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US Military Continue their Degradation of Superman

The new Superman is now a Navy SEAL.  No, you didn't misread that - the affable journalist Clarke Kent is being erased from history in favour of making the world's most famous superhero an advert for naval special forces.  "Superman: Year One" went on sale this week as part of DC'

‘The Army’s Newest Weapon: Death by Cringe’ – US Army Posts Hip Hop Track on Youtube

A week ago the US Army posted a youtube video of the Army Field Band's new hip-hop track 'Won't Be Defeated'.  At the time of writing its likes-dislikes ratio is 625 to 593, and the comments section is littered with mocking and ironic comments.  As a P

‘Awards Shows + Mental Health/PTSD Issues + DOD Endorsement Scares Me’ – The Pentagon and the PRISM Awards

The PRISM Awards are an entertainment industry ceremony that gives out gongs for accurate depictions of substance abuse and mental health problems in films and TV shows.  In 2012 the Pentagon were asked to attend and p

The DEA and Breaking Bad: Why Hank Never Tapped Jesse’s Phone

Despite its enormous popularity there are many problems with Breaking Bad - the utterly racist depiction of Mexicans, the glorifying of a sociopathic protagonist and that incredibly boring and pointless fifth season come to mind.  But what has never been discussed before is how the show functions as propaganda for the Dr

The Rebooted Designated Survivor: Sponsored by the CIA?

The soft reboot of the political drama Designated Survivor recently dropped on Netflix and in spite of Kiefer Sutherland making the least convincing president since Sarah Palin it is a considerable improvement on the first two seasons.

ClandesTime 183 – Fields of Fire

Fields of Fire is one of the greatest movies that was never made. A brutal but sympathetic portrait of the Vietnam War, it was denied military support despite being written by a former Secretary of the Navy. This week I examine the story of Fields of Fire using a file from the DOD’s entertainment liaison office.

‘Fuck John Wayne’ – Why the DOD Prevented the movie Fields of Fire from Being Made

When James Webb approached the Pentagon to ask for assistance making his Vietnam war drama Fields of Fire he had every right to expect their support.  A former Marine and short-term Secretary of the Navy he was a military veteran who had written his novel based on his own real-life experiences of V

Spy Culture Certified by American Journal of Economics and Sociology

Today I received an email that I thought I would share with you, from the publishers of the American Journal of Economics and Sociology.  It said that the two articles I penned for the journal were among the top 20 most-downloaded arti

How the DOD’s Entertainment Liaison Office Protects the Entire US Government

The DOD's directive on working with Hollywood says that they can provide production assistance if it is deemed 'in the best interest of the Nation', but as with all their criteria for deciding whether to give support the

Black Hawk Down, the LA Riots and Clear and Present Danger

When the producers of Clear and Present Danger approached the Pentagon to ask for military support they probably weren't expecting 6 months of script negotiations to get their film into a shape deemed acceptable by the entertainment liaison offices

The FBI and DEA Spy on Hollywood Producers

The relationship between intelligence agencies and the entertainment industry is complex and multi-faceted.  Angles include the influence of the agencies on their own public image, the influence of entertainment on the agencies, and intelligence-gathering by those agencies on the culture industry.

Q-Force, or How Queers Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Fascism

Netflix recently ordered a 10-episode first series of Q-Force, the world's first animated LGBTQ spy series.  Pitched as a 'gay James Bond' the cartoon will undoubtedly contain the usual PR for the security state, wrapped up in a rainbow flag.  No doubt

The DEA and the Entertainment Industry: Spying, Censorship and Control

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently released nearly 200 pages of contracts between themselves and entertainment producers, which for the first time shed light on how they interact with Hollywood.

Top Secret CIA Emails on Osama bin Laden ‘Devil Doll’

In 2014 the Washington Post's Adam Goldman published a story about the CIA producing dolls of Osama bin Laden as part of an influence operation designed to diminish the former Al Qaeda's leader's popularity in the Middle East.  The dolls would be made so the paint on the eyes would easily rub off, revealing 'devil eyes' underneath.

‘A Complete Rewrite of the Storyline Would be Required’ – DOD File on The Presidio

1988's The Presidio wanted to film at the real Presidio in San Francisco, an Army installation.  As per usual this required a full military script review, but the DOD responded demanding a 'complete rewrite' before they would approve access to

The Latest in Recruitment Propaganda: US Air Force teams up with MMA

The US military's ever-expanding portfolio of recruitment efforts just broke new ground: the Professional Fighters League.  This mixed martial arts league is watched the world over and a recent event in Nassau was sponsored by Air Force Special Ops and the Air Force Reserve Command.  It

ClandesTime 180 – The Politics of Monster Movies

Monster movies are one of the most beloved and distinctive genres in cinema, featuring a winning combination of exotic spectacle, ground-breaking visual effects and reflections on humanity’s relationship with nature.

‘The Script was Entertaining but very Sophmorish’ – FBI Deputy Director on The X-Files

In 1998 retired FBI deputy director Cartha DeLoach was asked by the producers of The X-Files to review the script for an episode of the show that was set in the 1950s.  The FBI recently released DeLoach's response to the producers, where he branded t

Forrest Gump – Tom Secker on Fortress on a Hill

Chris and Danny invited me back onto their podcast to discuss the 1994 comedy-drama Forrest Gump.  We talked about the original book by Winston Groom as well as McNamara's 100,000 - a project to recruit troops into the US Army who would normally have fallen below the required standards.  We ho

Why Did the Pentagon Support Godzilla and Transformers, but Rejected Jarhead?

The 2005 biographical war film Jarhead is one of a very small number of films set in the first Gulf War.  Despite being based on the autobiography of a Marine who served in Desert Storm the DOD refused to provide it with military support. 

ClandesTime 179 – The Philosophy and Politics of Superman

Superman is one of the world’s most recognisable cultural icons. A symbol of human idealism, he has been subject to a range of political and philosophical agendas over the last 80 years.

How the Pentagon Rewrote Man of Steel

The Superman reboot Man of Steel launched the (now abandoned) DC Extended Universe, and put a much darker tinge on the Superman franchise than any previous incarnation, especially the Christopher Reeve classics.  Man of Steel benefited from large-scale support from the military, but hidden until now are the d

The Pentagon, Superman and the Freedom of Information Act

In 1977 the producers of Superman and Superman II approached the Pentagon to try to obtain stock footage of missiles launching, for use in depicting Lex Luthor's dastardly plot to nuke the San Andreas fault.  The Air Force and Strategic Air Command were provided

ClandesTime 178 – Black Panther vs Django Unchained

Black Panther and Django Unchained are perhaps the two most successful movies featuring black actors in lead roles that Hollywood has ever made. But are they as radical as they seem?

Watergate, the Mark Felt Biopic and the FBI

In my latest article for Shadowproof I examine the FBI's role in the Mark Felt biopic Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House.  Using documents obtained under FOIA and an interview with Ed Gray, the son of FBI acting director Pat Gray (who is depicted in Mark Felt) I

Just When I Thought I Couldn’t Hate Game of Thrones Any More…

There are many reasons to dislike Game of Thrones - the endless hype, the gratuitous sex and violence in lieu of a meaningful plot, the experience of having to listen to fans of the show blather on long after you've told them you don't watch the show and aren't interested

Don’t Shoot the Looters – Military Script Notes on Deep Impact

Deep Impact is one of a pair of twin films released in 1998 that were based around a giant meteor colliding with earth. The film and its twin, the more successful Armageddon, were both supported by NASA and the Department of Defense.

The Pentagon Worked on Every Major Military Movie for Over a Decade After WW2

The post-WW2 period was the zenith for military and war movies - over 200 were made in the 1950s, and the same in the 1960s.  According to an entry in the DOD's Hollywood database they provided support to every major military movie f

Veteran of Sadr City Ambush Exposes The Long Road Home as Shameful Propaganda

One of the veterans of the ambush in Sadr City in April 2004 has revealed that National Geographic's film The Long Road Home is a shameful piece of propaganda that butchers history and ignored offers of h

Pentagon Contracts Show US Army Subsidized Production Of National Geographic’s ‘Long Road Home’

Production assistance agreements released by the Defense Department show the United States military used taxpayer money to subsidize part of the production of the National Geographic series, “The Long Road H

Keanu Reeves Trains With Former SEAL/CIA Contractor for John Wick III

In what appears to be little more than a promo for the third John Wick film, a recently-released video shows star Keanu Reeves being trained by former Navy SEAL and CIA contractor Shawn Ryan.  A veteran of the war on terror, the video shows Ryan teach

How the Hell is Project Blue Book so Boring?

UFOs.  Probable extraterrestrials.  Investigation and revelation.  Nazi scientists.  A military cover-up.  With all these elements in place the History Channel's Project Blue Book should be an exciting, unpredictable replacement for The X-Files.  Instead it is a dull-as-dishwater procedural th

ClandesTime 176 – What Vice Doesn’t Tell You about Dick Cheney

Vice has won awards along with praise from audiences and critics alike, but how well does it inform its audience about Dick Cheney? This week I take a look at the important material that Vice overlooked, or didn’t know about.

‘Without any assistance from the military, then naturally, anything can happen’ – DOD File on Ice Station Zebra

The production of Ice Station Zebra is a great case study in just how much influence the Pentagon can have over a movie script.  The initial script - by multi-Oscar winning writer Paddy Chayefsky - was rej