Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

ClandesTime 103 – MI5 Censorship of Panorama

Published March 19th 2017

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 pressure on the BBC, trying to stop the programme from being broadcast. When this failed they considered using the government veto to prevent it from airing, and ultimately ended up heavily censoring the documentary via a secret preview screening with MI5.

ClandesTime 102 – Was Richard Whiteley a Spy?

Published March 12th 2017

Richard Whiteley is best known for presenting the popular afternoon quiz show Countdown, and Ricky Tomlinson is best known for starring in the popular sitcom The Royle Family. Back in the 1970s things were very different. This week we examine Tomlinson’s recent allegation that Whiteley was a ‘member’ of the security services, due to his role presenting an 1973 documentary that influenced the trial of the Shrewsbury 24 – including Tomlinson. This trial, and this documentary, were the British establishment’s revenge against Tomlinson and other leaders of the 1972 Building Workers Strike. Amidst an ongoing cover-up I examine the plausibility of Tomlinson’s allegation that Whiteley was a spy, and the unconvincing denial of the allegation by Whiteley’s former partner.

The CIA and Hollywood – Tom and Pearse on Black Op Radio

Published February 26th 2017

Pearse and I were recently invited onto Black Op Radio with Len Osanic to talk about The CIA and Hollywood. We mostly discussed Ed Lansdale’s involvement in The Quiet American (1958), which butchered the original book in part as a result of Lansdale’s influence on writer/director Joseph Mankiewicz. We also touched on Charlie Wilson’s War and The Good Shepherd, and other recent films that are known or thought to have received support from the Agency.

‘Well Dressed Negroes’ and ‘Dignified Natives’ – How Luigi Luraschi Rewrote Movies for the CIA

Published February 22nd 2017

In 1953, in the early weeks of the Eisenhower administration, the CIA conducted an operation to alter the content of Hollywood films to help promote positive images of America to foreign audiences. A series of letters addressed to a CIA officer named ‘Owen’ were written by an executive at Paramount – now known to be Luigi Luraschi – outlining the changes to movies that he made and attempted to make on their behalf.

ClandesTime 101 – Nightcrawler

Published February 19th 2017

Nightcrawler is one of those rare films that is beautifully written, very well executed and is about something that actually matters. It tells the story of Lou Bloom, a young man in poverty-struck Los Angeles who gets into nightcrawling – filming violent crimes and accidents and selling the footage to TV news. In this episode Pearse and I conduct an extensive analysis and review of the film, exploring many different interpretations that often contradict each other. Is Lou a sociopath, or the product of economic circumstances and a media culture that turns violence into a fetish? Are his cohorts Rick (his assistant) and Nina (the director of the news channel) just as guilty and complicit in what happens? Is his rival nightcrawler Joe Loder actually worse than Lou? These and many more questions are explored in this epic discussion.

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