What the Sony Hack Actually Exposed

by lizard

I do my best around family to abstain from overt political diatribes (with limited success), but when my dad mocked North Korea’s request for a joint investigation into the Sony hack at dinner last night, I decided he needed a little more information about what the Sony hack has actually exposed.

For most people, when the laughing subsides, this issue is thought of as a free speech issue. Conservative blogger Douglas Ernst, for example, casts this as a make-it-or-break-it moment for free speech in America:

The Founding Fathers knew that the right to free speech was important, which is why it is covered in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as part of the Bill of Rights. Today, Dec. 17, 2014, is the day that U.S. capitulation clowns at Sony gave a dictator veto power over the free speech rights of its American artists and sent a message to thug regimes that if they have enough tech savvy, then they can make studio executives cower in fear.

The fallacious assumption here is that “The Interview” is a product of American artistry. It’s not. The reality is this movie is actually a piece of propaganda that involved the State Department and the Rand Corporation. From the link:

The Daily Beast reported yesterday on leaked emails from the Sony hack which show that the United States government was involved at high levels with the content development of The Interview, especially its controversial ending depicting the assassination of North Korean ruler Kim Jong-Un. As the report’s headline states, “Sony Emails Say State Department Blessed Kim Jong-Un Assassination in ‘The Interview.’” The emails also reveal that a RAND corporation senior defense analyst who consulted on the film went beyond “blessing” and outright influenced the end of the film, encouraging the CEO of Sony Entertainment to leave the assassination scene as it was (in spite of misgivings at Sony) for the sake of encouraging North Koreans to actually assassinate Kim Jong-Un and depose his regime when the movie eventually leaks into that country. According to the Sony CEO, a senior US State Department official emphatically and personally seconded that advice and reasoning in a separate correspondence. The emails also reveal that the U.S. special envoy for North Korean human-rights issues also consulted with Sony on the film.

While a tiny nation state possibly being involved in scuppering a movie premiere by hacking and threatening a Hollywood studio by proxy may be more novel and sensational than yet another psyop by the US Regime Change Machine, the latter is far more important. The United States, as part of its “Asian Pivot,” made an explicit push for assassination and regime change in yet another foreign country under the cover of art and commerce, and the North Korean regime and its ally China are both now 100% aware of it. That has huge implications for politics in the region, for US relations with those countries, for the character and integrity of American art and media, and for the mischievous, generally havoc-wreaking way our government is secretly using our tax dollars.

The reality of how this “film” was produced undermines the free speech argument conservatives like Ernst are peddling. We aren’t talking about art, here, we are talking about propaganda with real world impacts. Here’s more from the conservative nitwit who thinks he knows what he’s talking about:

Anyone who cares about free speech should be downright terrified that companies operating in the U.S. would run for the hills the moment a nebulous hacking group threatens Americans with violence. The fact that it was even under consideration to torpedo the film is an indicator that America’s cultural rotgut has grown to gargantuan proportions. We have been hollowed out from the inside, and Sony’s reaction to being hacked by the “Guardians of Peace” has exposed that sad reality for everyone to see.

No, what has been exposed here is a pathetic scheme by state and corporate actors to use a film as a sort of Trojan horse to propagate regime change in North Korea.

The free speech red herring was examined on Democracy Now yesterday. Here’s a bit from the transcript of the segment featuring Christine Hong’s perspective:

With regard to this film, one thing that I’d say is that the lines between truth and fiction are extraordinarily thin. I mean, the plot of this film, which very few people have seen, was actually screened in rough-cut form at the State Department. And the content of this film is supposedly—you know, it’s about the CIA using Hollywood entertainment and a talk-show host sort of vehicle as a kind of cover to assassinate the leader of North Korea. What’s interesting about this film is, on the one hand, it’s framed in the United States, in U.S. media, as a kind of free speech issue, but this is really a red herring. You know, what’s interesting to me about this is the fact that if you actually look at what the Sony executives did, they consulted very closely with the State Department, which actually gave the executives a green light with regard to the death scene. And they also consulted with a RAND North Korea watcher, a man named Bruce Bennett, who basically has espoused in thesis that the way to bring down the North Korean government is to assassinate the leadership. And he actually stated, in consulting with Sony about this film, that this film, in terms of the South Korean market, as well as its infiltration by defector balloon-dropping organizations into North Korea, could possibly get the wheels of a kind of regime change plot into motion. So, in this instance, fiction and reality have a sort of mirroring relationship to each other.

This isn’t a free speech issue. This is another example of America weaponizing whatever it can to move forward its agenda of global dominance.


  1. evdebs

    It was my impression that the state department had lobbied against the graphic nature of the ending. Do you think that was not the case?

    The hackers were very successful in obtaining emails of executives and I would assume within that would have been some correspondence with State, if it exisited without regard to excercising extreme care.

    In Germany, there were high level military who tried to assassinate Hitler. However, they had only lived under his rule for ten years, so had some connection to Weimar governance and to the rest of Europe. North Korea has been far more isolated for seventy years. I would assume that would strongly mitigate against any sort of a plot to carry out an assassination.

  2. Government and the movie industry work hand-in-hand. How can anyone not know this? Argo! Is your Top Gun firing blanks? Does your mind register Zero at Dark Thirty? Can you not see what is a True Lie? It would be An Impossible Mission to do otherwise in a fake democracy.

    Occasionally a movie will smuggle some truth to us, like Wag the Dog or Three Kings or American Psycho, but the message has to be deeply buried between the lines to sneak through the censors. Movies are part of the total information control regime that spans birth to death through education, religion, television, the arts … It’s why the American public is comprised mostly of zombies. Every way they turn they get the same message.

  3. steve kelly

    FBI is our sole source for blaming N. Korea. How credible is that? How easy it is to get wall-to-wall coverage v. and “enemy” state without having to show a shred of evidence to anyone. I’m skeptical, and wouldn’t be surprised if NSA, Sony, and FBI didn’t control the operation top to bottom. All stand to benefit financially. I’m specifically thinking of the weak answers given to Congress when asked how many terrorist plots those hundreds of billions in meta-data “security” spying netted. Bureaucracies are always building a resume for a bigger budget.

  4. Turner

    I’m skeptical of the claim that the state dept. gave “the green light” to Sony to complete this project. Since when are films cleared through this agency? Are we to believe all films set in foreign countries have to have state dept. clearance?

    On the other hand, I’m not happy that a film about the assassination of a living foreign leader was made. If a Russian film company made a comedic film about assassinating Obama, we’d be way beyond outrage.

    Well, most of us would be.

  5. Same “pathetic scheme” that was used in Team America and the Red Dawn movies?

  6. Craig Moore

    Sony has reversed its decision. http://www.independent.ie/world-news/sony-confirms-kim-film-release-30858198.html

    • Corporate overlords for the win.

  7. JC

    “And so, what is perhaps the greatest marketing campaign in movie history, comes to a close with the following update from Bloomberg:



    How to produce crappy propaganda, and make a ton of money at the same time. Hollywood knows no bounds.

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