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Spy Culture

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...
Spy Culture - 2016-01-31 - Original post - cached version
Recent stories focusing on the 'migrant crisis' and 'the Cologne attacks' - among other incidents - are provoking racial and religious tensions in Europe. In this episode I look at the simple-minded dialogue around these trends and events, identifying the Russian state as playing a critical role...
Spy Culture - 2016-01-26 - Original post - cached version
The internet is awash with talk of the new mini-season of The X-Files. As predicted, conspiracy theorists have been particular susceptible to the charms of the reborn UFO extravanganza, searching for clues and meaning in every line and frame of the show. Having now watched the opening two...
Spy Culture - 2016-01-13 - Original post - cached version
This week a little over 1 million people will die. Only one of them was David Bowie. In this episode I look at celebrity worship and the manufactured grief that results when a famous person dies. Why do people want to become celebrities? Why do people worship them? Why do so many celebrities...
Spy Culture - 2016-01-11 - Original post - cached version
I recently had the pleasure of previewing The Secret Garden - an independently made spy thriller. The film is inspired by the short story The Garden of Forking Paths by Jorge Luis Borges, but transplants the themes and existential quandaries of that story into a CIA Cold War setting. While some...
Spy Culture - 2016-01-09 - Original post - cached version
Comic-Con has been a useful (and fun) hunting ground for the Pentagon's entertainment liaison offices for years, but NASA have recently jumped on the bandwagon. The combination of nerds and sci-fi fanatics has proven too alluring to ignore and so one of the world's biggest scientific institutions...
Spy Culture - 2016-01-03 - Original post - cached version
Tom Clancy was one of the best selling spy authors of all time, known not only for his technical accuracy - gleaned through extensive government contacts - but also for an uncanny ability to predict the future. Part of his FBI file was released in 2014 but in recent weeks another section has been...
Spy Culture - 2015-12-31 - Original post - cached version
2015 was an important year in government-assisted entertainment. Several major franchises - the Marvel Cinematic Universe, James Bond, Terminator, Fast and Furious, Mission: Impossible - released their latest films. All of these enjoyed the involvement of government agents and agencies. In this...
Spy Culture - 2015-12-29 - Original post - cached version
Following up on the last episode this week we look at 'the Hegelian dialectic'. What is the difference between Hegelian and Marxist dialectics? Does either explain the driving force behind history? Do conspiracy theorists say Hegelian when they really mean Marxist? And does the conspiratorial...
Spy Culture - 2015-12-28 - Original post - cached version
Kingsman is perhaps the most intriguing film of the year - on the face of it a cartoonish action comedy set in the world of gentlemen spies, but underneath it is an ultra-violent, racist, eugenicist film of dubious sexual virtue. No government agencies were listed in the credits for the film but...
Spy Culture - 2015-12-27 - Original post - cached version
Marxism usually gets a bad rap in the Truth Movement, but the two share a lot of key ideas. This week I explore the schizoid relationship the Truth Movement (or sections of it) have with Marxism, looking at how the notion of 'waking up' functions in much the same way as 'class consciousness', how...
Spy Culture - 2015-12-23 - Original post - cached version
This review of the finale of Homeland discusses not just the final episode but the entire season. We reflect on what is new and different about this fifth season, from the religious dimensions being crow-barred into the show to the use of Russians as the enemy image and hackers as second-level...
Spy Culture - 2015-12-20 - Original post - cached version
On this penultimate episode of our Homeland series Tom and I begin by venting about our hatred of Alison. Next we move onto the shows continual use of women as negative characters. We discuss the similarities between Alison and real life Russian spy Anna Chapman. We look at the parallels...
Spy Culture - 2015-12-17 - Original post - cached version
Just like most major government agencies, NASA has been involved in the entertainment industry for decades. For 2001: A Space Odyssey Stanley Kubrick hired several technical advisors including Frederick Ordway III, NASA astronaut Donald Slayton and the senior administrator of the Apollo project...
Spy Culture - 2015-12-11 - Original post - cached version
Jacob Appelbaum is a journalist, hacker and a major developer on the TOR project. However, he neglects to mention the origins of TOR (the Office of Naval Research) or the Pentagon's role in funding its development. In this episode I reflect on whether Appelbaum should be taken seriously as an...
Spy Culture - 2015-12-11 - Original post - cached version
This much more dramatic episode of Homeland was the basis for a fun review discussion this week, touching on the hints towards the deep state, the portrayal of the Laura Poitras character, the implausibility of the CIA's handling of the Russian double agent problem and Pearse's hatred of Allison...
Spy Culture - 2015-12-06 - Original post - cached version
On this episode of our Homeland series Tom and I spent the first half of the episode dissecting the falsehoods that this particular episode as put forth in terms of the legality of spying. Suddenly aware of the rule of law and constitutional rights we see all the major characters in this episode...
Spy Culture - 2015-12-06 - Original post - cached version
The world's biggest films now regularly take over a billion dollars in revenue, and the world's biggest film franchises are multi-billion dollar businesses. What has never been reported before is that 6 of the top 10 (and 14 of the top 25) highest-grossing film franchises have been supported by...
Spy Culture - 2015-12-03 - Original post - cached version
ISIS are a terrifying, devastating Sunni militia that emerged out of the Iraqi insurgency and the anti-Assad jihad … except they aren't particularly religious! And their origin story makes no sense. And militarily speaking they are a joke who could be wiped out within weeks if NATO wanted that. In...
Spy Culture - 2015-12-03 - Original post - cached version
Today Tom and I spoke to the now world famous “Homeland Hackers.” Heba Amin, Don Karl, and Caram Kapp sat down with us to discuss how they got the opportunity to work on the show and how they subverted it by filling the set with Arabic graffiti saying, among other things, “Homeland is racist” “...
Spy Culture - 2015-11-28 - Original post - cached version
The Power of Nightmares was possibly the last great documentary series produced by the BBC. A decade after it was first broadcast I look back at the series, offering a brief review before using this as a basis for analyzing recent events. I discuss the criticism of the filmmaker Adam Curtis for...
Spy Culture - 2015-11-27 - Original post - cached version
Today I am joined by good friend Adam of Themes & Memes to discuss the movie Kingsman. This is an action comedy set in the world of gentleman spies but beneath that exterior there is ultra-violence, a range of elitist, eugenicist philosophies, a rather sickening approach to sex, love and...
Spy Culture - 2015-11-25 - Original post - cached version
The traditional model of the DOD's ELOs says that they simply wait for requests from the entertainment industry for production assistance and then review the script and decide whether or not to help. The process is reactive in nature - the DOD are supposed to wait for the entertainment industry to...
Spy Culture - 2015-11-24 - Original post - cached version
This was not the most interesting instalment of Homeland so Pearse and I talked about topics related to the episode including the history of Kosovo and NATO's use of jihadis in the entire Balkans region, the arrest this week of a mysterious unnamed Montenegrin arms trafficker on his way to Paris,...
Spy Culture - 2015-11-18 - Original post - cached version
Completing what has been a record-breaking year for FOIA releases from the Entertainment Liaison Offices of the US Department of Defense, the US Marine Corps recently sent me 1669 pages of reports covering the last 7 years of their activities in the entertainment industry. The documents reveal a...
Spy Culture - 2015-11-18 - Original post - cached version
On this episode of our Homeland review series,Tom and I try to decipher this puzzle-piece of an episode. In contrast to last week’s fairly simple episode, this week’s was complex and intriguing. We explore the character of Alison and her trajectory from CIA station chief to Russian double agent....
Spy Culture - 2015-11-15 - Original post - cached version
The Friday the 13th massacre in Paris was the worst attack in Western Europe since Madrid in 2004, leaving well over a hundred people dead. Responsibility has been claimed by the Islamic State and French leader François Hollande has promised 'merciless' retribution. In this episode I look at the...
Spy Culture - 2015-11-13 - Original post - cached version
Remember what the world used to be like - before 2013 - when all our electronic communications were being scooped up by intelligence agencies and stored in massive data silos? Well now, thanks to Edward Snowden.... well, what? This week we welcome back to the programme writer, researcher and fim-...
Spy Culture - 2015-11-12 - Original post - cached version
Today Pearse and I discuss the latest 6th episode of Homeland, 'Parabiosis' which saw the return of the classic spies vs jihadis type of storyline. We looked at the two halves of the story - Quinn holed up in a refugee hostel/terrorist halfway house and ultimately him killing the Reel Bad Arab...
Spy Culture - 2015-11-05 - Original post - cached version
In the latest of our Homeland reviews, Tom and I tackle the latest episode, ¨Better Call Saul.” In true form to this season, the fifth episode completely resets the original storyline and refocuses our attention to the evil Russians. Tom and I discuss this development and how it plays out in the...
Spy Culture - 2015-11-03 - Original post - cached version
In the wake of the scandal over the CIA giving classified information to the makers of Zero Dark Thirty the Agency's Office of the Inspector General carried out an audit into their involvement in the entertainment industry. The report heavily criticises the CIA's entertainment liaison office for...
Spy Culture - 2015-10-29 - Original post - cached version
In this conversation Pearse and I took a few detours and rambled all over the place, but mostly talked about the concept of hyperreality - the condition of a consciousness that cannot distinguish between the real and the simulated. We show how Homeland does this but also consider the question of...
Spy Culture - 2015-10-23 - Original post - cached version
This week we begin by exploring Homeland’s blatant sexism and misogny. We focus first on Carrie and her characters return to bi-polar nymphomaniac, and how the show has routinely made Carrie into an awful female character that we all hate. Tom and I discuss our theories for why the producers have...
Spy Culture - 2015-10-21 - Original post - cached version
Watergate is the quintessential conspiracy, one that went all the way to the White House and took down a presidency. But was it a consequence of J Edgar Hoover's death and the FBI's succession crisis? Was it the result of a CIA conspiracy, a soft power coup against the Nixon White House? In this...
Spy Culture - 2015-10-15 - Original post - cached version
Continuing our review series of the 5th season of Homeland Pearse joined me to discuss the second episode. We dwelt on the coinciding of real news events and storylines and dialogue in Homeland, asking how the show manages to pull this off so consistently. This episode establishes that former...
Spy Culture - 2015-10-14 - Original post - cached version
In 1971 DOD analyst and RAND Corporation employee Daniel Ellsberg leaked The Pentagon Papers - the DOD's Top Secret history of the Vietnam War. This is one of the biggest and most famous leaks in history, but there remain huge questions about why this happened. Was Ellsberg a genuine whistleblower...
Spy Culture - 2015-10-08 - Original post - cached version
For this new fifth season of Homeland Pearse and I are doing an episode-by-episode review to see if a more in-depth study of the show proves interesting and fun. From the first episode of season five of Homeland it appears that, like season four, this is a departure from the established Homeland...
Spy Culture - 2015-10-07 - Original post - cached version
Former CIA officer and NSA contractor Edward Snowden has recently joined Twitter. While this is hardly headline news the story has gone around the world, reported on by dozens of major media outlets. A follow-up story, that Snowden accidentally received 47 gigabytes of emails as a result of...
Spy Culture - 2015-10-04 - Original post - cached version
From Breaking Bad to Hell on Wheels, House of Cards to Fargo, psychopathic characters are becoming the mainstays of modern TV. In this episode I offer my opinions on all four of these shows, focusing on Fargo as an example of an antidote to the glorifying of psychopaths in pop culture. I also...
Spy Culture - 2015-09-30 - Original post - cached version
Deep state intellectual Zbigniew Brzezinski turns up everywhere but he is perhaps most known for his role in the founding of Operation Cyclone - NATO's program to support the mujahideen in Afghanistan to fight the Soviets. The media coverage, both mainstream and alternative, has focused on...
Spy Culture - 2015-09-23 - Original post - cached version
From Jeremy Corbyn failing to sing the national anthem to the Prime Minister fucking a dead pig, it has been a fortnight to forget in British politics. In this episode I offer my reflections on the current state of affairs, in particular analysing the media campaign against Corbyn, the new leader...
Spy Culture - 2015-09-23 - Original post - cached version
David Shayler is possibly the most famous security service whistleblower in British history. He has also claimed to be the Messiah. In this episode I delve into Shayler's story and his influence on the 9/11 and 7/7 truth movements, where he has always advocated the most lunatic, tabloid versions...

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