by Julie Lévesque
February 28, 2013
"One of the most
pervasive trends in 21st century western culture has
become somewhat of an obsession in America. It's called
"Hollywood history", where the corporate studio machines
in Los Angeles spend hundreds of millions of dollars in
order to craft and precisely tailor historical events to
suit the prevailing political paradigm."
Hollywood History: CIA Sponsored
"Zero Dark Thirty", Oscar for "Best Propaganda Picture")
Black Hawk Dawn
Zero Dark Thirty
...those are only a few major recent productions
showing how today's movie industry promotes US foreign policy.
But the motion picture has been used for
propaganda since the beginning of the 20th century and
Hollywood's cooperation with the Department of Defense, the CIA and other
government agencies is no modern trend.
With Michelle Obama awarding Ben Affleck's Argo the Oscar for best
movie, the industry showed how close it is to Washington.
According to Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich,
Argo is a propaganda film concealing the ugly truth about the Iranian
hostage crisis and designed to prepare the American public for an upcoming
confrontation with Iran:
Foreign policy observers have long known
that Hollywood reflects and promotes U.S. policies (in turn, is
determined by Israel and its supporters).
This fact was made public when Michelle
Obama announced an Oscar win for "Argo" - a highly propagandist,
anti-Iran film. Amidst the glitter and excitement, Hollywood and White
House reveal their pact and send out their message in time for the
upcoming talks surrounding Iran's nuclear program [...]
Hollywood has a long history of promoting US policies. In 1917, when the
United States entered World War I, President Woodrow Wilson's Committee
on Public Information (CPI) enlisted the aid of America 's film industry
to make training films and features supporting the 'cause'. George
Creel, Chairman of the CPI believed that the movies had a role in
"carrying the gospel of Americanism to every corner of the globe."
The pact grew stronger during World War II […] Hollywood 's contribution
was to provide propaganda. After the war, Washington reciprocated by
using subsidies, special provisions in the Marshall Plan, and general
clout to pry open resistant European film markets […]
As Hollywood and the White House eagerly embrace "Argo" and its
propagandist message, they shamelessly and deliberately conceal a
crucial aspect of this "historical" event. The glitter buries the all
too important fact that the Iranian students who took over the U.S.
Embassy in Tehran , proceeded to reveal Israel 's dark secret to the
Documents classified as "SECRET" revealed LAKAM's activities.
Initiated in 1960, LAKAM was an Israeli
network assigned to economic espionage in the U.S. assigned to "the
collection of scientific intelligence in the U.S. for Israel 's defense
Oscar to Hollywood's "Argo": And the Winners are…
the Pentagon and the Israel Lobby)
For a real account of the Iranian hostage
crisis, a CIA covert operation, see Harry V. Martin's article
published in 1995:
The Real Iranian Hostage Story from the
Files of Fara Mansoor:
Fara Mansoor is a fugitive. No, he hasn't
broken any laws in the United States. His crime is the truth. What he
has to say and the documents he carries are equivalent to a death
warrant for him, Mansoor is an Iranian who was part of the
"establishment" in Iran long before the 1979 hostage taking.
Mansoor's records actually discount the
alleged "October Surprise" theory that the Ronald Reagan-George Bush
team paid the Iranians not to release 52 American hostages until after
the November 1980 Presidential elections [...]
With thousands of documents to support his position, Mansoor says that
the "hostage crisis" was a political "management tool" created by the
pro-Bush faction of the CIA, and implemented through an a priori
Alliance with Khomeini's Islamic Fundamentalists." He says the purpose
(Harry V. Martin,
The Real Iran Hostage Crisis: A CIA Covert Op)
Zero Dark Thirty is another great silver
screen propaganda piece which spurred outrage earlier this year.
It exploits the horrific events of 9/11 to
present torture as an effective and necessary evil:
Zero Dark Thirty is disturbing for two
First and foremost, it leaves the viewer
with the erroneous impression that torture helped the CIA find bin
Laden's hiding place in Pakistan. Secondarily, it ignores both the
illegality and immorality of using torture as an interrogation tool.
The thriller opens with the words "based on first-hand accounts of
actual events." After showing footage of the horrific 9/11 attacks, it
moves into a graphic and lengthy depiction of torture.
The detainee "Ammar" is subjected to
waterboarding, stress positions, sleep deprivation, and confined in a
small box. Responding to the torture, he divulges the name of the
courier who ultimately leads the CIA to bin Laden's location and
assassination. It may be good theater, but it is inaccurate and
(Marjorie Cohn, "Zero
Dark Thirty": Torturing the Facts)
Earlier this year the Golden Globe awards made
some analysts criticize Hollywood's dark "celebration of the police state"
and argue that the real Golden Globe winner was the military-industrial
Homeland won best TV series, best TV actor
and actress. It IS a highly entertaining show which actually portrays
some of the flaws of the MIIC system.
Argo won best movie and best director. It glorifies the CIA and Ben
Affleck spoke with the highest praise for the CIA.
And best actress went to Jessica Chastain of Zero Dark Thirty, a movie
that has been vilified for propagandizing the use of torture.
The Military Industrial Intelligence Complex is playing a more and more
pervasive role in our lives. In the next few years we'll be seeing
movies that focus on the use of drone technology in police and spy work
in the USA.
We've already been seeing movies that show
how spies can violate every aspect of our privacy - of the most intimate
parts of our lives.
By making movies and TV series that
celebrate these cancerous extensions of the police state Hollywood and
the big studios are normalizing the ideas they present us with - lying
to the public, routinely creating fraudulent stories as covers for
what's really going on.
cited in Washington's Blog,
The CIA and Other Government Agencies Dominate
Movies and Television
All these troublesome Hollywood connections have
been examined in an in-depth report Global Research published in January
Lights, Camera… Covert Action: The Deep Politics of
The article lists a great number of movies in
part scripted for propaganda purposes by the Defense Department, the CIA and
other government agencies. It is interesting to note that this year's
Oscar-winning director Ben Affleck cooperated with the CIA in 2002 as he
starred in The Sum of All Fears.
Authors Matthew Alford and Robbie Graham explain that compared to the CIA,
the Department of Defense,
"has an 'open' but barely publicized
relationship with Tinsel Town" which, "whilst morally dubious and barely
advertised, has at least occurred within the public domain."
Alford and Graham cite a 1991 CIA report
revealing the sprawling influence of the agency, not only in the movie
business but also in the media where it,
"has relationships with reporters from every
major wire service, newspaper, news weekly, and television network in
It was not until 1996 that the CIA announced it
"would now openly collaborate on Hollywood productions, supposedly in a
strictly 'advisory' capacity":
The Agency's decision to work publicly with
Hollywood was preceded by the 1991 "Task Force Report on Greater CIA
Openness," compiled by CIA Director Robert Gates' newly appointed
'Openness Task Force,' which secretly debated - ironically - whether the
Agency should be less secretive.
The report acknowledges that the CIA,
"now has relationships with reporters
from every major wire service, newspaper, news weekly, and
television network in the nation," and the authors of the report
note that this helped them, "turn some 'intelligence failure'
stories into 'intelligence success' stories, and has contributed to
the accuracy of countless others."
It goes on to reveal that the CIA has in the
past "persuaded reporters to postpone, change, hold, or even scrap
stories that could have adversely affected national security interests"
Espionage novelist Tom Clancy has enjoyed an especially close
relationship with the CIA.
In 1984, Clancy was invited to Langley after
writing The Hunt for Red October, which was later turned into the 1990
film. The Agency invited him again when he was working on Patriot
Games(1992), and the movie adaptation was, in turn, granted access to
More recently, The Sum of All Fears (2002)
depicted the CIA as tracking down terrorists who detonate a nuclear
weapon on US soil.
For this production, CIA director George
Tenet gave the filmmakers a personal tour of the Langley HQ; the film's
star, Ben Affleck also consulted with Agency analysts, and Chase Brandon
served as on-set advisor.
The real reasons for the CIA adopting an "advisory" role on all of these
productions are thrown into sharp relief by a solitary comment from
former Associate General Counsel to the CIA, Paul Kelbaugh. In 2007,
whilst at a College in Virginia, Kelbaugh delivered a lecture on the
CIA's relationship with Hollywood, at which a local journalist was
The journalist (who now wishes to remain
anonymous) wrote a review of the lecture which related Kelbaugh's
discussion of the 2003 thriller The Recruit, starring Al Pacino. The
review noted that, according to Kelbaugh, a CIA agent was on set for the
duration of the shoot under the guise of a consultant, but that his real
job was to misdirect the filmmakers, the journalist quoted Kelbaugh as
Kelbaugh emphatically denied having made the
Matthew Alford and Robbie Graham
Lights, Camera… Covert Action: The Deep Politics
During the Cold War the CIA's Psychological
Strategy Board (PSB) agent Luigi G. Luraschi was a Paramount
He "had secured the agreement of several
casting directors to subtly plant 'well dressed negroes' into films,
including 'a dignified negro butler' who has lines 'indicating he is a
The purpose of these changes was,
"to hamper the Soviets' ability to exploit
its enemy's poor record in race relations and served to create a
peculiarly anodyne impression of America, which was, at that time, still
mired in an era of racial segregation."
The latest award-winning movie productions show
that the Manichean view of the world put forward by the US foreign policy
agenda has not changed since the Cold War.
The Hollywood-CIA alliance is alive and well and
still portrays America as the "leader of the free world" fighting "evil"
around the world:
The interlocking of Hollywood and national
security apparatuses remains as tight as ever: ex-CIA agent Bob Baer
"There's a symbiosis between the CIA and
Baer's claims are given weight by the Sun
Valley meetings, annual get-togethers in Idaho's Sun Valley in which
several hundred of the biggest names in American media - including every
major Hollywood studio executive - convene to discuss collective media
strategy for the coming year.