Shakedown of the CIA in Books and Movies by Tantra Bensko

Tantra Bensko
Today author Tantra Bensko is here in conjunction with the release of Glossolalia: Psychological Suspense, the first book in her Agents of the Nevermind series. Both Glossolalia and the series use the shady history of spy organizations, like the CIA, as the jumping off point for a trip down the rabbit hole into areas like mind control, false flags, virtual reality abduction, cultural orchestration as espionage, the collusion of church and state and more. It’s bound to be a wild ride, so buckle up.

Tantra BenskoShakedown of the CIA in Books and Movies

Nearly every big spy novel and movie in existence has been based on the tired formula of black vs white, the good guys save the world against the terrorists, moles, and evil enemy nation. I personally have limited interest in reading books in which a simplistic glorious CIA saves the day, or a rogue agent (in a good agency) goes bad.

Since I’ve studied the CIA in-depth all my adult life, I want to see more narratives, such as the very popular Barry Eisler’s books, like Inside Out, which refuse to glorify intelligence agents as the default good guys protecting the best nation on Earth. We saw the transition in perspective when Patrick McGoohan switched from starring as a secret agent in the TV show Danger Man to The Prisoner.

The trend is finally picking up momentum, for Suspense/Thrillers especially, in indie books and movies toward realism and questioning the role of intelligence agencies like the NSA and CIA, based on admitted atrocities; the bold move of including that uncomfortable reality in literature is a big step toward freedom.

I find narratives that acknowledge true historical and current practices more comforting, inspiring, and profoundly entertaining than those that irritate me by promoting the falsehoods the war machine requires. The public is becoming educated enough on CIA corruption they’re becoming unwilling to suspend disbelief required for the traditional spy narrative. So I created spy novels – seven of them. Writing this kind of series means turning the world upside down and shaking out the lies. Clink, clink, clink. The Agents of the Nevermind series, which begins with the spy novel Glossolalia: Psychological Suspense, explores the bizarre convoluted reality intelligence agents must live in, and create around themselves, to promote a dubious agenda based on protecting national money and power.

I use the term “spy novels” for these books somewhat loosely because the intelligence agents are not primarily spying. One disturbing thing we find in the pocket lint when we shake the world of intelligence agencies upside down is the creation of coups in other countries for selfish purposes. The people plotting the coup in Ukraine spent their days in the US Embassy in contact with the US official running the coup, Victoria Nuland, and no doubt their CIA officers. Is this a new thing? No, it’s the 80th proven time the CIA has created or attempted coups since 1953, when Eisenhower overthrew elected leaders in Iran for commercial reasons. The CIA fomented coups in countries like Libya, Cambodia, Haiti, South Vietnam, Chile, and Uganda, installing right-wing puppets and preventing freedom from dependence on the US. Coups completely destabilize the countries, tearing apart the infrastructure, leading to poverty, chaos, and death.

Historically with the CIA, we find actions like the domestic illegal surveillance project Operation Chaos; and disrupting domestic political organizations – COINTELPRO; starting wars, creating distractions from atrocities, and garnering support for laws through false flags; protecting fascists from prosecution; murder; blackmail; disinformation; and a continuing policy of torture. Drug and gun-running, cult creation, cover-ups, covert experiments on unwitting victims, nasty psy-ops abound. Yet we see them portrayed in positive ways in movies, other than with the supposedly required revelation of the method and in predictive programming in which we see hints of events to come.

Still, sometimes reality comes through. We see the drugs for arms in Shoot the Messenger, and diversionary disinformation tactics in Wag the Dog. In a conspiracy shakedown we find the Duplessis Orphans being given over by the Catholic church to be tortured, experimented on, and killed portrayed in the mini-series Les orphelins de Duplessis, as well as referred to in The Orphan Trilogy. Canadian Psychiatrist Ewen Cameron’s psychic driving experiments were popularized in The Sleep Room. Echelon Conspiracy involves NSA dangers. The Lone Gladio reveals FBI corruption, and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service transfers the CIA’s mind control program to Britain, which is one source of the methodology (Tavistock Institute) in combination with Paperclip Nazi tactics.

We also find social engineering and orchestration of culture. Operation Mockingbird, for example, was the juncture between the CIA and “the news.” While it was officially closed down, these government projects, when negative attention is brought to them, simply are switched to private companies and continued behind the scenes, more carefully. Whistleblowers have come out about that, even internationally. Linda Baletsa’s novel, Operation Mockingbird, is a bold realistic portrayal of intelligence agencies manipulating the world through not only controlling the news but brutality. The movie Spin observes this as well.

We find, when turning the world of spy thrillers upside down, documented and admitted as well as anecdotal evidence of mind control projects (such as we see enacted in The Manchurian Candidate and Bourne Identity) which are repeatedly speculated to use popular narratives such as Alice in Wonderland as part of programming children’s minds using traumatic abuse. The tormented children are taught by handlers to substitute fantastical fantasies into the personalities they split off into for the sake of surviving the pain. The people with split personalities are then claimed to be used as couriers, spies, Delta Programmed assassins, entertainers, Beta Programmed sex slaves and honey-pots. The famous CIA mind control projects MKULTRA and Blue Bird, Artichoke, and alleged Monarch have brought notoriety to the CIA, which is portrayed or hinted at in the psychological dissociation in movies such as Control Factor, American Ultra, Wild Palms, The Killing Room, Conspiracy, Jacob’s Ladder, The Banshee Chapter, Return to Oz, Alice: Madness Returns, Captain America, The Butterfly Effect, Dollhouse, Telefon, La Femme Nikita, Shutter Island, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Videodrome, Sucker Punch, Dark City, Mirror Mask, Labyrinth, Alice, Taken, Closet Land, and Raising Cain.

The CIA controls Hollywood movies, partially through what they chose to fund and provide equipment and locations to. That, in turn, influences what novels the Big Five have published, as movie adaptations are the most lucrative reward for novelists. Books and documentaries criticizing such manipulative practices of intelligence agencies got shot down before they reached the public. Now, indie production and publishing allows not only the narratives to come out but analysis as well, such as Jay Dyer’s absolutely brilliant dissection of the intersection of espionage, movies, the occult, psychological warfare, cults, symbolism, and mind control.

My Agents of the Nevermind series explores, among other related topics, the wide variety of traditional intelligence agency mind control methods including hypnosis, drugs, sleep and food deprivation, religious indoctrination, peer pressure, voice-to-skull technology, mystical delusions, isolation, trances, double-speak, cults, hoaxes, occult practices, and media propaganda-driving to take the characters down into the dissociative, misinformed, pliable and terrifying Nevermind. From that state of mind, the victims spread the fictional Agency’s memes, become assassins, couriers, blackmail bait, infiltrators, drug/arms runners and brainwashers, becoming Agents themselves without even realizing it. Some characters are tricked by their lovers, fall into New Age delusions through cults created by the Agents, or mistakenly believe they’re abducted by aliens. They must make choices between getting what they thought they wanted and acting out of integrity once they put together the truth. And they must act decisively and fast in order to prevent major crimes that affect the world.

Dirtying the sanctity of the traditional black and white world-view when we topple Genre icons requires readers to think for themselves rather than being swayed by propaganda about how professional propagandists such as Counterintelligence agencies always labor for the benefit of the masses. Many people are familiar, at least from Oliver Stone’s JFK, how machinations behind the scenes determine which countries’ leaders survive and while are taken over by coups because they don’t play the game. The novel series SubRosa America delves into this too. Drugs in body bags from soldiers returning from Vietnam, COINTELPRO, Iran-Contra, 911 insider trading and the lack of weapons of mass destruction – such basics are just the beginning of where interested parties can peer into how governments work. However, though my books involve false flags, virtual reality abduction, cultural orchestration as espionage, and the collusion of church and state, they are by all means first and foremost entertainment like other political conspiracy thrillers. People do love Enemy of the State, 16 Blocks, Absolute Power, Vantage Point, Murder at 1600.

GlossolaliaThe books in The Agents of the Nevermind are reasonably fast paced and action oriented, yet appeal to Literary readers because the psychological suspense genre is to a degree character-driven, with focus on internal thought processes as bewildered characters struggle under the horrifying weight of complex illusions. Adult male, female and other readers enjoy not only the real-world context but the weird playfulness, romance, and progressive integration of the authentic personality. While there is the Noirish acknowledgement that our world will always run on multiple layers of deceit as long as humans are in charge, these are ultimately feel-good, uplifting books in which protagonists show the way to heroism through recognizing, resisting, and exposing social engineering. Huzzah!

I trust there are intelligent people out there committed to the public becoming more aware of the potentials for corruption in Corporatocracy who will be drawn to rally behind my books. After so much revelation about the NSA, people are tired of the usual Genre trope of pristine G-men and police fighting crime – considering in the real world criminals are so often set up by the FBI to meet their quota of look like they’re good at what they do; and they’ve bought guns and drugs that were brought in by government agents. The series isn’t a tired recitation of obvious corruption but consists of imaginative and unpredictably twisty adventures. I believe in the passion of readers who will enjoy the hell out of my books and want to make them succeed. I study screenwriting as thoroughly as fiction because strong plot structure excites large numbers of people. The craft of suspense is particularly fascinating, such as found in The Girl on the Train. And OMG, El Internado!

In the first novel in the series, Glossolalia, a woman named Nancy works at her uncle Geoff’s pest control company, and she sees a condemned poison being hauled away from behind the plant and assumes it’s being illegally taken to the dump. She sets off on a wild chase, which takes her deeper into the hall of mirrors, with reflections on the floor and ceiling, flipping everything around and around.

I didn’t have to go far to learn the ins and outs of that. My father owned, presided over, and managed companies dealing with those poison products and service. There really was a poison that was outlawed, like the XXX in the book, and the company had to store it indefinitely, because it was too lethal to dump. A drop or so also could kill someone without a trace. People who professionally dealt in those poisons weren’t generally moved to tears of shame and retribution by Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring about how they were destroying the environment if they kept polluting it in that manner. Instead they were terrified by the prospect of going under. That was why the EPA was created, though we all know that organizations like the EPA can’t be trusted to protect us. Heck, they can tell a business that’s sending out a plume of toxic smoke into the air to put a fence around their land to contain it, and that’s that. But some people listened; I’m happy to say Rachel Carson was awarded a medal by another relative of mine, Jimmy Carter.

Nancy’s uncle is the only person she can count on employing her because of her habit of snapping to consciousness, unsure of where she had been. He also supplies her with an illicit drug for free’ it’s called Jolly West, after the MKULTRA doctor. She doesn’t like what the company does, killing birds and raccoons as well as insects, but she has to take what she can get. She’s especially embarrassed by working there when faced with her crush, the young vegan, Julio, whenever he delivers packages to the company. She wants to free herself from chemicals, but can’t help reaching for a candy bar, a smoke and a drink when she gets too close to the truth. The closer she looks into the company, the more she sees her own image staring back at her. And it doesn’t look anything at all like she thought it should.

Thank you for reading this dense article and I hope if you’re not familiar with any of the practices listed here you have time to click a link or two to explore our history and current events in the articles. Reading novels and watching movies are great ways to develop empathy, and people who have been victimized by such projects deserve our understanding. In fact, we’ve all been victimized by the disinformation and bonding through entertainment that acknowledges that fact can be liberating.

Tantra Bensko, with an MA in English from FSU and an MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop, teaches fiction writing with UCLA Extension Writing Program, Writers.com, Writers College, and Tantra Bensko’s Online Writing Academy. She was on staff of MKZine and Unlikely Stories and has written for Paranoia Magazine. She lives in Berkeley and blogs about social engineering. To learn more, visit her site.
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