From The BBC

7:10pm Thursday, September 24 on TVNZ 7

It’s an organisation with 100,000 troops at its command. It has peacekeepers in 17 countries. But how safe is the world in the hands of the United Nations?

Over the past decade the United Nations has become as well known for corruption and sleaze as it is for the good work it does around the world.

In a journey that takes us to the blood-soaked goldfields of the Democratic Republic of Congo to the corridors of UN power in New York, this documentary investigates how much corruption is being unearthed by the UN’s anticorruption taskforce and asks whether the UN is up to policing itself.

The film centres on the allegation that the UN has covered up claims that its troops in Democratic Republic of Congo gave arms to militias and smuggled gold and ivory. The allegations, based on confidential UN sources, involve Pakistani and Indian troops working as peacekeepers.

The UN looked into the allegations concerning the Pakistani troops in 2007. But the UN decided that there was not enough evidence to back up the claim that Pakistani peacekeepers supplied weapons or ammunition to the militia.

UN Mission Impossible travels to Democratic Republic of Congo to investigate rumours that a local militia, the FNI, have been re-armed with supplies from a UN camp.

Two FNI leaders known as “Kung-fu” and “Dragon”, who have been jailed in the capital, Kinshasa, have stated publicly that they received help from the UN.

Could there be any truth to their claims?

7:10pm Thursday, September 10 on TVNZ 7

Whilst political violence has always been with us, in the late 1960’s it came of age. Terrorists, realising the power of the media, began to hijack planes and target civilians. The Age of Terror was born.

The fourth and last instalment of this four-part documentary series looks at the emergence of Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden’s declaration of war on the West.

In 1988 a truck loaded with explosives was detonated outside the US Embassy in the heart of Nairobi, killing 224 people. It was Osama Bin Laden’s first major strike in his jihad against America.

The embassy bombs ushered in a new chapter of the Age of Terror. The ideology of Jihad against the west unites Al Qaeda’s affiliated groups of Islamist extremists in a campaign for global terror. Civilians have become ligitimate targets.

7:10pm Thursday, September 3 on TVNZ 7

Whilst political violence has always been with us, in the late 1960’s it came of age. Terrorists, realising the power of the media, began to hijack planes and target civilians. The Age of Terror was born.

The third instalment of this four-part documentary series looks at how an Air France plane was hijacked in 1994 with the intention of being used as a missile, crashing it into the heart of Paris.

As the flight was preparing to leave Algiers airport, four men dressed in uniforms entered the plane to check passports. But they were not officials of the Algerian authorities, they were members of the GIA, an Islamist extremist group who had been slaughtering thousands across Algeria for the last two years.

An elite team of French commandos raided the plane, killing the terrorists and saving the hostages. It marked a new form of terror – one in which the struggle of one country is mixed with devotion to religious extremism. The result is a spectacular war on the non-believer, a war that makes no distinction between guilty and innocent, combatant and civilian.

7:10pm Thursday, August 27 on TVNZ 7

Whilst political violence has always been with us, in the late 1960’s it came of age. Terrorists, realising the power of the media, began to hijack planes and target civilians. The Age of Terror was born.

In 1987, a bomb exploded without warning in the Fermanagh town of Enniskillen. The device was timed to detonate during the annual Poppy Day ceremony, at which the Ulster Defence Regiment would be on parade. An emotionally potent day in the Northern Irish Protestant calendar, the ceremony had also attracted a large number of civilians.

At the time, Gerry Adams was trying to coax the Republicans into political eng
agement with the British government, to explore the political path to power. Every dead civilian would endanger his strategy.
When the bomb exploded in Enniskillen, a wall collapsed on to the gathering crowd. Eleven people died in the rubble and chaos.

They were all Protestant civilians, many elderly women. The IRA claimed the operation was a mistake. But this was a desecration for which there could be no acceptable apology. With revulsion around the world, Gerry Adams’s strategy for political engagement appeared to have been dealt a death blow.

And when a ship carrying a huge arsenal of arms was intercepted in French waters, travelling from Libya to Ireland, Adams’s cause was set back even further. Gerry Adams insisted that the IRA could not kill civilians and expect to sustain support for their cause. The events of one week pushed Northern Ireland toward the peace process.

7:10pm Thursday, August 20 on TVNZ 7

Whilst political violence has always been with us, in the late 1960’s it came of age. Terrorists, realising the power of the media, began to hijack planes and target civilians. The Age of Terror was born.

Terror International, the first episode of this four-part documentary series, recounts the events around a 1976 Air France flight from Tel Aviv to Paris.

Minutes after take-off, four heavily armed terrorists took control of the plane. Two were Palestinian, two were German Marxist revolutionaries in a deadly ideological alliance. They represented the internationalisation of terror. They redirected the plane to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya, where it was refuelled before flying on to Idi Amin’s Uganda. At Entebbe airport the hostages were held by the four terrorists and more Palestinians, supported by the Ugandan army.

The terrorists demanded the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails. Non-Israeli hostages were released and the terrorists set a deadline: “accept our demands or we start to kill the remaining hostages.” The Israeli government had to decide between a negotiated settlement and a military intervention. The explicit threat to the hostages forced their choice. They sent in a commando team on an audacious and risky raid. The daring assault succeeded brilliantly; the terrorists were killed, as were a large number of Ugandan troops. Three hostages and just one Israeli soldier died. One hundred hostages were returned to Israel unscathed.

This was the perfect storm of 70’s terror. After Entebbe, the international terror network was crippled and Israel set the model of Western responses to terror, no capitulation to demands and the real prospect of a military response. It is a model which is still being applied every day in the West Bank and Gaza.

7:10pm Thursday, August 13 on TVNZ 7

A global collage of adolescence.

Children from across the world celebrate their coming of age.

In Russia, 16 year-old Andrew is a member of an extreme rightwing group that preaches hatred of ‘non whites’ and people from the Caucauses. His story is a disturbing insight into a world where racial beatings and fascist rhetoric are acceptable practice.
In Uganda, Every year, thousands of boys from all over the country travel to an ancient holy site to be circumcised. This year, 16-year-old Kamoti John will join them. It is traditional that the boys lose their virginity six weeks after circumcision; but with the rise of AIDS in modern Uganda, will John decide to forgo this part of the ritual?

11 year-old Nur lives in Kelantan, the last Muslim-run state in Malaysia. Nur is a strict Muslim: she wears the veil, shuns make-up, and works hard at her religious studies. Yet she is also a free spirit: she enjoys climbing trees and wants to be a banker when she grows up. What does the future hold for Nur, in a state where politics and religion are so stiflingly intertwined?
Each child’s narrative contributes to a global collage of adolescent experience, revealing the political, social and religious themes that divide us, and the universal human themes that unite us. The children’s stories are also a testament to the age-old struggle between traditional ways of life and the pressure to modernise.