Interrogating the Programming

A conversation with James Corbett - 4th April 2012

In our latest conversation James Corbett of and I discussed the question of predictive programming, particularly with regard to intelligence agencies.  From Somerset Maugham and Leon Uris to reality TV shows like Big Brother, Border Patrol and Spy we went over not only examples of predictive programming, but also methods for analysing and understanding the phenomenon.

download here (mp3, 41mb)

This discussion began with a quick recap of our prior conversation on 7/7 predictive programming before moving onto the Leon Uris book and Alfred Hitchcock film Topaz.  The story in Topaz centres around the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, but edits out the part of the story involving Operation Mongoose.  Mongoose was the US covert operation to destabilise the Castro government in Cuba, set up in the wake of the Bay of Pigs debacle.  You can download Brig. Gen. Ed Lansdale's Review of Mongoose here, the CIA National Intelligence Estimate on Situations and Prospects in Cuba here, a Special National Intelligence Estimate on Cuba here, and you may wish to review the Operation Northwoods document collection

Spooks season 2 episode 5
Spooks 2x05 - a prime example of predictive programming

We also talked about how Somerset Maugham's Ashenden stories were a fictionalisation of his real experiences working for MI6, and how they were adapted as wartime propaganda during WW2.  As context for present day predictive programming what this demonstrates, conclusively, is that spy stories have been a medium for pre-emptive propaganda, and thus could still be being used in the same way now. 

Fundamentally, what we found in this conversation is that not just conspiracy-themed entertainment, but also a range of reality TV shows have the consquences of normalising the security services, of normalising the National Security State.  They also lead people into a mental state of paranoid voyeurism and constant suspicion.  One of the responses to this state is to understand the phenomenon of predictive programming, and of propagandistic programming in general.  In learning about these subjects it will be instructive to read Guy Debord's Comments on the Society of the Spectacle, here, his reflections on his own masterwork two decades after it was published.