Posts Tagged ‘Communism’

ClandesTime 098 – Eric Johnston

Published January 23rd 2017

Eric Johnston was the second head of the MPAA, a high level political operative and a friend of CIA director Allen Dulles. In this episode we take a look at his life and work, from his role instituting the Hollywood blacklist to his relationships with the FBI and CIA. From his meeting with high level businessmen after a trip to the Soviet Union and his liberalising of the production code and promotion of American films in foreign markets to his testimony at HUAC, this story encompasses much of the deep politics of Hollywood.

ClandesTime 097 – Sterling Hayden

Published January 15th 2017

Sterling Hayden’s life encompassed many important events and periods of the 20th century. A lifelong seaman he joined the Marine Corps and the OSS during World War 2, running smuggling operations to support anti-fascist partisans in Yugoslavia. He was also a movie star, famously appearing in The Godfather and in two Stanley Kubrick films – The Killing and Dr Strangelove. In this episode we take a look at the life and times of this fascinating man – from his time as a secret agent to testifying before anti-Communist congressional hearings to his relationship with Kubrick – and how his life has been referenced and reflected in movies.

1959 CIA Memo on the ‘Elimination’ of Castro

Published November 26th 2016

With the death of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro I felt this would be a good time to provide a copy of an important but seldom-read CIA memo from 1959 where they discuss and approve the ‘elimination’ of Castro. Shortly after the Cuban revolution Castro visited the United States, speaking with then Vice President Richard Nixon on friendly terms. Castro then went home to Cuba while Nixon wrote a memo where he declared that the new Cuban leader was a dangerous Communist. Within months the CIA were drawing up plans to assassinate him.

The CIA’s James Bond File

Published October 20th 2016

The CIA has had an interest in James Bond almost since its inception as a series of novels in the 1950s. The books were probably the first spy fiction to refer to the CIA by name and to depict them through the character of Felix Leiter. This led to a friendship between Ian Fleming and CIA bigwig Allen Dulles, who not only discussed with Fleming how the CIA were portrayed in the Bond novels but also sourced ideas from the books. The CIA has released relatively few internal documents about the Bond books and films but they do have a considerable number of open source records that shed light on their interest in the franchise.

The CIA and Hollywood 15 – SALT

Published August 1st 2016

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. 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. 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.

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