Dangerous liaisons, The Pentagon's film liaison office & Hollywood.
Eli Attie ....... Supervising Producer and writer for The West Wing.
Eli Attie ...... writer on "24"Eli Attie, was Barack Obama's speech writer for the 2008 election.http://www.slatev.com/video/update-life ... west-wing/
Obama and the West Wing.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvVy1tS6b3c
The Santos character was created by Eli Attie, currently co-executive producer of Fox’s “House M.D.,” who spent four years as head speechwriter for Al Gore during the Clinton administration. Gore’s 2000 concession speech was Attie’s final task before seeking a career in television. He joined the “West Wing” writing staff during the third season.
As Attie explained it to me, the Santos-Vinick campaign was invented in mid-2004, about the time Barack Obama gave his acclaimed speech at the Democratic convention. David Axelrod, Attie’s friend and now Obama’s chief strategist, suggested that Obama was a “rock star” politician whose profile was perfect for Attie’s needs. Since NBC had already signed Smits to play the part, the character became Hispanic.
When you think of propaganda' Lassie is not the first thing that springs to mind. Nevertheless, over the years, Lassie and hundreds of other TV shows and movies have been made with assistance and/or script ‘advice’ from the US government.
In the late 1920’s the US War Department (they used to be so much more honest when naming things) created an office to act as a bridge between the film industry and the army. Relations were, for the most part good before and after WW2 but a spate of films critical of the Vietnam War strained the relationship. After ‘Top Gun’ relations began to improve.
some of the documents detailing the various involvements of the US government in the movie industry and was astonished by the depth of the collaboration.
He runs through a list of films. See if you can spot a pattern…
Military Assistance No Assistance
Top Gun Platoon
Pearl Harbour Full Metal Jacket Patton Three KingsPentagon's film liaison office.
The military has an outreach strategy – aware that directors and producers may just make movies perceived to be “anti-military” anyway (the phrase “un-marine” is mentioned in one or two of the documents quoted) the pentagon tries to get involved.
Philip Strub, a former navy colonel who is now head of the liaison office says it is a process of damage control. The pentagon offers its assistance to various projects. In this way the filmmakers get access to military hardware at discounted rates and the military can suggest alterations which may or may not be heeded.
The filmmakers sign a contract featuring these clauses….
“The production should help armed forces recruiting and retention programmes”.
“The production company agrees to consult with the DOD project office in all phases of pre-production, production and post-production that involve the military or depict the military”.
This creates an unfortunate climate
“Perhaps the worst thing about the collaboration between Hollywood and the military is not the censorship that goes into the films but the self-censorship. When you know that you are going to need the military’s assistance and you know that they are going to be looking at your script, you write it to make them happy right from the beginning.”
Since 9/11 the climate has changed and the US military is much more active in its efforts to put forward its interpretation of events.
A case in point is the US TV series “Profiles from the front” which was about US soldiers in Afghanistan. This programme was presented as a documentary about the job US soldiers were doing in that country. The success of the series encouraged the military to go with the embedding strategy in Iraq. Bertram van Muster, the producer of the series was later appointed the pentagons official film maker.
Furthermore, one of the documentaries suggests that there is a “trusted list” of Hollywood people which it will come as no surprise, includes Jerry Bruckheimer.
In fact, after 9/11, at the pentagons request meetings were set up between military officials and “30 Hollywood ‘creatives’ chosen at random” who signed confidentiality agreements.
Also, since 9/11 there has been an expansion of the kinds of media being used.
The computer game “America’s Army” looks like something between a movie and a recruitment advertisement. The 50 million dollar ‘Institute for Creative Technologies’ (ICT) uses film professionals and computer experts to develop ways to train soldiers. The head of the ICT is the former head of special effects at paramount studios. The US government retains the rights to what is created at ICT but the designers may be allowed to use some of the work to sell commercially in the form of computer games.
Some of the narrative is patchy in these documentaries - there are some contentious things such as saying America entered a new era of peace after Vietnam and it was only after ‘Top Gun’ came out that America felt ready for military intervention again (Nicaragua anyone?). However, there is also some incisive narrative too such as the reason not many films are made about the first gulf war is that it is difficult to keep a sense of drama going during a display of overwhelming strength and that after this a new generation of asymmetrical warfare films began.Hollywood's dirty little secret 02/20/05 "The Age" - - It's the scripts that pay a high price when Hollywood goes into battle. Brian Courtis looks at one of the movie world’s murkier truths.
Well, we've known the rules. We've known them since Errol Flynn liberated Burma without any help from British, Australian or New Zealand forces. Churchill and a few Diggers may have been upset, but the fact is when it comes to Hollywood only the good guys win and, since we're playing with their toys, those good guys must inevitably be Americans. Never let the absurdities of history get in the way of a box-office blockbuster.
They really do not want to discuss this, of course, in Tinseltown. They still see only their heroes and our villains. And they continue to win everything alone. Remember Steven Spielberg's D-Day spectacular Saving Private Ryan? Someone simply forgot that 72,000 British and Canadian troops were also involved. And if Hollywood is to be believed, it was the Americans who captured the Enigma coding machine from a German submarine; never mind that the Brits were there and accomplished that six months before the Yanks entered the war.
Not everything has been quite so eagerly promoted. We hear less, for instance, about the effects of the powerful relationship that has grown over the years between the Pentagon and the Hollywood studios, a partnership that not only can save millions of dollars for filmmakers and produce fine recruiting propaganda for Washington, but can twist history and reality to produce the ultimate in international spin.
In Operation Hollywood, filmmaker Emilio Pacull follows up an investigative study by film industry journalist Dave Robb on the help producers have sought from the military over the years. Robb, who worked for Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, says he found himself obsessed with the minutiae of these negotiations with the boys with ships, tanks, materiel, information, bases, access to land, troops and some very real-looking fireworks.
His report, a page-by-page study of scripts submitted by the studios to the Pentagon, reveals an intriguing pattern of censorship and propaganda. For Hollywood, acceptance of this system means the difference between "full co-operation" and no co-operation. For the military, it involves maintaining an idealised image of the forces, their behaviour, their view of the world, the superiority of their form of patriotism, and for that matter, their reasons for going to war.
So why, they would argue, should the Pentagon spend its money on pacifism or promoting the darker side of the soldier's world? Why reward a Platoon when The Green Berets is what you're after?
Among those with an opinion in Operation Hollywood are Australian director Phil Noyce, Phil Strub from the US Department of Defence, historian Lawrence Suid and Joe Trento, author and president of the anti-war Public Education Centre. This, they all agree, is a world where lines, plots and nationalities are changed so that film producers can gain access to expensive military hardware.
In the 1995 James Bond movie Goldeneye, for example, the original script had a US Navy admiral betraying state secrets. This was changed to make the traitor a member of the French navy. After that the military's co-operation was forthcoming. Pacull and Robb takes us from the pedantry to the powerful in examining the changes to scripts. They list the producers and the movies that have fallen into line and show how the military's script editors work. Interestingly, it's not the censors who come under fire here quite so much as those co-operative, self-censoring filmmakers.
Still, as Robb says, in what has become ostensibly his campaign against this system, the long-term effect on generations of young Americans is an unknown. “How many of those killed in Iraq died because they joined up after they saw what was presented in a film?” How many have died as the result of unknown recruiting propaganda?
All a producer needs do for assistance, it seems, is submit five copies of his script to the Pentagon for approval, make whatever script changes the Pentagon suggests, film the script exactly as approved by the Pentagon and preview the finished product for Pentagon officials before it's shown to its broader audience. And, according to Robb, as he puts the boot firmly into Jerry Bruckheimer, Tom Goldberg (Stripes), John Woo and other producers and directors, many do this gladly. It is, he insists, Hollywood's dirtiest little secret.
Not that the big screen is alone. Among the early changes we hear about is a scene from an episode of the children's television series Lassie in which a light aircraft crashing in the woods concerned the Pentagon. A change to the script was called for. The military didn't want children, the subject of its future recruitment drives, to get the idea that the US Army produced faulty equipment.
Not surprisingly, Washington will back what it sees as the positive message every time. There is enthusiasm for such gung-ho films as The Longest Day, Top Gun or, believe it or not, Pearl Harbor. There is no point talking to them about Apocalypse Now, Platoon or Dr Strangelove. As for films about the wounded and traumatised victims of war, concentration camp horror, or civilian casualties ... well, that has nothing to do with them, does it? Use your imagination, however, and make a heroic star of yet another four-star general and you will be marching step-in-step with America's medal-winning movie buffs. And be rewarded for it.
There are other ways to win the day. It would be interesting, for example, to see how the Pentagon would react to the sentimental reflections on wartime that British television so enjoys. In the escapism of Foyle's War, for example, the message is one of sacrifice and understanding. Michael Kitchen's wise old police chief, Foyle, uses wisdom, patience and tolerance in an idyllic Sussex setting against petty crimes and sabotage. This, rather than some one-sided battlefield slaughter, shows us the old values we're fighting for.
Soldiers and civilians are generally given positive treatment; blimpish landowners, politicians and generals get short shrift. This week, in They Fought In The Fields, the sweet and splendid Sam (Honeysuckle Weeks) is on the farm with a troubled gang of land girls, while her boss is out sorting spies from prisoners of war. There are few fireworks, few toys from the boys, but a gal's still gotta do what a gal's gotta do.
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Broadcast: 19/08/2008British international lawyer and author Philippe Sands speaks with Tony Jones about his new book, Torture Team, which examines the way in which Donald Rumsfeld's torture memo was written.
TONY JONES, PRESENTER: Now to our guest Philippe Sands.
He made news in Washington when he was called to give evidence at US congressional hearings into torture.
The British international lawyer and author was called as a witness to provide transcripts of interviews he'd done with senior Bush officials and military officers and to put them into context.
He'd spoken to the officials for his new book, "Torture Team: Deception, Cruelty and the Compromise of Law" which examines the way in which Donald Rumsfeld's torture memo was conceived and implemented.
Philippe Sands is currently in Melbourne where I spoke to him earlier this evening.
TONY JONES: Thanks for joining us.
PHILIPPE SANDS, INTERNATIONAL LAWYER & AUTHOR: It's terrific to be with you again.
TONY JONES: You've set about tracking down and interviewing those responsible for the so-called torture memo signed by Donald Rumsfeld in November of 2002.
So first of all who were they, and what is their responsibility?
PHILIPPE SANDS: Well, what I did was I tracked the individuals who had been involved in the decision-making process between October 2002 and December 2002, which led to the abandonment for the first time by the United States of prohibition by military interrogators of abusive techniques of interrogation.
And one by one I spoke with the combatant commander at Guantanamo, Mike Dunleavy, with his lawyer Diane Beaver, traced it all the way up the chain of command, all the way through Doug Feith, the number three in the Pentagon, up to General Myers, the then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and right up to Mr Rumsfeld's lawyer, Jim Haynes, and I got a pretty full story from the people that I spoke with.
TONY JONES: One of the most interesting things is the names that appear on the chain of documents and the names that don't appear or to be more precise, those who did not sign off on this document. They include General Myers, then head of the Joint Chiefs.
PHILIPPE SANDS: The first time I saw the document and what alerted me to that there was something amiss was that General Myers is referred to in the document as having been involved in a conversation with Mr Rumsfeld's lawyer, Jim Haynes the lawyer for Mr Rumsfeld says, he writes in his memo, "I've discussed this with General Myers".
And when I met with General Myers he told me and I showed him the document, it jogged his memory, it reminded him that something had been strange in the decision-making process. And as we were talking he said to me, "you see Philippe normally I would have signed off on this, you would have seen in the bottom left hand corner my signature or my initials. That's not on there", and that, of course, opened the door to further inquiries on my part as to what exactly had happened.
TONY JONES: The chain of command was circumvented then in terms of getting the memo out as an instruction?
PHILIPPE SANDS: Yeah, well I mean I talk about it in the book.
The impression that the administration creates is that this was a bottom-up decision-making process. That basically it all started at Guantanamo with an aggressive major general, he made the request, it went right up to the top and the administration top gun so to speak simply gave effect to what the people on the ground wanted.
The reality is very different. When the documents, firstly the document's initiated right at the top, it was a top down decision-making process, when the documents then made their way back to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff it turned out that Mr Rumsfeld's lawyer intervened and took the documents away from all the service lawyers in the military, to stop them from expressing views on these new techniques of interrogation.
In other words the decision-making process, the normal decision-making process was short circuited, and it went straight to Mr Rumsfeld for approval.
TONY JONES: One of the frightening things about your interview with General Myers, he's the head of the Joint Chiefs, and he seems completely unaware that the interrogation techniques being described by the memo, which he's talked about in but as you say hasn't signed off on, are not in the army field manual. He doesn't even know that these are new techniques.
PHILIPPE SANDS: Well it was frankly a surreal conversation.
I had assumed that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff would be a highly impressive individual. He at one point in our conversation said, "Well, what was wrong with these techniques anyway, they'd been used before, they came out of the US army field manual".
And I expressed some surprise, so we got the document out, we went through them one by one, and when we got to hooding, nudity, dogs, his jaw began to drop and I turned to him and I said, "Would you be happy with these techniques being used on Americans under any circumstances?", and without batting an eyelid he said "no, absolutely not".
TONY JONES: And when you think about these, - hooding, dogs, humiliation, these kind of techniques are the very ones which were exposed in the photographs at Abu Ghraib, that people were so ashamed of and yet apparently it was OK to do them at Guantanamo Bay.
PHILIPPE SANDS: This is, of course, the heart of the whole story. The techniques I have described liaised directly with the terrible photos that came from Abu Ghraib, and, of course, there is a link.
This decision, these decisions at Guantanamo were taken in the autumn of 2002, and the people involved in this that process were then the people who went in August 2003 to Iraq, they visited Abu Ghraib, the rules of interrogation were changed in Baghdad in September 2003.
These very techniques that you've just described were approved for use in Baghdad and in Abu Ghraib, and of course a month later the abuse began.
The US Pentagon Inspector General himself has confirmed that the techniques from Guantanamo migrated. And that's why there's a huge significance to the fact that the decision making to approve these techniques as early as the autumn of 2002 came from the very top. If there were a few bad eggs they weren't on the ground at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, they really were right at the top of the administration.
TONY JONES: This is all unravelling in congressional hearings, you are part of those congressional hearings, how far do you think they'll go in terms of uncovering the details, these chain of command issues, and the top down nature of them?
PHILIPPE SANDS: Well, there's been six different hearings, there's been subpoenas issued to many of the key players.
David Addington, the lawyer, the then lawyer to Dick Cheney, the vice president, and of course Doug Feith himself was subpoenaed because he refused to attend. And a great deal of new information has emerged which is completely consistent with the story that I've told.
I think what's now going to happen is we've gone into election mode in the United States. The House Judiciary Committee, the Senate Judiciary Committee will I think produce initial reports, some of the members of congress have called for the appointment of a special prosecutor. But of course President Bush's Attorney General has declined to do that.
I think it all turns on who the next US president is, and the big issue that i think both Democrats and Republics are going to have to ponder on is what do they do next with the stuff? Do they have a sort of truth and reconciliation commission, or do they have criminal investigations and prosecutions?
They can't do nothing because it's plain that war crimes were committed. And the consequences of various Supreme Court judgements that have found against the administration have made that very clear. So there's a big, big question about what happens next.
TONY JONES: Let's consider those war crimes that you say have been committed. Looking at the techniques that were signed off on by Rumsfeld, which ones of those specifically contravene the Geneva conventions and the convention against torture, which was I think in 1984?
PHILIPPE SANDS: I think the key provision here, I focused on one detainee, detainee 063, Mohamed al Kahtani, alleged to be the 20th hijacker caught in Afghanistan, transported to Guantanamo.
And I focus on his interrogation over seven weeks, And I think it's not the individual techniques, it's the accumulation of techniques over seven weeks. But what President Bush did as early as February 2002 was decide, with the assistance of Doug Feith, that none of the detainees at Guantanamo had any rights under the Geneva Conventions and in particular Common Article 3, which prohibits abusive treatment, which prohibits torture, outrages against human dignity.
Fast forward four years to June 2006, a very important judgment of the US Supreme Court Hamdan v Rumsfeld and the Supreme Court justices ruled that the administration got it wrong, that Common Article 3 did apply at Guantanamo and as a consequence, wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy in one of the separate opinions, but in the majority, the spectre of war crimes is raised.
And that's why three months after that in the autumn of 2006 the administration passed through congress an immunity provision which immunises any person involved with the interrogation processes.
TONY JONES: One of the other extraordinary things that you uncovered is the way in which life imitates art if you cab call the cable TV series '24' art.
Because what we discover is that Jack Bauer, the hero of the series, who is a torturer, to put it mildly, virtually every episode he tortures someone to find out some piece of information from a terrorist, that he is actually a hero of many of the key figures in this story, and that those shows are being beamed into Guantanamo Bay, and that techniques from Jack Bauer were picked up by people in Guantanamo Bay.
PHILIPPE SANDS: Well that's all right but I'm afraid I can't take any credit because I came across this completely accidentally.
I hadn't watched the TV series '24', it's beamed into Britain, one of my kids has seen it, but while I was interviewing Diane Beaver, who was the main lawyer down at Guantanamo, she mentioned to me, she said, "We were watching '24', I wrote in fact on my notes "Becker".
I get back to my hotel room, it doesn't ring any bells, I google search it and it says do you mean '24' Bauer, and I said yes and I then had a series of conversations with Diane Beaver, and she confirmed as she put it that '24' had many friends down at Guantanamo Bay.
And in fact the timing is quite remarkable. The second series of '24' was beamed into Guantanamo on the 29th of October 2002, at the very time they were deliberating on these new techniques and it created as I was told not just by Diane Beaver but by those who opposed these techniques, it's important to know that there were many people down at Guantanamo, many people in the administration, who were were deeply opposed, and in the military, to the techniques, but the program '24' created an environment which essentially said, "these techniques work, abuse works, torture produces reliable information", and that was the context in which I think these decisions were taken in 2002.
TONY JONES: It wasn't only at the lower ends of the scale either, it appears that Jack Bauer had huge fans in the US Supreme Court, and even Michael Chertoff , who's the head of Homeland Security is a Jack Bauer fan, and an avowed one.
PHILIPPE SANDS: No, absolutely, once I had uncovered the Jack Bauer '24' connection, I dug a little bit further and of course what you learn is that there are conventions all around the US on the program '24'.
And even one of the justices Clarence Thomas had attended rather publicly one of these conventions, Michael Chertoff spoke glowingly about the television series, Michael Chertoff, Secretary of Homeland Security, and so you can begin to get a sense, your viewers can get a sense of the sort of environment that is taking place which allows that type of decision making to occur.
TONY JONES: Philippe we are nearly out of time, but of course the Rumsfeld memo wasn't the only torture memo, there was a memo that was used by the CIA to justify torture of 9/11 suspects when they picked them up in different parts of the world, I'm thinking of people like Khalid Sheikh Mohamed, the so-called mastermind at Abu Zubaydah, both of whom were water-boarded and many other things besides, humiliations etc. But these memos all link up together at some point don't they?
PHILIPPE SANDS: They do link up. The memorandum you're referring to is the most infamous of all. It's 1 August 2002, signed by Assistant Attorney General in the Department of Justice Jay Bybee, written in fact by his deputy John Yoo, and which redefines torture.
It basically says that anything short of pain associated with death or organ failure is not torture, and is therefore permissible. The administration's narrative is that that was only used to justify CIA interrogations, they've denied that it influenced the decision making at Guantanamo Bay, what I've established in the book is that is not accurate and that Mr Haynes, who was Rumsfeld's lawyer signed off on the new techniques of interrogation, he had knowledge of that legal opinion, and it, in fact, framed the decision-making process. it's probably the most shocking legal opinion I have ever seen.
TONY JONES: Phillipe Sands so much more to talk about, and we'll have to do that in the future as this case unfolds and your involvement in it as well, in the Senate hearings, but we thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us tonight.
PHILIPPE SANDS: Thank you for focusing on this important subject.
(David Palmer "24" on Fox)
(barack obama)Creative influencesImmediately prior to 24, series co-creators Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran executive-produced La Femme Nikita for its entire five-year run on USA Network. Both series deal with anti-terrorist operations, and the lead characters of both series are placed in situations where they must make a tragic choice in order to serve the greater good. As a result, the on- and off-screen creative connections between 24 and La Femme Nikita are highly pronounced. Numerous actors from La Femme Nikita have portrayed similar roles on 24, a number of story concepts from La Femme Nikita have been revisited on 24, and many of the creative personnel from La Femme Nikita currently work (or have worked) on 24 in the same capacity.
In addition, 24 borrows some aspects of the 1997 film Air Force One, namely the plane itself and the use of the 25th amendment. In Seasons 2, 4 and 6, Air Force One can be seen (Although in Season 6 it is actually Air Force Two, as it is the Vice President on board.) and the series reused the same set as the one featured in the movie. Additionally, four actors featured on 24—Xander Berkeley, Glenn Morshower, Wendy Crewson and Spencer Garrett—played roles in Air Force One.Dead drop.
A dead drop or dead letter box, is a location used to secretly pass items between two people, without requiring them to meet.
Spies have been known to use dead drops, using various techniques to hide items (such as money, secrets or instructions) and to signal that the drop has been made.
The system involves using signals and locations which have been agreed in advance. These signals and locations must be common everyday things to which most people would not give a second glance. The signal may or may not be located close to the dead drop itself.
The location of the dead drop could be a loose brick in a wall, a library book, a hole in a tree, or under a boulder etc. It should be something common and from which the items can be picked up without the operatives being seen by a member of the public or the security forces who may be watching.
The signaling devices can include a chalk mark on a wall, a piece of chewing-gum on a lamppost, a newspaper left on a park bench etc. Alternatively, the signal can be made from inside the agent's own home e.g. hanging a distinctively colored towel from a balcony, or placing a potted plant on a window sill where it can be seen by anyone driving down the street.
Aldrich Ames left chalk marks on a mail box located at 37th and R Streets NW in Washington, DC to signal his Russian handlers that he had made a dead drop. The number of marks on the box prompted some local residents to speculate, somewhat jokingly, that it was used by spies.
The dead drop is often used as a cut-out device. In this use the operatives who use the device to communicate or exchange materials or information do not know one another and should never see one another. While this type of device is useful in preventing the roll up of an entire espionage network it is not foolproof. If the lower level operative is compromised he or she may reveal the location of and signal for the use of the dead drop. Then the counter espionage agents simply use the signal to indicate that the dead drop is ready for pickup. They then keep the spot under continuous surveillance until it is picked up. They can then capture the operative who picked up the material from the dead drop.
Dead drop spike
The dead drop spike is a concealment device similar to a microcache which has been used since the late 1960s to hide money, maps, documents, microfilm, and other items. The spike is waterproof and mildew-proof and can be shoved into the ground or placed in a shallow stream to be retrieved at a later time.
Modern dead drop techniques
On January 23, 2006, the Russian FSB accused Britain of using wireless dead drops concealed inside hollowed-out rocks to collect espionage information from agents in Russia. According to the Russian authorities, the agent delivering information would approach the rock and transmit data wirelessly into it from a hand-held device, and later his British handlers would pick up the stored data by similar means.
Other Dead Drops.
The west wing
La' Fem Nakita
A Few Good man
Enemy of the state