Dr. Richard Spence, author of Secret Agent 666: Aleister Crowley, British Intelligence and the Occult and Trust No One: The Secret World of Sidney Reilly, and co-author of the book Empire of the Wheel with Walter Bosley, joined me in this audio interview to cover the fascinating material in his research on the history of espionage, secret societies and the occult. Seeking to uncover the real Aleister Crowley – well known as a Satanist and black magician – and who his handler might have been, Dr. Spence demonstrates how Crowley’s mystical journeys might have had a more pragmatic design in the field of covert operations. From there we cover Nazi leader Rudolf Hess’s infamous flight to England and what it really may have signified, as well as Bolshevik occultists and the true mysteries of Shambhala, sought by all: British, German and Russian esotericists (and spies!).
Stream or download hour 1 here.
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KGB Colonel Stanislav Lekarev (1935-2010) was an especially apt observer of the interplay between intelligence, culture and deep politics. While we know about the CIA’s extensive ties with Hollywood, the KGB had its own assets in the USSR film industry. Here Lekarev, an officer of the KGB First Chief Directorate, goes undercover as a Soviet film executive in 1970’s London, where he crosses swords with British counterintelligence, MI5.
SovExportFilm wasn’t a cover for everyone – you could crash and burn quickly here. A three-month probation period in State Cinema before my departure gave me little to work with. Moscow negotiations with Western commercial representatives didn’t allow me to delve into the nuances of SovExportFilm’s specifics. Viewing Western productions also didn’t help me any. And it was so obvious their quality was higher. Only on the job do you understand that you have to figure out the details of film production – be able to precisely determine the worthiness of reels from the point of view of mastery by scenarists, directors, cameramen, actors, as well as the quality of the film. It’s additionally useful to know the basics of the Stanislavsky System; this impresses those conversing with you. Along with all of that, you need accounting knowledge and the ability to write reports. If you don’t go the distance, the question of your replacement will be raised. So it happened – people wishing to replace you will always be found.
Continue reading Lights, Camera, Covert Action
Tim Kelly of Our Interesting Times interviewed me on the subject of the CIA’s use of cults as well as other religions as cover for intelligence operations. We discuss CIA ties to Scientology and cover the latter’s origins in Satanist and British intelligence asset Aleister Crowley’s Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO). Additionally we cover Freemasonry and its longstanding connection to both the occult, espionage and full-spectrum subversion.
There’s no shortage of connections between British espionage writers and the occult, and while we’ve examined a good deal of Ian Fleming, another writer who wrote quite prolifically of devilish machinations was Dennis Wheatley.
Wheatley was the son of a winemaking family, and he would cause some stir early in his college days for creating his very own campus “secret society.” Following his expulsion for this incident, Wheatley joined the military, fighting in World War I as a Royal Artillery Lieutenant. He was then tasked with military intelligence and covert operations in World War II, serving in the London Controlling Section. After his war activities, Wheatley worked for British Intelligence and was introduced to notorious occultist and black magician Aleister Crowley, stating: Continue reading Occult MI6: Dennis Wheatley
Often overlooked in spy culture are Alfred Hitchcock’s espionage classics. In the Hitchcock film Vertigo (1958), we highlighted the use of mind control, doubling and voyeurism on the part of a shadowy Bohemian Grove-esque elite intent on manipulating the middle class Scottie (Jimmy Stewart) based on a profiling of his psychological weaknesses. In North by Northwest (1959) similar themes emerge, yet the master of suspense seemed willing to reveal much more than merely psychoanalytical and Freudian elements, notably shooting the first film to mention the CIA. Continue reading Hollywood Spies: North by Northwest
On radio program Esoteric Hollywood, Jay Dyer and I discuss spy films and how they relate to real-world espionage in the ongoing Great Game. From depictions of KGB Directorate S in the current hit show The Americans to the shadowy backers of 1989’s silly propaganda bomb Red Scorpion, we delve into the lesser-known aspects of spy culture that reflect the realities of intelligence history.
Appearing to conclude the Daniel Craig era of 007 reboots, SPECTRE not only premiered at the top of the world box office. As could be expected, the film also provides quite a few insights into the nature of real geopolitics and espionage in true Bondian style.
Let’s start with the theme of mass surveillance, a reflection of our own postmodern Panopticon reality. Even The Guardian has commented on the similarities of the SPECTRE plot with the supposed leaks of Edward Snowden regarding the NSA spying apparatus. Yet there are also serious grounds to question Snowden’s heroics; just as well, GCHQ was monitoring the population and spying long before there was any NSA in the US. Continue reading Secrets of SPECTRE
A notable example of the breakaway civilization in film is the 1979 film adaptation of Ian Fleming’s Moonraker. Moonraker the film differs significantly from the Fleming’s novel, but the differences and parallels are important to highlight: the novel focuses on a kind of Operation Paperclip scenario, wherein Sir Hugo Drax is secretly building a V-2 rocket in tandem with the Nazis to destroy England and rebuild the Reich. For many, the film adaptation a few decades later represented an exceedingly outlandish interpolation on a pulp spy novel that failed to achieve much more than mimicking the box office success of science-fiction blockbusters it attempted to copy, cinematic innovations like 2001 and Star Wars.
Continue reading Moonraker & Breakaway Civilization
1960s espionage fiction was definitive for spy culture. Developing its own unique aesthetic, from Bond to The Saint to Harry Palmer, the vivid, flamboyant style of both the spies and their cinema incarnations created an iconic pop-phenomenon that survives to this day (as 007 is still going strong). Everyone knows 007, but few are aware of the more philosophical, science-fiction based British cult show, The Prisoner, starring Patrick McGoohan.
Continue reading The Prisoner: A Deep-State Analysis