National Security Cinema: The Shocking New Evidence of Government Control in Hollywood
by Matthew Alford (Author), Tom Secker (Author)
This is a book about secrecy, militarism, manipulation, and censorship at the heart of the world’s leading democracy—and about those who try to fight them. Using thousands of pages of documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act National Security Cinema exclusively reveals that the national security state—led by the CIA and Pentagon—has worked on more than eight-hundred Hollywood films and over a thousand network television shows. The latest scholarship has underestimated the size of this operation, in part because the government has gone to considerable lengths to prevent data emerging, especially in the 21st Century, as the practice of government-Hollywood cooperation has escalated and become more aggressive. National Security Cinema reveals for the first time specific script changes made by the government for political reasons on dozens of blockbusting films and franchises like Transformers, Avatar, Meet the Parents, and The Terminator. These forces have suppressed important narratives about: CIA drug trafficking; illegal arms sales; military creation of bio-weapons; the interaction of private armies and oil companies; government treatment of minorities; torture; coups; assassinations, and the failure to prevent 9/11.
About the Authors
Dr. Matthew Alford is a Teaching Fellow at the University of Bath in England. His doctoral thesis applied Ed Herman and Noam Chomsky’s Propaganda Model to the contemporary Hollywood film industry. His first book, Reel Power: Hollywood Cinema and American Supremacy, was published by Pluto Press in 2010 and has since been translated into Chinese. In 2014, Dr. Alford produced a documentary film of his research, The Writer with No Hands, which premiered at Hot Docs in Canada and won runner-up at the Ammar Popular Film Festival in Iran. In June 2017, a new edition of the film was released at independent venues in twelve countries.
Tom Secker is a private researcher who runs spyculture.com—the world’s premier online archive about government involvement in the entertainment industry. He has used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain unique government documents since 2010, which has been reported on by Russia Today, Salon, Techdirt, The Mirror, The Express and other outlets. He has authored and co-authored articles for Critical Sociology and the American Journal of Economics and Sociology and hosts the popular ClandesTime podcast.
- Paperback: 264 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (June 27, 2017)
Excellent book providing insight into the influence of the state …
Excellent book providing insight into the influence of the state on Hollywood productions. Using concrete sources such as FOIA documents acquired by the authors, National Security Cinema provides priceless information on how the Pentagon, CIA and other governmental agencies are able to make changes to scripts of movie producers who request assistance in the way equipment, location and/or personnel. These changes are intended to paint the assisting agency in a more positive light or remove a subversive element of the script for example. The book also touches on the corporate product placement element of entertainment and how many films get substantial portions of their production budget from such agreements. For anyone interested in the government propaganda involved in film and television, this book is for you.
Enjoyable reading whether you like the movies or hate them
National Security Cinema reveals that much of Hollywood entertainment, while purportedly neutral, actually contains pro-military and pro-corporate messages. The book further explores how the Pentagon and intelligence agencies manage to get these messages into so many films, drawing on a wealth of FOIA released documents to do so. Enjoyable reading whether you like the movies or hate them. This is also one of the few books that challenge the traditional narratives of Rwanda and the Balkans in the 1990s.
National Security Cinema a Must-Read for Cinephiles and Students of US Government Policy
The authors have compiled a timely set of case studies based on their FOIA requests clearly outlining the opaque relationship between Hollywood film productions and the Pentagon, CIA and NSA.
An entire set of documents covering decades of the relationship between Hollywood and Washington have been squared away in the private library of a Pentagon-approved historian Lawrence Suid. Despite the censorship, the documents that are at public disposal thanks to the FOIA requests and research of the authors detail how Washington manipulates Hollywood by making minor script changes, major script rewrites, casting calls and can even prevent films from being made.