Like many men, I am a lazy, good-for-nothing, selfish, forgetful, patronising, sex-obsessed bastard who drinks too much. Or so my wife points out. It's strange that I have ended up like this. I tried not to. I really did.

Britain's World War II films were more than just propaganda

As a new television series explores the archives of British wartime films and documentaries, Gerard Gilbert discovers an intimacy and artistry that go far beyond public information

Solzhenitsyn's widow takes Putin to task

Vladimir Putin received a rare public rebuff from the widow of Alexander Solzhenitsyn for using the term "propaganda" in discussing the author's account of Soviet Gulag life, The Gulag Archipelago.

Hacktivists and militants exploit web recruits

Terrorist groups that have long used the internet to spread propaganda are increasingly tapping the web to teach Islamic extremists how to be hackers, recruit techies for cyberwarfare and raise money through online fraud, US officials say.

Pygmy, By Chuck Palahniuk

It all gets a tad convoluted when 13-year-old Agent 67 infiltrates the US on a terrorist mission

Churchill's Wizards, By Nicholas Rankin

Camouflage and propaganda, fakery and impersonation, phantom generals and mirage armies: "Monty's Double" was the actorly tip of an iceberg of subterfuge that stood the British in good stead through both world wars.

Myth of 'primitive' Jacobite army at Culloden laid to rest

Contrary to legend of claymore-wielding savages, Highland forces were well equipped and trained

Hanif Malik

In our article “7/7 bombers ‘used cash from Children in Need’” (20 August 2008) we said that money from the BBC Children In Need Appeal, given to the Leeds Community School charity, was improperly channelled to the neighbouring bookshop where two of the London bombers worked. We accept the assurance of the school’s founder, Hanif Malik, that no money from the Children In Need Appeal was passed to this bookshop nor to the bombers, nor was any used to pay for propaganda. We are happy to set the record straight and apologise to Mr Malik for any distress caused.

Home Office-funded programme 'broke rules'

A television programme about police community support officers (PCSOs) funded by the Home Office broke broadcasting rules, the communications watchdog said today.

Flat Earth News, By Nick Davies

Despite warnings of "Riots, terrorism and a health crisis" and "all trace of pension contributions could be wiped out", the much-feared millennium bug caused little more damage than the failure of a tide gauge in Portsmouth harbour. This journalistic feeding frenzy based on the specious notion of computer meltdown was, according to Davies, "a stunning example of a failure in truth telling by the global media". He has no shortage of material for his masterly dissection. Other "Flat Earth News" stories include the death toll from Chernobyl estimated at 2,000 to 90,000, though the only established figure is 56, the invention of "zero tolerance" policing in New York, and the fiction that heroin addiction is inevitably fatal. Dickens would sympathise with Davies's incredulity that our hopelessly ineffective criminal justice system goes unreported. Aside from the herd instinct of journalists, Davies points to other factors that assist a fake news agenda: reporting resources cut to the point of atrophy; editors desperate for cheap stories; PR fixers adept at the distorting slant. Propaganda is easier because, as a US general points out, global media "gravitate towards packaged information". If this wasn't enough, one UK paper runs stories "with peculiar aggression" that "mislead readers" and "distort the whole political process". According to Davies, the Daily Mail is "simply achieving from inside the news factory what other powerful voices are achieving with such ease from outside".

North Face (12A)

A mountaineering adventure more tense, more edge-of-the-seat suspenseful, than Touching the Void? Almost incredibly, this German drama, based on a true story, is that film.

The Word On... Survivors, BBC1

"I just watched the whole of this on BBCi. Thank God I no longer pay for a TV licence. This is leftist propaganda. The original Seventies series was much better, written by good writers like Terry Nation and Jack Ronder and Ian McCulloch. This show has gone the same way as 'Doctor Who'. If you're under 30, you won't know what the hell I'm on about." - airscrew1, youtube.com

World Focus: Sleep deprivation is small price to pay for a trade deal

"It is NOT his intention to exhaust ministers," explained the spokesman for Pascal Lamy, the director general of the World Trade Organisation.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform