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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.
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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.
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