The latest Wikileaks trove reveals a close relationship between the Obama administration, the State Department and the transnational entertainment corporation Sony.
“This archive shows the inner workings of an influential multinational corporation. It is newsworthy and at the centre of a geo-political conflict. It belongs in the public domain. WikiLeaks will ensure it stays there,” WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange said in a statement released on Thursday.
A search through the leaked Sony email archive shows a close relationship between CEO Michael Lynton and President Obama as well as officials at the State Department. In total, there are nearly 100 government email addresses in the archive.
In addition to revealing a close relationship between the corporation and Democrats, Sony’s ability to influence the Trans-Pacific Partnership and “an ability to impact laws and policies,” the archive demonstrates the corporation’s “connections to the US military-industrial complex.”
Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton is on the board of trustees of RAND Corporation, an organization specializing in research and development for the United States military and intelligence sector. The Sony Archives show the flow of contacts and information between these two major US industries, whether it is RAND wanting to invite George Clooney and Kevin Spacey to events, or Lynton offering contact to Valerie Jarrett (a close advisor to Obama) or RAND desiring a partnership with IMAX for digital archiving. With this close tie to the military-industrial complex it is no surprise that Sony reached out to RAND for advice regarding its North Korea film The Interview… The Sony documents also show Sony being in possession of a brochure for an NSA-evaluated online cloud security set-up called INTEGRITY.
An email from Richard Stengel, US State Department under secretary for public diplomacy and public affairs, reveals how the government enlisted Sony and other entertainment corporations in the propaganda war against ISIS and Russia.
Michael: It was great to see you yesterday. As you could see, we have plenty of challenges in countering ISIL narratives in the Middle East and Russian narratives in central and eastern Europe. In both cases, there are millions and millions of people in those regions who are getting a skewed version of reality. And it’s not something that the State Department can do on its own ny (sic) any means. Following up on our conversation, I’d love to convene a group of media executives who can help us think about better ways to respond to both of these large challenges. This is a conversation about ideas, about content and production, about commercial possibilities. I promise you it will be interesting, fun, and rewarding. Best, Rick
Michael Lynton responded to this email by sending Stengel a list of names including Andy Bird, chairman of Walt Disney International, former Turner Broadcasting CEO Phil Kent, 21st Century Fox COO James Murdoch, and Drew Guff, a founding partner of private equity investment firm Siguler Guff.
Another email from a staffer to Jane Hartley, the US ambassador to France, shows how the government intends to exploit the celebrity of actors to push its foreign policy objectives.
“We have already started to think through ways your superstars could potentially help amplify some of the great work US Embassy Paris is doing,” the staffer wrote, reports Motherboard. “We’d love to include Sony names in events here, either as guests or performers, and would love the opportunity to leverage their popularity to promote the President’s priorities and agenda overseas.”
Lynton was invited to the White House for dinner, according to an email sent by Kristen Jarvis, Michelle Obama’s former chief of staff.
“The President and First lady are delighted that you will be joining them for dinner tomorrow evening,” Jarvis wrote. “Cocktails are at 630pm and dinner will be served at 730pm. Please let me know if you have any food allergies, etc, so I can alert the chefs.”
The Wikileaks trove demonstrates how the government and entertainment corporations have teamed up to run a massive psychological operation on the American people.
In 2013 a longstanding federal law that made it illegal for the State Department to broadcast propaganda destined for overseas markets in the United States was overturned.
“Effective strategic communication and public diplomacy should be front-and-center as we work to roll back al-Qaeda’s and other violent extremists’ influence among disaffected populations,” wrote Rep. Adam Smith, a Democrat, in support of the bill.
“An essential part of our efforts must be a coordinated, comprehensive, adequately resourced plan to counter their radical messages and undermine their recruitment abilities. To do this, Smith-Mundt must be updated to bolster our strategic communications and public diplomacy capacity on all fronts and mediums – especially online.”
The Wikileaks archive released this week reveals that the government is actively working with the corporate media to produce the sort of propaganda required to shape the foreign policy narrative of the United States.