Inspired by the emergence of The Trilateral Commission, The Matarese Circle (1979) is Ludlum's Cold War classic. Two arch enemies (one Russian and one US master-spy) both make themselves wanted fugitives of their respective agency, when they unite to bring down a covert international ruling class network which owns most of the media and the world's military industries. "The Matarese" have effectively created and supported global wars (including between the US and the USSR) both for war profiteering and to further their overall power over the global poor.
Many of Ludlum's books focused on US political and economic collaboration with the Nazis, as well as post-WWII Nazi plots to retake power, including The Holcroft Covenant (1977), The Apocalypse Watch (1995), and The Sigma Protocol (2001), whose historically accurate summary of US corporate ties to Nazi Germany, is truly chilling. One of Ludlum’s last books, The Janson Directive, is a harsh critique of liberalism, arguing that alleged motives of “humanitarianism,” often serve as a cover for the sinister agendas of the global corporate elite and the governments that serve their interests.
A movie adaptation of The Chancellor Manuscript (1977) starring Leonardo DiCaprio is due out in 2008. Here, Ludlum addresses US industrialists' ties to Nazi Germany, illegal CIA domestic spying, and the US military's murderous racism. The main story is about FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover's extensive blackmailing of other powerful people, which he used to further his own racist and authoritarian agenda. The book suggests that Hoover was assassinated by someone who then stole his extensive files that he had long used for blackmail. Perhaps he finally blackmailed the wrong person?
The Subversive Action Movie
Popular musicians like Public Enemy, Rage Against The Machine, Bruce Springsteen, and the young Bob Dylan, have garnered the support of major record labels and have subsequently been able to bring very radical political analyses into mainstream US culture. In a similar vein, with the support of big media, exciting action movies like The Bourne Ultimatum have been able to present scathing critiques of the status quo to mainstream audiences that simply enjoy a good action movie.
Along with the previously mentioned films, two other post 9-11 spy thrillers are highly recommended. The 2007 film Shooter, starring Mark Wahlberg and Danny Glover, is based on the book Point of Impact, about the fictional ex-Marine sniper Bob Lee Swagger, written by The Washington Post film critic Stephen Hunter. Interestingly, in the beginning of Shooter, the disaffected Swagger (played by Wahlberg) is seen viewing the prominently displayed the radical-activist Znet website. After Glover’s character talks him into doing one last favor for the government, Swagger is double-crossed, and proceeds to use his Marine skills to hunt down the private military contractors and politicians who skillfully framed him for a murder that he didn’t commit.
The 2004 version of the 1962 movie, The Manchurian Candidate, starring Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep, is a riveting critique of the post-911 climate of fear-mongering, the power of transnational corporations like Haliburton, and the chilling real-life history of experiments in mind-control similar to the CIA’s MK-Ultra program.
Check them out!
--Hans Bennett (insubordination.blogspot.com) is an independent photo-journalist and co-founder of Journalists for Mumia (Abu-Jamal-News.com).
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