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MAY 26, 2013


US Foreign Policy and the power of Lobbying Groups
Our guest: Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich


Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich is an Iranian-American researcher, essayist, and commentator with a focus on US foreign policy and linkage politics -- the influence of interest groups.

An antiwar activist and a proponent of social justice, Soraya has been a guest on various radio and television shows including NPR, BBC Persian, KPFA Berkeley, CNN, al-Jazeera, and RT. Her essays are published on numerous internet publications and are often translated into various languages.

Soraya was educated in Iran , England and France . She has a Master’s in Public Diplomacy from USC Annenberg for Communication and Journalism and the USC School of International Relations. Highlights of her career have included internship at the offices of US Congressman, Adam Schiff (2003), Assistant to 2003 Nobel Peace Laureate, Shirin Ebadi (2006), and one on one interview with Iranian President Ahmadinejad (2010).

Video: CrossTalk: Taunting Tehran CLICK ON IMAGE TO WATCH VIDEO
Video: Also watch the Ahmadinejad-Sepahpour interview
Argo’s Oscar Win -- Hollywood’s ‘Coming Out’
Foreign policy observers have long known that Hollywood reflects and promotes U.S. policies (in turn, is determined by Israel and its supporters). This fact was made public when Michel Obama announced an Oscar win for “Argo” – a highly propagandist, anti-Iran film. Amidst the glitter and excitement, Hollywood and White House reveal their pact and send out their message in time for the upcoming talks surrounding Iran’s nuclear program due to be held tomorrow - February 26th.

Hollywood has a long history of promoting US policies. In 1917, when the United States entered World War I, President Woodrow Wilson’s Committee on Public Information (CPI) enlisted the aid of America’s film industry to make training films and features supporting the ‘cause’. George Creel, Chairman of the CPI believed that the movies had a role in “carrying the gospel of Americanism to every corner of the globe.”

The pact grew stronger during World War II, when, as historian Thomas Doherty writes, “[T]he liaison between Hollywood and Washington was a distinctly American and democratic arrangement, a mesh of public policy and private initiative, state need and business enterprise.” Hollywood’s contribution was to provide propaganda. After the war, Washington reciprocated by using subsidies, special provisions in the Marshall Plan, and general clout to pry open resistant European film markets[i].

Hollywood has often borrowed its story ideas from the U.S. foreign policy agenda, at times reinforcing them. One of the film industry's blockbuster film loans in the last two decades has been modern international terrorism. Hollywood rarely touched the topic of terrorism in the late 1960s and 1970s when the phenomenon was not high on the U.S. foreign policy agenda, in news headlines or in the American public consciousness. In the 1980s, in the footsteps of the Reagan administration’s policies, the commercial film industry brought ‘terrorist’ villains to the big screen (following the US Embassy takeover in Tehran – topic of “Argo”) making terrorism a blockbuster film product in the 1990s.

Today, whether Hollywood follows US policy or whether it sets it, is up for discussion. But it is abundantly clear that Hollywood is dominated by Israelis and their supporters who previously concealed their identity. According to a 2012 Haaretz article “from the 1930s until the mid-1950s, Hanukkah never appeared on screen. This was because the Jewish studio heads preferred to hide their ethnic and religious heritage in attempting to widen the appeal of their products[emphasis added]. Jews were thus typically portrayed as participants in an American civil religion, whose members may attend the synagogue of their choice, but are not otherwise marked by great differences of appearance, speech, custom, or behaviour from the vast majority of American”. This is no longer the case.

In sharp contrast to its past, Hollywood “celebrated” Israel’s 60th “birthday” [occupation] with a Gala called “From Vision to Reality”. Israeli TV blog wrote of the Gala: ‘Don’t Worry Israel, Hollywood is behind you’. Actor Jon Voight said: “World playing a dangerous game by going against Israel”. Israeli businessman and Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan, was a longtime weapons dealer and Israeli intelligence agent who purchased equipment for Israel's nuclear program (the book, “Confidential: The Life of Secret Agent Turned Hollywood Tycoon Arnon Milchan,” written by Meir Doron and Joseph Gelman, recounts Milchan's life story, his friendships with Israeli prime ministers, U.S. presidents and Hollywood stars).

It is important to understand Hollywood not only in the context of a multi-billion dollar industry, but the propaganda aspect of it and as one of the most powerful and universal methods of spreading ideas through visual propaganda. “Propaganda is defined as a certain type of messaging that serves a particular purpose of spreading or implanting a particular culture, philosophy, point of view or even a particular slogan”. With this capability, Hollywood owns the world of ideas on a scale too large and too dangerous to ignore - see this excellent example by Gilad Atzmon - Hollywood and the Past.

To read further visit:
To read more articles by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich visit her OpedNEWS page
Video: The Path to Restoring America  (click on image to play video)
Watch last weeks radio guest and meeting speaker KrisAnne Hall




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