Tag Archives: Hollywood

The name’s Connery … Sean Connery.

Sean Connery died today at the age of 90. Much is being written on behalf of Hollywood with little reference to the famed actor’s ardent support for the just cause of democratic renewal, the right to self-determination, and Scottish independence. Reflecting his Scottish working class roots, he put his sentiments into action.

In 1992 he read the now-famous “Democracy Declaration of Scotland” before the massive ‘Scotland Demands Democracy’ demonstration held in Edinburgh, December 11 and 12, 1992 (pictured below). More than 30,000 people participated and endorsed the Declaration by acclamation. The Democracy Declaration united the new movement for a Scottish Parliament in the 1990s. Continue reading

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Tough guys don’t use facemasks

Arrogant behaviour is costing lives | Rolando Pérez Betancourt

Donald Trump refuses a mask from a worker at a factory producing protective wear, in Phoenix, Arizona, May 5 | AFP

John Wayne wearing a facemask? Impossible, so the ferocious pandemic will advance toward him and he, gun in hand, will continue to shoot Indians, Mexicans and any viral load that gets in his way. There is no other country where reality and fiction come together in such an astounding way as in the United States. Continue reading

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Netflix’s Mossad propaganda

Hailed in the Globe and Mail for “startling work” by an actor! Pushing back against the distortions and fabrications in “The Spy,” a new series based on the supposedly true story of Israeli spy Eli Cohen and his exploits in Syria. Cohen was a failed spy who was not able to secure access to the government or the military of Syria but who sent Syrian newspapers to Israel and ran what appeared to be a brothel in Damascus | As`ad AbuKhalil

Netflix “The Spy” trailer – hardly credible.

For too long, Israeli propaganda has gotten away with tall tales about the story of failed spy Eli Cohen. 

Cohen was inserted into Syria in 1961 (under a false name) and was discovered and hanged by Syrian military intelligence in 1965.  In another context, this story would have been deemed a disaster for the intelligence agency which recruited this spy. Instead, Israel has managed to spin and fabricate a large volume of lies about Cohen’s ostensible exploits. Continue reading

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Bridge of Spies: Will the real James B. Donovan stand up?

‘Bridge of Spies’ by DreamWorks Studios.

Tom Hanks is today’s Everyman good guy movie star – an honest, trustworthy and stand-up white man just like Gary Cooper, Jimmy Stewart, Gregory Peck and, yes, even John Wayne. In the recent film Bridge of Spies, one of those “inspired by true events” obfuscations, Hanks plays a certain James B. Donovan. In the movie, Donovan is an insurance lawyer lured into defending Soviet spy Rudolf Abel back in the good old days of the Cold War in order to prove that this is the land of justice and due process. Bridge of Spies, directed by Steven Spielberg, appears to be headed into Oscar territory. Continue reading

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Lebanon in US action movies: Beirut starring Jon Hamm

By AS’AD ABUKHALIL*

spyLebanon often provided a venue for American and Western action films.  In the 1950s and 1960s, it was a place of international intrigue and espionage where spies intersected with other spies, and where car chases on mountainous roads provided for good movie scenes.  There were so many US and European movies shot in Lebanon in those times, with such titles: The Sell-out, Masquerade, Man on the Spying Trapeze, Agent 505, Embassy, among others. But that so-called peaceful Lebanon (where successive Israeli invasions and massacres don’t get a mention in Western movie accounts, and are rarely listed as the reason for undermining the old Lebanon—with all its flaws, inequities, and injustices) does not exist anymore.  The Lebanese civil war provided a totally different venue for American action films that were to come in the 1980s. Continue reading

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US TV shows: Cultural expressions of civil war scenarios

nopolicestateOne new television show and the second season of another both start with potential civil war scenarios for the U.S. Both are on ABC, which is owned by Walt Disney. The shows are a reflection of the current reality of contending policing authorities in the U.S., like the military, CIA, FBI and Homeland Security, with contention between them and with the presidency. They also reflect the fact that existing governing arrangements are failing to sort out conflicts among the ruling circles and between them and the peoples here and abroad. Continue reading

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‘American Sniper’ – Zafar Bangash

Watch Zafar Bangash analyze the Hollywood war movie, “American Sniper.” Bangash uses the film as a platform from which to discuss a number other issues: Islamophobia, Harper’s proposed draconian new anti-terrorism legislation (Bill C-51), and Canada’s military mission in Iraq and Syria. Zafar Bangash is a world-renowned Muslim scholar, editor of Crescent International Magazine, author, and imam at the York Regional Islamic Centre in Markham, Ontario.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gacLnhEOfc

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Hollywood’s Kingdom of Heaven, the Crusades, Salah Ad-Din and Jerusalem

The Dome of the Rock Mosque (above) and the al-Aqsa Mosque are an integral part of the Noble Sanctuary in Jerusalem, considered third holiest site of Islam. and the object of attack of today’s Zionists. The media depicts the struggle over al-Aqsa as a Palestinian-Israeli conflict, when in fact it is a Muslim-Zionist conflict, as both mosques are of the utmost sacredness and symbolic regard to Muslims across the world.

The Dome of the Rock Mosque (above) and the al-Aqsa Mosque are an integral part of the Noble Sanctuary in Jerusalem, considered third holiest site of Islam. and the object of attack of today’s Zionists. The media depicts the struggle over al-Aqsa as a Palestinian-Israeli conflict, when in fact it is also a Muslim-Zionist conflict, as both mosques are of the utmost sacredness and symbolic regard to Muslims across the world.

The Hollywood action film The Kingdom of Heaven fictionalizing the medieval Crusades of the 12th century was released in 2005. It is continuously rebroadcast on TV, e.g., this past weekend on GAME-TV, due not only to the fictionalised action but mainly because of its cinematic disinformation and falsification of history about Muslims, the Crusades, the Kingdom of Jerusalem, and Salah Ad-Din (Saladin), who is battling to reclaim the city from the Europeans. The following review by Prof As’ad AbuKhalil* was written in 2005 shortly after the movie’s release. We are also reproducing it in the context of the current Zionist provocations against the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, which Israel closed on October 29 as it sent hundreds of police “reinforcements” into Jerusalem.

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The Kingdom of Heaven (and of plunder, pillage, bloodshed and mayhem): Ridley Scott’s version of the Crusades, or the limitations of Western liberalism 

WHAT do you expect. I can summarize the movie’s (Kingdom of Heaven) message for you: there are good crusaders and bad crusaders, and the viewers are supposed to cheer for, and identify with, the good crusaders. Or, Rumsfeld is bad and Bush is good. You may say that the Arabs were presented humanely, or so bloviated US reviewers in unison. Leaders of Arab-American and Muslim American organizations will praise the movie, no doubt, and so will the King of Morocco (who was thanked at the end of the credit, but torture in his kingdom was not noted in the credit for some reason). Continue reading

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Freedom of the press, US style: Killing the messenger vs. truth telling

Much of modern American filmmaking is escapist and vapid, but not “Kill the Messenger,” the new movie recounting the brave Contra-cocaine reporting by Gary Webb and his subsequent destruction at the hands of the monopoly media, writes JAMES DIEUGENIO*. His informative article, however, overlooks Webb’s exposure of the CIA’s narco-terrorist Luis Posada Carriles (see here).

Actor Jeremy Renner as journalist Gary Webb in "Kill the Messenger."

Actor Jeremy Renner as journalist Gary Webb in “Kill the Messenger.”

(Oct. 16) – I only met Gary Webb once – in December 1996 at the late, great activist bookstore, The Midnight Special, in Santa Monica, California. I was writing at Probe Magazine then and had covered Webb’s groundbreaking San Jose Mercury News three-part series, titled “Dark Alliance.”

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L.A. Times reporter cleared stories with CIA

Featured photo - The CIA’s Mop-Up Man: L.A. Times Reporter Cleared Stories With Agency Before Publication

The CIA’s mop-up man by KEN SILVERSTEIN

The Intercept (Sept. 4) – A prominent national security reporter for the Los Angeles Times routinely submitted drafts and detailed summaries of his stories to CIA press handlers prior to publication, according to documents obtained by The Intercept.

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Venezuela outcry as Fox TV maligns president Nicolás Maduro

U.S. spy show depicts president of Venezuela as buyer of chemical weapons, sparking denunciation as “hostile and imperialist.” Is it not the USA that has the greatest stockpile of chemical and biological weapons in the world?

VENEZUELA –We Are Maduro • Chavez Vive • Hands Off Venezuela

VENEZUELA –We Are Maduro • Chavez Vive • Hands Off Venezuela

AP | Caracas (Sept. 3) – Critics have mostly ignored the new US spy drama Legends, but it’s creating a furore in Venezuela.

Officials in the South American country are denouncing the show for portraying the socialist government stockpiling nerve gas to quash dissent.

The telecommunications commission opened an investigation on Tuesday into the series over an episode in which a character names president Nicolás Maduro and his socialist PSUV party as the buyer of chemical weapons. Continue reading

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CIA messing with journalism again, puts all journalists at danger

The CIA’s use of journalists as agents raise uncomfortable questions about Global Post and James Foley, writes WAYNE MARSDEN*

spystrategic-culture.org (Aug. 28) – THE increasing tendency of the Central Intelligence Agency and other U.S. intelligence agencies to disregard previous prohibitions against the use of journalists as agents puts every legitimate reporter around the world in jeopardy.

The CIA has a checkered past in the use of journalists as intelligence agents. The practice was common in the 1960s and early 70s but was banned by Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. However, when President Ronald Reagan helped reignite the Cold War, the CIA again began using journalists as intelligence agents. The practice put a number of journalists in jeopardy, especially those taken captive by guerrillas groups during the Lebanese civil war. There is nothing to suggest any president since Reagan has discontinued the practice of using journalists as agents. Continue reading

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CIA and Hollywood; a ‘national resource’

spyLA Times (Jan. 10) – “THE CIA has long had a special relationship with the entertainment industry, devoting considerable attention to fostering relationships with Hollywood movers and shakers – studio executives, producers, directors, big-name actors,” John Rizzo, the former acting CIA general counsel, wrote in his new book, “Company Man: Thirty Years of Crisis and Controversy in the CIA.”

People might assume that since Hollywood leans to the political left, the CIA’s relationships “would be with the sort of conservative picket of Hollywood,” Rizzo said in an interview. “Well, that’s not true.  People one would normally associated with liberal causes have assisted CIA.” Continue reading

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Hollywood: How the US collaborated with the Hitlerite Nazis

HollywoodReporter-US-NazisThe 1930s was marked by a devastating crisis of the world capitalist system and the rise of the movement of the working class and oppressed nations and the establishment of socialism in one sixth of the globe in the former Soviet Union. Big or finance capital turned to fascism to strengthen the “democratic” state, suppress resistance and enrich themselves. The Hitlerite Nazis and their allies, the Italian fascists and Japanese militarists, the reactionary tool of the ruling circles, were successful. The Western powers initially collaborated and colluded with Nazi Germany with the hopes that it would wipe out the Soviet Union, while they also wanted to crush Germany, because it threatened their economic and political interests. The German Nazis wanted to crush everyone, especially the Soviet Union and, even as World War II progressed, they hoped for Western assistance to do so. After WWII, the U.S. imperialists took up the mantle of the Nazis, including the Nazi plan to rule the world, by implementing their own holocausts in Greece, Korea, Guatemala, Indonesia, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Chile, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Argentina, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Libya and so many other countries. Aggression in the field of culture, propaganda and ideology has been and is today an integral instrument of these broad plans.

In devastating detail, an excerpt from a controversial new book published in the Hollywood Reporter reveals the nefarious actions of the U.S. ruling circles during the 1930s in the sphere of culture and propaganda – how the big American Hollywood studios, desperate to protect German business and U.S. interests, let Nazis covertly censor film scripts, promote fascist Aryan themes, remove credits from Jews, suppress anti-fascist scripts, and get movies stopped. The excerpt is reproduced below.

Cultural aggression did not end with the defeat of the Nazis. After WWII, the U.S. state centralized this ideological and cultural offensive under the control of its intelligence services to which it devoted unlimited financial resources. This was thoroughly documented by Frances Stonor Saunders in her book, Who Paid the Piper: The CIA and the Cultural Cold War (Granta, 1999), exposing the creation of a massive apparatus of cultural propaganda (e.g., Congress of Cultural Freedom, Ford Foundation, institutes, magazines, perpetrated by seemingly disparate “dissidents” and “socialists” composing a “democratic left” or a “non Communist left,” etc.), one of whose main purposes “was to advance the claim that it did not exist.” The issue is especially relevant for all Canadians, for our country has always had a “privileged” position when it comes to these matters. Cultural aggression did not cease with the end of the Cold War. Not only does it still exist, but it has steadily increased. Not only has it steadily increased, it is no longer exclusively clandestine and covert but open and shamelessly public. The infamous memorialization by the Harper government of the defeated Nazis and fascist collaborators in the Baltics and the Ukraine and its brazen villification of the anti-fascist communists evidences this reaction. – Tony Seed (Published August 6, slightly revised August 8)

Hollywood Reporter – THE 1930s are celebrated as one of Hollywood’s golden ages, but in an exclusive excerpt from his controversial new book, The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler (Harvard University Press, on sale September 9), Harvard post-doctoral fellow Ben Urwand uncovers a darker side to Hollywood’s past. Continue reading

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Argo: Hollywood as extension of CIA propaganda

THE MONOPOLY MEDIA rolled out the red carpet for the Hollywood film, Argo, the movie adaptation of the memoir published by ex-CIA operative Tony Mendez on the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 7. It eulogized the cosmetic role of Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor, a common CIA operative and US cheerleader, fawned over actor-director Ben Affleck’s presence with predictable slavishness and adorned their websites with trailers and video clips. This of a movie which insults and denigrates an entire people.

Hollywood has played a dirty role in the smuggling of American spies from Iran during the early years of the popular anti-imperialist revolution in Iran. The latest movie, reviewed by ZAINAB CHEEMA and MAKSUD DJAVADOV,* shows the tight relationship between the CIA and Hollywood. That the Harper government suddenly and unilaterally severed diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran on the same day as this racist film’s world premier in Canada is hardly fortuitous. Both are uncivilized instruments of imperialist warmongering and must be condemned. – TS

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THE PRESIDENTIAL SEASON is moving apace, so sluggishly that even robo-Romney, the personality-challenged Republican candidate, is outshining the hapless Barack Obama. It is times like these when Hollywood must step in to ramp up the drama and adrenaline — the result is Pentagon-funded Argo, the movie adaptation of the memoir published by ex-CIA operative Tony Mendez on the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis. Continue reading

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Spielberg’s ‘Tintin’ and ‘In the Land of Blood and Honey’ – Hollywood churns out more imperialist propaganda

Two movies with a political aim

By DOUGAL MACDONALD*

“Tintin, c’est moi” – Léon Degrelle

“Tintin, c’est moi” – Léon Degrelle

HOLLYWOOD’s movie-making industry often jumps to the defence of the U.S. imperialists’ criminal activities at home and all over the world. Many examples can be given of such imperialist propaganda churned out over the years: The Red Menace (1949), The Manchurian Candidate (1962), the Rambo series (1982-), Black Hawk Down (2001) and so on. Two recent examples from 2011 are Stephen Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin, and Angelina Jolie’s In the Land of Blood and Honey. Continue reading

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Valkyrie: Converting Nazi war criminals into knights in shining armour

By Dougal MacDonald

Valkyrie is a 2008 Hollywood movie directed by Bryan Singer and starring Tom Cruise. It is based on an actual attempt by German aristocrat and army officer Claus von Stauffenberg and other co-conspirators to assassinate Adolf Hitler on July 20, 1944. Valkyrie starts with Stauffenberg (played by Cruise) in North Africa, questioning Hitler’s leadership because Hitler is leading Germany to destruction. During a British air raid Stauffenberg is injured, losing an eye and a hand. Since he can no longer serve on the front lines he is sent home where he recovers and becomes involved in administration. Continue reading

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Panther

Review by Progress, African and Caribbean Progressive Study Group, London

The Mario Van Peebles film “Panther” tells the story of the rise and development of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, founded in October 1966 in Oakland, California. The founding of this party is regarded by many as one of the political high points of the 1960’s, a decade marked for it’s social and political upheavals across the world. Continue reading

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