin.
In Iraq, it's about
weapons of mass destruction
and Saddam Hussein.
But, in the end, neither
one of those wars
was really about those
people or those regimes.
It was about securing
and solidifying
American control
over these incredibly
important regions of the world.
In this case, I was
saying we've been
lied into this as blatantly
as we were lied into Vietnam.
And I was saying that
a year ago-- that
is, in the fall of 2002--
at a time when we did not
know how much they were
hyping the evidence
or exaggerating the
evidence for WMDs,
for weapons of mass destruction.
To say that, in that world, that
Saddam Hussein, after 10 years
of sanctions in the Gulf
War, was any threat at all
was basically absurd.
What you're saying is Democracy
doesn't matter in America,
that, this nation, the
principles and values
upon which we were built,
simply is irrelevant--
that the president
is a dictator who
can do anything he
or she wants to do,
regardless of the
will of the people.
Informed consent of the people
is a mandatory-- not optional,
not mandatory-- requirement
on how we are governed
and how those whom we
elect to higher office
operate in our name.
They not only want to
repeal, revoke virtually all
of the progressive
reforms of the New Deal
and ever since, and
really bring us back
into an essentially unregulated,
non-unionized country that
existed before the
deal, I think they
want openly to see the
president given the power
that he was delegated.
And it's virtually an open, an
undated blank check by Congress
that simply yields
to the president.
They clearly are trying
to repeal that aspect
of our Constitution, which gives
Congress that authority, which
the Founders wrote in order--
as a result of debate--
in order to limit
our going to war,
to make it harder
to go to war, to put
that in the hands of hundreds
of people instead of one man.
They saw the alternative as
the attribute of monarchy
they most wanted to avoid.
I don't think they take
seriously any merits
or advantages to a country
of a Bill of Rights,
unless it's the
right to bear arms.
But free speech,
free assembly, I
don't think they
respect that at all.
Freedom does not
simply mean rallying
oneself behind the flag, here.
This is a great flag.
But freedom means allowing
the kind of dissent
and vigorous debate and
tolerance of onerous points
of view that people regard as
obnoxious and hateful because
we understand that once
you say, I don't want
to hear that point of view.
You can't say that.
You begin to stifle all
kinds of points of view.
You begin to create a mindset.
Freedom is a very
delicate thing.
It's a very delicate thing
between limiting people's
intellectual growth or not.
And that's why we have to be
vigorous and extremely proud.
This flag means the Constitution
of the United States.
We as Americans should be
very, very proud of that,
and we should do
everything that we
can to fight those people
who, for political reasons,
are trying to limit
basic freedom in America.
It is this kind of
ideology that has grown up
in the wake of the Cold
War, propounded quite openly
by what we are calling
neoconservatives in America
that identifies the United
States as a colossus athwart
the world, a new Rome,
beyond good and evil.
We no longer need friends.
We don't need international law.
Like the old Roman
phrase, "it doesn't
matter whether they love us or
not, so long as they fear us."
Been a born New
Yorker all my life.
I've lived here all my life.
So for me, it was a
powerful personal event.
What I remember, what I
think it taught-- of course
my first reaction was fear,
anger, rage, vengeance.
I think all of us, if we're
human, had that reaction.
The question for all of
us is what we remember
and what we do
with the memories.
What is the lesson?
What does it tell?
What does it teach?
For the President, it teaches
the lesson of the Axis of Evil.
States like these and
their terrorist allies
constitute an Axis of Evil.
It teaches a
lesson that America
has enemies, secret
dangerous enemies
who have to be taken out.
Our enemy is a radical
network of terrorists
and every government
that supports them.
It teaches the lesson
that we can never be weak.
We have to flex our
muscles at every turn.
We will fight
with the full force
and might of the
United States Military.
That's one kind of lesson.
It creates a politics of fear.
The politics of fear that this
administration has deployed
in trying to
respond to terrorism
has itself, in some
ways, been much more
dangers than terrorism itself.
And this administration
has been,
I think, responsible
for inciting
the very terror that
it was the terrorists'
purpose to incite in America.
calling it Code Orange Plus.
The Fed's decision to raise
the terror alert to high.
America on high alert,
from biggest cities
to smallest towns.
Red, yellow, orange.
We're afraid.
Be afraid.
What level of fear?
The government can program
that without any justification.
You know?
We have an intelligence
report that terrorists
are about to attack.
We don't know.
We don't know.
We don't know.
But you tell us, so
now we're afraid.
A Connecticut man
wrapping his family's
19th century farmhouse
with plastic,
sealing it in duct tape.
States response to terrorism.
We're too great a nation
to allow the evildoers
to affect our soul.
The decision was made
within the administration
to take this event, to take
the struggle against al-Qaeda,
and make it into a full-fledged
struggle against good and evil.
Either you are with us or
you are with the terrorists.
The important thing
to remember here
is one didn't have to
put it in these terms.
One didn't have to say, if
you're not for us, on our side,
you're on the side
of the terrorists.
That was not a
necessary response.
That was a chosen response.
The more we're afraid, the
more you ask us to give.
Patriot Act II, enhancements
to the Patriot Act.
Now the budget's starting
to be bankrupted,
billions flowing out of this
country into a war on terror.
More defense expenditures.
And therefore,
I've asked Congress
for a one-year increase of
more than $48 million dollars
for national defense--
the largest increase
in a generation.
Perpetual war, the
loss of civil liberties,
uh, the lack of
trust in government
because they don't tell
the truth-- these are
outrageous and unpleasant
political developments,
but they don't necessarily spell
the end of the United States.
Financial bankruptcy does.
Things that can't
go on forever don't.
What we're talking
about right now
is the rigged American
economy can't go on forever,
and it's not rocket
science to say say.
One war after another
after another,
we become a warfare state.
That is, the system is
set up to go to war.
We're going to find wars.
We've already had
wars-- two major wars,
Iraq and Afghanistan.
I think the people most without
fear on September 12 in America
were those working
at Ground Zero.
They were in the greatest
danger, actually.
But because they
were active, they
were engaged-- the firemen
and the medical officials
and the cops who were working
there first to find victims,
then to find remains
and clear the site.
They had a civic task.
They were engaged, and they
weren't afraid of anything.
American citizens after
9/11 said to the President,
what can we do?
What can we do to become engaged
and take some responsibility?
President Bush unfortunately
said, go shopping.
Go back to the mall.
Go back to your normal lives.
We'll take care of it.
Spectatorship is an
invitation to fear.
Citizenship is how we
fight the politics of fear.
The politics of citizenship,
the politics of engagement,
taking responsibility
is a much better way
to deal with terrorism than
hunkering down being spectators
and allowing the government
to rob us of our liberties,
to rob us of our
in the name of protecting us.
I think the history
of the United States,
as a work in progress, and
our attempt at democracy
here is a constant
struggle between capitalism
and democracy.
And there have been ebbs
and flows where democracy
looks like it's winning.
You reign in those
powerful forces.
But the fundamental reality is
that most of the Government's
decisions today
are substantially
dictated by powerful
corporate interests.
Clearly, capitalism is winning.
For anyone who
doesn't yet know,
our corporations have
been in the Middle East
trampling on their
beliefs and customs
since they discovered oil.
Our corporations
would tell us they
are just getting us
the things we need,
and there is truth in that.
But we have to decide what
price we are willing to pay.
We as individuals drive the
demand for these resources.
As long as we are
all aware of the fact
there is blood in this oil,
and that is the decision
that we make, then so be it.
It's completely
understandable that people
bury their heads in the sand.
And if we don't
look too closely,
life doesn't seem too bad
in many areas of the world.
But that is going to change.
And there are some
logical outcomes
to the way this
system works that will
affect every one of us.
I was invited to Washington
DC to attend this meeting that
was being put together
by the National
Security Agency called the
Critical Thinking Consortium.
I remember standing
there in this room
and looking over on
one side of the room.
And we had CIA, NSA, DIA,
FBI, Customs, Secret Service.
And then on the other
side of the room,
we had Coca Cola, Mobil
Oil, GTE, and Kodak.
And I remember
thinking, I am, like,
in the epicenter
of the intelligence
industry right now.
I mean, the line is
not just blurring.
It's just not there anymore.
And to me, it spoke volumes as
to how industry and government
were consulting with each other
and working with each other.
An initial news report in the
Army Times newspaper last month
noted, in addition to
urgent emergency response,
the force, quote, "may be called
upon to help with civil unrest
and crowd control."
Did this surprise you?
-It did.
It surprised me also that
NORTHCOM itself was involved
in intelligence sharing
with local police
officers in Saint Paul.
I mean, what in the
world is NORTHCOM
doing looking at what some of
the protesters are involved in?
And you had infiltration
up there, too.
But what we have going
on in this country
is we have infiltration
and spying that goes on
not only at the-- well, all
the way from the campus police,
practically, aiming up to
the Pentagon and the National
Security Agency.
We're becoming a
police state, here.
Right now, as we
talk, the Fourth
and Sixth Amendments
to the Constitution
to the Bill of Rights
are dead letters.
Both of these bills were
written into the Constitution
by the Founding Fathers
in order to protect
the people of America from
the government of America.
Right now, the right
to freedom of speech,
the right to free assembly,
and the right to a fair trial
are no longer protected by law.
NARRATOR: The result of the
Patriot Act, the Military
Tribunal Act, and many other
bills written in the name
of Homeland Security is that
almost any action, speech,
or protest against
the Government
can be construed
legally as terrorism.
Your home can be searched
secretly, without a warrant.
You can could be arrested with
no charges revealed to you.
You can be detained
and tortured without any
protection under the law.
In 2005, Congress
passed the Real ID Act.
Soon, we will be required
to carry ID cards by law.
There are plans to
equip these cards
with RFID tracking
chips that will be
able to track your every move.
These tracking chips are
already in all new passports.
Many believe this
will eventually
lead to the implanted chip,
which is already being used
in many places in our society.
We have a Florida
family who are really
pioneers in a brave new world.
They have volunteered
to be the first ever
to have microchip
identification devices
implanted into their body.
After 9/11, I was
really concerned
with the security of my family.
I wouldn't mind
having something
planted permanently in my
arm that would identify me.
NARRATOR: It is not difficult
to see a future where we are all
locked in to a monitored
control grid, where
every move and all
transactions will be tracked,
monitored, and recorded.
And if anyone gets
out of line, they
can just turn off their chip.
Could the sense of
fear and isolation
prevalent in our society allow
us to accept totalitarian
measures of this nature?
And if we become scared enough,
might not even demand them?
Has our sense of
fear and division
detached us from reality?
It is not too difficult to
imagine that many of our fears
are manufactured for us.
History shows us
that many in power
have used fear to
manipulate societies.
And there are those who would
benefit from a totalitarian
world government.
This is Aaron Russo,
a formal politician.
Next to him is Nicholas
Rockefeller, of the Rockefeller
banking family.
After a long friendship,
Aaron Russo eventually
ended their
relationship, appalled
at what he had learned of the
Rockefellers and their plans.
So he said to me one night--
he said that there's going
to be an event there.
And out of that
event, you're going
to see we're going to go into
Afghanistan so we can run
pipelines from the Caspian Sea.
We're going to go into
Iraq to take the oil
and establish a base
in the Middle East.
And we're going to
go into Venezuela
and try and get rid of Chavez.
And the first two
they've accomplished.
Chavez, they didn't accomplish.
And, uh, he said you're going
to guys going into caves looking
for-- [LAUGH] looking
for people that they're
never going to find.
He was laughing about
the fact that you
have this war on terrorism.
There's no real enemy.
He's talking about how, by
having this war on terror,
you can never win it.
Because it's an eternal war.
And so you can always keep
taking people's liberties away.
And I said, how are
you going to convince
people that this war is real?
He said, but the media.
The media can convince
everybody it's real.
I mean, it's just that you
keep talking about things.
You keep saying it over
and over and over again,
and eventually
people believe it.
You know, you
created the Federal
Reserve in 1913 through lies.
You create 9/11,
which is another lie.
Through 9/11, then you're
fighting a war on terror.
And now all of a
sudden, you're going
to Iraq, which was another lie.
And now they're
going to do Iran.
You know?
And so it's one thing leading
to another, leading to another,
leading to another.
Now, I would say, what
are you doing this for?
What's the point of this thing?
You have all the money in
the world you ever want.
You have all the power.
I said, you know,
you're hurting people.
It's not a good thing.
And he would say, what do you
care about the people for?
Take care of yourself and
you take care of your family.
And then I said to
him, what's the-- what
are the ultimate goals here?
He said, the ultimate
goal is to get everybody
in this world chipped with
a [INAUDIBLE] ID chip,
and have all money
be on those chips
and everything on those chips.
And if anybody wants
to protest what we do
or violate what we want, we
just turn off their chip.
There are some very
troubling possible futures
for our society.
Climate change will
displace millions of people,
and we'll hit peak oil in 2015.
Thereafter, the price
of oil will skyrocket.
So we'll see supply
decrease, and we'll
see prices of basic foods and
every basic commodity spiral
Our current world population
is just under 7 billion,
and that figure will double
approximately every 35 years.
So take a look at
where you live.
Try to imagine double
the amount of people,
twice the demand for
resources, and double
the amount of pollution.
Massive changes are coming,
whether we like it or not.
I'm not a politician.
I'm not looking
for your vote, so I
can give it to you straight.
This system cannot continue.
So who will make the decisions
about who gets food to eat,
or who goes hungry, or
who gets water to drink
and who goes without?
Because the idea of allowing
mindless corporations
or wealthy elites to make
decisions about population
control is terrifying.
NARRATOR: The great heroes of
our times-- people like Gandhi
and Martin Luther King--
incredible though they were,
could not create
change on their own.
Only the will of the
people can do that.
And together, we can
accomplish anything.
Interestingly, the way to win
back democracy, end the wars,
and save our environment
has just one cure.
And it's simple.
We live in a capitalist system.
Everything we do is based
on the exchange of money.
The media and the
advertising web
have turned us into
obedient little consumers,
trying to buy
ourselves to happiness
in a throw-away society.
This creates such a
demand on our resources
that our corporations invade
other countries to get more,
causing untold war and conflict.
Then, using the wealth and
power that we give them,
corporations undermine
democracy and justice.
However, the unlikely and
ironic outcome of consumerism
is that it makes you, the
consumer, all powerful.
The way we use money has
more influence in our society
than anything else.
And the way we choose
to spend our money
can change everything.
No company will continue a
practice or product that you,
the consumer, will not buy.
It's vitally important
that you understand this,
because this gives you
ultimate power to change
the world you live in.
Companies are
extremely sensitive
about you buying their
products because if you
don't buy their stuff,
they go out of business.
That's not something any
company is willing to consider.
And by choosing to
spend your money wisely,
you can promote those
companies that do business
in a socially responsible way.
saying a word, you
will have a sent a clear message
that they simply can't ignore.
It will be heard, headed,
and acted upon, guaranteed.
This is real power.
For example, if a company
pollutes the environment
or uses bad business practices,
if you don't buy their stuff,
they will change.
If you don't want food with
chemicals or GMOs in it,
then don't buy it.
NARRATOR: Basic foods and
cleaning products make
up 70% of our weekly purchases.
This drives the agricultural
and chemical industries
that have a massive
effect on our environment.
If we can start making
the right choices
about these simple,
everyday purchases,
we can save our environment.
We've got into the habit
of buying junk fast foods
that have no actual
food in them.
We by gallons of poisonous
household cleaners
when one degradable
soft soap will do.
We are poisoning our homes and
wasting our hard-earned money
for no good reason.
Because the advertising
industry tells us to.
They just want you to buy stuff.
The car is the
single biggest strain
on the Earth's resources.
Just about every mineral,
every chemical, and every metal
known to man goes into the
manufacture of our cars.
The gasoline engine
is inefficient
and poisons our environment.
The car, as it is today,
cannot be sustained.
It is up to us to
drive the demand
for clean, efficient vehicles.
Do not underestimate the
power of that dollar bill
in your pocket.
The way you spend that dollar
already affects economies
and lives around the world.
Spent wisely, it can fix
every problem known to man.
The minute we start taking
responsibility and spending
our money wisely, every
politician, every corporation
and leader around
the world is going
to know that we have woken up.
And that is the most
important point in this film.
All of the abuse in our
system happens because we
just roll over and take it.
But when we get
involved and start
making the right decisions,
everything changes.
Our consumer choices
are the easiest
way for us to get
involved in a very
meaningful and powerful way.
But the issue is
our involvement--
you and I taking responsibility,
you and I demanding the truth,
learning the facts, and making
our decisions accordingly.
NARRATOR: There are
serious decisions
to be made about the
future of our society.
Because there are so many
of us and population levels
are rising all the time, we
have to drastically reduce
our demand for every
consumer product.
Breaking the habits of a
lifetime won't be easy.
Retooling industry
and maintaining
balance in our
markets and economies
is a massive undertaking.
But we can address all
of these questions.
You have the power
to deny profits
to offending corporations,
and support those
who maintain good practices.
You can express the
concerns you hold dear
and herald a new beginning at
every level of our society.
This is the 21st century.
If we use our resources wisely,
there is no reason why anyone
shouldn't have what they need.
There's no reason whatsoever
why people are still starving
to death on our planet.
And the common man or
woman, whether they
are Israli or Palestinian,
Protestant or Catholic,
or Iraqi or American--
the common man just
wants to live in peace and
justice in a clean environment.
When we look around the world
and we see that that is not
the case, we know that
the will of the majority
is not being listened to.
That's the first sign
that our system is broken.
Government won't make
these changes for us.
Yet again, it is down
to the common man.
Please don't just watch
this movie and turn away.
We can fix this system.
Go to the website.
Take that first step
towards an incredible future
for all of us.
Thank you for watching.