Three Days of the Condor - FLNWO #34

04/19/201619 Comments

On this edition of Film, Literature and the New World Order we talk to Sibel Edmonds of about the 1975 spy thriller, Three Days of the Condor. We explore the context of the film's release, the possible CIA involvement with the production itself, and what the film's ambiguous ending tells us about the nature of the deep state and the media's role in covering it up. We also discuss the future of Newsbud.


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Sidney Pollack interviewed on Three Days of the Condor

DCI Richard Helms with Robert Redford on the set

The Lone Gladio

Last month’s episode and comments: The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress

Next month: Upton Sinclair's The Jungle

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  1. jconlon says:

    Not only Sibel’s favorite movie it was also the favorite of Michael Ruppert. (Full disclosure mine as well.) Interestingly Ruppert points out the dialog regarding the sub-plot driving the events: The planning for a Middle East war.

    Turner (Robert Redford): “Do we have plans to invade the Middle East?”

    Higgins (Cliff Robertson): ” Are you crazy?”

    Turner: ” Am I?”

    Higgins: “Look, Turner…”

    Turner: “Do we have plans?”

    Higgins: “No. Absolutely not. We have games. That’s all. We play games. What if? How many men? What would it take? Is there a cheaper way to destabilize a régime? That’s what we’re paid to do.”

    Take 1975, the year of the movie came out, add 5 years and we get The Carter Doctrine (the game(?) turned formal plan that the United States would use military force to defend its national interests in the Persian Gulf.)

    Add ten more and we get Operation Desert Shield in 1990, (game, turned plan, turned operational) another ten or so and we have The War on Terror…

    Higgins: “…That’s what we’re paid to do.”

    To quote from another classic performance, Joe Pesci’s in JFK: “Fun and games man fun and games.”

  2. Apollo Slater says:

    Maybe people’s apathy, or incredulity, comes from their false model of how the world really works. You and Sibel have a deeply researched and thought-out model of the world, arrived at by many layers of historical revision. If you give information to people who don’t have that background, most people, they simply are not able to process it.

    There lies the disconnect between how Sibel expects people to react and how they actually react. That is why I’m pessimistic on Newsbud’s goal of changing perception through more information. Unfortunately, quantity of information is not the issue.

    The issue is economic. Most people do not have the time, motivation, patience, intelligence, curiosity, skepticism, and psychological fortitude to engage in the sustained research effort required to offset their schooling, media environment, friends, and their own biases, prejudices, and logical errors. You’ve seen that even well-meaning folks, who are receptive to your research, can easily go down a wrong path without this kind of sustained effort.

    Those who can spend lots of time on this research, are unlikely to be engaged in other activities that make lots of money or have influence or power, or otherwise in a position to affect things directly. The conundrum is economic – the masses simply don’t have the leisure time to process this information.

    What might help is a history textbook, laying out in very blunt, plain English, how the world actually works, from the years of knowledge you have accumulated. Such an intellectual shortcut, taken by receptive students, would allow a lot more people to process the information you are presenting. You might need a whole curriculum!

    I often hear Sibel say something like, well, we tried telling the people, but they wouldn’t listen. But, if this happens over and over again, this means something has to change in the approach. We have to think out of the box. Please don’t take this as criticism or being a debbie downer – I highly respect the work you and Sibel do and very much want you guys to succeed.

    • Mark K. P. says:

      Good points ; so how about assembling a limited bibliography of existing historical & economic works which tell the real story? These can be supplemented with connecting and background essays.

      There are probably five basic themes worthy of some focus individually, and the more so in their properly historical merging and integration ;

      The history of usury ;

      The history of imperialism, and above all the western obsession with renovatio imperi Romani (especially strong in Venice and England) ;

      The invention and development of banking, above all the fractional reserve lending flavour and its takeover of the industrial revolution ;

      Institutions of physical oppression & the police state (usually dressed up as law enforcement, national security) ;

      Institutions of information & mind control, schools, universities, the press and later media ; above all the control and co-option of science

      An authentic modern history would describe the original merging of all these themes and elements, for the first time, in the U.K. and British empire which projected itself as moderate constitutional monarchy regulated by law and democratic elections, while indeed controlled by a lawless, largely hereditary, oligarchy or cartel of gangsters (whose membership included the royal dynasties) which may reasonably be called Anglo-Venetia.
      This emergent phase included the signal success of integrating France as a secondary partner or even client state during the Napoleon III reign (in stark contrast to a millenium of prior history) but also serious set-backs and defeats, above all the Russian opposition (the original Great Game) and the German unification and Russo-German alliance.

      Second phase would describe the Russo-German-American plans to break up the British empire, and the Anglo-Venetian counter-moves to destroy that opposition ; that is the Great War and the epoch of its preparation (1890s-1918).
      This includes the co-option of the Catholic Church (ending its opposition to usury), the wooing of Romanov Russia for the purpose of its destruction fighting Germany, and the reintegration of the u.s., which first jumps on board as an imperial power masquerading as something entirely different with the Spanish war of 1898.

      Third phase is the 20th century promotion of internationalism, socialism and onslaught upon nationalism and the whole concept of the nation state, for the purpose of complete world domination.
      The Second World War has a fundamentally different competitive meaning than the First. Its root cause appears to have been the nationalistic flavour of Stalinist Russia, in express opposition to the Anglo-Venetian plans for an international or at least pan-European Bolshevik empire and captive market which were supposed to have been the fief of the Comintern and Trotskyite clients. Stalin, however, seems to have rocked the boat a little too vigorously by planning a Russian world empire and the destruction of Anglo-Venetia, deploying their own policies and institutions against them. Both sides helped raise up Hitler and Nazi Germany to use against the other, but both eventually lost even remote control, compelling them to fight together against the monster of their own creation. Fascist Japan was an Anglo-Venetian client in the image of France (only patronized and modernized in the late 19th century to attack Romanov Russia) which rebelled.

      I think there are a few existing titles which tell most of this story, ranging from detailed conventional narratives like Robert Massie’s massive biography of Peter the Great (describing the first rise of the Russian colossus) and Lord Norwich’s history of Venice, to Antony Sutton’s trilogy on Wall Street backing of Bolesevhism, Nazism and FDR and the La Rouche group’s numerous detailed essays on the Venetian transfigurations of the English, but especially Tarpley’s Against Oligarchy collection.

      Nicholas Shaxon’s Treasure Islands (2011) tells a very great deal all in one place about current financial realities and structures, with an especially valuable chapter on the City of London Corporation which is both current and historical.

      V. C. Vickers, Economic Tribulation (1939) is an invaluable expose of the financial system by a City insider who turned against it, apparently from genuine nationalism and his inability to stomach the magnitude of the (deliberately engineered) Great War catastrophe

      E. C. Knuth, The Empire of the City (ed.2, 1946) does a pretty good job surveying international politics from the Napoleonic exit (Congress of Vienna) to the 1930s

      Arthur Kitson, The Money Problem (1894 and 1903) clarifies most of the financial and monetary issues in a fairly straightforward manner, and is especially good debunking the various claims made in support of usury from time to time, from both ethical and economic points of view.

      But those are just a few suggestions from my own recent reading. Probably the whole topic could be covered thoroughly and accurately by less than a hundred titles already written, supplemented by a handful of introductory, connective and critical/review essays.

      Perhaps James would be willing to set up a page or two on this site to gather lists of such resources. It would be the ideal location because there is already so much relevant content here produced by himself, and by talented guests like Perloff.

    • johnd.jasper says:

      Actually, no end of such textbooks already exist but unless they become part of the standard curriculum, they will mostly be read by those who are heading in that direction anyway. The masses will no sooner pick up Tom DiLorenzo’s “Organized Crime,” Jeffrey Tucker’s “It’s a Jetsons World,” or anything by Mises, Spooner, Rothbard much less Dr Wood’s “Where Did The Towers Go” than they would an issue of Groundwater Digest (,-Twin-Cities-Metropolitan-Area,.aspx)

      The trick is to invent a global communication system where ideas can be shared between people who may share no language other than the desire for freedom and peace (the internet), publish freely or at least inexpensively the information that is needed to raise awareness of the issues and the solutions (web pages, ebooks, podcasts, videos) and then point anyone, online or in person, with a flicker of interest toward this resource. If we can keep it simmering or better yet, reach boiling point, and don’t run out of time, we might achieve critical mass and start to replace the old paradigm with something worthwhile.

      Any ideas for turning up the temperature graciously accepted.

  3. Smokeyspam2000 says:

    Thanks for choosing this film. This was one of my favorite films as a teenager in the 70s. I saw it first at 14 when it came out. There was something that rang so true about it. I went to a progressive high school. I was lucky to have a great teacher who taught me how to read the newspaper and to discern where articles were placed in the paper and how the truth was being manipulated in order to serve a pro-war agenda.
    I have returned to this film a few times over the past 40 years and it holds up. Sidney Pollack is a great director. He knows how to tell a story and how to get the essential performance out of each actor. Faye Dunaway is so beautiful and mesmerizing in this film and and this is one of Redford’s best and most subtle performances.
    I also am obsessed with the score. Dave Grusin’s funky score is a classic. It has all the right elements of jazz and rock. He uses some of LA’s best studio musicians (Harvey Mason, Lee Ritenour, Tom Scott…etc) and gives them plenty of room to improvise while keeping up the suspense.
    I remember leaving the film thinking that we need to wake up and stop being so naive about our governments agenda…….and that real patriotism means telling the truth, like you james.

  4. nosoapradio says:

    Will the real Sibel Edmonds please stand up!

    And like a Valentine she did.
    The Three days of the Condor was also my favorite film.

    In the midst of the reminiscent Panama papers scandal and in this monumental Corbett interview Ms. Edmonds reveals her true experience with the likes of the highly ambiguous character Daniel Ellsberg and with the Pentagon Papers which was the foundation of my doubts about her.

    Robert Redford, in the image of the eminently popular Tom Hanks, incarnates the ambiguous “truth” of Hollywood. Having played the naive but tenacious and fairly scrupulous character in “3 days of the Condor” he consequently plays the journalist in “All the Presidents Men” lending credence to the press’ independence and integrity concerning Ellsberg and Watergate.

    Context is everything.

    “How do you know they’ll print it?” sends shivers up my spine.

    Long live Indira Singh. And the Corbett report.

    • nosoapradio says:

      Faye Dunnaway did “3 days of the Condor” and “Network” and lived to receive a prize last year from my adopted “home town” of Lyon, France, the birthplace of the Lumière brothers and their cinematograph. Long live Faye!

    • johnd.jasper says:

      I’m sure that Sibel Edmonds means well but I’ll always think of her as the originator of LIHOP. This may be unfair but so far I’ve not heard or read anything from her that squares the circle on that. Every time I see/hear her giving us the benefit of her memory, I wonder how much of it is window dressing supplied by someone else that she counts as genuine.

  5. VoltaicDude says:

    “How do you know they’ll print it?”

    By now I think we know – in general as can be extrapolated and applied to this fictionalized treatment…they did not print it.

    Poor, Joe Turner (perhaps that’s another movie – the sequel? – more of a downer I guess).

    I’m glad you chose this film – it’s also been one of my favorites for years – and, obviously I’m glad you didn’t just facilely trash it in your review because it may have this or that imperfection, as others I’ve read have done.

    I’ve been meaning to write this comment since I first saw this pod on the day you posted/distributed it, but I didn’t write it immediately, and then on Thursday morning, the 21st of April 2016, I was arrested and spent the day being processed through the jail system.

    It was my first time ever being arrested, so it was interesting as well as traumatizing. As a long-time political activist I’ve known many people that went through the system, and also wondered what it was like. Of course all my biometrics were taken as a matter of the usual processing, which I found humorous since I know they already possessed these metrics through surreptitious means from other public interceptions of me.

    They finally ensnared me after pursuing this for about two decades. It goes without saying; they have enormous resources, unfathomable staying power, and a long-term highly focused agenda. I’m not proud in any way, because the world is too sad a place for any of us to rightly be proud of much, but still, I have surprised myself looking back at my own stamina and persistence for all these years for my own strength of loyalty to the good ethical and moral precepts that can get so many of us into trouble on this corrupted globe.

    I don’t know how this is so, but I am not familiar with most of the other titles you mentioned, James. I really appreciate you including that context, and I hope to have the chance to look into those as well. Pollack was an admirable film maker and the timing of his death – even if many years after this work – cut short a career that could have gone on to continue his great oeuvre.

    [SNIP: Comments are limited to 500 words or thereabouts. Please try to stick within the limit or split your comment into multiple comments if absolutely necessary. – JC]

      • VoltaicDude says:

        Thanks for posting the above as is – much better all around in hindsight. I’m a verrrrry slow writer to begin with. Then, really one should go away and come back – a little objectivity makes a big difference – but that’s more time, and sometimes it just feels like there’s not much time left. It’s both always a mistake and never avoidable – there’s always one more thing…(or perhaps, more often, too many more things!).

        In this region last night on rabbit-ear TV they ran a showing of “Serpico.” I forgot how good that is! I’m suggesting that as a movie you might want to review in the future, along with “Never let Me Go” and “Shutter Island” – all also favorites of mine.

  6. Eric says:

    I have ordered this movie, and will watch it as soon as I can. I’m not even going to watch the rest of this FLNWO until I’ve seen it. Sibel’s like for this film reminds me of my own fascination with the Bourne movies. I always liked how portray the CIA, far more realistically than movies in which the infamous agency is out saving the world from terrorists. Just wanted to put that out there. Are there any other movies like this (that are almost whistleblowing in nature) that I ought to see?

  7. asavetmd says:

    I got the DVD at the library and will watch tonight. I looked for an episode on “Eyes Wide Shut” but didn’t see it. Are you planning to do one? If you do the person to contact for the show would be at “Vigilant Citizen”. There is a 3-article series on that website about hidden and not so hidden meanings in the film. It is an excellent analysis of the film.

  8. Phillip says:

    May suggest an alternate URL at Project Gutenberg for The Jungle?

    That way it can be downloaded. 🙂

  9. Fosca says:

    Hi James,
    great choice of a film! One of the best 70ties that I still enjoy very much when revisiting. In fact I only watched during the 80ties on TV, as I was too young before :-).

    Overall the story about an average man, who is challenged with a big threat and then growth with this, is a “normal” plot and has been repeated a number of times. We have the hero, we have the disbelieve of others that but him down and a little love story aside. And still this is a bit different, especially in the end! This is what I maybe appreciate most. No happy end (at least I think it is not, as the story will not get published)! Somehow a more “European”-film-style for a finish, where the hero may not always survive or has a bitter taste in his mouth. (It is a different thing but when hearing about different endings for films like “The Big Blue” it break my cinematographic heart). 😉

    But one main point for me was really opening a door for thinking that there might be a lot of stuff under the surface of a state, government, authorities … you name it. It is still fiction, but I see this in the context of other films I was watching (and liking a lot) at that time like Costa Gavra’s Z and Missing, All the President’s man, Under Fire. If those represent any real story is a different thing, but it had set the seed for a critical thinking (at least a little more)!

    In this sense “Three Days of the Condor” had a (small) educational aspect, though it certainly was not the only influence which lead to this. Other people, teachers, books, features have contributed more or less. It is always a sum of things, where only one single item will not be enough. Like if you are watching an “anti-war” movie, some may simply enjoy the action, but never get to think about what war can do to real world people. Other may get triggered to object to serve the army. It is never just black and white.

    Following this thinking I also believe that mental programming is NOT all over the place. You and Sibel mention the chance the movie has been made to threaten people in a way, to think the “evil” state is everywhere and you should not mess around and blow the wistle – I am exaggerating here your point). I must say I am struggling with this idea, especially in context to the Snowden so called psy-ops. If we think that every exposure of critical information always is meant to create further threat to the people, we are lost in my opinion! If it is always like “They give us this insight as they want us to know how evil they are …” we are trapped in a way of thinking that never allows any way out! Maybe “Three days of the Condor” was meant to create a narrative to threaten wistle blowers, maybe Snowden is a patsie. But how comes that there are still people around that are not part of the matrix? People that are still creative and consider alternatives, like yourselve and many others.


  10. Fosca says:

    Yet another comment. Connecting three dots.
    1. Can a movie be more than just 2 hours of entertainment?
    2. Sidney Pollack
    3. David Hastert (sic!)

    Following the idea that Three days of the Condor may really convey deeper message. Would this ever be allowed by the matrix? Luckily I think yes!

    And here is the connection. Sidney Pollack (Condor’s director) had a role in Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Eyes wise shut’
    He also had closer relation to Kubrick helping engaging Cruise and Kidman. And the role he plays in the movie actually is not part of the original novel by Arthur Schnitzler.

    When watching EWS first I cannot deny a disappointment. Still also was not sure about the meaning. Certainly great filming etc. Deep psychology of areas beyond comfort zone. But ultimately all reading about the Hastert case over the last month, makes me really think more about another layer this movie does expose.
    I cannot say if it was Kubrick’s intention, but I now see it nothing less as a an insight to the Kakistocracy! Yet as a prove to how powerful a piece of art can be.

    #QFC: James, what is your view on Eyes Wide Shut? More specific: why is sexuality so much special in the US that it’s surpression can lead to big misuse (direct or indirect violence)? I really think it is very fundamental to understand the power strucures and the underlying psychology.

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