My wife -- whose father is a TV director who'd worked for the BBC -- learned as a little girl that the British spy agency MI5 secretly vetted people who applied for work at the BBC and denoted possible subversives by putting a doodle of a Christmas tree on their personnel files; people who were thus blacklisted were discriminated against within the Beeb.
Read the rest “The BBC finally admits that MI5 secretly vetted its employees, an open secret for generations”
Director Frank Capra said "It's a Wonderful Life" was designed to "strengthen the individual’s belief in himself" and "to combat a modern trend toward atheism." But the FBI's 13,533-page Communist Infiltration of the Motion Picture Industry classed the movie as a secret work of Communist propaganda, "written by Communist sympathizers...to instigate class warfare" and "demonize bankers."
Read the rest “Ayn Rand supercharged the anti-Communist witch-hunt in Hollywood, in which the FBI classified "It's a Wonderful Life" as secret Communist propaganda”
Oklahoma Senator James Lankford (@SenatorLankford; (405) 231-4941) sounded the alarm about Russian trolls spreading discord about NFL athletes kneeling for the national anthem, citing as evidence a Twitter account called "Boston Antifa" whose "location" field had been filled in "Vladivostok, Russia." Read the rest “Republican Senator caught making up fake news about fake news doubles down”
Fundamentalist cartoonist Jack Chick wrote to J. Edgar Hoover in 1971 seeking the FBI's help with his bizarre religious comics. Today we publish that correspondence in its entirety for the first time, after obtaining it through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Now that Trump's elected, those to whom debts are owed can start fucking with him. Took it all of a day for one to get started!
Russia said it was in contact with President-elect Donald Trump’s team during the U.S. election campaign, despite repeated denials by the Republican candidate’s advisers that any links existed. “There were contacts” before the election, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Thursday, according to the Interfax news service. “We continue this work of course,” he said, without giving details of what the contacts were.
Bonus points to Ryabkov for the ostentatious ambiguity. It's like something from a 1970s Hollywood movie about a secret technology that makes Americans scared of radio waves in the 650nm range: “We continue this work of course.”
In The Guardian, a "pro-Kremlin political analyst" quoted as saying "maybe we helped a bit with WikiLeaks" is getting a lot of play, too. This fits the pre-election suspicions of U.S. intelligence, but that job title means he's just a blogger/pundit type. Read the rest “Russia reveals that it "was in contact" with Trump's campaign during race”
After the #trumpwon hashtag topped the Twitter trending charts -- something Trump gleefully noted, saying it proved he'd won the initial debate with Hillary Clinton -- @DustinGiebel's claim that the trend had originated in St Peterburg, Russia (along with an accompanying map, supposedly from Trendsmap) went viral, with more than 15,000 retweets. Read the rest “Where the #trumpwon trend came from (not Russia)”
In the great tradition of political heroes, Martin Luther King's legacy has been sanitized and purged of its most radical and urgent notions, watered down to a kind of meek pacifism that omits his beliefs in radical political change as a necessary condition of attaining real justice. Read the rest “Martin Luther King, socialist: "capitalism has outlived its usefulness"”
Muckrock has secured the FBI's files on Epcot Center, revealing the panicked thrash that the prospect of a semi-circle of international pavilions around a toy artificial lake set off in Cold War atmosphere of 1981. Read the rest “Worried about Chinese spies, the FBI freaked out about Epcot Center”
Michael from Muckrock sez, "A Hungarian born in the early 20th century, Paul Erdős, mathematician, was well-known and well-liked, the sort of eccentric scientist from the Soviet sphere that made Feds' ears perk up in mid-century America." Read the rest “Paul Erdős's FBI file”
America's trains suck on purpose: "Ride a fast train to Washington today and you’ll start thinking about national health insurance tomorrow." Read the rest “America's terrible trains are an ideological triumph”
Helen Keller's activism on behalf of people with disabilities was rooted in her radical socialism, which held that the problems of the most vulnerable in society were the fault of capitalism, not genetics or industrial accidents. Read the rest “Helen Keller, feminist, radical socialist, anti-racist activist and civil libertarian”
Michael from Muckrock sez, "Few American officials could even come close to the legendary paranoia of J. Edgar Hoover, but that didn't stop the notorious FBI chief from striking up a close friendship with Samuel Dickstein, House Committee on Un-American Activities founder, Supreme Court Justice -- and suspected Russian spy." Read the rest “J. Edgar Hoover palled around with a suspected commie spy”
In honor of Pete Seeger's passing today, please take a moment to read his testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee, which is a cross between a witch-hunt and a Marx Brothers' routine. It is inspired and inspiring. Goodbye, Mr Seeger. Read the rest “Truth to power: Pete Seeger vs HUAC”
Egor Egorov visited Berlin's Stasi Museum and extensively photographed its collection of spy-gadgets from the Cold War (like the squeeze-bulb-operated jacket-button camera above). They're great photos, and at an impressively high resolution. Read the rest “Spy-gadget photos from Berlin's Stasi museum”
UK Prime Minister David Cameron (and his thin-skinned, slandering advisor Claire Perry) have been cynically appealing to the Tory's reactionary base by promising to purge the British Internet of porn with a Chinese style, opt-out Great Firewall. Cameron has held out the UK ISP TalkTalk as a paragon in this regard, praising its "Homesafe" blocking product.
Now the BBC reports that Homesafe was built by Huawei, the Chinese IT giant Huawei, founded by Ren Zhengfei, a former officer in China's People's Liberation Army. Huawei has been characterized by senior Western spooks as an arm of the Chinese intelligence service, conducting industrial espionage on its behalf.
A poorly understood feature of censorship software is that it is also surveillance software. In order to stop you from clicking on "bad" things, it must intercept all of your clicks and examine them to make sure they're not on the blacklist. Read the rest “David Cameron's favourite censorware is built and maintained by Huawei”
Retronaut has collected a huge gallery of posters from both sides of the Spanish Civil War that come from the Biblioteca Nacional de España site.
Posters from the Spanish Civil War Read the rest “Spanish civil war posters”