politics

Is the GOP Trying to Gaslight Americans on Voter Fraud?

Being afraid of huge numbers of noncitizens voting in US elections is a bit like worrying about a zombie invasion. It sounds like a major problem in theory but it’s not something to be overly concerned about in real life.

The Long Road Home – Tom Secker on Fortress on a Hill

I recently joined Henri of Fortress on a Hill to discuss the National Geographic drama series The Long Road Home, in light of the over 400 pages of documents that I obtained detailing the US Army's support for the show.

Shocker: ‘Washington Post’ Publishes Nuanced Article About RFK Assassination

Saturday was a turning point in American history. For perhaps the first time ever, one of the biggest legacy news organizations published a fair, fact-based article about a political assassination without dismissing, out of hand, any evidence of conspiracy.

Philly Ignores Cybersecurity and Disability Access in Voting System Selection

Philadelphia is about to replace its aging voting equipment. This would be good news, except that the city’s election commission has omitted cybersecurity and disability access as relevant considerations in its to prospective vendors.

The Neocon Playbook Is a Recipe for Disaster in Venezuela

When Donald Trump promised that he would only hire the “best people,” maybe he should have been pressed on what, exactly, they would be good at. Because it’s clearly not running the US government. Over the past two years, it has become clear that liars, grifters, conmen, opportunists, and crooks seem to be drawn to the president like flies to … well, you know. Now, however, a situation is arising for which one of Trump’s “best people” seems ideally suited for forcing regime change somewhere in the Americas.

Public Still at Risk as Shutdown Impact Reverberates

As the nation braces for another shutdown standoff on Friday, workers and consumers are still suffering in unexpected ways from the 35-day partial government closure that ended last month.

ClandesTime 167 – Phil Strub’s Greatest Hits

I recently found out that Strub retired from his job as the DOD’s Hollywood liaison last July, though this wasn’t covered by any news outlets and the DOD didn’t bother to tell anyone.

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.

Fake News, Trump and the Freedom of Information Act

A story doing the rounds claims that the Trump administration is taking advantage of the government shut-down to change the rules by which the Department of the Interior processes and responds to FOIA requests.

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.

When Thatcher Exploited the England Football Team

The 1990 World Cup was considered a big success for the England football team, as getting to the semi-finals was the greatest progress in a tournament since winning the trophy in 1966.

ClandesTime 164 – China’s Influence in Hollywood

China is without doubt a major player in Hollywood. Both private investment and state regulations and censorship have played a significant role in the American movie business in recent years.

How Does Cinema War Propaganda Really Work?

In our latest article, Matt and I reflect on two of the most common claims made about National Security Cinema, namely 1) That the government is really important in making movies more militaristic and 2) That Hollywood doesn’t produce dissenting films.

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.

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?

The Wire Season 3 Review (Preview)

In part 3 of this subcriber-only review series I look at season three of The Wire. In this season the Barksdale storyline comes to a climax, while the city hall politics are added into the ever-expanding world of the show.

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.

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.

ClandesTime 159 – The Founder

The Founder is a 2016 biopic of Ray Kroc, the man who created McDonald’s. Or did he? In this episode I examine this ambiguous film, one of the best examples of cultural capitalism to come out of Hollywood in recent years.

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.

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.

ClandesTime 154 – Hollywood Goes to Space Command - Spy Culture

As part of their outreach efforts the Air Force's entertainment liaison office has started running annual tours for dozens of Hollywood bigshots. Recently released documents detail last year's tour to US Space Command.

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

‘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&

Map to the Stars: Hollywood Insiders Tour US Space Command - Spy Culture

The US Space Force took one step closer to becoming a hyperreality when nearly 40 major Hollywood players went on an 'Industry Leader Tour' of US Space Command.