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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.

ClandesTime 166 – An Alternative History of Al Qaeda: Aimen Dean

Aimen Dean, born Ali Al-Duranni, was MI6’s spy inside Al Qaeda from 1998 to 2006. In this episode I do a critical view of his autobiography Nine Lives: My Time as MI6’s Top Spy Inside Al Qaeda, and how Dean’s story connects to other people and events explored in this series.

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 165 – Military Meta-Propaganda

Since the publication of National Security Cinema last summer, we have seen an uptick in the media coverage of the Pentagon in Hollywood, much of it originating with the Pentagon itself. This week I take a look at the PR efforts the DOD has embarked upon, about its own PR efforts in Hollywood.

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.

Why a Transgender James Bond Completely Misses the Point

After actor Dominic West suggested that the next James Bond be transgender the commentariat have gone batshit arguing over whether this is a key moment in the struggle for trans rights or another sign that the entertainment industry is dominated by damn commie libe

The Wire Season 4 Review (Preview)

In this penultimate review episode I look at how the education system is a poor place to learn anything, how standardised testing is a form of child abuse, the fundamental problems of electoral politics, and expand on why an intelligence-based approach to societal problems is always better than a military-based ap

Why Does the Pentagon ████ing Hate Swearing in Movies?

One of the Pentagon's consistent bugbears when it comes to movie scripts is swearing. Whether it is from the mouths of military or civilian characters, the DOD doesn't like those ████ing cuss words. But why not?

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.

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

Phil Strub Retired 6 Months Ago and No One Reported It

In July the Pentagon's Hollywood liaison Philip Strub retired after 29 years in the job. Mysteriously, this was not reported by any media outlet, small or large, mainstream or independent.

The Pentagon’s China Syndrome

While some senior military officials have spoken openly about the possibility of a war between the US and China, the entertainment liaison offices appear to be working to ensure that doesn't happen.

ClandesTime 163 – Nazis in Hollywood

Nazis make the perfect Hollywood villains – instantly recognisable, obviously deplorable and easy to recreate. So why were there no anti-Nazi films until 1939, on the eve of World War 2?

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.

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.

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.

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

The US Navy say they have 20,000 Pages of Documents on Top Gun 2

I recently filed a FOIA request for documents on Top Gun 2. Going through the entertainment liaison office reports it is clear that - just as on the original film - the Navy are taking the lead on military support.

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.