war on terror

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

‘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

The Beirut Marine Barracks Bombing and Heartbreak Ridge

The US military's negotiations on the 1980s Clint Eastwood vehicle Heartbreak Ridge were protracted and complex, resulting in numerous changes before the movie could be approved for Pentagon support.  This included changing Clint Eastwood's character from a so

“Shame on them, they know better” – When the Pentagon Fell Out with NCIS

For over a decade the CBS action drama NCIS has enjoyed a very close working relationship with the US military, which allows the entertainment liaison offices to review every script, even for episodes where they provide no

‘I Can Get the Pentagon to Vouch for Me’ – Michael Bay letter to the CIA

Michael Bay is well known for working closely with government agencies when making his films, mostly the Pentagon but also NASA.  Less well known is how he worked with the CIA to vet his script for the Benghazi movie 13 Hours, and how his request to film the

ClandesTime 185 – An Alternative History of Al Qaeda: Morten Storm

Morten Storm is a Danish man who converted to Islam in the 1990s and got involved in the jihadi scene in Denmark, the UK, Yemen and Somalia. In 2006 he suffered a loss of faith, and turned to Danish intelligence and offered to help them fight the war on terror.

‘We are Anxious to tell this Story that Showcases the Army in such a Positive Way’

The in-development film Raven Four-Two tells the story of a battle in 2005 between insurgents and a Kentucky Army National Guard Military Police Unit, during the war in Iraq.  Documents released by

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

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.

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

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.

Department of Propaganda – Spy Culture on The Statist Quo podcast

Word about the entertainment liaison offices continues to spread - The Statist Quo podcast recently did a focus episode on the DOD's film office, Phil Strub and the rewriting of movie scripts.  Hosted by Matt, a US Army veteran and ex-convict, the epis

The Lone Gladio- A Fiction to Tell the Truth: Operation Gladio B

During times of deceit and censorship, fiction becomes one of very few effective ways to expose the truth and illuminate real dark places. Here’s how and why my second book, “The Lone Gladio”, came to life: as a book- posing as fiction. If you haven’t read “The Lone Gladio”, I strongly encourage you to pick [&;]

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.

Steven Seagal and the Geneva Convention

1996's action thriller Executive Decision may be light on action and lacking thrills but it is notable for one thing - the script violated the Geneva Convention and led to the Pentagon temporarily withdrawing support for the film.

ClandesTime 168 – Executive Decision

The 1996 action thriller Executive Decision was an early example of what should be called ‘irregular war films’, pitting a team of special forces commandos against a gang of terrorists, on a hijacked plane headed for Washington DC.

Stars of CBS’ FBI Admit They are Making Propaganda for the FBI

Missy Peregrym and Zeeko Zaki, two of the stars of the CBS drama FBI were asked about the government shutdown this week, and responded with a statement that sounds like it was written by the FBI's Investigative Publicity and Public Affairs Unit.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.