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Spy Culture

Spy Culture - 2017-09-24 - Original post - cached version
In 2004 three men were arrested in the UK for trying to buy red mercury – a trigger for a nuclear bomb – from an undercover journalist working with British intelligence. This plot inspired multiple films and TV programmes and the resulting trial cost over £1 million. The problem is that ‘red...
Spy Culture - 2017-09-22 - Original post - cached version
Chris Cook invited me back on Gorilla Radio to continue our conversation on all things spy-related. We talked about some of the differences between the British and American intelligence agencies, the role John Le Carré plays in the British spy fiction landscape, the new film American Made and how...
Spy Culture - 2017-09-19 - Original post - cached version
Just prior to the 2016 Presidential Election the US Air Force took several dozen Hollywood figures on a Civic Leader Tour of military facilities in Alaska, as part of their ongoing attempts to gain friends and influence in Tinseltown. While the Air Force entertainment liaison office would not...
Spy Culture - 2017-09-17 - Original post - cached version

The 2011 pandemic thriller Contagion was a massive PR boost for the CDC. In this month's subscriber-only podcast I examine the film and nearly 1000 pages of documents from the CDC about their involvement in helping to make the film, what they thought of it, and the promotional events they...

Spy Culture - 2017-09-15 - Original post - cached version

John Harrison of Sputnik radio's Level Talk invited Matt and I on to talk about National Security Cinema and the relationship between Hollywood and Washington. In this rapid-fire interview we touched on the history of this relationship, its impact on scripts, why writers and producers go...

Spy Culture - 2017-09-14 - Original post - cached version
Despite being a bit drunk and tired, I joined Pearse for the first hour of his radio show this week to discuss 9/11, the emotional impact of the anniversary and the legacy of Al Qaeda. We touched on my Alternative History of Al Qaeda series as well as asking if there is a better way to respond to...
Spy Culture - 2017-09-13 - Original post - cached version

While the 2011 plague thriller Contagion did benefit from military support it is perhaps more important for the big screen debut of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This lesser-known government agency recently released nearly 1000 pages of internal documents on their role...

Spy Culture - 2017-09-10 - Original post - cached version

This week I am joined by Robbie Martin and Pearse Redmond to review and analyse the low budget conspiracy thriller Operation Terror. We analyse the plot – where a member of the Council on Foreign Relations recruits a CIA officer to prepare and carry out the 9/11 attacks – and why this is...

Spy Culture - 2017-09-08 - Original post - cached version

The new Tom Cruise film American Made bears all the hallmarks of being CIA-Hollywood propaganda. This short video explores Cruise and director Doug Liman's connections with the CIA and how the marketing for the film suggests it'll be nothing more than a remake of Blow, but with Barry Seal's...

Spy Culture - 2017-09-04 - Original post - cached version
In recent years the Pentagon have not only expanded their operations in the entertainment industry, they have aggressively and pro-actively tried to expand their influence on Hollywood. This week we take a look at how they are trying to cozy up to studio moguls, make friends and influence people...
Spy Culture - 2017-08-30 - Original post - cached version

I recently obtained a copy of the notorious 2004 CIA recruitment video featuring Alias star Jennifer Garner. This is not available anywhere else online, and the CIA did not release it in response to my FOIA request (they claimed to be unable to find a copy). Basically, after a lot of...

Spy Culture - 2017-08-27 - Original post - cached version

The 1996 action thriller The Long Kiss Goodnight was only a modest commercial and critical success, but is a cult classic in the 9/11 ‘truth movement’ because it appears to predict the attacks. This week we analyse the film, its apparent predictive qualities, its commentary on the 1993 WTC...

Spy Culture - 2017-08-23 - Original post - cached version

In our latest film review Aaron, Uncle and I dissect the blockbuster Kong: Skull Island (in typically anarchic fashion). We talk about different kinds of monster movies, the film's anti-war message and what to expect from the MonsterVerse going forward. We also touch on the Vietnamese...

Spy Culture - 2017-08-20 - Original post - cached version
What connects Al Qaeda to the Pentagon’s Entertainment Liaison Offices? Perhaps unsurprisingly, the answer is Ali Mohamed – the triple agent who was Al Qaeda’s main terrorist trainer. This week we look at two films and a documentary to illustrate these connections and examine how they were...
Spy Culture - 2017-08-16 - Original post - cached version

After numerous requests I have uploaded (most of) the documents we used to write National Security Cinema in one handy zip file so that people don't have to search around all over this site to find them. This pack of over 4000 pages includes office diary reports from the military...

Spy Culture - 2017-08-14 - Original post - cached version

Kevin Gosztola interviewed me for Unauthorized Disclosure about National Security Cinema. This was a different kind of interview, as many of Kevin's questions and comments were about why it matters that the CIA, Pentagon and other agencies are influencing Hollywood scripts.

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Spy Culture - 2017-08-13 - Original post - cached version
In this month's subscriber-only podcast we explore the censorship of the one of the world's biggest film franchises - James Bond. The Bond movies have been subject to both moral/cultural censorship by the British Board of Film Classification, and political censorship by the Pentagon's...
Spy Culture - 2017-08-07 - Original post - cached version

A few weeks ago Matt and I were invited to Portsmouth University to give a presentation on our research and analysis for National Security Cinema. We opted to do an interactive multi-media workshop that explains how the relationship between government and Hollywood works, and how this...

Spy Culture - 2017-08-06 - Original post - cached version
In the five years running up to 9/11 the NSA were monitoring Osama Bin Laden's satellite phone and Al Qaeda's communication hub, and the CIA were closely following their key operatives, including to the so-called '9/11 summit' in Malaysia. So why didn't they prevent the attacks? This week we...
Spy Culture - 2017-07-30 - Original post - cached version
In June 2016 the Pentagon repealed a ban on openly transgender people serving in the US military. A year later and Tzar Trump I has reinstated the ban, causing a panic among the liberal Left for whom the right of transgender people to kill innocent civilians in foreign countries is more important...
Spy Culture - 2017-07-27 - Original post - cached version

Chris Cook had me as a guest on Gorilla Radio recently to talk about National Security Cinema, how modern military propaganda is different to that of the WW2 era, how widespread militarised pop culture has become, how the government rewrites and censors films, and why so few Hollywood movies...

Spy Culture - 2017-07-24 - Original post - cached version

Good friend Aaron invited Matt and I on his show to discuss our new book National Security Cinema. We talked about the Pentagon's habit of civilianization - where controversial elements of the script are changed so they don't apply or connect to the military - and why the DOD are so paranoid...

Spy Culture - 2017-07-23 - Original post - cached version
On August 7th 1998 two almost identical truck bombs exploded outside the US embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. In this episode we look at the embassy bombings, their genesis and consequences. From the role of triple agent Ali Mohamed to the absurd circumstances of the...
Spy Culture - 2017-07-20 - Original post - cached version

Robbie Martin invited Matt and I onto Media Roots to talk about our new book National Security Cinema. We discussed a lot of the core material - the scripts changes and political censorship enforced by the Pentagon and CIA - we spent much of this discussion looking at the industry as a whole...

Spy Culture - 2017-07-18 - Original post - cached version
Hrvoje Moric invited me onto his podcast Geopolitics and Empire to talk about our new book National Security Cinema.  We get into the difficulties of researching this topic, how Matt and I managed to break through the veil of secrecy to make public this information about government manipulation of...
Spy Culture - 2017-07-17 - Original post - cached version

Doug McKenty of The Shift invited me on his show to talk about my new book National Security Cinema. We discussed the process by which the CIA and DOD support films, and how this enables them to have considered influence over the scripts, before getting into the issue of how we can best...

Spy Culture - 2017-07-16 - Original post - cached version
The Al Qaeda training manual ‘Military Studies in Jihad Against the Tyrants’ is one of the most important documents in the history of the terrorist gang. Perhaps more than any other artefact it encompasses the absurd contradictions of the War on Terror – people have been convicted for owning a...
Spy Culture - 2017-07-13 - Original post - cached version
While Hollywood is generally supportive of the government - and of the military in particular - the Pentagon faces a problem. In order to stand out from the crowd and make their screenplays a bit different to the usual schlock, screenwriters like to include subversive elements and aspects, even...
Spy Culture - 2017-07-11 - Original post - cached version

The latest reports from the US Army's entertainment liaison office brings us almost up to date on their activities, which includes support to everything from the film Jackie to History Channel documentaries and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. One continued theme is the military support not just for...

Spy Culture - 2017-07-09 - Original post - cached version
In this month’s subscriber-only podcast I talk about some of my recent FOIA escapades, including my attempts to track down the 2nd Pentagon-Hollywood database.  The existence of this second database was revealed to me by the Marine Corps communications office, but both the Marine Corps and the...
Spy Culture - 2017-07-05 - Original post - cached version
Newly-released reports from the US Army's entertainment liaison office show that they maintain a close and friendly relationship with Warner Bros., enabling them to get involved at early stages of major films and wield considerable influence over their content. While Warner have a reputation for...
Spy Culture - 2017-07-02 - Original post - cached version

National Security Cinema is a new book that uses over 4,000 pages of documents to reveal government censorship and propaganda in Hollywood. From the Pentagon's rewriting of James Bond to the CIA's manipulation of Meet the Parents this is the biggest and best book ever written about military-...

Spy Culture - 2017-06-28 - Original post - cached version

Good friend Pearse Redmond invited Matt and I on his radio show to talk about our new book National Security Cinema: The Shocking New Evidence of Government Control in Hollywood. We discussed the new evidence that provoked us into writing this book, looked at some of the case studies...

Spy Culture - 2017-06-28 - Original post - cached version
In 1988 CIA director William Webster attended the Bohemian Grove, where he gave a lakeside talk about intelligence matters. His speech, now available to the public for the first time, is both amusing and at times shocking. From Tom Clancy to a voyeuristic child who wanted to join the Agency,...
Spy Culture - 2017-06-25 - Original post - cached version
What if I told you that the same man trained Meir Kahane’s killer, the World Trade Center bombers, the African embassy bombers and Osama Bin Laden’s bodyguards? What if this man was a member of the Egyptian Army unit that assassinated Anwar Sadat, and was a translator and close associate of Ayman...
Spy Culture - 2017-06-21 - Original post - cached version
In 1985 the CIA produced an analysis of the French arm of the New Left - the early post-Marxist intellectual movement. Somewhat bizarrely the Agency were broadly in favour of this new movement because it provided less resistance to US goals both in France specifically, and in the world more...
Spy Culture - 2017-06-18 - Original post - cached version
The conventional explanation of how Yugoslavia 'fell apart' is that ethnic and religious tensions led to civil wars, necessitating the breakup of the country into a series of smaller states. The reality is that Yugoslavia was knowingly and willingly destroyed by NATO, with Al Qaeda playing a...
Spy Culture - 2017-06-16 - Original post - cached version
Once more I joined Pearse Redmond on Porkins Policy Radio to discuss recent developments: The Reality Winner NSA leak story, Chelsea Manning and Dennis Rodman's latest trip to North Korea to visit his good friend Kim Jong-un.

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Spy Culture - 2017-06-14 - Original post - cached version
Newly released reports from the US Air Force Entertainment Liaison Office confirm their continuing influence over the political content of the productions they support and refer to a mysterious event called the 'Alaska CLT'. The role of the Science and Entertainment Exchange - technically a non-...
Spy Culture - 2017-06-11 - Original post - cached version
Pearse Redmond joins us to discuss the TV series Billions, which mixes elements of legal thrillers, human drama, sexual fetishes, 9/11 insider trading and deep politics. We examine the characters in the film and how they are metaphors for the philosophical conflict at the heart of American...
Spy Culture - 2017-06-07 - Original post - cached version
Winston the police horse was named after Winston Churchill, having joined the Met in the 1940s. He featured in numerous royal events, ridden by both King George and princess and then Queen Elizabeth during the Trooping the Colour ceremonies in the 40s and early 50s. Winston was also the subject...
Spy Culture - 2017-06-06 - Original post - cached version
The Intercept recently published a leaked NSA report describing a cyberattack presumed to be carried out by Russia military intelligence. While many have seen this as the confirming proof that Trump only got elected because of Putin the truth is a lot more complicated. It seems the leaker wanted...
Spy Culture - 2017-06-05 - Original post - cached version

In this month's subscriber-only podcast I review the TV series Braindead, which is about an invading army of extraterrestrial bugs who burrow into people's heads and eat their brains. On top of this comic-horror there is a lot of well-observed satire about the polarised political climate we'...

Spy Culture - 2017-06-04 - Original post - cached version
A mini-documentary I made about the terror attacks on London Bridge and in Borough market last night, and how they fit into a pattern throughout this election campaign. I summarise events over the last few months, their political relevance and why the conventional explanations do not fit with...
Spy Culture - 2017-05-31 - Original post - cached version

The James Bond films, like the books on which they are based, have always pushed the boundaries of acceptable portraits of sex and violence. Documents from the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) show how for Thunderball they reviewed the script, recommending many changes if the film...

Spy Culture - 2017-05-27 - Original post - cached version
The bombing in Manchester this week was an especially horrific act of terrorism. 22 people were killed and dozens more were injured – many of whom were children or teenagers who were exiting an Ariana Grande concert. This week I examine some of the questions I have about this bombing, and outline...
Spy Culture - 2017-05-23 - Original post - cached version
In post-war Britain the Metropolitan Police were concerned about how they were being portrayed in films so they instituted a policy of vetting film scripts. However, they were concerned that by seeking a more public profile and engaging with the film industry that they would lose the 'aura of...
Spy Culture - 2017-05-21 - Original post - cached version
After the 9/11 attacks we were told that no one could have predicted that terrorists would hijack planes and use them as missiles against buildings. This lie quickly fell apart when it emerged that NORAD – the US air defence command – had run training exercises in the years and months leading up...
Spy Culture - 2017-05-18 - Original post - cached version
In 1961 the FBI conducted a brief investigation into Lieutenant Frank Drebin, better known as actor Leslie Nielsen. A request arrived from the Canadian authorities so the Bureau found the women they mentioned and asked her about Nielsen, who she said she hadn't seen in over a decade. Another day...
Spy Culture - 2017-05-16 - Original post - cached version
The Bureau recently released some documents on Prince in response to FOIA requests from numerous media outlets, including Spy Culture. In the last few days Jezebel, Vanity Fair and other major outlets have reported on this, but at the time of writing it appears MuckRock have yet to receive their...

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