Tag Archives: Michael Vickers

The CIA and Hollywood episode 14 Zero Dark Thirty

Robbie Martin is our final guest for this season as we dissect the 2012 docudrama Zero Dark Thirty. We discussed the difficulty in defining what kind of film this is – somewhere between a spy thriller, a documentary and a dry European art house movie. We get into the well-documented CIA support for the film and ask why this is the only major movie about the Abbottabad raid to get ‘Bin Laden’ and why it wasn’t particularly successful. Was the film meant to serve as a substitute for any real evidence of what happened in Abbottabad in 2011? Did the filmmakers even care whether what they were portraying was true or were they blinded by the excitement of the special access they were granted?

After summarizing the role of senior CIA and DOD intelligence officer Michael Vickers (who is portrayed in Charlie Wilson’s War) we discuss why so many CIA agents are portrayed in movies and TV. The conversation then zeroes in on ‘Maya’ – based on the real life CIA officer Alfreda Frances Bikowsky, who was critically involved in the 9/11 intelligence breakdown and the post-9/11 torture program. Getting back to the film we talk about the raid sequence itself which is very dry and realistic but we never actually see Bin Laden. We conclude that Zero Dark Thirty is like a rorschach test where you can bring your own expectations and prejudices to your experience of watching the movie. We round off talking about the portrayal of torture in the film and ask whether the controversies around the film were created as a smokescreen to avoid people asking the question: was it really Bin Laden?

Download The CIA and Hollywood ep 14

Show Notes:

Zero Dark Thirty

CIA Memo on Rewriting Zero Dark Thirty

Zero Dark Thirty the CIA and DOD files

The ‘Dynamite’ Pentagon Interview Behind ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

Bin Laden Burial took place on Top Gun ship

CIA Inspector General’s Report on Engagement with the Entertainment Industry

Who is Richard Blee (podcast)

Alfreda Frances Bikowsky

Alec Station

CIA’s Queen of Torture Married to Former CIA Official Who Urges War Between Sunnis and Shiites

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The CIA and Hollywood episode 6 Charlie Wilson’s War

FULL DISCLOSURE: I am no longer associated with Sibel Edmond, or BoilingFrogs/Newsbud. I think she is a con-artist and a petty and vindictive individual. If you want to know more about why I broke off all ties with Sibel you can find out more here:

Sibel Edmonds is our final guest as we dissect this shambolic re-telling of the Soviet-Afghan War.  Much of this conversation is devoted to what the film leaves out, such as Charlie Wilson being a CIA asset, the origins of Operation Cyclone being older and much more important than one drunk congressman and his ultra-right wing Christian friend and of course the likes of Jalaluddin Haqqani, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Osama Bin Laden who are completely absent from the movie.  This was a no-holds-barred critique of this quite shameful piece of CIA propaganda, and all the more fun because of that.  

Download The CIA and Hollywood ep. 6

Show Notes:

Charlie Wilson’s War (2007)

The Making of Charlie Wilson’s War

Who was Charlie Wilson?

The True Story of Charlie Wilson’s War

George Crile

George Crile Obituary

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