Cold War

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.

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

ClandesTime 181 – The Cinema of Iran-Contra

Iran-Contra is in many ways the definitive government conspiracy – involving guns, drugs, anti-communism and black operations, it went all the way to the White House.

‘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

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

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

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

The CIA, the National Reconnaissance Office and Ice Station Zebra

The 1968 spy and counterspy classic Ice Station Zebra was inspired by a real life event during the CIA/Air Force Corona spy satellite program.  In April 1959 the satellite Discoverer 2 became the first to send a recovery capsule containing satellite surv

ClandesTime 172 – An Alternative History of Al Qaeda: Charlie Wilson’s War

George Crile’s book Charlie Wilson’s War is the most in-depth account of the CIA’s support to the Afghan mujahideen, based on countless interviews with inside sources.

How Many Movies has the Pentagon Prevented from Being Made?

The Pentagon's censorship of movie scripts is fairly well established - I have documented numerous instances on this site. But their ultimate power is the ability to kill a production, to prevent a film being made.

Was the Integrity Initiative behind the Salisbury Poisoning?

Newly-released documents on the Institute for Statecraft's Integrity Initiative suggest that they had a hand in the Salisbury poisoning fiasco that dominated the British press last summer.

ClandesTime Special – The Royal Family, Brexit and Union Jackboot

This week, I welcome Matt Alford to the show to talk about the media manipulation of the image of the British Royal Family, and how it relates to British foreign policy, including Brexit.

How the Pentagon Helped Hollywood Launder the Nazis’ Reputation

Four years ago, scholar Ben Urwand revealed how the Nazis' man in Hollywood Georg Gyssling censored and rewrote film scripts to remove scenes and dialogue that criticised the Nazi regime.

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.

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.

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.

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.

ClandesTime 158 – Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan

The new Amazon series Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan is the first TV show to film at CIA headquarters for several years, in keeping with the Agency’s long-time support for adaptations of Clancy’s work.

War Machine vs Charlie Wilson’s War – Tom Secker on Around the Empire

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.

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

ClandesTime 150 – The Weather Underground - Spy Culture

The Weather Underground were the most active and successful militant left-wing group in US history. As part of their anti-Vietnam war operations they bombed the Pentagon, the State Department, corporate headquarters and other high-profile targets.

How the FBI Rewrote Weather Underground Movie The Company You Keep - Spy Culture

The Weather Underground were the most successful Leftist militant group in history, a radical offshoot of the SDS and the anti-Vietnam War movement.  As a result, Hollywood has almost no interest in telling stories about them and the only recent

How the FBI rewrote Alfred Hitchcock Presents - Spy Culture

Alfred Hitchcock virtually invented the spy movie genre, and made a career making films about murder, intrigue, cover-ups, suspense and spies.  He suspected that he was under FBI surveillance during the production of Notorious, but the release file only covers a later period.  Rather than be

Maximum Stupidity: The Novichok Extradition - Spy Culture

In a low-key announcement the British government have demanded that Russia extradite two suspects in the Salisbury novichok attack. Media reporting on this latest move in the novichok saga is replete with the same contradictions and absurdities that have plagued this story since day one.

Analyzing the New JFK Revelations

Bill Simpich is a civil rights attorney in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is on the board of directors of the Mary Ferrell Foundation, an organization focused on the study of documents related to the 1960s assassinations, Watergate, and Iran-Contra.In the following essay, he offers a look at some of the gems found in the new JFK document releases and how to speed up the discovery of future finds.

Novichok being Rebooted More Often than Spiderman - Spy Culture

As the Amesbury poisoning drama enters its third act we have been given an entirely new set of claims regarding Novichok, which directly contradict the previous claims.

ClandesTime 145 – Conspiracy Theories: John Paisley - Spy Culture

John Paisley was a senior CIA officer who worked on Team B, was the Agency&;s liaison to the Watergate burglars, and according to some was a Soviet double agent.