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21 September 2004
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The World Uncovered

The World Uncovered is a powerful international current affairs strand which confronts strong, hard-hitting stories that affect people’s lives around the world, including exclusive investigations into the most contentious global issues. In recent months The World Uncovered has reported from Pakistan, North America, Central Asia, India, North Korea, Europe, Latin America, Saudi Arabia, Costa Rica and Thailand.

Saturday 25th September at 0810, 1210 & 1910 GMT

The most popular of all Indian Godmen, Sai Baba has always been the "Teflon" God, the untouchable, charismatic man worshipped by Indian prime ministers, presidents and peasants.  His power over both the influential and the downtrodden goes to the heart of Indian society and raises serious questions about the social health of the world's fastest-emerging economy.

Sai Baba claims to be a living God and to millions, his word is truth; his ability to bring clean water and healthcare to thousands, proof of divinity. 

In a programme that explores the nature of belief, The World Uncovered travels from India to California, where the generation whose devotion and donations helped Sai Baba to power are unravelling at the seams.  Hard Rock Café owner Isaac Tigrett sent Sai Baba's message around the world by making the Godman's Love All Serve All mantra the corporate slogan of his multi-million empire.  He now has to confront the fact that his God may have been a sexual abuser. 

The documentary features the story of a family who gave their entire lives to a man they believed was God, only to discover he was exacting a terrible price: the sexual innocence of their son.  In an intimate and powerful portrait, a family talk openly about their betrayal and the man who controlled their lives.

"The being which I called Sai Baba, the living God that I had taken into my heart had been truly abusing my son, for so long.  I felt completely betrayed," says Marissa, a former devotee.  Another, Alaya, says: "I remember him saying, 'If you don't do what I say, your life will be filled with pain and suffering'."

This programme is the first to film inside Sai Baba's Ashram for a number of years and aims to come closer to the true "face of God" than ever before.

Ethiopia: A Journey with Michael Buerk
First transmission - 23rd October 2004

BBC World presents a powerful documentary in which award-winning journalist Michael Buerk returns to Ethiopia to see what has happened in the twenty years since his reports highlighted the devastating famine there.

Michael talks to many people whose lives have been permanently scarred by the horrific famine. They speak of how the suffering has continued while they continue to wait for the rains, a tragic irony in a country known as the "water tower of Africa" because it has the biggest natural reserves of water in the continent.

Michael also follows the story of a young Red Cross nurse forced to choose which starving people would receive scarce food aid and be saved, and who would be left to die. Sir Bob Geldof speaks movingly about his personal crusade to help the Ethiopian people and the build-up to the Live Aid concert in 1985.

On his recent journey, Michael returned to the towns of Mekele and Korem and to the highlands, destroyed by civil war and scorched by drought. Today, the situation is worse and twice as many people are suffering with starvation.

In 1984 the global response helped to save the people of Ethiopia, but have our efforts only served to make a terrible situation worse?

Global Terror

A season of programmes in which BBC World investigates the growing threat to the World from the perpetrators of terror.

The Third World War

The most authoritative and revealing account of the secret war between the Western intelligence agencies and al-Qaeda's networks. Soon after 9/11, it became clear that a global enemy could only be countered by a global response. That would mean unparalleled international co-operation and, critically, the sharing of intelligence between governments and counter-terrorism agencies. This series focuses on the response of the United States, Western Europe and South East Asia - with unprecedented access to British and American intelligence agencies across the world and to the terrorists themselves, including an interview with the four Bali bombers.

Al-Qaeda: The Hidden Enemy - First transmission - 13th November 2004
Ten months before al-Qaeda’s attacks on September 11th, Europe’s intelligence agencies foiled a plot in Frankfurt to bomb Strasbourg’s Christmas market. It would have been mass murder at the heart of Europe. The cell was broken and four Algerians were arrested. An MI5 telephone intercept indicated that the cell’s links went back to the United Kingdom. The alleged ringleader, Salim Boukari, lived in England for almost 10 years. In an exclusive interview in his German jail, he tells reporter Peter Taylor how he became radicalised in London, trained in Afghanistan to fight his Jihad, and planned to detonate the Strasbourg bomb.

As Europe’s intelligence agencies and the FBI further unravelled the connections of the Frankfurt cell, they discovered it was part of an international network stretching from Europe to Canada and the USA and back to al-Qaeda’s training camps in Afghanistan. Frankfurt was a wake-up call.

With unprecedented interviews with FBI counter-terrorist chiefs and agents from Europe’s intelligence and security services, The Third World War reveals how this global network was uncovered and how it evolved new structures in response to the inroads made by counter-terrorist agents spanning the globe. “These structures are rather like the development of Aids,” says France’s leading terrorist hunter, Jean Louis Brugiere. “At a given moment, you have one configuration, but this virus is totally mutant.”

Al-Qaeda: The Hunt for America’s Sleeper Cells - 20th November 2004
In the days after the 9/11 attacks, as America woke up to the fact that an al-Qaeda cell had been operating undetected inside the country for months, the FBI set up the Joint Terrorism Force. Its brief was to track down al-Qaeda terrorists before they could launch even more deadly assaults. 

The FBI compiled a list of everyone connected to the hijackers. An intelligence tip off from an al-Qaeda related trial in Jordan, produced the name Nabil al-Marabh – a Syrian who had trained in Afghanistan. When the FBI examined his file they found he had recently tried to smuggle himself across the Canadian border into the United States. Alarm bells rang. His profile fitted that of a possible al-Qaeda terrorist. The hunt for a possible sleeper cell began.

The FBI traced al-Marabh to a flat in Detroit. Inside were three young men – two Moroccans and an Algerian. But what stunned them most was the contents of the flat – forged passports, sketches of a US air base in Turkey, and security passes for the local airport. They also found a video that appeared to be a recce of possible targets – including Disneyland’s Indiana Jones underground ride. The FBI worked fast and tracked down their associates to see if they were part of an al-Qaeda network. Gradually, the agents fitted the pieces together. They became convinced that, for the first time, they were uncovering an al-Qaeda cell at the heart of America.
Just 350 miles away, the Buffalo JTTF had another possible cell under surveillance. But whereas the Detroit cell consisted of rootless recent immigrants, the six young men in Buffalo were all American citizens. Most were graduates of the local High School and stars of the soccer team. One of them had been voted Most Popular Boy in Class and had married his High School sweetheart - a non-Muslim.

The film examines not only the critical role of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Forces in the War against Terrorism but also the ultimate challenge for a liberal democracy – how to fight the ‘enemy within’ without riding roughshod over civil liberties and establishing an all seeing and all knowing ‘surveillance state’ which could change America for ever.

Al-Qaeda: The Breeding Ground - First transmission 27th November 2004
“I thought the more bombs I delivered, the more I’d be rewarded in the afterlife.” This is how Ali Imron, one of the three brothers who bombed Bali, excuses his role in killing 202 tourists in two nightclubs on the Indonesian paradise island. He now regrets bringing Hell to this Heaven on Earth. But his two brothers, who face the firing squad, do not.

All were hunted down as the result of a remarkable joint investigation by the Bali police chief, General Made Pastika, and Graham Ashton of the Australian Federal Police. This painstaking investigation is chronicled, piece by piece, with exclusive access to the two chief investigators and their teams.

In interviews with the bombers on Death Row, they describe with chilling candour how they planned and executed the worst terrorist atrocity since 9/11. These Muslim fanatics, fighting their Holy War against the West, could have been stopped. But, because of a catastrophic intelligence failure, they were not. The intelligence came from a new, young al-Qaeda recruit whose code-name was “Sammy”. “Sammy” was hunted by the CIA and finally tracked down to Oman. Interrogators discovered, to their amazement, that “Sammy” was not a hardened, experienced al-Qaeda terrorist but a 19-year-old Canadian student, Mohamed Jabarah, fresh out of High School in a sleepy Canadian town. He was taken to a secret location in New York where he told his FBI interrogators everything. The Third World War gains exclusive access to his full 26-day interrogation.

One Day of War (2 parts)
First transmission - 18th December 2004

Every minute, two people are killed in conflicts around the world - but very little is known about the people who are fighting and dying. One Day Of War follows individual fighters in 16 of these wars, over a single 24 hour period.

The film reveals often shocking stories of the modern world at war. It gets behind the headlines and provides a revealing portrayal of the people who fight for their land, their religion, their ideas and, sometimes, simply for survival. These people reveal their reasons for fighting and their hopes for the future to paint an intimate portrait of the fear, the excitement and, often, the sheer banality of life at war.

The people followed by the programme’s cameras are diverse and engaging. They are fighting in widely different conflicts and, on the day in question, experience very different conditions and emotions. The stories include:-

Shushila, a 24-year-old Maoist rebel on her first active mission in Nepal. She is learning to lay a pipe bomb. Shasila is “sad to kill anyone” – but is prepared to do it for her cause.

The Hmong people, who have not seen foreigners for 29 years. During the Vietnam War, Song Cha and his people collaborated with the Americans and now the Laos Government is hunting down their village of 200 people through the jungle. Twenty-nine years on, the sight of foreign journalists wanting to hear their story brings the entire village to tears.

Mukhtar was orphaned in the war 10 years ago in Somalia. He was brought up by one of the country’s numerous militias and is now a 14-year-old “gun for hire”. Mukhtar sleeps rough and, each day, visits various militia groups, looking for work. On the day captured in this film, he earned just enough money patrolling a road block in the morning to be able to buy and chew the local drug, khat, in the afternoon. Five days after being filmed, he was shot by his friend and died.

World Review
First transmission - 25th December 2004

World Review looks back at some of the main stories of 2004 and focuses on some of the key regional issues as the year comes to a close.

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