Tag Archives: George orwell

Black Op Radio episode 823

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Tom Secker and I were recently guests on Len Osanic’s Black Op Radio. We discussed The CIA and Hollywood series and specifically our episode on The Quiet American and Edward Lansdale. We discuss the theory that Lansdale was acting as a former ad-executive and was attempting to sell war in South East Asia. Tom and I also talk about the CIA’s use of George Orwell as propaganda, Charlie Wilson, and why government interference in cinema and culture is so dangerous.

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Show Notes:

The Ballad of Ed Lansdale

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Our Interesting Times: Pearse Redmond on CIA, Hollywood, and OJ Simpson

From Our Interesting Times:

Pearse Redmond of Porkins Policy Review joins the show. We discuss his monthly series Porkins Great Game and the series he does with the UK’s Tom Secker CIA and Hollywood. We talk about the CIA’s involvement in the entertainment industry and deleterious effects it has had on society. Later we talk about Pearse’s research into the OJ Simpson murder trial and the several interviews he conducted with journalist Stephen Singular who wrote the book Legacy of Deception: An Investigation of Mark Fuhrman and Racism in the L.A.P.D.

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The CIA and Hollywood episode 1 George Orwell

In this opening episode of the new series Pearse and Tom look into the CIA’s adaptations of George Orwell’s two most famous novels – Animal Farm and 1984.  We focus primarily on Animal Farm, a revolutionary animated film in several senses of the word, produced by Louis De Rochemont – a man who had worked with several other government agencies prior to making Animal Farm with the CIA.  The animation was does by British firm Halas and Bachelor, and we also discuss their background.  This episode also examines the paper trail, looking in Orwell’s FBI file and the MI5 records on actor Michael Redgrave, who starred in 1984 despite being a suspected Communist.  We conclude that the CIA had something of an obsession with Orwell at this time, and were subverting his works quite radically in these films.

Download The CIA and Hollywood ep. 1

Show Notes:

Animal Farm (1954 film)

1984 (1956 film)

Halas and Batchelor

Animal Farm Making Of

Animal Farm film production documents

The cartoon that came in from the cold

CIA documents on George Orwell’s books

FBI file on George Orwell

George Orwell MI5 and Special Branch files

Orwell’s List

MI5 file on Michael Redgrave

New podcast series with Tom Secker: The CIA and Hollywood

From Spy Culture:

Launching in April of this year The CIA and Hollywood is a new series by Pearse Redmond and Tom Secker.  The first season will have seven episodes where we will mostly focus on modern films, with guest appearances on five of the shows.

The full list:

Episode 1: The CIA and George Orwell

Pearse and I introduce the series and look at how George Orwell’s two major works – 1984 and Animal Farm – were both adapted into 1950s films by the CIA for propaganda purposes.  Using files from MI5, the CIA and the FBI we outline in detail the people involved in the productions and how they fit into a wider picture of what was going on in Hollywood at the time.

Episode 2: The CIA and Robert De Niro – Guest: Guillermo Jimenez

In the first guest episode we welcome Guillermo to talk about Robert De Niro’s lengthy connections to the CIA.  From Wag the Dog, where he plays a character based on CIA Entertainment Liaison Chase Brandon to the Meet the Parents film franchise which was assisted by Brandon, to his epic rewriting of CIA history in The Good Shepherd, De Niro has for nearly 20 years had some kind of relationship with the Agency.

Episode 3: The CIA and The Recruit – Guest: Aaron Franz

From one screen legend to another, Aaron joins us to discuss The Recruit starring Al Pacino.  This film was co-written by Chase Brandon and the character Pacino plays is clearly based on Chase Brandon.  This tale of a young man inducted into the secret world of the CIA is a perfect set up for inducting the audience into that same world, though what we find there is simply more layers of manipulation and doublethink.

Episode 4: The CIA and Enemy of the State – Guest: Adam of Themes and Memes

The film that predicted the entire Edward Snowden story is next on the list, when Adam joins in the discussion.  The Gene Hackman character, based on a role he played in the 1970s thriller The Conversation, foreshadows everything about Snowden, including his name and where he grew up, and the film’s depiction of mass surveillance has much the same effect on audiences as Snowden’s ‘revelations’ some 15 years later.

Episode 5: The CIA and The Social Network – Guest: Thomas Sheridan

The only film featured in this series that was not explicitly sponsored by the CIA, but which bears all the hallmarks of CIA involvement.  Thomas Sheridan joins us to examine this fictionalised account of the founding of facebook, possibly the world’s greatest ever surveillance tool.  We examine Aaron Sorkin’s career and the key information he left out of his screenplay about the early investors in facebook.

Episode 6: The CIA and Charlie Wilson’s War – Guest: Sibel Edmonds

One of Chase Brandon’s final films mythologised one of the most important events in understanding modern history – the Soviet-Afghan War and the CIA’s support of the Mujahideen.  Sibel lends us her expert knowledge as we dismantle this piece of CIA unhistory – which is also scripted by Sorkin – and construct a true version in its place.

Episode 7: The CIA and Argo

To round of this season Pearse and I take a look at the Oscar-winning Argo, produced by the unholy trio of Clooney, Heslov and Affleck, all of whom have long-standing ties to the CIA.  We examine the film not only as a deliberate mis-telling of real historical events but also as a celebration of the CIA’s very useful relationship with the Hollywood dream factory.  We reflect back on what we have learned through doing this first season, and briefly explain what to expect from season two.

 

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