Comments on: How liberal Hollywood fell in love with the CIA Thu, 21 Jul 2016 07:57:19 +0000 hourly 1 By: Acetracy Thu, 21 Mar 2013 15:48:33 +0000 Your headline “Liberal Hollywood” should have liberal in quotation marks since Hollywood is only liberal when the PR agent requires it.

Practically all the Hollywood produced politicians (REagan, Temple-Black, Bono) were Republican conservatives. And let’s not forget John Wayne, Charlston Heston, etc.

Hollywood has for years and continues to perpetuate gun violence, racial stereotypes, women as bimbo-botoxed play bunnies, let alone the myths of American families and the so-called American dream. How many Hollywood moguls and stars send their kids to public school? Pay their fair share of taxes? Provide pensions to non-union employees?

Remember, acting is central to Hollywood and most are just acting the ‘liberal’ moniker – certainly not living it.

By: Robertla Thu, 21 Mar 2013 14:31:28 +0000 the more things change, the more they stay the same.

leni riefenstahl would be making these movies, if she were still alive.

By: ptiffany Wed, 20 Mar 2013 22:10:42 +0000 This article is seriously naïve. The military, FBI and intelligence agencies have supplied support for pro-agency TV and movie fare going back decades. The list is very long. Remember “The FBI Story” fifty years ago? Remember “The Agency”, a euphemism for the CIA, although the internal nickname was “The Company”. Many “war movies” and other such projects could not have been completed without significant support from these agencies, especially the Pentagon. “No Way Out” may have been filmed in the Pentagon (wink, wink).

It’s true that a common premise in Hollywood writing is the nefarious National Security Agency (NSA) usually falsely depicted as a covert operations agency (like in “Enemy of the State”), but the NSA has enjoyed the notoriety for the world’s biggest organization of information technology geeks.

By: xcanada2 Wed, 20 Mar 2013 17:22:27 +0000 @daveschroeder:

Obviously Saddam Hussein did not have the “intent” to have WMD, so there is a second intelligence mistake.

As for the remaining leg of intelligence on the WMD, “capability”, any junior high kid with a chemistry set can make poisonous chlorine gas. In other words, virtually any country can make WMD, so that “capability” criterion has, per se, little meaning.

By: Art_In_Seattle Wed, 20 Mar 2013 17:17:43 +0000 Methinks the author and many of the commenters herein are making too much out of this. The movie biz is just that–a business–and at its core is all about making money. Recent events that already have the public’s attention and as a bonus offer pre-made story lines are a safe bet for making movies that put butts in the seats.

Nothing new here. Let’s move along.

By: daveschroeder Wed, 20 Mar 2013 11:28:34 +0000 Ah, someone else with a political axe to grind.

The motto of CIA’s National Clandestine Service is the Latin “Veritatem Cognoscere”: Know the truth. It’s no wonder that so many believe the function of intelligence services is to discover the “truth”.

Mark Lowenthal, former CIA Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Analysis and Production, spent some time in his book “Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy”, now the gold standard for undergraduate and graduate intelligence texts, explaining that intelligence is not about truth at all, but rather about arriving at some informed conclusion about reality, or possible future realities, neither of which can be considered strictly to be “truth”.

“Intelligence is not about truth. If something were known to be true, states would not need intelligence agencies to collect the information or analyze it. Truth is such an absolute term that it sets a standard that intelligence rarely would be able to achieve. It is better — and more accurate — to think of intelligence as proximate reality. Intelligence agencies face issues or questions and do their best to arrive at a firm understanding of what is going on. They can rarely be assured that even their best and most considered analysis is true. Their goals are intelligence products that are reliable, unbiased, and honest (that is, free from politicization). These are all laudable goals, yet they are still different from truth.”

Perhaps the biggest issue with “truth” in intelligence work is the absolute nature of “truth”. If it is an analyst’s job to find the “truth”, then any deviation from that analysis by actual events means that the analysis was a “lie”.

“Is intelligence truth-telling? One of the common descriptions of intelligence is that it is the job of ‘telling truth to power’. (This sounds fairly noble, although it is important to recall that court jesters once had the same function.) Intelligence, however, is not about truth. (If something is known to be true then we do not need intelligence services to find it out.) Yet the image persists and carries with it some important ethical implications. If truth were the objective of intelligence, does that raise the stakes for analysis? […] A problem with setting truth as a goal is that it has a relentless quality. […if] an analyst’s goal is to tell the truth — especially to those in power who might not want to hear it — then there is no room for compromise, no possible admission of alternative views.”

This creates an environment where success is impossible, because discovering “truth” by every measure is a standard that can never be reached. It also discourages differing analytic viewpoints, each of which may be equally valid. Ultimately, someone needs to look at the available information and make a decision:

“[T]he role of intelligence is not to tell the truth but to provide informed analysis to policy makers to aid their decision making.”

Synthesizing information into some measure of “truth” needs to consider all of the above. What, then, happened to the “truth” in the case of this famous so-called “intelligence failure”, that of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction? The intelligence components of the US, Russia, France, Germany, and the UN as a whole believed Iraq to be in continuing possession of WMD, not to mention that Iraq was in material breach of no less than three binding and in-force UNSEC resolutions (the only kind of UN resolution with the “teeth” to compel member nations to use force to ensure compliance, unlike oft-cited General Assembly resolutions regarding Israel); witness this exchange on NBC’s Meet the Press in 2004:

“MR. RUSSERT: When you look at the CIA information on the weapons of mass destruction, former President Clinton said Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, as well as current President Bush. The U.N. inspectors. The Russian, French and German intelligence agencies said he had weapons of mass destruction. What happened? How could there have been such a colossal intelligence failure?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, maybe because what we were all looking at was a body of evidence that gave you every reason to believe that he did have weapons of mass destruction. He had the intention. He used them. He stiffed the U.N. for 12 years. He had the infrastructure. He had the capability. The only thing we haven’t been able to find are actual current stockpiles of such weapons. Everything else was there. Everything else was there with respect to capability and intention. And any reasonable person looking at this regime, looking at the threat inherent in that intention and capability would have come to the conclusion based on unanswered questions.”

So, what was the truth? In this case, the truth, as established prior to 2003, is that Saddam Hussein had the intent and capability to possess WMD. Without physically discovering WMD themselves, all information, history, and evidence — even when viewed in the context of contradictory evidence — indicated that Saddam Hussein had WMD.

Unfortunately, the most important aspect — namely, Iraq actually having WMD — ended up being absent. When the policy of containment with regard to Iraq changed to a more aggressive posture after 9/11, the truth pointed to Iraqi possession of WMD. This enabled policymakers to push forward with a policy to remove Saddam from power.

After the invasion, only then did we discover that the US analysis was almost all wrong. But was the analysis wrong? This is remembered by many, incorrectly, as an example of “politicized intelligence”. In fact, it is simply an illustration of how intelligence is not about truth, but rather is a vehicle to inform the decisions of policy makers.

Furthermore, there is never “one” reason a military action may be undertaken. Does anyone honestly believe there was only a single publicly-discussed reason the US entered World War II? If there were more complex reasons than those put forth for public scrutiny, does that mean our leaders are “lying”? It’s hilarious to me, if sad, that people tend to fall neatly in political boxes with respect to things like the Iraq invasion.

Intelligence exists solely to support policy makers. Most policy makers are politicians. This does not mean that intelligence itself is politicized, only that it is, necessarily, serving a political master.

The greatest enemy of any one of our truths may be the rest of our truths. — William James

There is no truth. There is only perception. — Gustave Flaubert

The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth. — Niels Bohr

The truth will set you free — but first it will make you angry! — Anonymous

By: NeilMcGowan Wed, 20 Mar 2013 06:09:36 +0000 Screw your CIA. Screw your Iraq War. Screw your Gitmo.

Your nation is SCUM.

By: xcanada2 Wed, 20 Mar 2013 01:04:19 +0000 Alissa Quart has commendably raised very interesting moral questions about Argo. However, some people think the situation is much worse( including ConstFundie, above, as I understand).

In an article at 293328/argo-cias-covert-black-ops/
it is suggested that the CIA or similar organization actually paid for ARGO, and some earlier movies that puffed up the CIA image, and are intelligence operations directed at the public. This seems like a preposterous idea, but is it?

Movies bought a paid for by the US government in order to influence the public is a natural extension of the US administration lies that led us into the Iraq war. In the past, the US administration has been caught pushing their point of view in phony planted news articles. americas/bush-planted-fake-news-stories- on-american-tv-480172.html

President Obama has taken President Bush’s build up of domestic surveillance to ever increasing levels. Evidently we are being manipulated by our own government for the benefit of the forces they serve, who would appear not to be the American people. People are malleable and very vulnerable to propaganda. Argo could be just another step along the way to Americans marching lock-step with (inhuman) corporate interests.

Its happened before!

By: ConstFundie Tue, 19 Mar 2013 23:49:09 +0000 There are different issues. The first is the general depiction of potential positive or negative actions of a secret agency in forming story or thought provoking art. The other is knowingly, and falsely, teaching torture as historically effective, justified, and necessary for the capture of BL, and for war generally. If the victims were of Any other religion than Muslim, Dark 30 would have been considered by Hollywood as an insult to the art form and humanity, and CIA propaganda housed within a Trojan-horse-esc shell of Hollywood art.