Posts Tagged ‘panorama’

Afghanistan: Telling the Soldiers’ Side of the Story

November 8, 2007

If you didn’t catch Panorama on BBC1 on Monday night, you should head over to the website now and watch the latest programme. It’s an hour of the most gripping, harrowing, brutally honest television you’re likely to see this year. This extract explains further:

Reporter Ben Anderson followed a unit of British soldiers on a six-month tour to the front line in Afghanistan. It ended with one soldier dead and 12 seriously wounded…

Suddenly bullets came from the hedgerow where another group of Taleban were shooting from an angle that made the wall useless for cover. As the bullets came straight at us I told myself that the Taleban aren’t very good shots – and even if they were, their guns are old and inaccurate.

This film shows the depressing reality of the ongoing “war on terror”: endless skirmishes for tiny scraps of land, which are lost and must be retaken a few days or weeks later. Then there’s the rebuilding programme: every time the Queen’s Company calls in an airstrike to flush out the Taleban, they have to go through a protracted negotiation process with the local community to rebuild destroyed villages, and pay compensation to those who have lost family members.

Even worse, one senior British official is reported as saying that a significant UK presence in the country will be necessary for at least 30 years to ensure that the Taleban don’t regain control. Sobering stuff.

I really can’t recommend this film highly enough: if anything conveys the sheer monotonous horror of war, this does. Check out this clip on youtube for a taster.



May 13, 2007

It seems BBC reporter John Sweeney’s been getting a bit hot under the collar about Scientology:

This clip may or may not be shown on Monday night’s Panorama programme, which is a special investigation by Sweeney into the darker side of the brainwashing cult — oops, I mean fine, upstanding religion, of course.

For the full background story (at least from Sweeney’s point of view) on the above shouting match, you can read this BBC news story. Here’s a relevant quote to whet your appetite:

While making our BBC Panorama film “Scientology and Me” I have been shouted at, spied on, had my hotel invaded at midnight, denounced as a “bigot” by star Scientologists, brain-washed – that is how it felt to me – in a mock up of a Nazi-style torture chamber and chased round the streets of Los Angeles by sinister strangers.

Back in Britain strangers have called on my neighbours, my mother-in-law’s house and someone spied on my wedding and fled the moment he was challenged.

Do you understand?

UPDATE 14/07/07: You can watch the full report on the BBC Panorama website now. It’s seriously sinister.