Posts Tagged ‘Cold War’

‘James Bond is my favorite anyway’ – CIA on Request for Film Production Assistance

In 1981 White House aide Joe Holmes contacted the CIA as part of his scheme to encourage the production of 'pro-hero' movies and TV series.  A Hollywood studio wanted CIA assistance for a spy film but CIA Director Bill Casey refused the request.  Internal Agency memos reveal that they were ...
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CIA Open Source Records on Executive Action

Executive Action is perhaps the most famous conspiracy thriller about the John Kennedy assassination, with the exception of Oliver Stone's JFK.  Recently released CIA records in the CREST database show that they were keeping an eye the production and how it was being received.  The articles even detail how the ...
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Secret Government file on Intelligence-Supported Documentary The Red Under the Bed

The 1973 ITV documentary The Red Under the Bed helped convict the Shrewsbury 24 by accusing them of being communists for their role in leading the 1972 Building Workers Strike.  A file from the office of then-Prime Minister Ted Heath confirms that the documentary was not just encouraged by the ...
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ClandesTime 105 – An Alternative History of Al Qaeda: The Blind Sheikh

The Blind Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman was an Egyptian cleric who played a critical role in the early years of Al Qaeda.  Rahman and his followers took over the New York branch of the MAK, an international fundraising and recruiting organisation that was central to the CIA's Operation Cyclone.  His ...
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How the Pentagon rewrote Goldeneye

Goldeneye is possibly the best of the Pierce Brosnan James Bond films, but like two others in the Brosnan period it relied on US military support.  This entailed the Pentagon reviewing the script and demanding two changes - one political, one promotional - in exchange for helping to shoot one ...
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ClandesTime 104 – An Alternative History of Al Qaeda: The Four Models

Beginning a new series on the history of Al Qaeda, this week I provide the basis for what's coming in the next several episodes.  What is or was Al Qaeda?  Four distinct models have been proposed to try to answer this question so I outline each, drawing on the works ...
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The Second Best Secret Agent in the Whole Wide World

From the Donald Trump school of naming things came The Second Best Secret Agent in the Whole Wide World, a 1965 spoof of the James Bond movies.  Like many 1960s spy thrillers The Second Best Secret Agent was on the radar of the CIA. Licensed to Kill The movie began ...
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ClandesTime 103 – MI5 Censorship of Panorama

In 1980 the BBC's documentary series Panorama began developing an episode on British intelligence.  This was the first of its kind, at least by such a prominent and respected series, but both the central government and the intelligence agencies were not happy.  Over a period of several months they put ...
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Top Secret File on Government Censorship of Panorama

In the summer of 1980 the BBC's flagship documentary series Panorama was developing a TV special about British intelligence.  This was the first film of its kind, and perhaps unsurprisingly Thatcher's government was not happy about it.  Downing Street put pressure on the film-makers via BBC Director-General Ian Threthowan, and ...
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How and why the Pentagon established their control of movie scripts

I recently acquired some decades-old Pentagon directives and instructions.  These documents formed the basis for DOD policy in their engagement with the entertainment industry, establishing a range of conflicting criteria for the military's liaisons with film and TV producers.  This provided them with a range of bases for altering scripts ...
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