Spy Culture

Spy Culture - 2016-07-15 - Original post - cached version

James Evan Pilato is our latest guest as we dissect the 2009 Disney UFO adventure Race to Witch Mountain. We start off looking at Disney as a corporation - its long standing interest in UFOs and extraterrestrials, the connections to government agencies and their recent takeover of the fantasy...

Spy Culture - 2016-07-07 - Original post - cached version

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) recently published its annual report, which details complaints against various movies including Spectre, Kingsman and Minions. As is so often the case, sex and violence were the focus of the complaints, leading the BBFC to explain why they had...

Spy Culture - 2016-07-06 - Original post - cached version

Pearse and I recently appeared on The Opperman Report to chat about The Writer with No Hands, Matthew Alford's book into the disappearance and probable murder of Hollywood screenwriter Gary Devore. We get into Devore's connections with the government, the CIA and DOD presence in Hollywood and...

Spy Culture - 2016-07-03 - Original post - cached version

Adam from Themes and Memes is our guest to talk about the 2015 action comedy American Ultra. We start by trying to define this film, which is an intense mixture of cartoonish ultra violence, CIA covert operations, romance, comedy and horror, looking at the dissociating nature of this blend....

Spy Culture - 2016-07-01 - Original post - cached version
Robbie Martin's A Very Heavy Agenda is a powerful series of documentary films that chart the rise of neo-conservatism and its ever-changing impact on US and global affairs. From the Kagans to the Kristols, from the anthrax attacks to Hilary Clinton, this is an epic journey into the dark heart of...
Spy Culture - 2016-06-30 - Original post - cached version
Washington is Hollywood for ugly people, said Paul Begala (probably). Washington is the entertainment capital of the world, said Jack Valenti. Washington's influence on Hollywood, the state's influence on popular culture, is the primary topic of this site. But what about Hollywood's influence on...
Spy Culture - 2016-06-26 - Original post - cached version
Jay Dyer joins us for this episode where we analyse the 2009 comedy The Men Who Stare at Goats, loosely based on Jon Ronson's book of the same name. It tells the story of a journalist who is inducted into the world of psychic soldiers during the Iraq war. The movie goes on to explain some of the...
Spy Culture - 2016-06-22 - Original post - cached version

One of the most prominent influences of pop culture on government and on the deep state is in the use of code names. From the capture of Saddam Hussein to a counter-smuggling helicopter unit in Hawaii, from a mass surveillance program named after Blazing Saddles to Secret Service and MI5...

Spy Culture - 2016-06-19 - Original post - cached version
Aaron Franz joins us to discuss the 2002 biopic Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, which tells the story of game show producer and host Chuck Barris. Barris claims that while becoming a TV star he was recruited by and worked for the CIA as an assassin, killing a total of 33 people. In this episode...
Spy Culture - 2016-06-15 - Original post - cached version
While the CIA have been assisting films such as Scorpio for decades they maintain very few records of their involvement in these productions, making it difficult to know how influential the Agency is in this arena. A different but somewhat fruitful angle of inquiry is in the CIA's records of the...
Spy Culture - 2016-06-12 - Original post - cached version
We welcome Ed Opperman to the series and discuss the 2005 docudrama Good Night, and Good Luck which retells the story of the 1954 confrontation between senator Joe McCarthy and television journalist Ed Murrow of CBS. In this episode we take a sideways look at the historical events and ask why...
Spy Culture - 2016-06-07 - Original post - cached version
In my opinion, the importance of the intelligence war in World War 2 cannot be overstated. Economically, Britain was essentially bankrupt by the end of the war. Militarily they were not as well resourced and equipped as Germany with the exception of naval warfare, where the odds were much closer...
Spy Culture - 2016-06-05 - Original post - cached version

In this first episode of the new season Pearse and I discuss the 1958 spy drama The Quiet American, adapted from the novel by Graham Greene. We focus in on the role of Air Force and CIA officer Ed Lansdale's relationship with the film-maker Joseph Mankiewicz, and how the CIA were involved in...

Spy Culture - 2016-06-04 - Original post - cached version
Tomorrow we begin releasing season 2 of The CIA and Hollywood so in this short episode I preview what is coming, announce the launch of my Patreon campaign and rant about Angelina Jolie. I outline how the new season of The CIA and Hollywood is split between films that were made with CIA support...
Spy Culture - 2016-06-02 - Original post - cached version
We will begin releasing season 2 of The CIA and Hollywood this weekend, and to give you a taste of what's to come we have produced a linkchart combining data and connections from both season 1 and the forthcoming season 2. New additions include The Rock, Angelina Jolie and former Sony executive...
Spy Culture - 2016-06-01 - Original post - cached version
Following the raid in Abbottabad in May 2011 the body of 'Osama Bin Laden' was flown to Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan, where Admiral William McRaven did not initially recognise him. From there the body was flown to the USS Carl Vinson, an aircraft carrier, where an autopsy was performed...
Spy Culture - 2016-05-29 - Original post - cached version
The Foreigner stars Jackie Chan and former James Bond Pierce Brosnan, and is directed by two-time Bond director Martin Campbell. In February the film-makers blew up a bus in central London in a sequence that was spookily reminiscent of the 7/7 London bombings of 2005. To see if this similarity...
Spy Culture - 2016-05-25 - Original post - cached version
In this bonus episode we welcome special guests Aaron and Uncle of Uncle the Podcast, a new real-life comedy podcast which is one of my favourite shows. We chat about Uncle and Aaron's hopes and dreams for the show and why they started the Uncle the Podcast. We take a look at two spy films - XXX...
Spy Culture - 2016-05-23 - Original post - cached version
Graham Greene was one of the most important novelists of the 20th century, and one of the greatest spy novelists of all time. He also holds the dubious honour of having worked for MI6 during WW2 but being spied on by the FBI as a suspected Communist. Few spies have FBI files, so Greene is in a...
Spy Culture - 2016-05-22 - Original post - cached version
Blazing Saddles is one of the greatest American spoofs of all time, satirising not just Westerns and the whole cowboy archetype but also the racism prevalent in much of Western society. It remains one of my favourite comedies, and possibly Mel Brooks' best film. While the film itself was not...
Spy Culture - 2016-05-19 - Original post - cached version
The Kentucky primary saw HR Clinton win by a slender margin, and one controversy has persisted - the matter of Bernie Sanders suddenly losing 5,000 votes. This has become a youtube video and a social media meme, based on video taken from rolling news coverage of the vote. This has been claimed...
Spy Culture - 2016-05-15 - Original post - cached version
United 93 was one of the first major films on the 9/11 attacks, and was praised for its in-depth research and docudrama realism. However, underneath the engrossing cinéma vérité style is a story of the US air defences that morning based almost entirely on the 9/11 Commission. This week we...
Spy Culture - 2016-05-13 - Original post - cached version
Sometimes the support of the DOD can improve a film. When the Pentagon provided Michael Bay with script notes and suggestions on Transformers III he 'was very receptive to our notes and expressed his desire for us to “help (him) make it better.”' However, Man of Steel was not so lucky. Whether...
Spy Culture - 2016-05-08 - Original post - cached version
Tricia Jenkins' The CIA in Hollywood was one of the books that inspired me to start this site, and the recently published second edition expands considerably on the original. Because the CIA is resistant to FOIA requests and other forms of inquiry, Jenkins amassed a wide range of open source...
Spy Culture - 2016-05-01 - Original post - cached version
Wild Things is a 1998 erotic thriller which is usually seen as a tacky, trashy sex movie set in the glossy upper class world of Blue Bay, Florida. This week we take a closer look at this film, examining its complex plot as a clue to what lies beneath the bikini-clad surface. We examine various...
Spy Culture - 2016-04-25 - Original post - cached version
I was recently invited onto one of my favourite podcasts - Themes and Memes - to discuss The X-Files season 10. We discussed how the new series goes overboard in trying to appeal to the conspiracy subculture and what this might mean.

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Spy Culture - 2016-04-25 - Original post - cached version
Chase Brandon was the CIA's first Entertainment Industry Liaison. From 1996 to early 2007 he was the CIA's man in Hollywood, working on a dozen major movies and numerous high-profile TV shows. In this episode we examine the background of the CIA in the entertainment industry and how they founded...
Spy Culture - 2016-04-20 - Original post - cached version
Have you ever wondered about the relationship between UFOs or aliens in movies and the real-life experiences of people who report contact or abduction or witnessing these things? Have you ever wondered whether the government is using UFO movies to influence people's perceptions of these fringe...
Spy Culture - 2016-04-17 - Original post - cached version
Phil Strub has been the Pentagon's Hollywood liaison since 1989, in which time the entertainment liaison offices have helped produce over 100 films. In this episode we take a closer look at Phil Strub, his background, how he came to be the DOD's Hollywood liaison and his curious habit of...
Spy Culture - 2016-04-10 - Original post - cached version
Disney are one of the world's largest movie studios and producers of entertainment. They have enjoyed this status for decades, recently acquiring both the Star Wars and Marvel franchises, among the most profitable in the cinema industry. The relationship between the corporation and government...
Spy Culture - 2016-04-08 - Original post - cached version
Since 2003 the US Customs and Border Protection agency has become part of the Department of Homeland Security. They have their own entertainment liaison office - the DHS Office of Public Affairs Multi-Media Division. While the DHS are not very forthcoming about the productions they have worked...
Spy Culture - 2016-04-05 - Original post - cached version
In June 1997 Hollywood screenwriter Gary Devore disappeared while driving home through the middle of the Mojave desert. Devore had connections to the Pentagon and CIA and was working on a screenplay that threatened to reveal devastating truths about the 1989 US invasion of Panama. His...
Spy Culture - 2016-04-04 - Original post - cached version
Tom Clancy's books are known for their technical accuracy, their political realism and their curious ability to foreshadow future events. In this episode we explore his government connections - to the FBI, CIA, Pentagon and the White House. We examine whether these connections are what enabled...
Spy Culture - 2016-04-01 - Original post - cached version
As is being widely reported in the media today, the CIA accidentally left explosives on a Virginia school bus for several days after a training exercise. During this time the bus continued its regular job of ferrying kids to and from school, all the while with 'explosive training material' in the...
Spy Culture - 2016-03-30 - Original post - cached version
Jack Valenti's career as head of the MPAA spanned nearly 40 years and saw the end of the production code and the establishment of the movie ratings system, the failure of the Vietnam War, the arrival of home cinema followed by the internet, and culminated in the post-9/11 propaganda push. New...
Spy Culture - 2016-03-28 - Original post - cached version
Tom Clancy was one of the most popular spy authors of all time, but was he a spy himself? What are the nature of his government connections? How were the film adaptations of his novels supported by the Pentagon and the CIA? What script changes were made by the DOD in exchange for their support...
Spy Culture - 2016-03-25 - Original post - cached version
Chase Brandon was the CIA's first entertainment liaison officer, working in the entertainment industry for over a decade from 1996 onwards. Brandon helped produce over a dozen major films and a similar number of TV shows and more than any other individual helped set up a permanent CIA network...
Spy Culture - 2016-03-23 - Original post - cached version
What connects the Black Panther Party, the Masonic Temple in San Francisco and Jack Valenti? The answer is the award-winning 1969 movie Z, about the assassination of the Greek leftist pacifist politician Grigoris Lambrakis and the military takeover of Greece's government. A copy of Z went missing...
Spy Culture - 2016-03-21 - Original post - cached version
Mockumentary is perhaps the best sub-genre of cinema, and conspiracy-themed mockumentaries even more so. In this episode we look at four films - The Conspiracy, The Last Broadcast, Trollhunter and Apollo 18 - and examine why conspiracy mockumentaries are so good. The blend of realistic...
Spy Culture - 2016-03-13 - Original post - cached version
The philosophy of Carl Schmitt asserts that for a state to be identifiable and legitimate it has to employ an enemy image - the perception of a threat from the Other. In this episode we explore whether this philosophy has been adopted by the Pentagon as part of their operations in the...
Spy Culture - 2016-03-12 - Original post - cached version
As many of you will remember, in early February a Hollywood film crew blew up a bus in central London. Because the bus explosion was so eerily reminiscent of the 7/7 London bombings and because I read about the Ministry of Defence, MI5 and MI6 being warned about the explosion ahead of time, I...
Spy Culture - 2016-03-08 - Original post - cached version
Jack Valenti was present at the JFK assassination and became a close aide to Lyndon Johnson before being made head of the Motion Picture Association of America. Valenti's lengthy FBI file - which I will be writing on in several parts - details his White House career, investigations into both his...
Spy Culture - 2016-03-01 - Original post - cached version
In the 1950s the CIA and CBS were very close and this relationship enabled the CIA to use CBS to influence the media landscape in the United States. This episode from 1956-57 shows the CIA stopped a TV show from being made, using CBS as a proxy to muscle a smaller studio out of the way and...
Spy Culture - 2016-02-29 - Original post - cached version
The X-Files new mini-season has been accused of being an admission of truth by the global elite, a type of predictive programming and an attack on conspiracy theorists. In this episode we explore the possibility that it promotes conspiracy theories and conspiracism as a way of thinking far more...
Spy Culture - 2016-02-23 - Original post - cached version
The finale to season 10 of The X-Files saw the welcome return of Tad O'Malley and the unwelcome return of all the baggage that goes with that. For anti-vaccination conspiracy theorists it is a huge affirmation of their worst nightmares and for most other people it was a tedious, over-written...
Spy Culture - 2016-02-19 - Original post - cached version
The latest X-Files episode - Babylon - sees both wings of the conspiracy culture united in one easy-to-digest dose. Both the emerging Neo-Nazi front that is widespread but particularly vicious within the conspiracy world and the lefty hippy crowd who want to take drugs and try to levitate the...
Spy Culture - 2016-02-12 - Original post - cached version
The X-Files took a hard right turn this week with a proper scare-you-witless episode. In sharp contrast to the comedy of the last instalment, Home Again is another monster of the week but this time with the emphasis on Monster. Despite this, some pointers for truthers and conspiracy theorists...
Spy Culture - 2016-02-11 - Original post - cached version
This short episode is an update on my recent Freedom of Information fun. I talk about my successful and not so successful requests to the Pentagon and my ongoing struggle with the Foreign Office to reveal further details of their involvement in the entertainment industry. Finally I outline my...
Spy Culture - 2016-02-06 - Original post - cached version
The third episode of the new X-Files - Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster - is a comic departure from the storyline laid down in the opening two instalments. It also offers sympathy and encouragement to the conspiracy theorists who are no doubt watching the show.

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Spy Culture - 2016-02-01 - Original post - cached version
Ed Opperman invited me back onto his show to discuss the Pentagon's involvement in Hollywood and the rest of the entertainment industry. We talked about my FOIA successes of recent months and what they reveal about the scale of the DOD's involvement in the industry. The aggressive nature of the...


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