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On Her Majesty’s Clandestime Service – Tom Secker on Fortress on a Hill

Chris and Danny from Fortress on a Hill invited me onto their podcast to discuss militarism in Hollywood, the DOD's role in altering scripts, how recruitment propaganda works in the UK, the military vs intelligence approaches to cou

Why Does the US Army have a Collection of Nazi Art?

The latest release from the US Army's entertainment liaison office provokes many questions. Why did they refuse to support the movie Rampage? Why are the military pitching ideas to studio executives? Who is in charge of the Pentagon's operations in Hollywood?

ClandesTime 162 – The Spook Who Sat by the Door

The Spook Who Sat by the Door tells the story of the first African-American to be recruited by the CIA. After becoming disillusioned with the Agency he quits and sets up a black power guerilla army that wages urban war across the United States.

After Claiming They Couldn’t Find It, FBI Release Sam Greenlee File That’s More Redacted than National Archives Version

The FBI got back to me recently with a response to my request on The Spook Who Sat by the Door, including a few pages from Sam Greenlee's FBI file, which they'd previously claimed they could not find.

Review – War School: The Battle for Britain’s Children

It isn't often that I see a film that angers and educates me in equal measure. War School: The Battle for Britain's Children is a new documentary exploring the growing peace movement in the UK, and the militarisation of British schools for propaganda and recruitment purposes.

ClandesTime 160 – Why Doesn’t Hollywood Make War Films Any More?

Hollywood doesn’t make war films any more. This isn’t entirely true, but compared to the post-WW2 period there are a lot less war films being made today.

Top Gun ‘Rehabilitated the Military’s Image’ After Vietnam, According to the Pentagon

The late Cold War classic Top Gun is one of the most well-liked military movies of all time. It's combination of romance, comedy and never-seen-before aerial action was made possible by extensive support from the DOD, particularly the US Navy.

How the Vietnam War changed the Pentagon’s Entertainment Liaison Offices and Helped Kill the War Movie

The Vietnam war had a huge impact.  3 million dead Vietnamese, tens of thousands of dead Americans, and millions more on both sides suffering from trauma, depression and drug and alcohol addiction.  It also ha

FBI Say They Cannot Find Their File on Radical Author Sam Greenlee

Sam Greenlee is perhaps most famous for writing the novel The Spook Who Sat By the Door, which was adapted into a film in the 1970s.  Greenlee believed that the CIA and FBI suppressed the film because it portrayed them in such a bad light, and promoted b

Does the CIA use Hollywood Movies as Training Films?

In September 1977 the renowned Hollywood gossip columnist Rona Barrett appeared on Good Morning America to talk about spy films. Sat alongside her was CIA director Stansfield Turner, who commented that Hollywood movies would make poor training films for CIA spies.

The ’24 Mentality’: The CIA, Torture and the ‘Ticking Bomb’ Scenario

Just as politicians start to believe their own speeches, intelligence agencies start to believe their own propaganda. Nowhere is this clearer than in the CIA's black stite torture program initiated in the wake of 9/11.

How Product Placement Serves the Military-Industrial Complex

Wings (1927) was one of the first Hollywood films to benefit from full military support, was the first film to include sound effects on a film reel alongside the in-theater orchestra, and was the first film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.

War Machine vs Charlie Wilson’s War – Tom Secker on Around the Empire (Part 2)

Joanne invited me on the Around the Empire podcast to do a ‘high level compare and contrast’ of two war comedy films set in different wars in Afghanistan: Charlie Wilson’s War and War Machine.

What does the CIA’s Office of Public Affairs Actually Do?

The CIA's Office of Public Affairs is - ironically - very tight-lipped about what they actually do, so I was pleased that they recently responded to a 3 year old FOIA request and provided me with a document summarising their activities from 2014 to 2016.

How the Pentagon Rewrote Pitch Perfect 3 - Spy Culture

Pitch Perfect 3 appears on the surface to be a family-friendly piece of lighthearted, forgettable entertainment. But beneath that surface lies a carefully-crafted piece of military PR, aimed at recruiting people the DOD usually finds it hard to attract.

Change ‘One Male and One Female’ to ‘Two Male’ – Pentagon Production Notes for Transformers 3 - Spy Culture

Going back through some documents released by the Army on the Transformers films I noticed that some of the notes weren't script notes from pre-production, but were production notes from while Transformers: Dark of the Moon was filming.

After Denying They Have Contracts with Hollywood, the US Navy Release Over 500 Pages of Them - Spy Culture

Two and a half  years ago I asked the US Navy for various documents relating to their work with the entertainment industry, including the Production Assistance Agreements they sign with Hollywood pr

Swiss Lab Spy Games Support the Theory that Novichok WASN’T Used in Salisbury - Spy Culture

The last 24 hours of the Novichok saga has seen a new twist — European media are widely reporting that two Russian spies were caught attempting to either hack or break into the Spiez laboratory in Switzerland that was e

CIA: Where Are Our Passes to Disney’s Magic Kingdom Club? - Spy Culture

The story of the relationship between Disney and the various branches and agencies of the US government is long and complex.  A recently uncovered memo adds one more episode to the relationship between Disney and the CIA, and revolves around a question that was critical for national security: How would

‘ollywood Propaganda – New edition of Reel Power in French - Spy Culture

Reel Power broke the mould for books covering the role of Hollywood in promoting militarism, war and the political status quo.  It took the Chomsky/Herman propaganda model and adapted it to film and TV, showing how Hollywood&