Saturday, May 30, 2015

Left Forum 2015 - Entertainment Superpower: Media Technology and the American Empire

This is Session 1 from the 2015 Left Forum, held May 29 -31 at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. The conference theme was "No Justice, No Peace: Confronting the Crises of Capitalism & Democracy."

From the Organizers:

This panel will explore Hollywood and entertainment technology as an organ of U.S. cultural, political, economic, and military dominance. For example, U.S. military surveillance, targeting, and weapons systems use technology, which was primarily developed for motion pictures and entertainment software (or the consumer electronics market). U.S. military hegemony is based on the ability of the U.S. Navy to dominate the world's oceans (due partially to the superior numbers and technology of US naval vessels), augmented by U.S. dominance in space-based reconnaissance technology, which is made possible by entertainment software consumers and movie-goers worldwide. The U.S. media and entertainment sectors are the only American sectors that boast a surplus balance of trade with nearly every nation in the world. Information clearinghouses and data heuristics from social media are now part of an exploding U.S. private industry in league with the U.S. Intelligence Community and law enforcement.

Panel Chair:

Alexa O'Brien is a investigative journalist. In 2013, she was shortlisted for the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism in the UK for her coverage of Chelsea Manning’s court-martial, and she had written extensively on the technical cross fertilization between entertainment and defense industries.


Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer prize winning journalist and author. He will speak to the social and political impact of Hollywood movies like “American Sniper”. He recently wrote a review of the film entitled, “Killing Ragheads for Jesus”.

Tim Shorrock is a Washington-based investigative journalist and author. He will speak about the role of U.S. private intelligence companies in mass surveillance as well as Sony Corporation's ties with the U.S. Department of Defense and the Rand Corporation in the context of the movie, "The Interview" about the assassination of the leader of North Korea.

Ray Nowosielski is a national security journalist and documentary filmmaker whose covers the CIA. He was threatened with violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act for his journalistic work uncovering the identity of a woman reportedly behind the CIA Global Jihad Unit and drone kill list program. He will speak to Hollywood’s portrayal of the CIA and the war on terror in films like Zero Dark Thirty.

Download the audio at the a-Infos Radio Project.