A Storyville documentary: Carne Ross was a career diplomat who resigned over the Iraq war. One man's epic journey from government insider to anarchist.
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300,000 people have made the dangerous journey
to Europe this year.
We face completely different circumstances in the 21st century
from the 20th century.
The rise of these global problems like climate change,
There's a really deep crisis mounting, I think,
of people feeling we're not in control of things.
These things are running out of control.
It's almost like a despair.
This is where I had the security vetting to join the Foreign Office,
where I was interrogated and cross-examined on the details of
my personal life, my sexual history,
my political leanings,
my proclivities for drinking and gambling,
the origin of my Eastern European relations.
All was discussed in great detail.
I threw myself at the Foreign Office.
They could have whatever part of me they wanted gladly.
You give us your personal secrets
and you belong to us and you become one of us.
I started to think of the world
through the prism of we rather than I.
"What would Britain want in the circumstance?"
rather than what I thought was right.
I became a diplomat in 1989,
when the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet empire collapsed.
Western democracy and capitalism were victorious.
We were the good guys, making the world a better place.
It really felt like the dawn of a new era of peace and prosperity.
My first job was up on that top floor up there,
in the Western European department.
Down there, that office there in the corner,
that used to be my office when I was speech writer
for the Foreign Secretary, whose office is in fact up there.
At the end of 1997,
I was posted to the British mission to the United Nations in New York.
I was 31. My main responsibility was Iraq
and its weapons of mass destruction.
This was the diplomatic front line against dictatorship and aggression.
As in World War II, Britain was standing against evil.
We all believed it.
This is where we passed resolutions on Iraq,
on weapons inspections and sanctions
on Iraq as a whole and, above all, on the Iraqi people.
And, you know, I would be sitting behind my ambassador
in one of those chairs where,
you know, all of the ambassadors would raise their hands
to get this resolution through.
You know, you can see what this feels like.
It's a very rarefied place.
The reality of Iraqi people is definitely not here.
What sanctions did to the Iraqi people was horrific.
We knew they were suffering, and yet it wasn't real suffering to us,
it was just paper suffering.
We'd be in talks in Washington where people would say, you know,
"I hear those reports too, but I'm sorry,
"containment's the priority here."
It was like literally ordering...
our needs of security over the needs of ordinary people,
and there was considerable suffering.
I was a ferocious negotiator.
I took pride in being ferocious.
I took pride in how quickly I could articulate our arguments
and put down any counterargument.
You know, that was my job,
and I was extremely effective at it and had a reputation for it.
And you know, personally and on a professional level,
that was something that was a cause of pride for me.
And now I look back on that and think,
"How on earth did I feel proud of that?"
I do... I feel much more today, I feel shame.
When I've met Iraqis who lived through that,
I can hardly look them in the eye, I feel so ashamed.
One Iraqi I met after all of this said,
"So you were part of the genocide of my people."
That's not an easy thing to hear.
It's pretty... I was pretty upset by that, and there's some truth in it.
My apartment looked downtown,
so I had an extraordinary view of downtown Manhattan.
I could see the Hudson on one side and the East River on the other.
It was an amazing view.
And my apartment looks directly down towards the World Trade Center.
The two towers were in the middle of my view.
These photos were taken from my window.
For weeks afterwards, the smoke continued,
and there was ash on my windowsill for weeks afterwards
and I'd wake up every morning and see this column of smoke.
And you just felt the drums of war beating.
You just felt this momentum, this train had started,
and there was no way anybody was going to stop it.
On my orders,
the United States military has begun strikes against Al-Qaeda
terrorist training camps and military installations
of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
Three months after the American-British conquest of Afghanistan,
I was sent to the British Embassy in Kabul.
We were flown about in a C-130 Hercules. I loved it.
We had bodyguards who themselves had an escort of Royal Marines
because it was so dangerous.
This guy was called Khalili.
He's a leader of the Hazara in Afghanistan.
Me with my little notebook, while Mr Khalili,
"I'm here to relate to you what the British government
"feels about Afghanistan.
"Grateful if you could tell me what you think."
I think that's me.
Yeah, it is me.
It's the perfect romantic image of the diplomat, isn't it?
Sitting with the Afghan tribesmen, discussing the political future.
They were like, "Don't claim to me you're going to be here
"in perpetuity, help us build democracy.
"We know exactly what that means."
When I got home to New York,
I was deeply troubled by everything I'd been through.
I got married, which was wonderful,
but I no longer believed in my work, in the cause I had signed up to.
I had to stop.
So I took a year off.
I spent my days in the New York University library.
I just read and read, often randomly picking books off the shelves
around my desk.
I was trying to rediscover my purpose.
I was looking for political ideals that I could believe in.
I was groping my way towards a better way of doing things.
Meanwhile, just 30 or so blocks north at the United Nations,
in my former workplace, my government was preparing for war.
The Iraq War, and what my government said about it, would change my life.
Saddam Hussein's intentions have never changed.
He is not developing the missiles for self-defence.
These are missiles that Iraq wants in order to project power,
to threaten, and to deliver chemical, biological
and, if we let him, nuclear warheads.
Tonight, British servicemen and women are engaged
from air, land and sea. Their mission -
to remove Saddam Hussein from power and disarm Iraq
of its weapons of mass destruction.
But I knew that my government's real assessment of Iraq's alleged threat
was very different from what our leaders were claiming in public.
Although I was on sabbatical,
I was in close touch with friends at the UN Security Council
and the weapons inspection body which I had helped set up.
And as the war played out,
I came to this cafe to meet one of Britain's chief weapons inspectors,
my colleague Dr David Kelly.
David Kelly had just given a talk at The New School,
where I was a fellow,
and afterwards we had lunch here.
We were talking about the claims that the Government made before
the invasion that Iraq posed a threat.
You know, we were just, I guess...
..quizzical. I didn't really understand it and nor did he.
BIG BEN CHIMES
When David returned to London, he briefed a journalist
off the record that the Government had exaggerated
the capabilities of Saddam Hussein's WMD.
He became the centre of a terrible and bitter political row
about the lies the British government had told
to justify the invasion of Iraq.
NEWSREADER: Dr Kelly is a scientist with long experience
of Iraq's weapons programmes.
He came forward earlier this month and told his bosses he'd had
an unauthorised meeting in a London hotel
with BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan.
David was revealed as the source of the story,
and he was basically hounded by the Government.
The MOD, his employer, basically hung him out to dry
and eventually he testified in Parliament.
My conversation with him was primarily about Iraq,
about his experiences in Iraq, and the consequences of the war,
which was the failure to use weapons of mass destruction during the war
and the failure by May 22nd to find such weapons. That was...
This quiet, decent man was kicked around like a political football.
Why did you feel it was incumbent on you to go along with the requests
that clearly had been made to you to be...
thrown to the wolves,
not only to the media but also to this committee?
I think that's a line of questioning
you'd have to ask the Ministry of Defence. Sorry.
I reckon you're chaff, you're being thrown up to divert our probing.
Have you ever felt like a fall guy?
I mean, you've been set up, haven't you?
That's not a question I can answer. But do you feel that?
No, I accept the process that's going on...
I'm sorry? I accept the process that's happening.
I imagine he found the public attention unbearable.
I wrote to him, you know, expressing my solidarity with him,
but he didn't reply.
NEWSREADER: Police are expected to confirm later today
that a body found in Oxfordshire woodland is that of
the Ministry of Defence weapons expert David Kelly.
Dr Kelly's wife has told a friend that he'd become extremely stressed
at being caught in the middle of the row between the BBC
and the government over its use of intelligence...
This inquiry will look at the circumstances
surrounding Dr Kelly's death.
It's expected to look at his questioning earlier this week...
TONY BLAIR: It's an absolutely terrible tragedy.
I am profoundly saddened for David Kelly and for his family.
He was a fine public servant.
David's suicide shocked me to the quick.
The last time I was here was David's funeral.
I came with several of my colleagues from the Foreign Office
and the Ministry of Defence.
We were all devastated.
And I remember one of them just wept copiously,
copiously throughout the service.
But it was completely overwhelmed by the blaring media circus
that David's death had become.
And that was, of course, a breach, a moment...
..of rupture, after which there was no going back.
Trust, my trust...
..in government, my political leaders,
to an extent, I'm afraid to say my colleagues too,
..once and for all.
No-one really knows,
but an estimated half a million Iraqis have died
as a result of this unnecessary war.
I resigned from the Foreign Office after sending evidence in secret
to the first official enquiry into the war.
I wanted to make my evidence public at the time,
but I was warned that if I did I'd be prosecuted
under the Official Secrets Act.
And, to be honest, I was also scared of being hounded, like David.
Eventually, an MP friend demanded my evidence in Parliament,
and if Parliament asked for it, I couldn't be prosecuted.
Well, today, evidence will be published that says the government
did not really believe that...
In his submission to it, Mr Ross said,
"At no time did Her Majesty's government assess that
"Iraq's WMD posed a threat to the UK."
The more we learn about the beginning of the war,
the more uncertain the rationale for it seems to be.
There was a new enquiry.
I was asked to testify again.
Mr Ross, you were a first secretary
in the UK mission at the United Nations in New York
from late '97 to June 2002, I think.
Yes. And we'll be asking Mr Ross
for evidence based on his recollections and insights
into the deliberations and actions at the United Nations
on Iraq, which are relevant to our terms of reference,
where Mr Ross's role gave him first-hand knowledge
on which to draw in giving evidence to this inquiry.
It was realistic, or wasn't it,
that Iraq could soon have posed a threat to...a WMD-based threat?
I found this claim absolutely extraordinary.
I mean, we never believed that in the time I worked on it.
We never argued it to allies or others.
And nobody ever believed that these things actually existed.
We thought there might be one or two dismantled devices
left in some kind of warehouse somewhere,
but there was no hard evidence of scuds being wheeled around
in the desert, waiting to be fired.
If there had been, we would have seen them.
And the third part of the threat is the intention.
Yep. And there was no evidence of that either.
They had deliberately mislead the public by claiming that
Iraq was a threat when it wasn't,
and that there were no alternatives to war when there were.
To lie to the public and to the servicemen and women
you're sending to war, it's the gravest, gravest of disservices.
Government is established to provide security for the people,
and to lie about war, to make false decisions about war,
that's the worst thing any government can possibly do.
When I was at the UN, you could pretty much guarantee
that the people most affected were never in the room.
I set up an NGO to try to fix this, to make diplomacy fairer.
We advised South Sudan before their independence,
What we try to do is advise our clients on how to
Syria coalition - desperately difficult issue, of course.
They are an external opposition movement fighting the Assad regime.
Somaliland, where the overwhelming majority of the population
want to be an independent country.
Independent Diplomat, it's a diplomatic advisory group.
It's a group of former diplomats and international lawyers
who advise democratic governments, countries and political movements
around the world on diplomatic strategy.
Both the work of Independent Diplomat
and my own personal philosophy is driven by the belief
that people should be part of the decisions that affect them.
Around this time, I was sitting awake at three in the morning
with my young daughter, watching television.
By chance, I heard about complexity theory.
It changed the way I saw the world.
I grew up believing that government and neo-classical economics
is like a kind of machine.
These systems are complicated, but once you've worked out
how all the cogs turn and which way the levers go,
it's a matter of cause and effect, input and output.
But in fact, the world is not complicated, knowable,
Billions of actors in constant motion,
acting and reacting to each other and reacting back again.
A highly-connected, constantly fluid state between order and chaos.
Top down authority doesn't work in a complex system
because the state of system is fundamentally unknowable.
We can never be sure what the consequence of any one action will be.
I experienced this for myself working in government.
And I'm not the only one.
Modernity and the movement of money and the movement of ideas
means that power is sucked out of local communities
and ends up being located almost nowhere.
We run around thinking maybe the power's in parliament,
or maybe the power's with the bankers,
or maybe the power's with the journalists.
Politicians don't really, in many ways,
have the kind of power that people imagine.
In fact, most of the life of a politician
is desperately trying to eke anything out.
There isn't, really, any power here.
You get here and it's like The Wizard Of Oz.
But somebody has power, don't they?
I mean, somebody has the power to make the great decisions of state,
taxation, or whether to wage a war or not.
These are real powers. You're completely right.
Theoretically, the Secretary of State can wake up in the morning
and make a huge decision.
But if you look at Britain, the reality is,
it's unbelievably difficult in practice to do almost anything.
To wage a war? Is it so difficult to wage a war?
It doesn't seem to have been too difficult in the last few years.
Oddly, waging a war is, ironically,
one of the things that is easier to do,
because it's about other people's countries.
THEY SING AND CHANT
Complexity theory tells us that when a system reaches a critical state,
only one tiny event can make the whole thing shift.
When Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in Tunisia,
he tipped the whole region into a state of revolution and turmoil.
The Arab Spring - the consequences are still playing out today.
We think we need to be big to be powerful,
but in fact, we can be small.
In the US and the West,
anger has been building for a long time
as a tiny few grow immensely rich while everyone else gets poorer.
In 2011, a small protest lead to
an extraordinary spontaneous mass movement
that spread to 1,000 towns and cities worldwide.
It began just a few blocks from my own home.
This is the home of Occupy Wall Street.
This is where the movement began,
where people began staying in this park,
having meetings about the concerns of Occupy Wall Street.
Funnily enough, they had mass meetings called General Assemblies,
which is a bit like... Not exactly like the meeting
of the General Assembly in the UN, rather the opposite,
because these were mass meetings that anybody could participate in.
Occupy's great achievement was to make inequality a political issue.
Some meetings I attended were chaotic, frustrating, even boring,
but Occupy spawned groups and networks
that turned anger into action.
Everybody has the potential for leadership,
and that people are naturally collaborative,
and that given the opportunity,
people want to work together in community to solve mutual problems.
Because I think inherently we understand
that we have power together rather than that sort of like
what's taught to us, which is this dog-eat-dog notion of competition.
We need to be able to unlock our imagination and to be able to
even dream out of that paradigm. And how do you dream?
How do I dream? I dream by helping people take over the streets.
Then in October 2012, Hurricane Sandy hit New York City.
Over four million people have entered their fourth day
without power across 12 states,
following the devastating superstorm Sandy.
Concern is growing for people who lack food, water and heat.
The hallways are dark, the building is dark, the whole project is dark.
It's like a warzone out here.
The morning of the storm,
a couple of us started activating these networks
that had been sort of grown up around the Occupy movement
and solidified around Occupy Wall Street.
We were able to use networks to say,
actually, this is an incredibly effective way to organise.
Much more effective than the Red Cross and FEMA
and other institutions that are set up to do relief.
I was driving back soon after Sandy with a volunteer
who had not been a part of the Occupy Wall Street network,
and as we were driving back she said,
"You know, I always thought that government was going to be there
"to protect me and what I'm learning is that it's not,
"that that's a lie that I've been told."
And I think these moments like Sandy are moments where we expand
the perception of what's really going on.
These crises are only getting worse and worse.
There's these waves that are intensifying
and the crises themselves are going to keep
creating these cracks where more and more people come in.
So, in the most demanding crisis,
ground-up networks work better than top-down Government.
This was what I was looking for,
a politics where the people with most at stake were in control.
Self-organisation, no hierarchy.
This is a political philosophy with a long history,
a philosophy that most regard as radical and totally impractical -
Anarchism has a pretty broad sweep,
but the basic conception is that humans have a fundamental
need and right for free creative work
and life under their own control,
meaning any kind of hierarchy, domination,
any such relation is going to have to justify itself.
But if it can't, it ought to be dismantled
and replaced by a more free, co-operative,
Don't you have an overly optimistic view of human nature?
Well, the other view also does.
It relies on the optimistic view that if we have leadership
it will be benign.
The evidence of history is overwhelmingly against that.
So, yes, we're not angels,
but is the solution to that to create structures and institutions
which bring out the worst in us?
What does an ideal anarchist society look like?
Probably the peak of modern anarchism was Spain in the 1930s.
I first learned about the anarchist revolution in Spain
from a book I love by the English writer George Orwell.
The anarchists were still in virtual control of Catalonia
and the revolution was still in full swing.
But when one came straight from England,
Barcelona was something startling and overwhelming.
It was when anarchism was actually happening.
Anarchism was actually put into practice as a political philosophy
and this is virtually the only time that it happened in recent years.
But Spain was in the midst of a terrible civil war.
Orwell had gone to join the republicans
fighting General Franco's fascists.
But he realised that in Catalonia,
an extraordinary anarchist revolution was underway.
TRANSLATED FROM SPANISH:
"It was the first time that I had ever been in a town
"when the working class was in the saddle.
"Waiters and shop workers looked you in the face
"and treated you as an equal.
"Above all, there was a belief in the revolution and the future.
"A feeling of having suddenly emerged
"into an era of equality and freedom.
"Human beings were trying to behave as human beings
"and not as cogs in the capitalist machine.
"There was much in it that I didn't understand.
"In some ways I didn't even like it, but I recognised it immediately
"as a state of affairs worth fighting for."
It was a remarkable and unprecedented attempt to create
a better and equal society without a state,
without religion, without capitalism,
where the people managed their own affairs,
workers ran their own factories,
peasants took over the land,
women fought alongside men.
But in 1937, Stalin, the republic's main backer,
decided that he could not allow
a genuine people's revolution to succeed.
HE BLOWS WHISTLE
This is where the communists attacked the anarchists.
The anarchist's revolution was brought to an end
and it happened right here at the telephone exchange.
Orwell witnessed the tragic end of the anarchists' revolution
on the streets of Barcelona.
Stalin's intervention undermined the republicans
and helped them lose the civil war.
The fascists won. It was a tragic moment.
Although fascist rule ended in 1975,
today Spain still suffers wide-spread economic depravation,
high unemployment and inequality.
But in a village in southern Spain,
the people took matters into their own hands.
Anarchist ideals live on.
It's a very interesting painting because it shows
the march of the villagers of Marinaleda towards El Humoso,
which is a farm that was owned by the local aristocrat, disused,
and the villagers occupied the farm.
You led the original occupation of this land.
In austerity-hit Spain, millions have lost their homes,
leaving some to commit suicide.
But in Marinaleda, the villagers are building houses for each other.
And how does that work?
People have two options, OK.
If they have their jobs and they cannot work here,
they have to pay monthly an amount of money.
Right. And the second option is working here
and you don't have to pay anything
because you are giving your job here. Right.
You are building your own house.
And people in the village participate in building the houses,
but they don't know which one they're going to live in.
Yes. So they devote equal effort to whichever house they're building.
Because they build all the houses. All the houses are the same.
Yeah. And then after they build,
there is a raffle and they choose...
OK. ..one of them.
If you win the raffle, you get the best house.
I hope! I hope so!
So you're hoping that you're going to live in one of these?
Yes. Oh, that's great. That's great.
I think this system should be in everywhere.
But people like me can't build anything.
You know, I'm useless with my hands.
If I built one of these houses it would be a disaster.
No, because you can make what you put between the bricks.
Oh, the cement. I could make the cement.
HE LAUGHS Cement. You can do that,
so you are participating. Yes.
You are working for your own house, so...
Yeah, I could mix the cement.
I could probably manage that.
IN SPANISH: Yes.
I got back from Spain and went to the office.
I spend a lot of my time asking rich people for money to do our work.
I met the most extraordinary, brave woman
from the occupied Western Sahara -
which is illegally occupied by Morocco -
who is a human rights defender,
has been tortured, solitary confinement,
separated from her children for decades.
A wonderful, brave woman who I've met many times over the years.
She's an absolute inspiration.
And whenever I see her I feel really good and I feel really kind of...
my tank fills up. And, fairly recently this was,
I went back to my desk and I was about to send an e-mail to
Richard Branson's foundation to ask for money for one of our projects
and in my in-box was an e-mail telling me that
Branson's Virgin organisation has just organised
a kite-surfing festival in the occupied Western Sahara.
And it just came home to me that we are dependent on the very people
who are the status quo to change that status quo.
It doesn't make sense.
There is something wrong with this model.
And I'm really, really struggling with that right now.
Then I began to read about an extraordinary story,
about anarchism in action thousands of miles away.
And it all begins here.
This is the Turkish island of Imrali.
There's nothing on this island except a prison,
and for 20 years there was only one prisoner here,
serving a life sentence for treason.
HE SPEAKS OWN LANGUAGE
Abdullah Ocalan founded the PKK,
a militant organisation that fought Turkey
to protect the political rights of the Kurds.
While he was in solitary confinement,
Ocalan read a book that changed everything for him.
The Ecology Of Freedom by Murray Bookchin.
Bookchin was a political thinker who lived in the Lower East Side
of New York, where I live today.
He himself had been inspired by the Spanish anarchist revolution
in the 1930s.
Spanish anarchism created a political culture
that spoke to the deepest feelings of the culture
of the people themselves.
It was not a party, it was not only a movement,
it was above all a whole education, a whole way of life,
a way to live.
In this sense, it was a truly people's movement.
It was not invented in the British Museum, like socialism.
He explored, he went back to first principles.
What is it that works?
How do people really interact face-to-face?
How do people live richly?
And from that he developed, you know, what became Communalism,
but a theory of anarchism, basically,
of a democratic anarchism of people interacting,
making decisions face-to-face.
And he also blended that with ecology.
The thing that we have to recognise, in my opinion,
is that there are in the world today
millions of people who, under different names...
..are really anarchists.
Deep in the culture of the people is the desire to regain their power,
to create their own institutions,
to create their own life ways, to take control of their lives.
When Abdullah Ocalan read Bookchin, he decided this was the answer.
He adapted Bookchin's ideas for the Kurdish struggle.
This was self-government without a state for a people without a state.
And he persuaded his followers to adopt the philosophy.
And these ideas are coming to life in a country at war.
So, this is a map of Syria.
And where I'm going to go is into Rojava,
which is basically this area here, under Kurdish control.
And they control a band of territory
sort of going along like this, all the way to about here.
But I'll be floating around here, visiting the various kind of towns.
ISIS are up here.
They come across here, basically, in a line up here, more or less,
so I'll be keeping in this bit.
It's dangerous, a bit dicey, I'm more than a little bit nervous,
but it sounds like everything I've been thinking about
is happening here. Anarchism in practice.
I want to go and see it for myself.
I didn't know I was going to have to take body armour
and a bloody helmet. I didn't know that.
Over there, Rojava, our goal.
Lots of Kurds trying to get across.
In this corner of Syria, something extraordinary going on.
Whether it is replicable,
whether there are things that we can learn for the rest of the world,
is what we are crossing the river for.
In the United Nations, where the future of Syria is being negotiated,
Rojava doesn't even get discussed.
The Syrian Kurds don't have a place at the table.
But something is happening here.
I intend to find out what it is.
And here we are in Syria.
Hi, how are you?
I'm Carne, nice to meet you.
Hi. Spas. Spas.
We've been met by the YPG, which is the Kurdish militia,
the Kurdish People's Army,
which has been fighting ISIS here in Syria.
The democratic experiment in Rojava came to life in 2012,
when large parts of the Assad regime collapsed in Syria.
Can the principles of anarchism - no hierarchy,
decisions made by the people, no state -
really be operating here?
This is a communal assembly,
where the villagers meet to decide their local affairs.
All the villagers take part - men and women.
There are Arabs and Assyrians,
and they're allowed to speak first to make sure that
non-Kurdish minorities are given a voice.
So, this is self-government in action.
And here is the level that matters in Rojava -
decisions for here are taken for here.
Decisions that affect here, as much as possible, are made here.
And if decisions need to go to a higher level,
then they'll go up to the next level of the legislative assembly.
But as far as possible,
decisions about things that matter here
are made in that room right there.
Decisions that can't be made locally are made here,
at the regional assembly.
After watching a debate, I met some of the representatives.
Do you feel, as a young person,
that your ideas are taken seriously in the assembly?
The first time it was hard on us. Yeah.
It was the first time that we had this young age in the parliament,
and everybody was new here, especially as a young woman.
They see new ideas, they see how we work in the Parliament,
they take our ideas seriously, and then they believe in it.
Here we are trying to build a system for the whole world
to take ideas from us.
I've been in a lot of crappy chambers
where you see people sitting,
like the Security Council Parliament,
blah, blah, blah.
This one, although it's a bit shabby,
it's kind of the best.
You could almost make a kind of inverse paradigm,
that the shabbier the collective chamber,
the better the democracy.
The more ornate and gilded the more...
..the more jaded the democracy, the less representative.
There's a real sense of having arrived somewhere
that's very special for me.
HE HUMS A TUNE
It's like, you know, for anarchists, this is like Republican Spain
during the Civil War.
We're 8km from the ISIS front lines.
Nobody has a rank in the YPG, they just have teams,
this being a non-hierarchical society
based on anarchist philosophy.
But for a non-hierarchical army, they seem to have done pretty well.
Shooting from up here, obviously.
I'm not surprised civilians haven't wanted to come back here.
The YPG is the most effective ground force in the war against ISIS.
It controls about 30,000 square kilometres of territory,
an area the size of Belgium...
..with some support from American air strikes.
I don't know, is it OK to shake hands? Yes.
Nice to meet you.
So, this is the tip of the spear...
..of the fight against ISIS.
They're all so young.
So, is ISIS in those houses there?
HE SPEAKS OWN LANGUAGE
They come out in the evening?
Yes. Like rabbits.
So, are they on that hill over there as well?
Isn't it the same for us, though?
I mean, if you appear at the parapet here, don't they take a pot shot?
The fighters told me that ISIS don't like attacking
their part of the front line because they think they won't
go to paradise if they're killed by a woman.
I know what you're fighting against,
but what do you think you're fighting for?
Both the female and male fighting units have taken heavy losses.
In this cemetery, many of the graves are freshly dug.
Like Orwell in Spain in the 1930s,
I'm witnessing something extraordinary.
The anarchist ideals I believe in
are being put into practice here, and it works.
Rojava shows the world there is a better way of doing things.
These people have built democracy,
they have built the largest area of Syria that is stable and democratic.
It's an inclusive democracy where Assyrians,
Arabs and Kurds alike are given a fair crack of the whip.
You know, what's not to support?
They are fighting ISIS, they are sacrificing hundreds of lives.
They are the people fighting the world's war against these...
The problem is, nobody's listening to them,
and countries even like America, which is at war here,
is not talking to them at a political level.
It's a hell of a battle, and it's a battle, you know,
I'm glad to take on. I have rarely felt more...
..solidarity with a cause than I feel with these people here.
It sounds romantic. You know, I'm not Lawrence of Arabia,
but this is what I'd like to do.
This is, for me, you know, why I do what I do.
And I am really, really, really...
I'm really sad to leave, really sad.
It's like coming back out of the rabbit hole.
What did I see?
Was it real?
Can it happen here?
I'm greatly upset by it,
because I feel that they're fighting an epic fight.
And here, you know, we're talking about a new iPhone
and the fact that Apple have chosen to use a stylus on the iPad,
and Donald Trump, a racist and a misogynist and a billionaire,
is the centre of political attention.
So, the bile rises.
And we think we're better than them, you know,
we think we have a superior system.
I'm like, "Who's the idiot here?"
The basic claim of government is to provide order,
but the evidence suggests growing disorder.
BANGS AND SCREAMS
And as they lose control,
the response of governments will be more intrusion and more coercion.
This is the future, unless we act.
The opposite of government-imposed order is not chaos.
There's a deeper order, concealed within human society,
which relies not upon coercion, but cooperation and trust.
Built not by governments or politicians
but by people who realise at last their own true power.
But this won't happen on its own.
It's up to us.
# I love my baby... #
Carne Ross was a career diplomat who believed western democracy could save us all. But after the Iraq war he became disillusioned and resigned. This film traces Carne's worldwide quest to find a better way of doing things - from a farming collective in Spain, to Occupy Wall Street to Rojava in war-torn Syria - as he makes the epic journey from government insider to anarchist.