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Spy Culture

Spy Culture - 2017-11-20 - Original post - cached version
I was recently interviewed by Michael Morisy the co-founder of MuckRock, the world's premier FOIA site. It was an interesting conversation about how to use FOIA, what works and what doesn't, how my use of the FOIA developed over time and why I've had so much success with FOIA requests. We also...
Spy Culture - 2017-11-19 - Original post - cached version
Today I am joined by old friend Pearse Redmond to review and discuss the Netflix TV series American Vandal, a mockumentary that satirises the true crime genre. Pete Maldonado is a student at a high school in California who starts making a documentary about a fellow student, Dylan Maxwell, who was...
Spy Culture - 2017-11-16 - Original post - cached version
This week I joined Pearse on his radio show to discuss the new Netflix movie about Anders Breivik and the aftermath of the massacre on Utoya in 2011. We get into director Paul Greengrass's background, especially United 93, the Norwegian government's support for the film and the legacy of Breivik'...
Spy Culture - 2017-11-15 - Original post - cached version

The long-running ABC show The F.B.I. was perhaps the greatest success of the FBI's entertainment liaison office during Hoover's time as head of the Bureau. The deal struck between the FBI and the producers granted Hoover approval and veto power over scripts, casting and even sponsors. In...

Spy Culture - 2017-11-13 - Original post - cached version
In this extra bonus podcast for subscribers Pearse and I discuss the second season of the British House of Cards – To Play the King.  Our review covers numerous parallels between what happens in the series – when a left-wing King rises to challenge Urquhart and how the PM and the security services...
Spy Culture - 2017-11-12 - Original post - cached version
In this month's subscriber podcast I look at recent spate of allegations - and in some cases more than allegations - against a string of Hollywood bigwigs and media celebrities. I examine the selective media dialogue around these events, and how it poisons everything it touches and is deeply...
Spy Culture - 2017-11-09 - Original post - cached version

In last weekend's ClandesTime I discussed how the CIA no longer allow film-makers to shoot footage of the CIA headquarters, leading the producers of Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation to re-use old footage of Langley, but it appears they may have relaxed this rule and are now allowing filming...

Spy Culture - 2017-11-05 - Original post - cached version
The first movie to film at CIA Headquarters at Langley was Scorpio in the early 1970s. The last major film was Argo in 2012. Sometime in 2014 the CIA stopped letting film-makers shoot footage on the CIA campus. This week I examine this decision by analysing the last two films that were granted...
Spy Culture - 2017-11-02 - Original post - cached version

Like most major 20th century writers the FBI has a brief file on Aldous Huxley - the 'author and social critic' behind Brave New World, Island and The Doors of Perception. Huxley was never the subject of a Bureau investigation but they kept tabs on some of his public appearances and...

Spy Culture - 2017-10-15 - Original post - cached version
Reality Winner is a former Air Force language specialist who was working for an NSA contractor when she stole a single document and sent it to The Intercept. The document described supposed Russian attempts to ‘hack the US election’ and so this one act of whistleblowing or espionage, however you...
Spy Culture - 2017-10-11 - Original post - cached version

Following their on-screen debut in the James Bond movies, and their quiet support for Thunderball, the CIA under Richards Helms adopted a more pro-active approach to Hollywood. They began spying on movie scripts depicting the CIA and considering requests from film-makers for official support...

Spy Culture - 2017-10-08 - Original post - cached version
The book of Ecclesiastes tells us, ‘The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.’ Even the idea that there is nothing new is thousands of years old. This week we’re going to look at why Hollywood...
Spy Culture - 2017-10-04 - Original post - cached version
In April 1983 MGM sent a priority cable to CIA headquarters, inviting director Bill Casey to a special screening of their new feature War Games, starring Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy. The private screening was hosted by the MPAA building in Washington D.C., and even more surprising than the...
Spy Culture - 2017-10-03 - Original post - cached version

Aaron and Uncle invited both Pearse and myself onto Uncle the Podcast for this one-of-a-kind review of Top Gun, possibly the best piece of military propaganda ever made. Despite being a promotion for the military, all four of us love the movie and we extol the virtues of the soundtrack, the...

Spy Culture - 2017-10-03 - Original post - cached version

Pearse hosted this podcast for his subscribers but I am also making it available for those of you who support me on Patreon as well. In the first of three episodes, Pearse and I examine season 1 of the original (and superior) House of Cards, which follows Francis Urquhart's rise from Chief...

Spy Culture - 2017-10-01 - Original post - cached version
Lionel ‘Buster’ Crabb, OBE, was a Royal Navy frogman and MI6 diver who disappeared while on an underwater spying mission in April 1956. For three quarters of a century the story around Crabb has remained a mystery – was he killed by the Soviets, whose ship he was spying on? Did he defect and...
Spy Culture - 2017-09-27 - Original post - cached version
Buster Crabb was a WW2 British Navy Frogman who in 1956 was recruited by MI6 to spy on Soviet ships docking in Portsmouth harbour during a goodwill visit. These files - some available here for the first time - detail the British government's interference in the inquest into Crabb's presumed death...
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...

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