They Live 1988, CIA Operation Mockingbird and the Information Battlespace
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” – Ephesians 6:12 KJV Bible
By Maria Santana
In John Carpenter’s film ‘They Live’ viewers are introduced to the hero of the film named Nada. Nada, played by Roddy Piper, was an unemployed and homeless drifter who went through life as though it had no purpose. This was clear in the beginning of the film when an employment agency could not help him find a job. That was changed when he found a unionized construction job. While there he met Frank, played by Keith David, who brought him into a shantytown to stay in. The residents of the shantytown had access to television but continuously experienced disruption.
Out of curiosity Nada went inside a church where he learned that it was used to deter suspicion from law enforcement. The people there were actually responsible for the interruption of the television broadcasts. Nada witnessed its destruction the night before and saw law enforcement attacking people especially those that were in the tv broadcasts warning about the people who ‘enslave us’. That all changed until he found a pair of sunglasses in the church. Once he put them on, they exposed the subliminal messages behind advertisements on magazines, billboards, newspapers, and even currency. The messages would actually state: obey, consume, reproduce and conform. Nada saw the world for what it really was. Aliens had infiltrated society and had enslaved the minds of humans through consumerism, greed, individualism with the use of media and propaganda. These aliens received help from human beings who sought money and power in exchange.
When Carpenter discussed They Live in interviews, it was meant to be his most politically charged film of all time. As he stated in interviews in 1988, it was a critique of the United States under President Ronald Reagan. There was massive unemployment, high crime, police brutality, and inequality all of which were portrayed in the film. The 1980s featured a new class of young and wealthy people called yuppies. Reaganomics or trickle-down theory, is an economic policy associated with the reduction of taxes promotion of the free market and mass consumerism. It was a time where the country had adopted a very aggressive capitalist approach to its economic policies. Though the intent of this article is not to change Carpenter’s meaning, in the state of our present world the movie has taken on a new meaning.
Of all of the memorable scenes in this movie, the most meaningful one is the ending. Set in the fictional TV station of Cable 54, the transmitter on the roof ended up being destroyed by Nada. It had to be in order for the world to see that the mainstream media was presenting nothing but lies and distractions to hide the fact the world was under ‘alien’ control. Nada and the other heroes of the film, sacrificed their lives. Again it may have been fictional, that last scene can be considered a warning for anyone who would dare go against the narrative.
The dire situation of They Live, in regards to their deceitful mainstream media, is not unique for the United States. In that it has had an extensive and controlled press history dating back to the colonial period. However, it had gone through many changes most during the 20th century with the ways it presented war propaganda because of major military conflicts. The media spreads lies, half truths and propaganda published and aired by media outlets to justify wars, invasions, and meddling in foreign affairs. Technology had evolved tremendously over the past century where information has gone from being available in print, radio, television to the internet making it easily accessibly with our fingertips. These advancements have played a role in how propaganda is presented to us and how news stories are meant to distract or mislead the masses.
The aliens in They Live represent the powers that control the world where some of these are behind the mainstream media. The media and its propaganda are controlled by big corporation that influence the media. But that control is unmatched when compared to the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA had been controlling information in American and foreign soil with Operation: Mockingbird.
The article aims to historicize the battle of information in the United States as featured in They Live. This is important because Hollywood films to spread subliminal messages through entertainment. In the scene leading toward the end, Nada and Frank walked in on a meeting of the elites with their future plans on the human race. This was very much like the wealthy and powerful who engage in their exclusive meetings discussing their pressing issues of our time like climate change, overpopulation, world hunger and the like. As viewers saw the role of the mainstream media in the film, many of the people either believing everything it tells them or willingly distracting themselves. While big corporation controls much of the media, they do not have greater influence than the CIA’s Operation: Mockingbird. Before discussing Mockingbird, we will learn about key figures who were influential in the information battlespace before technological advancement.
Firstly, we will start with Freudian psychoanalysis of human beings and its weaponization by his nephew, Edward Bernays. His method of ideological subversion, a process in which you radically change the perceived reality of a nation that takes decades to happen. It contains four other sub processes that will be elaborated on in the article. Mockingbird matters because it was implemented during the height of the Cold War to lie to Americans and justify foreign wars and spread misinformation. Many personalities in Hollywood, academia and the mainstream media have served as a voice box of the CIA through bribes and threats. Even major social media platforms and blogs are implementing Mockingbird tactics today especially in the months leading to the 2016 presidential election.
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Human Nature According to Freud, Bernays, and Propaganda
Sigmund Freud was born in the Austrian Empire to a Jewish family in the middle of the 19th century. Considered to be the father of psychoanalysis, Freud had conducted many human experiments where he deemed humans as being the most ferocious. To be clear, Freud’s ‘discoveries’ were nothing new and had been studied and documented by other social scientists. They were the most primitive sexual forces with power to cause chaos and destroy governments. The destruction of human life, use of chemical and biological warfare, dissolution of empires has proved this theory during World War I.
Meanwhile in the United States, Freud’s nephew Edward Bernays used his uncle’s knowledge for power. Bernays is heralded as the father of public relations in the United States. After World War I, Bernays was contracted to work for President Woodrow Wilson to cause public support for war propaganda. Wilson wanted to make the world ‘safe for democracy’ or Wilsonian Idealism to validate American meddling in foreign affairs. The term propaganda presented itself as an issue for Bernays. During the 1920s and 1930s, Germany saw the rise of Adolf Hitler and Nazism with their successful use of propaganda. Bernays considered propaganda a tainted term. Nonetheless, Bernays published his book in 1928 that states ‘propaganda is the executive arm of the invisible government’. While Bernays considered propaganda for war purposes, he considered public relations for peace.
Bernays and his propaganda was even used by business owners in order to capitalize on wealth. His talent of creating advertisements in order to inspire consumers to buy out of want and not need was used by the American Tobacco Company on targeting women. This 1929 campaign referred to cigarettes as ‘torches of freedom’ and were a phallic symbol. It would make sense that women would buy cigarettes since they had earned their right to vote in 1920 famous advertising campaigns by Bernays include the creation of the American breakfast bacon and egg, Betty Crocker instant bake mix and Ivory soap. Not only was Bernays good for consumerism but also for propaganda abroad for example Guatemalan coup d’etat, CIA Operation: PBSUCCESS in 1954.
Some people are familiar with critical theory or cultural Marxism but ideological subversion is the same thing. Former KGB Agent Yuri Bezmenov had been interviewed after he fled to the West during the Cold War period. According to Bezmenov, ideological subversion began in the United States during the 1920s. It may not make sense because the Cold War did not officially begin until after 1945. It could have been in retaliation for American involvement during the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 and their support of the whites. Whatever the reason was, the aim of this was to destroy America from within starting by attacking culture.
Bezmenov has stated that the KGB did very little spying but spent ‘the other 85 percent is a slow process, which we call either ideological subversion, or active measures, or psychological warfare.’ The four stages are to: demoralize, destabilization, crisis and normalization.
“The goal of this process is to change the perception of reality of every American to such an extent that despite the abundance of information, no one is able to come to a sensible conclusion in the interests of defending themselves, their families, their communities, and their country,” . Bezmenov worked for Novosti press agency and was a front for the KGB.
“It takes 10-15 years to demoralize a nation,” he says. “Why that many years? Because this is the minimum number of years it requires to educate one generation of students in the country.”
Bezmenov said Marxist-Leninist ideology was pumped into the soft heads of at least three generations of American students without being challenged or counter-balanced by the basic values of Americanism and American patriotism. “The result? The result you can see: Most of the people who graduated in the ’60s—dropouts and half-baked intellectuals—are now occupying positions of power in the government, civil service, business, mass media, [and] the education system,” said Bezmenov, who was an expert of Soviet propaganda.
“You are stuck with them. You cannot get rid of them. They are contaminated. They are programmed to think and react to certain stimuli in a certain patterns,” he said.
“You cannot change their mind even if you expose them to authentic information, even if you prove white is white and black is black you cannot change their basic perception and their logic of behavior. In other words, [with] these people, the process of demoralization is complete and irreversible,” he said.
But if a Marxist-Leninist regime did end up coming to power, Bezmenov said these American leftists and idealists would be marked for execution because once they realize the reality of a brutal Soviet socialist system, they would rebel.
“[A] Marxist-Lennist regime doesn’t tolerate those people. In a Marxist-Leninist state, there will be no place for dissent,” he says adding that left leaning people such as Jane Fonda would be crushed like cockroaches.
Bezmenov said that the demoralization process in America was completed and was a success, to such an extent that it would have surprised the top echelons of the then leaders of the KGB. What’s more, it is being done (at that stage during 1980s) by Americans on Americans because of a lack of moral standards in society.
“A person who has been demoralized is unable to accept true information; the facts tell nothing to him,” Bezmenov said. He added that these individuals only realize the truth about a Soviet socialist state when they’re in a gulag and having their balls crushed by a military boot.
The second stage is to subvert the economy, the defense systems, and the foreign policy, which he said was rife with Marxist-Leninist ideology. The third stage is when crisis is brought upon society.
“This’ll happen when all the schmucks promise all the goodies and to bring paradise to the Earth. To destabilize your economy, to eliminate the principle of free market competition and put in a big government in Washington, D.C. with a benevolent dictator who’ll promise a lot of things. Never mind if those promises are fulfilled or not,” he said.
This, Bezmenov said, would finally create a violent crisis that would result in the overthrow of the government and society. The fourth stage of the Soviet plans was then “normalization,” where a socialist dictatorship rules supreme and tolerates no dissent.
There is a lot more to ideological subversion and in the YouTube link provided below, Yuri Bezmenov is interviewed and discusses this in greater depth.
The Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency or the CIA, was established July 26, when President Harry Truman signed the National Security Act in 1947 into law. Following WWII, the creation of the agency was to counter tensions against the Soviet Union. The U.S. was in need of having an intelligence agency that gathered foreign information and analysis.
During World War II, FDR pushed for the creation of an intelligence agency modeled after MI6, a British Intelligence Agency leading to the creation of the Office of Strategic Services or OSS through an executive order. These tasks by OSS were divided by the Department of State and The Department of War that no longer exists. When OSS was established, it was because of America’s failure in intercepting the Pearl Harbor military attack. It was headed by General William J. Donovan, a World War I veteran and lawyer based in New York. Wild Bill, as he was called, was very strategic during the war effort in that he used intelligence to stop attacks and aided resistance fighters in Axis occupied countries.
When the CIA was founded, the FBI, the Department of State and the United States Postal Service were strongly opposed because those agencies wanted to fulfill those tasks. The functions of the CIA, according to their website today, says that it deals with counterterrorism, non-proliferation of nuclear and weapons of mass destruction. It warns and informs American leaders of important overseas events, counterintelligence, and cyber intelligence. Given all of these functions of the CIA, why so much need to control and influence the American masses in the name of spreading war propaganda?
Mockingbird looked as though it was pulled out of Bernays’s book and elements of ideological subversion. This CIA operation was considered a conspiracy theory until a 1975 Congressional hearing proved otherwise. The Church Committee or the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations With Respect to Intelligence Activities that sought to investigate the abuses of the CIA, National Security Agency or NSA and the FBI. The Committee was named after Senator Frank Church, Idaho (D). It began in 1973 when the Watergate Committee, which aimed at investigating the break-in that led to Nixon’s impeachment. Senator Ervin during his investigation of Watergate uncovered more information where he saw that the executive branch allowed intelligence agencies to use tactics that would have been considered unconstitutional. There was a 1974 New York Times article by Pulitzer Prize winner Seymour Hersh that claimed the CIA was spying on anti-war protestors for about a decade that violated CIA charter leading to a governmental query. All of that was exposed in CIA documents called the Family Jewels that reveal more information including assassination attempts against foreign leaders.
The director of the program Thomas Braden, a journalist admitted all of this when it started. The CIA had over 100 people around the world providing intelligence and tried to influence popular opinion. These people had access to publications, book editorials, radio, and other foreign outlets. After the revelations of the Church committee, Rolling Stone magazine wrote an article naming people who worked in Mockingbird. People from the NY Times, Newsweek, NY Daily News, Miami Herald, and other major media outlets served as government mouthpieces sometimes paid by bribes or through threats. There is a possibility of many of those that are involved in the media that may be CIA operatives today. The revelations of the Church Committee would mean that journalists, tv or radio hosts, publishers have to be more secretive.
The CIA was and still is very influential with the press. Before the revelations of the 1970s, President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963 had CIA agents worked around the clock to change the official story. Witnesses of the event were asked to change their stories so it fit the narrative the CIA was trying to push. It was with the hopes of having Lee Harvey Oswalt blamed for Kennedy’s death. Anyone who dared ask and try to go against the official story was considered an enemy of the state and labeled a conspiracy theorist. The CIA coined this term to immediately dismiss anyone who would go against the official JFK assassination story still true today.
During the Iraqi conflict in 2013, the U.S. military secretly paid Iraqi newspapers to publish stories written by American soldiers claiming to have backed the American invasion. The US media continuously fueled the warmongering propaganda with the infamous weapons of mass destruction. Many of the analysts that have been featured in major news outlets covering the Iraqi war were paid by the Pentagon. This was to make the Bush Administration look appealing to the masses according to a 2008 report. In April 2000, the United States Army Psychological Operations group secretly infiltrated CNN and NPR as interns. NPR admitted this in 1998 and 1999. This had been reported by the European press.
CNN reporter Anderson Cooper host of 360, had interned for two summers with the CIA. This information was released over two decades after the fact. According to Cooper, after these revelations were publicized, he wrote on his CNN blog that he had disclosed this with his employers over the years and lost interest in working for the agency. While all of this information is out there, Cooper does not have the credentials to be a journalist. Yet he may have attained his position because he is a Vanderbilt. Nepotism. Another CIA operative was second-wave feminist Gloria Steinem. Famous for her infiltration of Hugh Hefner’s Playboy mansion, she eventually ended up establishing Ms. Magazine, a front publication for the CIA. If these two well-known public figures show anything it is that although the Cold War ended in 1991, Mockingbird is alive and well. Not to mention their participation in ideological subversion. Were they like others willing victims or threatened?
Mockingbird even exists non major social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube. Many users who had any posts that were deemed offensive, for instance, a politically charged post that is right of center were targeted. These accounts would be suspended for any amount of time for violating ‘community guidelines’ or banned permanently. Twitter is more notorious for this although its founder Jack Dorsey and the platform serves to censor and thought police anything that deviates from the general narrative. Many of the comment sections from websites and their publications have been targeted for Mockingbird type control. Recently YouTube, owned by Google that is owned by ALPHABET, inc., has a notification above the comment section of all videos stating ‘remember to keep comments respectful and to follow our community guidelines’. This is of course because big tech subscribes to cultural Marxist world views. Recently New York Young Republicans had an event that featured Pamela Geller. Tickets were being sold for the event until Eventbrite blacklisted Geller because of her unpopular views. Some suspect that Eventbrite may have kowtowed to CAIR.
The media was never independent to begin with since six corporations control it. These are Time Warner, Disney, Murdoch’s News Corporation, Bertelsmann of Germany, and Viacom (formerly CBS) — now control most of the media industry in the U.S. Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, purchased the Washington Post in 2013. The publications' slogan ‘democracy dies in darkness’ had lived up to it when the CIA had involvement. The CIA had relied exclusively on Amazon for its cloud computing for data needs according to a Washington Post article written by Aaron Gregg published in 2013.
The Information Battlespace
The not so subtle critique of mass media and consumerism in They Live portrays the dangers of misinformation. As mentioned earlier corporations control up to 90% of the media but there has always been the existence of alternative media. The time period leading up the 2016 American presidential election, many online news outlets, YouTube channels were subjected to de-platforming, social media account or channel suspension. Especially if the alt news company or channel was right of center politically. Many of the channels that tend to be de-platformed or demonetized on YouTube are those that either promote the right of center politics or reveal the farce of right versus left paradigm. A notable and most recent example of this is the one that happened to Alex Jones of InfoWars. Regardless of one’s feelings and opinions of Jones, years ago he discussed how the tap water was turning frogs gay. He became a problem when he began to discuss the destruction of Western Civilization causing him to be a target of the left.
There are many sheep in the United States and around the world that trust everything the tube is spewing at them. Many have lost friends, coworkers, associates, and other human connections because of differences of opinion and interpretations of truth. The mainstream media exploits people's emotions who refuse to think. The ancient war strategy of divide and conquer is happening. If the expression from the movie V for Vendetta ‘so long as there is profit in war, the world will never know peace. War is not just causing violence against the other side but it is emotional, mental and even spiritual. They Live showed us that the ‘aliens’ that are meant to represent ‘them’ do not care about the human cattle but their own personal gains. The information battlespace is a very real thing that exists beyond the internet.
Nada and the other heroes sacrificed their lives in the name of exposing inconvenient truths and so have real life personalities such as Seth Rich. The elimination and the threats these kinds of individuals that do expose government leaks is an ongoing practice not just in developing countries but in the United States. The USA prides itself on the freedom of the press as granted by the 1st Amendment of the Bill of Rights in the Constitution. When that is far from the truth where anyone who dares to deviate away from the general narrative, will be ridiculed, banned or even killed. Though the American press is the freest, there continue to be more threats to this.
New technology is underway where Elon Musk is working on a device that would be attached to human heads to read their minds. This is dangerous because thought policing is reminiscent of George Orwell’s 1984. Recently the FBI has decided to start the criminalizing of conspiracy theories like QAnon and Pizzagate by considering them as ‘domestic terror threats’. Interestingly enough many events that had once been considered conspiracy theories had turned out to be a conspiracy facts. If Carpenter’s movie has taught us anything it is that big government, big technology control information and gets to control our reality. So while bombs are dropping in a city somewhere far away, we will be distracted with celebrity breakups, how to gain 1k followers on Instagram, social justice in a sporting event…. I can go on. But one thing is for sure. They get to live while we stay asleep.