Tag Archives: the recruit

Porkins Policy Radio episode 85 The Truth Shall Make You Free with Aaron Franz

Good friend Aaron Franz joins me on the show this week to discuss our recent work in The American Journal of Economics and Sociology. We begin by talking about some of the behind the scenes aspects of the issue. I talk about the whole process of how the issue came into being from the initial offer from Clifford Cobb, getting all the writers together, and dealing with all the road bumps along the way. Aaron and I talk about the actual writing process and the challenges involved in writing for an academic journal. Next we explore Aaron’s piece which deals with secret societies, CIA, occult practices, and the ways in which this is mimicked in Hollywood films. We talk about the similarities between secret societies and the CIA, particularly with their strong reliance on cryptography. Aaron and I discuss the famous Kryptos sculpture outside CIA headquarters and the agencies use of art’s powerful occult properties. We also talk about the bizarre Fallen Angel sculpture in CIA headquarters.

In the second hour we talk about the notion of truth as it now exists today. We begin by talking about the biblical verse “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” which is carved into the lobby wall of the CIA’s Original Headquarters Building. We talk about the significance and deeper meaning behind not only the quote but why CIA Director Allen Dulles insisted that it be inscribed. Later Aaron and I move onto the current environment that we find ourselves in right now. We talk about the way truth has become an almost meaningless notion in today’s political and media landscape and what this means for us as a society. Aaron and I also discuss the hidden truths behind the various statements and missteps of Donald Trump. We talk about the possible occult meanings behind this as well as the notion that a magick spell was cast on America after the election.

Download PPR episode 85

Show Notes:

The Age of Transitions

Themes and Memes

Uncle The Podcast

The American Journal of Economics and Sociology Vol. 76 Issue 2

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The CIA and Hollywood episode 15 Salt

Rounding off this second season we take a look at SALT, the 2010 action thriller starring Angelina Jolie as a CIA officer accused of being a Russian sleeper agent. We chart the development of the film, from its origins as an attempt to recreate the Bourne franchise, through Amy Pascal and Jolie’s conversations about making a female-led spy thriller. SALT is one of the less well known CIA-assisted productions, but along with technical advice from former CIA officer Melissa Boyle Mahle the producers also consulted with the CIA themselves in a video conference. The producers also employed Kurt Wimmer, one of the screenwriters from The Recruit. There is also a very weird story involving one of the extras in the opening sequence in North Korea.
We analyse the mystery of Evelyn Salt’s underwear and then the conversation hones in on Russia, who in 2010 were not on the news agenda, and how this movie predicted the rise of the ‘new Cold War’ that is commonplace in most current spy films and TV shows. The whole notion of a sleeper agent Russian spy ring was risible at the time but before long this exact story hit the news in a big way. We touch on the transhuman disguise that Jolie employs in the film and how this relates both to Argo and to Mission: Impossible, two other CIA-assisted movies. We round off looking back on season 2 of The CIA and Hollywood and suggest a possibility for doing season 3 in a different way.

Download The CIA and Hollywood ep 15

Show notes:

SALT (movie)

The Ultimate Action Hero – Salt (Making Of #1)

Spy Disguise: The Looks of Evelyn Salt (Making Of #2)

SALT production notes

Thomas J. Ridge and Melissa Boyle Mahle on Salt

The SALT talks

Pearse with SALT poster

The CIA and Hollywood episode 3 The Recruit

Aaron Franz joined in the conversation as we looked at the film The Recruit, which more than any other film we’re covering in this season was moulded by CIA entertainment liaison Chase Brandon.  Like so many films, it tells the story of a young person inducted into a secret world with secret rules and codes of thinking and behaviour, and in doing so inducts the audience into that same world.  We discussed this dynamic from various angles – black operations, secret societies, occult or mystery school philosophies – before studying Brandon’s appearance in the most fascinating ‘making of’ documentary ever made.

Download The CIA and Hollywood ep. 3

Show notes:

Case Studies in Intelligence review of The Recruit

Chase Brandon and Roger Towne projects

Chase Brandon and Jeff Apple projects

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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