Arts & Entertainment

Black Ops in Hollywood: From Censorship to Normalization

By Tom Secker Covert Action Magazine
First the CIA tried to block the public from being exposed to its dirty deeds—but now the strategy has shifted to trying to normalize them.
By depicting ugly, degrading, murderous and unspeakable acts as routine, they become accepted as “the way things are done.”

[On Oscar Sunday, CAM brings you a two article special that exposes the CIA’s nefarious influence in Hollywood. This is part of an ongoing series where CovertAction Magazine delves into the operations of the entertainment liaison offices of the American security state, which work with Hollywood to produce mass perception management under the guise of films and TV. See also previously published “Hollywood is Full of CIA Agents,” Says Ben Affleck.—Editors]

Almost since the very inception of the United States, it has waged covert warfare against target nations, whether by interfering in elections, supporting opposition factions even when they are fascists, bribing government leaders and high officials and—when all of the above fails—staging coup d’états.

For most of its existence, the CIA has been the primary instrument for carrying out these particular black operations, from the Congo to Cambodia. But for a long time it did not want anyone knowing about it, even censoring books by former officers—such as Victor Marchetti’s The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence and Ralph McGehee’s Deadly Deceits: My 25 Years in the CIA—to remove details of the Agency’s special activities.

The Pentagon has also been deployed as a covert weapon, with figures like Ed Lansdale turning up on both sides of the CIA/DOD divide. Lansdale first helped put down the Marxist Huk rebellion in the Philippines while working for the U.S. Air Force, before hooking up with the CIA in Vietnam and later becoming involved in anti-Cuba operations, including the notorious Operation Northwoods.

Edward Lansdale - Wikipedia
Edward Lansdale [Source:]

An almost totally unrecognized aspect of covert U.S. policy is the role Hollywood has played in propagandizing the U.S. and global public—first to protect the CIA and Department of Defense (DoD) and their black operations, and more recently to promote them. For decades these agencies have worked hand-in-glove with filmmakers to manipulate not only their own public images, but perceptions of America’s role in the world.

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