Rebel Yell (2012)

“Wir sind 99%”, “Democracia real ya”, “Reclaim the streets”, “Occupy Wall Street, Frankfurt, Paris, London” – fegt es durch die Nachrichten des Jahres 2011, tönt es in zahlreichen Youtube-Clips, auf Facebook oder Twitter. Auf den Straßen und Plätzen der Metropolen weltweit gehen die Menschen zusammen auf die Straße, ob jung oder alt, ob reich oder arm, egal ob Unter-, Ober- oder Mittelschicht. “Empört Euch” in Frankreich, “Wutbürger” in Deutschland: Wann gab es das vorher schon einmal in dieser Dimension?
Viele Künstler, Musiker, Bands, Blogger und Netz-Aktivisten sind Teil dieser globalen Massenbewegung, die weder fassbar ist, noch fassbar sein will – keine Leader, keine feste Struktur, horizontale Hierarchien, Informationsaustausch über das Netz und mit einem Ziel: gegen das System und das Establishment aufzustehen. Man begeht auf gegen Kapitalismus und Ökonomie, gegen das Scheitern der Demokratie und fordert in sämtlichen Lebensbereichen mehr Mitbestimmung, mehr Freiheit und mehr Akzeptanz.
Wer sind die Akteure dieser Proteste? Welche Gruppen sind aktiv und verschaffen sich globales Gehör? Wie funktioniert die sogenannte Schwarm-Intelligenz im Netz? Und welchen Einfluss haben Netzaktivisten wirklich? Die Plattform Wikileaks kämpft für Transparenz im Umgang mit Informationen. Das Kollektiv Anonymous organisiert ganze Kampagnen zum Beispiel gegen das ACTA-Gesetz. Avaaz hebt die altbekannte Unterschriftenliste auf ein ganz neues Level. Soziale Netzwerke wie Facebook oder Twitter bilden die Kommunikationsgrundlage für ganze Revolutionsbewegungen und mittendrin, natürlich weitreichend vernetzt, tummeln sich einzelne Blogger, Vlogger, aber auch Musiker und Künstler, die dem Protest Sound und Farbe geben. Aber auch Trolle, Truther und Weltverschwörungstheoretiker, die nicht selten die Netz-Protestkultur von rechts zu unterwandern versuchen, mischen mit im wirren Chor der Meinungsmacher.

Protestkultur im Internet

Der Protest in der virtuellen Welt des Internets ist längst in die reale Welt übergeschwappt. Aktivisten überall auf dem Erdball vernetzen sich und kämpfen für die Freiheit im realen wie auch virtuellen Raum. Es sind Protestbewegungen wie Anonymous oder Occupy-Wall-Street entstanden.

Protestkultur im öffentlichen Raum

Der öffentliche Raum war schon immer von jeher der Raum für Protest. Dies hat sich auch im digitalen Zeitalter nicht wesentlich geändert. Wer es nicht schafft die Menschen für den Protest auf die Straße zu bringen, hat es schwer politische Missstände nachhaltig anzuprangern und Politiker zum Handeln zu bewegen …
Missstände gibt es genug wie steigende Mieten, mangelnde Demokratie und Meinungsfreiheit, Sexismus, Rassismus und mehr .


WikiSecrets (2011)

It’s the biggest intelligence breach in U.S. history — the leaking of more than a half million classified documents on the WikiLeaks website throughout 2010. At the center of the controversy stands Bradley E. Manning, the Army intelligence analyst who’s charged with handing them over.

Who is Bradley Manning, and what does his story tell us about how and why the secret cache of documents may have been leaked? In WikiSecrets, FRONTLINE correspondent Martin Smith gains exclusive access to those closest to Manning — including his father, close friends and his Army bunkmate — and uncovers video of Manning taken around the time of the alleged handover of classified information.

Smith also examines the events surrounding the publication of the leaked documents, interviewing key players like WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange; Assange’s former colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg; and Adrian Lamo, a well-known figure in the cyber underground who eventually turned Manning over to the authorities and is now living in an undisclosed location over fears for his safety.

“I got the sense that Bradley was very depressed,” Lamo tells FRONTLINE of his impressions of Manning after the Army private sought him out in May 2010. During an online chat with Lamo that stretched over four days, Manning wrote: “Hillary Clinton and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack when they wake up one morning and find an entire repository of classified foreign policy is available, in searchable format, to the public.”

As the film tracks Manning from his deployment to Iraq through his arrest and imprisonment, several key questions emerge — among them, the shocking ease with which Manning browsed and downloaded so much classified information from Pentagon servers despite the widely available systems developed to prevent exactly this. The case presents an important cautionary note to the theory that lower-level analysts like Manning should have access to such a wide range of intelligence: “9/11 surfaced the fact that there was less than adequate sharing of information across the government,” says former Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte. “We went from a need-to-know philosophy to a need-to-share.” Former State Department official Larry Wilkerson says the government may have shared the information too widely: “Bradley Manning does not need to know what the secretary of defense said to his counterpart in Paris.”

WikiSecrets also examines the relationship between Manning and Julian Assange, the founder of WikilLeaks. In public statements, and in his interview with FRONTLINE, Assange has denied any direct contact with Manning or any WikiLeaks source. But hacker Lamo says that Manning indicated otherwise in their online chat: “He mentioned Julian Assange in the context Julian was the individual at WikiLeaks who he had initially establish contact with.”’s Kim Zetter tells FRONTLINE of an email she received from Assange not long after the story broke. “He contacted me, and he wanted the chat logs,” she said. “He said that he needed it in order to prepare Manning’s defense. … I can only speculate, but I think that he was concerned about what was in the chat logs about himself.”

“We don’t really know whether Manning approached WikiLeaks or people around WikiLeaks or if it was the other way around,” says Eric Schmitt, the New York Times reporter first assigned by the paper to vet the leaked material. “But my theory is whichever way it is, there’s an intermediary. … So somewhere in this mix you have Manning with access to this information; you’ve got WikiLeaks and Julian Assange with the desire to get it; and you’ve got a helpful intermediary. And somewhere in between here there’s a transfer I believe takes place.”

Was Julian Assange prepared to publish some of the leaked documents without adequately redacting the names of people who could have been harmed by the disclosures? “Julian was very reluctant to delete those names, to redact them.” David Leigh of the Guardian newspaper tells FRONTLINE of meetings he attended with Assange in the run-up to publication of the war logs. “And we said: ‘Julian, we’ve got to do something about these redactions. We really have got to.’ And he said: ‘These people were collaborators, informants. They deserve to die.’ And a silence fell around the table.”

Assange maintains WikiLeaks employed a thorough “harm-minimization process,” but insiders within the organization said the redactions were carried out in haste just prior to publication.

Currently, Manning remains jailed in the Army brig in Fort Leavenworth, Kan., awaiting his first pretrial hearing this summer, and Assange lives under police watch in a home northeast of London. He tells FRONTLINE that the work of WikiLeaks continues: “History is on our side. … When you expose powerful organizations, there will be ad hominem attacks. Yes, in my personal case, they’ve been rather hard. But it’s not an unusual circumstance. … WikiLeaks is continuing to step up its publishing speed, … and it does good. We can see the effects all around us.”


Spying on the Home Front (2007)

“So many people in America think this does not affect them. They’ve been convinced that these programs are only targeted at suspected terrorists. … I think that’s wrong. … Our programs are not perfect, and it is inevitable that totally innocent Americans are going to be affected by these programs,” former CIA Assistant General Counsel Suzanne Spaulding tells FRONTLINE correspondent Hedrick Smith in Spying on the Home Front.

9/11 has indelibly altered America in ways that people are now starting to earnestly question: not only perpetual orange alerts, barricades and body frisks at the airport, but greater government scrutiny of people’s records and electronic surveillance of their communications. The watershed, officials tell FRONTLINE, was the government’s shift after 9/11 to a strategy of pre-emption at home — not just prosecuting terrorists for breaking the law, but trying to find and stop them before they strike.

President Bush described his anti-terrorist measures as narrow and targeted, but a FRONTLINE investigation has found that the National Security Agency (NSA) has engaged in wiretapping and sifting Internet communications of millions of Americans; the FBI conducted a data sweep on 250,000 Las Vegas vacationers, and along with more than 50 other agencies, they are mining commercial-sector data banks to an unprecedented degree.

Even government officials with experience since 9/11 are nagged by anxiety about the jeopardy that a war without end against unseen terrorists poses to our way of life, our personal freedoms. “I always said, when I was in my position running counterterrorism operations for the FBI, ‘How much security do you want, and how many rights do you want to give up?'” Larry Mefford, former assistant FBI director, tells Smith. “I can give you more security, but I’ve got to take away some rights. … Personally, I want to live in a country where you have a common-sense, fair balance, because I’m worried about people that are untrained, unsupervised, doing things with good intentions but, at the end of the day, harm our liberties.”

Although the president told the nation that his NSA eavesdropping program was limited to known Al Qaeda agents or supporters abroad making calls into the U.S., comments of other administration officials and intelligence veterans indicate that the NSA cast its net far more widely. AT&T technician Mark Klein inadvertently discovered that the whole flow of Internet traffic in several AT&T operations centers was being regularly diverted to the NSA, a charge indirectly substantiated by John Yoo, the Justice Department lawyer who wrote the official legal memos legitimizing the president’s warrantless wiretapping program. Yoo told FRONTLINE: “The government needs to have access to international communications so that it can try to find communications that are coming into the country where Al Qaeda’s trying to send messages to cell members in the country. In order to do that, it does have to have access to communication networks.”

Spying on the Home Front also looks at a massive FBI data sweep in December 2003. On a tip that Al Qaeda “might have an interest in Las Vegas” around New Year’s 2004, the FBI demanded records from all hotels, airlines, rental car agencies, casinos and other businesses on every person who visited Las Vegas in the run-up to the holiday. Stephen Sprouse and Kristin Douglas of Kansas City, Mo., object to being caught in the FBI dragnet in Las Vegas just because they happened to get married there at the wrong moment. Says Douglas, “I’m sure that the government does a lot of things that I don’t know about, and I’ve always been OK with that — until I found out that I was included.”

A check of all 250,000 Las Vegas visitors against terrorist watch lists turned up no known terrorist suspects or associates of suspects. The FBI told FRONTLINE that the records had been kept for more than two years, but have now all been destroyed.

In the broad reach of NSA eavesdropping, the massive FBI data sweep in Las Vegas, access to records gathered by private database companies that allows government agencies to avoid the limitations provided by the Privacy Act, and nearly 200 other government data-mining programs identified by the Government Accounting Office, experienced national security officials and government attorneys see a troubling and potentially dangerous collision between the strategy of pre-emption and the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable search and seizure.

Peter Swire, a law professor and former White House privacy adviser to President Clinton, tells FRONTLINE that since 9/11 the government has been moving away from the traditional legal standard of investigations based on individual suspicion to generalized suspicion. The new standard, Swire says, is: “Check everybody. Everybody is a suspect.”



Bogota Change (2009)

An exciting and rapidly edited portrait of a city that has risen like a phoenix from the ashes. Bogotá, capital of Colombia, was long notorious as one of the most criminal, dangerous, and inhospitable cities in the world. The turnabout came in 1995, when Antalas Mockus was elected mayor of the city in a landslide victory. The head of a university, he had previously caused a sensation when, faced with a hall full of loudly protesting students, he dropped his trousers. This unexpected mooning earned him approval and respect. And once elected mayor, the city waited with baited breath to see how he would apply his unorthodox methods to realize crucial changes in mentality. He taught the citizens to live together and to take on responsibility. Then Mockus cleared the way for his successor, the next visionary mayor, Enrique Peñalosa, who would transform the city’s infrastructure from 1998 onwards. Peñalosa oversaw the creation of bicycle paths, leafy parks, sports fields, playgrounds, libraries, and the ambitious public transport project Transmillennium. Director Andreas Mol Dalsgaard combines streetscapes, interviews, archive footage, and animations in a dynamic reconstruction of this success story. It is the tale of two men who, unencumbered by party politics, succeeded in transforming hopeless deprivation into a head start. Nowadays, Bogotá’s metamorphosis is seen as a shining example of humane urban renewal.

The Alternative Fix (2003)

After three years, $45,000, and five attempts at in vitro fertilization, Gil and Christie Goren said, “Enough.”

Frustrated by their experiences with fertility specialists and modern medicine in general, the Los Angeles couple decided to take a different approach to getting pregnant. Foregoing test tubes and artificial insemination, they placed their hopes and dreams for a child into the hands of a group of traditional Maori healers visiting from New Zealand. The head of the healers, “Papa Joe,” has told Christie that following his treatment—which involves deep tissue massage and chanting—she will likely become pregnant within three weeks.

The Gorens are not alone. They are among a growing number of Americans whose disenchantment with modern health care has led them to seek alternative therapies. From acupuncture to homeopathy, herbal supplements to chiropractic, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has become an $48 billion a year industry in America—one that traditional hospitals and medical schools are now eagerly embracing. But do these treatments actually work? Are they safe? And have medical professionals put aside their doubts in the efficacy of complementary medicine treatments in order to cash in on a multimillion-dollar market?

In “The Alternative Fix,” FRONTLINE® examines the controversy over complementary and alternative medicine. The one-hour documentary features interviews with staunch supporters, skeptical scientists, and other observers on both sides of the alternative medicine debate and questions whether hospitals that offer alternative therapies are inappropriately conveying a sense of legitimacy to these largely untested and scientifically unproven treatments.

FRONTLINE traces the mainstreaming of alternative medicine to the halls of Congress and one U.S. senator’s allergies. Viewers meet Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who recalls complaining to a friend about his terrible allergies. The friend said he knew someone who could cure the senator’s allergies using bee pollen.

“I went on this very tough regimen of taking a lot of bee pollen, sometimes as much as sixty pills a day,” Harkin tells FRONTLINE. “And literally on about the tenth day, all of a sudden my allergies just left. Well, that’s when I began to think, ‘We’ve got to have somebody looking at these different approaches.'”

Harkin, the chairman of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Committee, convinced Congress to allocate $2 million to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the study of alternative medicine. Ten years later, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) has a budget of over $100 million and is funding hundreds of research projects around the nation. Still, hard evidence on whether alternative treatments actually work is hard to come by: large scale randomized controlled clinical trials take years and millions of dollars. Also, some alternative practioners argue that their therapies are not appropriate for traditional scientific testing. Naturopathy, for example, is a system of medicine which tailors remedies to each particular patient, so two people with an ear infection might receive two very different treatments. It would not be possible, proponants say, to evaluate these individualized treatments in a large scale trial.

So the question remains: Do complementary and alternative medicine treatments actually work? In “The Alternative Fix,” FRONTLINE examines the few research studies conducted on alternative treatments, while also previewing several larger studies currently underway, including one of the largest studies ever done on the efficacy of acupuncture. Yet even if these new studies prove that the treatments in question are no more effective than a placebo, will the legions of consumers who spend billions on them be swayed?

Not likely, alternative treatment proponents say. “People are fed up with being passive recipients of authoritarian, paternalistic medicine,” says noted alternative healer Dr. Andrew Weil. “And many of these systems make people feel they are more autonomous, more in charge of their own destiny.”

Hester Young agrees. In the past fifteen years, Young has battled breast cancer, rectal cancer, and lung cancer. But after undergoing chemotherapy and other traditional therapies the first two times around, she says she simply couldn’t face the debilitating treatments when her doctor diagnosed cancer in her lungs. Although never confirmed through a biopsy, she began looking for alternative cancer treatments.

Today, six years later, she credits her survival to a special regimen prescribed by Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez, an alternative cancer specialist who prescribes controversial—and expensive— treatments such as repeated coffee enemas and megadoses of supplements to cancer patients desperate for a cure. The NIH is currently studying Dr. Gonzalez’s claims that nutritional therapy can help prolong life for cancer patients. But if the tests conclude the doctor’s treatments are ineffective, Hester Young doesn’t want to hear it. “Nothing they could say would make me feel differently,” she says, “because I’m feeling well and it’s a success as far as I’m concerned.”

Despite the lack of positive evidence, some of the nation’s leading hospitals and medical centers have embraced lucrative alternative therapies, offering them alongside more traditional treatments. New York’s Beth Israel Hospital, for example, now houses the Continuum Center for Health and Healing, which offers such alternative treatments as guided imagery, acupuncture, and homeopathy—despite the fact that some practitioners confess to not knowing how or why their treatments work. In the documentary, viewers watch Beth Israel’s Dr. Edward Shalts treat a five-year-old boy’s behavior problems with homeopathic pills that contain microscopic amounts of ground up tarantula—a treatment other doctors say can’t possibly be effective. The charges don’t seem to trouble Dr. Matt Fink, former president and CEO of Beth Israel Hospital. “If hospitals don’t get involved in these kinds of programs they will lose patients because patients will go elsewhere,” Fink tells FRONTLINE. “So, like any other new discoveries, you can either lead or you can follow.”

“The Alternative Fix” also follows the money to examine the big business of herbal supplements. In 1994, Congress passed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), a controversial bill that limited the Food and Drug Administration’s power to regulate dietary supplements at a time when the FDA was gearing up to increase its regulation of what has since become an $18 billion a year industry. Supporters claim that the bill protects the freedom of American consumers to take care of their own health by assuring access to a range of natural products. Critics say the bill was passed at the behest of the powerful supplement lobby, and that without regulation, many supplements are worthless at best, and dangerous at worst. [Editor’s Note: Since this report was first broadcast, the FDA has banned the sale of dietary supplements containing ephedra, ruling that such supplements pose “an unreasonable risk of illness or injury.”]

FRONTLINE’s report continues on this web site, where you’ll find resources for consumers interested in CAM, guides to understanding the controversial scientific evidence on alternative medicine, a report on the history of the tug-of-war between conventional and alternative medical practioners, and more.


Medicating Kids (2001)

In “Medicating Kids,” FRONTLINE examines the dramatic increase in the prescription of behavior-modifying drugs for children. Are these medications really necessary–and safe–for young children, or merely a harried nation’s quick fix for annoying, yet age-appropriate, behavior?

FRONTLINE follows four Denver, Colo., families over the course of one year. From school complaints of disruptive behavior and parent-teacher conferences through multiple doctors, medications, and dosages, “Medicating Kids” offers an intimate portrait of how American families grapple with the decision to medicate their children and the stress such decisions place on the family. Viewers meet Nicolas DuPerret, barely three years old, whose doctor suspected he might have ADHD; Noelle Demo, 13, whose fidgeting and disruptive behavior resulted in poor grades and school suspensions; Alex McCarty, 12, whose ADHD was compounded by severe depression; and Robin Day, 16, who has endured multiple diagnoses, one hospitalization, and ultimately his parents’ divorce.

Interwoven with these stories are examinations of the role of doctors, advocacy groups, and pharmaceutical companies in advancing the medication trend, as well as a look at the strong anti-medication movement that has filed lawsuits charging that drug companies and doctors have conspired to exaggerate the number of ADHD cases in an attempt to boost drug sales.

“You can’t ignore the fact that there is a lot of over-diagnosis of ADHD,” says FRONTLINE producer Martin Smith. “But we’ve tried to look at both sides of the issue. There are no easy answers here.”

Indeed, the case of each child profiled in the documentary is unique. Despite school complaints and the psychologist’s opinion, for example, Nicolas DuPerret’s parents decided not to put Nicolas on medication, viewing their son’s behavior as “intense,” but normal. “[Medication is] just a quick fix,” says Nicolas’s father, Cyrille. “We would never do that.”

But for other families, medication appears to be a godsend.

Before taking Ritalin and later Adderall, Noelle Demo was getting Ds and Fs on her report card. She had also been suspended twice for fighting with another student. Her teachers urged medication. Soon thereafter, the Ds and Fs turned into As and Bs, while her improved concentration had a positive impact on her gymnastics performance.

The medical community, however, still is unable to explain why these medications help relieve ADHD symptoms in many children.

“We still don’t really know much about how Ritalin or Dexedrine or Adderall work,” Dr. Xavier Castellanos tells FRONTLINE. The head of ADHD research at the National Institute of Mental Health, Castellanos freely admits that much remains unknown about the nature and cause of ADHD. “The problem is,” he says, “we’re searching in the dark and don’t know where that clue is going to be.”

This lack of basic understanding about the nature of ADHD concerns some parents. Others are concerned about the role played by pharmaceutical companies, which have not only provided financial support to ADHD advocacy groups such as CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder) but also paid physicians to make speaking appearances to raise awareness of ADHD. Such support, critics claim, is an attempt to boost diagnoses of ADHD–and thereby drug sales.

For parents, meanwhile, the decision to place their child on medication remains a difficult one. In “Medicating Kids,” even the parents who credit medication with “saving” their children admit wrestling long and hard with the decision.

“Of course I’d not want [Alex] to take medication if he didn’t have to,” Diane McCarty says. “But for Alex it’s working … and I know in my heart I’ve gone the distance and I’m helping my son.”