How U.S. Intelligence Subverted Orwell's Masterpiece
And Other Tales From The Wars of the DoD
"All tyrannies rule through fraud and force, but once the fraud is exposed they must rely exclusively on force." -George Orwell
Other Wars of the DoD articles can be found here.
I wasn't planning on finishing this article, yet, and finishing it now means moving some pieces to future articles, but I was inspired by a combination of RTE's recent discussion of Mattias Desmet's The Psychology of Totalitarianism and Toby Roger's thoughts on who "they" might be. Toby, in the comments,
When the Khmer Rouge overthrew the government of Cambodia in 1975, one of the great mysteries was figuring out who was actually running the show. Officially the leadership called itself “Angkar” — “The Organization.” But no one knew who was in it. Two years after taking power, Pol Pot finally revealed the existence of the Communist Party of Kampuchea and his role in leading it. It feels like we are dealing with a modern global equivalent of Angkar today -- a sort of high tech Khmer Rouge that kills through public health rather than overwork.
Most people have a hard time with the phrase "military-entertainment complex". They are conscripted by it into participation of immersing one another in the denial of its existence.
Cartooning the Story
"The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history." -George Orwell
In August 1945, the English author working under the pen name of George Orwell published Animal Farm, one of several scathing critiques of totalitarianism he would produce over the course of his years. If totalitarianism exists, and it does, you would expect for such a book to be highly threatening to those who see themselves as totalitarians.
Well, maybe, but the Soviets did not exactly have much of a say in Orwell's work.
Certainly Orwell critiqued the Soviets, but he named the main protagonist (pig) Napoleon in English versions of his novel, and César in some versions published in other languages (French in particular). The former is clearly a nod to French general Napoleon Bonaparte. But the latter is a reference to Roman dictator Gaius Julius Caesar. The common thread was (Western) generals who bullied their way into control over their nation in disarray, then ruled as Emperors through force of fear projected down a hierarchy that would then go to all economical lengths to justify their actions. Orwell felt disgust over the British alliance with the Soviets, and perhaps had some sense or direct knowledge of the West's invisible control over the establishment of the Communist State. Orwell certainly included the West in his critique of totalitarianism as became more clear in later novel, 1984.
It is a clever historical detail that the idea of the "Napoleon complex" came to mean "a short man's insecurity", though Napoleon was a man of average height whose fits of rage were notoriously pathogenic.
What does this have to do with cartoons?
I'm always glad you're here to keep me on task, mysterious voice…
In the final pages of Animal Farm, many of the animals who were around during the revolution had perished, and few animals had memories good enough to recall the farm's history since. Napoleon then abolishes the name "Animal Farm", proclaiming that "Manor Farm" had always been its name. The animals cheered heartily as their history was erased. Then, as they went about their business, a fight broke out between Napoleon and the neighboring "gentleman" farmer over a poker game. Somebody had cheated, but the animals could no longer distinguish between the pig and the man.
In 1954, the CIA secretly funded a cartoon version of Orwell's Animal Farm. Leveraging his contacts in Hollywood, Howard Hunt, better known as one of the Watergate "plumbers", ran the operation. The script of the cartoon was changed multiple times. The ending in particular was changed in a way that excluded the humans playing poker with the pigs, inciting conflict not decipherable by the animals who were listless and confused. Instead, the other animals were mentally competent to overthrow the pigs:
…To meet the CIA's objectives, the ending was changed to show that only the pigs had become totally corrupt. The film ends with other animals mounting a successful revolt against their rulers. There is no mention of the humans in the film's conclusion.
Vivien recalls, "The changes came about as the film evolved. There were at least nine versions of the script and heated discussions about the end. My mother especially felt it was wrong to change the ending." She has a tape recording of her father saying that the ending they used offers a glimmer of hope for the future. In an interview on British television in 1980, he defended the ending as being necessary to give the audience hope for the future. "You can not send home millions in the audience being puzzled."
While the film was in production, Fredric Warburg, the book's publisher, visited the studio several times and viewed the work-in-progress. Saunders thinks he may have suggested that old Major, "the prophet of the Revolution, should be given the voice and appearance of Winston Churchill". More importantly, she reveals earlier in her book that Warburg had dealings with the British intelligence group MI6. He fronted for them by taking their cheques, depositing them and then writing personal checks that he gave to Encounter, an anti-communist liberal literary publication. He may or may not have been a "consultant", helping to ensure that the film would be a successful propaganda tool.
But this change misses the point: which is that the danger of totalitarianism is that it becomes a cycle of invisible misery that perpetuates itself once it gets going.
Howard Beckerman (animator and author of Animation, the Complete Story) comments: "Halas and Batchelor had to compete in the world market with Disney, so a few cartoon gags were introduced into the film to lighten its heaviness, and I believe that whatever the CIA's influence might have been, the choice for an upbeat ending came out of the animator's wish to succeed with the audience. There were movies of the period like the live film, My Son John (1952), which attacked the menace of communism head-on in a contrived and obvious fashion, so I guess anything is possible. If Orwell had lived longer, I suspect he would have vetoed any effort to translate his work into such a film."
Of course he would have! So, ask the interesting question: who would want for the ending to be changed to blot out Orwell's warning of a totalitarian feedback loop?
The answer is obvious: people who intend to keep the public confused about totalitarianism—the totalitarians themselves.
Communist Totalitarianism (More Stick, Less Carrot): Brutality generating fear passed through a hierarchy that feeds off the strength at each level down until all are too traumatized to distinguish truth from lies. Even when the stick gets removed, it usually takes generations to recover.
Western Totalitarianism (Carrot-Stick Equilibrium): The public is conditioned to smile through a series of minor but exceedingly frequent PTSD-inducing abuses for thirteen years before graduating into an adulthood of constant stimulation through entertainment and drugs that sedate them into submission until all are too traumatized to distinguish truth from lies. Nobody yet knows what it looks like when the sugar-dollar dies, or the Pharmafia murders the useless eaters.
And, of course, the grass does look greener on this side of the totalitarian fence. I won't lie—I have no interest in swapping places. Even when we do economics wrong—they cannot do it right [without abandoning communism]. The stronger currency wins nearly all wars. And, when you win the war, you have the opportunity to leverage your reserve currency to siphon away wealth from around the world. This allows you to keep your animals happy and dumb (and incapable of making change at the management level) using any and all opiates for the masses that might be available with all that excess wealth—even including opioids. There is a behavioral science (or three) to all of this.
So, the most dangerous propaganda is not that which speaks truth to power from a safe distance. It's that which ingratiates the masses while masquerading as speaking truth to power—and in a way that cuts off the feedback processes of people who might think that they need to study the problem themselves, then engineer solutions themselves. Professor Samantha Senn quipped, "All propaganda is dangerous, but some are more dangerous than others." And it would be dangerous indeed to assume that Orwell saw totalitarianism as a uniquely Soviet phenomenon that would perish with the collapse of the communist locus.
It would be far more dangerous for you to think that totalitarianism was somebody else's problem, some other place, some other time, but not yours and not here and now.
The DoD as Psychological Warfare Juggernaut
"All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting." -George Orwell
While we were talking about the CIA making cartoons, understand that it's the far-better-funded intelligence arm of the DoD that handles the military entertainment complex, working closely with Hollywood, including cartoonists. It was intelligence agents in the U.S. military who called the shots on the ending of the Animal Farm cartoon, and even handled the change in production in house. The directing and production of all forms of film has become so common with the DoD that word of the military's relationships with Hollywood and Disney has leaked out to the public over the years. From the CBC:
Historians and other academics point out that arrangement was the beginning of a uniquely American mission that continues even now. Relationships forged between U.S. government agencies and Hollywood during the Second World War and Cold War shaped how stories about the military are still being told.
"Many of [Hollywood's] films are embedded in the American military. And made to glorify the American military," Mirrlees said. "No country in the world churns out as many images of itself as the military hero… like the United States does. That is a unique cultural phenomenon."
The practice would be unconstitutional if script writers weren't in the difficult position of signing over rights to editorializing their work, though it is unclear how often the writers know of the relationships between the studios and the DoD ahead of time when they sign their first contract. Does anyone think their lawyer would tell them (if they had one)?
Manipulation of the film industry is only one aspect of the DoD's advanced psychology warfare programs. The popular alt media outlet ZeroHedge recently dropped one of the most important articles to ever be mixed in among its news aggregator. If you've lived a comfortable, sanguine life in America, you may not want to read it.
Ultimately, the article serves as a compelling advertisement for John Whitehead's new book, Battlefield America that describes the totalitarian and deadly battlezone that the United States has become. As we have learned during the pandemic, the Nudge Units reach into the realm of social media influencers and likely target a large portion of the new alt-media as audiences turn away from the forceful stream of lies spewing out of the rotting corpse that is the legacy mass media.
Anything We Touch is a Weapon
"The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting." -Sun Tzu
Behold a recent recruiting video pushed out of one of the military's several psyop groups (POGs).
I admit to having rewatched this at least a dozen times now. It's a disturbing reminder of my childhood, which involved one of the DoD's research programs into mind control.
If you haven't seen the POG recruiting video (the only one on its YouTube channel), which is likely, that's because you're not part of the target audience. Or maybe you're caught in the Labyrinth with the other Matrixians. The chopping up of mass media into siloed "alt" media means that we each see what we're meant to see unless we seek beyond our reach.
You read that correctly: fake news pioneered by the military.
In the Army Times,
The recruiting video, which was published by 4th Psychological Operations Group and caught the attention of warfare futurists, gives off a slightly creepy, surreal vibe. Its message: join Army PSYOPS to find, manipulate and become the ghost puppeteer pulling the world’s strings, especially those of hot-button national security threats like the Chinese and Russian governments.
Please now, tell me how wrong my theories are about China or "the slap" (much more to come on those topics, should I ever have the time). Who writes the script that bridges the gap between culture enforcing/enforced rape and the public projection of "tactical bras"?
If actors play Congressional agents in order to shift key players into place to manage border defense resources, might it not make sense that the military directs that mission, also?
Come to think of it, who managed the campaign of disinformation that drowned out my DMED analysis?
Is it a coincidence that the recent "first ever trans officer is a spy" story emerges from Fort Bragg, home of two of the four POGs?
Aside from the dead eyes, she's cute, and probably had a lot of options for family-making who don't suffer from gender-dysphoria…or who work within a three-hour drive from Rockville, Maryland.
Is this even real?
I don't know! I couldn't even tell you if Tiffany Dover is still alive. There's too much propaganda to sort through—and that's partially why it's effective.
Does the fact that it comes out of the propaganda center of the universe while casting a negative light on Russia shift your conditional priors?
But it just doesn't make sense!
Sure, it does. If the idea of such next-level (actually current generation) propaganda shocks you, you're just not paying attention to all the signs—probably because you're predictably busy raising and providing for your family, as is only reasonable and natural. You probably weren't aware that the Anonymous hacking collective was largely overwhelmed as a movement by some sort of government agency through a YouTube channel (that those of us who took on Scientology cannot post to, ahem) and that much of the content now focuses on Sino-US political propaganda films and UFO conspiracy flicks, which are a popular trope run out of military intelligence. Also, who do you really think has the production chops to manage QAnon?
You are intentionally given frequent glimpses of the CIA's involvement in traditional news media, but it's a Fort Bragg POG that descends on the newsrooms to organize the portrayal of each new global conflict, and it's been that way for decades:
Reports in the Dutch newspaper Trouw (2/21/00, 2/25/00) and France’s Intelligence Newsletter (2/17/00) have revealed that several officers from the US Army’s 4th Psychological Operations (PSYOPS) Group at Ft. Bragg worked in the news division at CNN’s Atlanta headquarters last year, starting in the final days of the Kosovo War.
The story is disturbing. In the 1980s, officers from the 4th Army PSYOPS group staffed the National Security Council’s Office of Public Diplomacy (OPD), a shadowy government propaganda agency that planted stories in the U.S. media supporting the Reagan Administration’s Central America policies.
A senior US official described OPD as a “vast psychological warfare operation of the kind the military conducts to influence a population in enemy territory.” (Miami Herald, 7/19/87) An investigation by the congressional General Accounting Office found that OPD had engaged in “prohibited, covert propaganda activities,” and the office was soon shut down as a result of the Iran-Contra investigations. But the 4th PSYOPS group still operates.
CNN has always maintained a close relationship with the Pentagon. Getting access to top military officials is a necessity for a network that stakes its reputation on being first on the ground during wars and other military operations.
It takes less operational capability than one might imagine to leverage a large portion of the world's media. From the Swiss Policy Research group:
It is one of the most important aspects of our media system, and yet hardly known to the public: most of the international news coverage in Western media is provided by only three global news agencies based in New York, London and Paris.
The key role played by these agencies means Western media often report on the same topics, even using the same wording. In addition, governments, military and intelligence services use these global news agencies as multipliers to spread their messages around the world.
A study of the Syria war coverage by nine leading European newspapers clearly illustrates these issues: 78% of all articles were based in whole or in part on agency reports, yet 0% on investigative research. Moreover, 82% of all opinion pieces and interviews were in favor of a US and NATO intervention, while propaganda was attributed exclusively to the opposite side.
CNN in particular helped Commander of the First Earth Battalion Jim Channon create a cartoon called Captain Planet to feed children political messages that…might have been harder to deliver through schools and parents.
I plan to write much more about that another time, but in conversation with Jessica Rose I discovered that Canada had its very own version, Captain Newfoundland, that looks in all ways carved from the same template.
The many POG operations are casually classified as "white, grey, or black" even among military vets. And it's often those guys who, after leaving the military, become the world's most vocal conspiracy theorists. Because they know.
If at this point, you're wondering what's real and what isn't, that just means you've glimpsed a glitch in the Matrix. Then again, you're probably here because it's not the first time.
To be continued (in many future articles)...
Yet again some wonderful stuff from Matthew, and I wonder in mild awe where he finds the time to write it all, and when and where it was that he acquired the knowledge behind it.
Normally, specialization in any particular field of endeavor will, over time maneuver a person to see the world in a manner common among his or her peers. Exceptions and degrees, of course ; but it's a rare bird that comes to discern the distortions and the hidden hands everywhere without becoming reductionist and cynical.
It's that same rare bird, by the way, that The Machine is learning the buttons of, right now. Lesser fowl are already in the box.
Thank you Mathew for helping us see where we are.