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ClandesTime 197 – The Spycops Scandal

For decades undercover British intelligence officers have infiltrated almost every notable political movement in the UK. In this episode I talk to Kit Klarenberg, an investigative journalist who has written extensively about this topic.

US Coast Guard’s Hollywood Office Takes 3 YEARS to Release 20 Pages of Documents

In March 2016 I put in a FOIA request with the US Coast Guard.  Several appeals, a lot of ignored emails and well over three years later they finally released just 20 pages of documents on the activities of their entertai

ClandesTime 196 – The Final Countdown

The Final Countdown is a classic of good bad cinema, featuring an aircraft carrier that goes through a wormhole and goes back in time to the day before Pearl Harbor was attacked. In this episode I review and analyse the film, which benefited from full DOD support.

MI5 (Wrongly) Suspected Odeon Cinema Chain of Being Front for Commie Spies

A 1940s MI5 file shows that British intelligence suspected that the Odeon chain of cinemas was a front organisation providing cover for Soviet spies to get into the UK.  Proving once again that it is the intelligence services who are the bigge

Jack Ryan Star John Krasinski Tries to Dispell Allegations of Propaganda

With just a week to go before season 2 of Amazon's Jack Ryan is released and the eponymous star John Krasinski has tried to downplay allegations that the show is propaganda for a US coup or war in Venezuela.  In an interview he trie

Vietnam Bans a Movie, But Somehow It is China’s Fault?

Today's entertainment news features an absolute gem of political hypocrisy: Vietnam's one party 'Communist' state has banned the animated kids' movie Abominable, and the Western media are heralding the decision, claiming that Vietnam are standing up to China's censorious one party 'Communist' state.  This is perhaps the dumbest employmen

Ex-MI6 Boss Says he Wouldn’t Have Allowed Skyfall to Blow Up MI6 HQ

Former head of MI6 and Iraq War criminal Sir Richard Dearlove continued his recent speight of complaining about everything by claiming that he was never told that the producers of several Bond films had been granted permission to film the MI6 headquarters at Vauxhall

ClandesTime 195 – The New Cultural Cold War

The original Cultural Cold War has been the subject of numerous books and articles on both sides of the divide, but the new version has been almost entirely ignored.

Did the Pentagon Support Venezuela Coup Porn Jack Ryan Season 2?

As prep for my forthcoming video on Amazon's Jack Ryan as next-gen propaganda I've been keeping an eye on promotions and events around the launch of season two in November.  The first episode was shown at New York Comic-Con a few days ago, and at a panel disc

The Film Censorship Cold War — China vs the US

Recently, Martha Bayles of The Atlantic published a hilariously misleading essay calling for Hollywood to produce more pro-American propaganda, in the face of the Chinese government’s increased role in the entertainment industry.

Ex-MI6 Boss Blasts Le Carré’s Spy Novels, Even Though MI6 Vetted Most of Them

Former MI6 chief Richard Dearlove has criticised spy author John Le Carré for his 'nihilistic' and 'corrosive' view of British intelligence, even though Le Carré submitted all of his early novels to MI6 for them to review prior to publication.  This appears

Even the US Army Warned of Violence at the Joker Premiere But So Far, So Good

For weeks the internet has been awash with claims, rumours, scuttlebutt and hearsay about some kind of shooting at the premiere of the new Joker movie.  Even the US Army sent out a memo saying they'd received a 'credible threat

ClandesTime 194 – Oliver Stone’s JFK

This week, I welcome to the show author and friend James Oddy to discuss the JFK assassination case and its treatment in the Oliver Stone movie JFK. We look at the psychological and political consequences of the assassination, as well as the political and cultural impact of the film.

Napalm, Ambushes and Russian Roulette: Why the Pentagon Rejected The Deer Hunter

The epic war drama The Deer Hunter won five Oscars, despite the central conceit and metaphor of the film being inaccurate.  This conceit - that the Viet Cong forced American prisoners of war to play Russian Roulette - is the main reason the f

ROI: Does the Pentagon Fund Movies?

One of the most common conspiracy theories you hear in this line of research is that the Pentagon and CIA fund Hollywood movies.  This isn't entirely untrue - the CIA covertly funded productions of Animal Farm and 1984 in the early Cold War period - but on the whole, it is untrue.  In all the many thousands of documen

Revolving Doors: Technical Advisors and The Entertainment-Propaganda Complex

The role of the technical advisor is crucial to understanding the military-Hollywood relationship, but very few people know who these people are or what they do.  Even less well known is that a significant number of private industry techni

ClandesTime 193 – An Alternative History of Al Qaeda: Aukai Collins

In 1998 the CIA got an opportunity to infiltrate one of their spies into the Al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan, but turned it down. This week, I examine the autobiography of that spy – Aukai Collins, an American jihadi who became a deep cover agent for the FBI and CIA.

New Jack Ryan Trailer Illustrates Western Hypocrisy Over Arms Trade

The latest trailer for Amazon Prime's Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan is a perfect illustration of Western double standards and hypocrisy over the global arms trade.  As I predicted in an earlier article, the plotline centres on Venezuela and in all lik

ClandesTime 192 – The Cinema of the Navy SEALs

The US Navy SEALs are known as the ‘quiet professionals’, but in recent times they have become the highest-profile of all US special forces.

The US Navy Supported Captain Phillips – One of the Most Inaccurate Movies I’ve Ever Seen

Captain Phillips tells the story of the 2009 hijacking of the Maersk Alabama - a US container ship - off the coast of Somalia, and the subsequent US Navy intervention that killed three of the pirates and arrested the fourth.  It is also one of the least historically accurate films

Disney’s Star Wars, the Military and the Worst Hats I’ve Ever Seen

Walt Disney World Resort’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens this week - 14 acres of Star Wars experience for those who want to waste their money on plastic replicas of pod racers, Jar Jar Binks masks and hair dye so they can look like Vice Admiral Gender

Act of Valor: When the US Navy Commissioned one of the Worst Films Ever Made

2012's Act of Valor is widely recognised as the terrible, dull, depressing, futile piece of cinema that it surely is, but what is less well-recognised is that it was the brainchild of the US Navy's Special Warfare Recruiting Directorate, and they h

The DOD and Lone Survivor

Lone Survivor is a piece of absolute militaristic schlock, starring the whiny-voiced Marky Mark Wahlberg as Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell - the only survivor of Operation Red Wings, a 2005 special forces joint operation in the summer of 2005.  Over 100 pages of Navy documents show their heavy involvement in the film and how they covered

How the Pentagon Rewrote GI Jane

GI Jane is a crude, clumsy attempt to show a 'woman's perspective' on being in the military, that ruined Demi Moore's career as a leading lady.  Little known until now is how the Pentagon negotiated with Ridley Scott to rewrite the script, and even though the film didn't qualify for military support some of the scr

Clint Eastwood and the Geneva Conventions

One issue that comes up repeatedly in the script changes enforced by the Pentagon is war crimes, and other violations of the Geneva Conventions.  As is so often the case I'm left thinking 'if only the DOD applied the same rules to real life wars as they do to the depiction of wars i

Born on the 4th of July – Tom on Fortress on a Hill

In the second part of our discussion (following Combat Obscura), Henri, Keagan and I talked about the 1989 Oliver Stone classic Born on the 4th of July.  Based on the real life experiences of Ron Kovic, we charted the film's development in the late 70s and into the 80

ClandesTime 191 – The ‘Disguised’ Political Film in Hollywood

Why isn’t the ‘political film’ a genre of cinema? Hollywood puts out a consistent stream of politically-themed films, but rarely if ever promotes them as such.

Schlock ex Machina – Is Godzilla: King of the Monsters the Dumbest Movie Ever?

I was looking forward to Godzilla: King of the Monsters, having been a fan of giant creature features since I was a young boy.  The blend of massive-scale action and affirming our need to respect nature is a winning combination for me.  Then I watched it

ClandesTime 190 – Karl Rove and the Cultural Impact of 9/11

In the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, President Bush’s chief spin doctor and senior advisor Karl Rove enlisted Hollywood’s help in selling the War on Terror.

From Premises to Character Arcs – How Deeply the Military Rewrites Film & TV

Sometimes the US military's rewriting of scripts is very specific - take out this joke about the US losing in Vietnam, swap this bottle of beer for an energy drink, remove this scene where soldiers set fire to a village and rape all

ClandesTime 189 – An Alternative History of Al Qaeda: Omar Nasiri

Omar Nasiri was a Moroccan who spent 6 years spying on Al Qaeda for several European intelligence agencies. In this episode I review his autobiography Inside the Jihad, including the year he spent in Afghan training camps in the mid-1990s.

Why Amazon’s The Boys is the Most Subversive TV Show of the Year

Amazon Prime's The Boys is not only the most enjoyable TV show I've seen all year, it's also the most subversive.  While it will appeal to audiences suffering from superhero fatigue after more than a decade of relentless Marvel and DC products, it is so much mo

‘In The Navy’ Songwriter Dead at 82

Co-founder of the Village People and co-writer of 'YMCA', 'Macho Man' and 'In the Navy' Henri Belolo died last saturday at the age of 82.  Born in Casablanca, Belolo was a key member of perhaps the first openly gay disco outfit.  He also participated in one of the funniest co-sponsorship deals the US Navy has ever seen.(

‘You Need to Keep an Eye on the Director’ – US Army emails

The US Army's emails on The Long Road Home show that not everything ran smoothly while filming progressed as Fort Hood.  While all of the information on script input is redacted, one email contains production notes from the Army's project officer Lt Col.

ClandesTime 188 – An Alternative History of Al Qaeda: Mubin Shaikh

The 2006 arrests of the Toronto 18 was a key moment in the post-9/11 war on terror. It helped internationalise the war effort and added Canada to the list of supposed terrorist targets. This week I examine the life and work of the main Canadian intelligence informant inside the Toronto 18 – Mubin Shaikh.

Documents: CIA Successfully Pressured Michael Bay To Change Benghazi Movie

I recently obtained 50 pages of documents from the CIA on the support they provided to Michael Bay's Benghazi movie 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.  In this investigation for Shadowproof I outline how the relationship between Bay and the Agen

ClandesTime 187 – When Entertainment Liaison Offices Go Bad

The relationship between government liaison offices and the entertainment industry usually works well, resulting in added production value for the industry’s products and the furtherance of the government’s agendas. But sometimes things go wrong.