Episodes

  • The Cold Warriors of the postwar world never dreamed that Western democracies would become to rely on a global information network – and that our very openness could be turned against us. As the stories of Brexit, COVID and Trump coalesce into one nightmare tale of disinformation and weaponised lying, Arthur Snell asks whether democracy can survive in a post-truth world. If you control the information space, do you control the future? And after the pandemic, can we withstand the infodemic?
    • “If you’ve got enough money, you can ensure that people hear your talking points day in day out, hour after hour.” – Amil Khan
    • “COVID was a means to test these weapons. Climate denial is the next battleground, and it will make the anti-lockdown and COVID stuff look like child’s play.” – Darren Loucaides
    • “If tech companies can’t moderate memes and text, how on Earth are they going to moderate the Metaverse?” — Nina Jankowicz
    • “Soviet Union was Terminator 1: bulky and ungainly. Now Putin’s Russia is Terminator 2, very fluid and adaptable.” – Peter Pomerantsev
    • “Our systems are threatened not by people who are suffering but by comfortable middle class people who are bored and looking to go on a crusade.” — Tom Nichols
    • “What is shocking is how fast people will jump from a failure of policy itself to the idea that the whole edifice of liberal democracy needs to be junked in favour of a celebrity strongman.” — Tom Nichols
    • “Our openness is a weakness. We can’t go into Russia and broadcast like the BBC can – but RT can come here and say anything it likes.” – Nina Jankowicz
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    DOOMSDAY WATCH was written and presented by Arthur Snell, and produced by Robin Leeburn – with assistant production from Jacob Archbold. Theme tune and original music by Paul Hartnoll. The group editor is Andrew Harrison. DOOMSDAY WATCH is a Podmasters production.
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  • The digital Utopia we were promised has given us a desperately vulnerable world where we depend on a global internet with a billion badly-protected backdoors. Today’s cyber-war battlegrounds aren’t on bank servers or Government databases. They’re in your smart fridges, doorbells and security cameras.

    Arthur Snell traces a path from the first-ever co-ordinated cyber-attack (on Estonia in 2007) to a world of invisible weapons and relentless probing conflict – where hostile governments can target your own phone anywhere on earth. How do you defend democratic societies when everything has become a computer? 

    “As soon as we discover something convenient for our lives, we become dependent on it… We’re now as dependent on connectivity as we are on electricity.” – Mikko Hypponen
    “Most people just don’t understand how much their devices leak about them… We are all carrying tracking devices with us.” – Eva Galperin
    “You can’t see a cyber weapon on a military parade ground… Countries are putting billions into these weapons and nobody knows about them.” – Mikko Hypponen
    “Is it really wise for any country to establish a Νational Registry of Persons, and keep most of your personal data in one place?” – Ciaran Martin
    “We are turning everything into a computer… If it’s smart, it’s vulnerable.” – Mikko Hypponen

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    DOOMSDAY WATCH was written and presented by Arthur Snell, and produced by Robin Leeburn – with assistant production from Jacob Archbold. Theme tune and original music by Paul Hartnoll. The group editor is Andrew Harrison. DOOMSDAY WATCH is a Podmasters production.
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  • What could persuade someone to leave a comparatively wealthy country in the Western Hemisphere to fight and die in the hellhole of the Islamic State? That’s exactly what happened in the unlikely setting of Trinidad and Tobago. Arthur Snell pieces together an astonishing story of how radicalisation is continuing in unexpected places around the world – how jihad leaders learned from the experts in global expansion, the fast food giants – and how jihad has found its mirror in QAnon. How do we fight terror when global jihad has gone local?
    “Trinidadians who had never driven a tanker before were suddenly sending me pictures where they were holding up machine guns.” – Asha Javeed
    “These threats have grown out of the very measures that were supposed to contain them.” – Arthur Snell
    “The US invasion of Iraq was the most severe strategic misjudgment since Hitler decided to invade Russia.” – David Kilcullen
    “Jihad has become a global product that adapts to its surroundings. Think of it as fast food.” – Arthur Snell
    “When I was in Iraq during the insurgency, al-Zarqawi was the one you feared, not Bin Laden.” – Arthur Snell
    DOOMSDAY WATCH was written and presented by Arthur Snell, and produced by Robin Leeburn – with assistant production from Jacob Archbold. Theme tune and original music by Paul Hartnoll. The group editor is Andrew Harrison. DOOMSDAY WATCH is a Podmasters production.
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  • After 9/11 the West invaded Afghanistan and Iraq to remake them as friendly, terror-free liberal democracies. But the unintended consequences were historic disaster, countless dead and the humbling of Western power, symbolised by the shameful evacuation of Kabul in 2021. How did we get it so catastrophically wrong?
     
    Arthur Snell, who served in Lashkar Gah in Helmand Province, explores the flawed thinking that generated the very insurgencies the West was trying to suppress. Has the West built a world of forever wars that it can’t win?
     
    •  “Every way you look, the Western way of war burns through cash. And that creates incentives for warlords, generals and Prime Ministers.” – Arthur Snell
    •  “When we went to Helmand I really thought we were going to get this right… And over several command meetings I started to think, Do we really know what we’re doing?” – Frank Ledwidge
    •  “Having invaded these countries and toppled their governments, we didn’t know what to do next.” – Arthur Snell
    •  “She told me, the Afghan people hate you. They hate you because you make promises you don’t deliver on.” – Frank Ledwidge
    •  “No-one said ‘You can’t do counter-narcotics, and take away people’s livelihoods, in the same place you’re supposed to be winning hearts and minds.’” – Mike Martin
    •  “One of the reasons we crashed into Helmand was internal military politics. It suited the army to go in, to preserve its force structure.” – Mike Martin

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    DOOMSDAY WATCH was written and presented by Arthur Snell, and produced by Robin Leeburn – with assistant production from Jacob Archbold. Theme tune and original music is by Paul Hartnoll. The group editor is Andrew Harrison. DOOMSDAY WATCH is a Podmasters production.
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  • An Indian megacity of 11 million people literally runs out of water, trucking in 10m litres a day to hydrate a panicking population amid water queues and panic-buying. In Bolivia a scandalous water privatisation leaves people paying a quarter of their earnings just to drink. Water riots and deaths ensue. And in the UK, companies take £60bn in profit while pumping raw sewage into waterways – while London’s millennia-old chalk aquifer is now drained bone-dry. The Capital is now under threat of running out of drinking water altogether.
    When the water runs out, populations move in their millions. And that means destabiliation on a global scale. Arthur talks to researchers and unlikely experts (yes, that’s Feargal Sharkey from The Undertones) about a threat that’s bigger than any populist movement or villainous autocrat. We’re facing hydropocalypse. 


    “London is now on a list of nine global cities most likely to run out of drinking water” – FEARGAL SHARKEY 



    “Water management is conflict management.” – AARON WOLF



    “We built water systems for a climate that no longer exists.” – SANDRA POSTEL



    “By 2050 Britain is facing a water shortage of 1.2 billion litres a day.” – FEARGAL SHARKEY



    “We have loaded the dice for more of these extreme events.” – SANDRA POSTEL



    Want to support us in making more episodes of Doomsday Watch? Back us on Patreon - visit doomsdaywatch.co.uk for more info.
    DOOMSDAY WATCH was written and presented by Arthur Snell, and produced by Robin Leeburn – with assistant production from Jacob Archbold. Theme tune and original music is by Paul Hartnoll. Guitar sting by Kenny Dickinson. The group editor is Andrew Harrison. DOOMSDAY WATCH is a Podmasters production.
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  • What happens to the Middle East when the world stops buying its oil? As the world races to decarbonise, the region’s petrochemical plutocrats face a terrible decision. To keep power, they must cut off their addiction to oil. The plans of one young Saudi prince – the ambitious, ruthless Mohammed bin Salman – are already unleashing a wave of arrests, intimidation, black ops and murder across the world.
    Oil power has enforced brutal stability in the region since WWII. What happens when it crumbles?


    “Because Jamal Kashoggi had worked for the regime, he had to die. The message is that they can do anything with impunity, there are no consequences – and everybody should be afraid of them.” – HUGH MILES



    “How do we keep our thrones in a neighbourhood where everybody hates us?” – IYAD EL-BAGHDADI



    “If you are against the Saudi regime they will target you wherever you are. Financially physically or mentally, they will try to destroy you.” – ‘GHANEM’



    “This is a perfect storm. We’re transitioning to a new world and these governments are just not prepared for it.” – IYAD EL-BAGHDADI 



    “The Saudis are like the Tudors. There are no rules. It’s a constant struggle for power with a merciless focus on the sole question of succession: who is next?” – HUGH MILES



    Fancy getting episodes early, extra content and have a chance to shape future seasons? Support us now - go to www.doomsdaywatch.co.uk to find out more.
    DOOMSDAY WATCH was written and presented by Arthur Snell, and produced by Robin Leeburn – with assistant production from Jacob Archbold. Theme tune and original music is by Paul Hartnoll. The group editor is Andrew Harrison. DOOMSDAY WATCH is a Podmasters production.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Russia’s newly-belligerent stance has rocked the democratic West on its heels, from the annexation of the Crimea to the sponsoring of extremist digital disinformation to – almost certainly – the stacking of elections in the US and UK. And it all stems from the paranoid, Machiavellian, espionage-steeped mindset of one man: Vladimir Putin. 
    On this edition, Arthur talks to exiled journalists, foreign correspondents including Luke Harding of The Guardian and Russia analysts to unpick the question that baffles even Russians themselves: What does Putin want?
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    “There was no liberal Putin. There was no ‘white album’.” – LUKE HARDING



    “Russia is the world champion at national suicide. It’s a deeply, deeply self-destructive country.” – PETER POMERANTSEV



    “Putin doesn’t even see Ukraine as a country… They think, this was always ours, what is the US doing interfering?” – ARTYOM LISS



    “The plan is to make Russia great again… Neither London nor Washington nor Paris has come up with an adequate way to deal with him.” – LUKE HARDING


    
    Fancy getting episodes early, extra content and have a chance to shape future seasons? Support us now - go to www.doomsdaywatch.co.uk to find out more.
    DOOMSDAY WATCH был написан и представлен Артуром Снеллом, а продюсером - Робином Либерном - с ассистентом продюсера Джейкоба Арчболда. Мелодия и оригинальная музыка написаны Полом Хартноллом. Редактор группы - Эндрю Харрисон. DOOMSDAY WATCH - это продукция Podmasters.
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  • On this episode of the podcast that looks at the threats to global stability that they’re not telling you about – the mind behind the unstoppable rise of China.
    Who is Xi Jinping? What are the forces that shaped China’s paramount leader? Will his psychological make-up, and his belief that his country has been robbed of its rightful place, lead inexorably to confrontation with the West? And what does Thucydides have to do with it? Arthur talks to experts and China insiders to ask: are we on the brink of World War Xi? 


    “China and Russia have greatly expanded their roles as great powers. We are now in an era where the dragons are back.” – David Kilcullen



    “In Xi’s mind, China was great until colonialism and imperialism brought it low. His goal is to make China great again.” – Cindy Yu 



    “Where could it begin? Perhaps with the Chinese military chomping at the bit for conflict and a worried, fearful Chinese government indulging them just to preserve their loyalty.” – Kori Schake



    “Xi has been waiting his whole life to return China to great power status. This could be his moment” – Arthur Snell


    
    Want to support us, get episodes early and extra content? Visit www.doomsdaywatch.co.uk and back us from just £3 per month now.
    DOOMSDAY WATCH was written and presented by Arthur Snell, and produced by Robin Leeburn – with assistant production from Jacob Archbold. Theme tune and original music by Paul Hartnoll. The group editor is Andrew Harrison. DOOMSDAY WATCH is a Podmasters production.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The world has never stood as close to the apocalypse as it does today. Hosted by ARTHUR SNELL, a former British diplomat and counter-terrorism operative who has seen service in Yemen, Helmand and Zimbabwe, DOOMSDAY WATCH meets experts and eyewitness for an unflinching look at the threats that conventional media ignores. On this first edition: Is a toxic combination of extreme partisanship, detached elites and Trump’s incitement driving the world’s greatest democracy to a second Civil War?

    • “This is the story of a great project that has torn itself apart from the inside.” – ARTHUR SNELL
    • “At what point do we stop saying this is a democratic country?” – BRIAN KLAAS
    • “Where there is anger and polarised states, democracy may not work any more.” – JACK GOLDSTONE

    Fancy getting episodes early, extra content and have a chance to shape future seasons? Support us now - go to www.doomsdaywatch.co.uk to find out more.

    DOOMSDAY WATCH was written and presented by Arthur Snell and produced by Robin Leeburn – with assistant production from Jacob Archbold. Theme tune and original music is by Paul Hartnoll. The group editor is Andrew Harrison. DOOMSDAY WATCH is a Podmasters production.
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  • Doomsday Watch with Arthur Snell launches 10th November on all good podcast platforms.

    Get the first five episodes, ad-free on the day - support us at patreon.com/doomsdaywatch,

    Doomsday Watch is a Podmasters production.
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