Titulo: THE PENTAGON PROPAGANDA MACHINE (LA MAQUINARIA D PROPAGANDA DEL DEPARTAMENTO DE DEFENSA DE LOS ESTADOS UNIDOS DE NORTEAMÉRICA [PENTÁGONO / DoD]. Autor: (SENATOR) WILLIAM JAMES FULBRIGHT. Editor: VINTAGE BOOKS. First edition: April 1971 / Primera edición: Abril 1971. (c) 1970 by / por Liveright Publishing Corporation. 167 pages / páginas.
Pages 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116. 117, 118, 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125.
"The Department of Defense likes to dabble in filmmaking. Besides propagandizing the American people with television films produced expressly to show the positive side of the war in Vietnam, the military to a considerable degree also ensures that the presentation of military themes in commercial motion pictures and documentaries "will benefit the DoD or otherwise be in the national interest."
The quoted phrase is from Department of Defense Instruction 5410.15, "Delineation of DoD Audio-Visual Public Affairs Responsibilities and Policies," a document that gives the requirements a commercial film producer must meet to get assistance from the military for his production. At first glance, these requirements seem sensible enough. When you consider some of these scenes purpoted to represent men of the armed services in action, in camp, and on the town that have been shown in motion pictures and on television over the years, to ask for "authenticity of the portrayal of military operations or historical incidents, persons or places" does not seem to be asking to much. Nor do other requirements set forth in the instruction seem unwarranted. These include "compliance with accepted standards of dignity and propriety," noninterference with the "operational readiness" of the military services, restriction of filming to "normal military activities" to the largest extent possible, and payment to the government for the use of military equipment and facilities.
However, another document, Instruction 5410.16, which spells out the procedures that must be followed by a producer who wants military assistance, when added to by the Department of Defense's use of these procedures, results in something resembling censorship.
To make any film, whether it be a feature motion picture or a television documentary that largely depends for its dramatic effect on factual authenticity of military scenes, the cooperation of the armed services is practically a sine qua non. In the archives of the Department of Defense are millions of feet of film shot in combat or in training - dramatic footage of planes, weapons, warships, and men in action. From the Pentagon´s archives the producer can purchase at low cost appropriate footage to give reality to dramatic incident or to tell a documentary story. Also, the military services have the equipment and personnel that can be photographed in the kind of action or scene a script may require.
But before a producer can obtain the assistance he needs from the military to make his film, his project is subject to a process of review by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs that in effect makes the Department of Defense an overseer of the production. The producer first must submit in writing to the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs his proposal for a motion picture or television documentary "stating the story objectives of the projects and the identifiable benefits of the DoD, and agreeing to abide by the provisions," of pertinent regulations. The Assistant Secretary's office then gives its reaction to the project and if asked, will "give guidance, suggestions, and access for technical research in the producer´s endeavor to prepare a script that might qualify the project ultimately for assistance." If assistance is desired, four copies of the film´s script must be submitted for "evaluation and reviews," and an itemized list of the kinds of assistance needed from the military must be provided. Only after the script is approved are arrangement made to provide shooting assistance. This can range from the sale of reels of action film to making a submarine available - as was done for five days in the making of Ice Station Zebra, starring Rock Hudson - or to turning over a sizeable part of military installations to the filmmaker - as was done for John Wayne's The Green Berets.
Except for a rare request from a television producer for military assistance in making a episode for a series, television film projects approved by the Department of Defense for assistance are of a news or purely informational nature. "Is a documentary program represents an effort by a legitimate producer or network," the Pentagon has informed me, "if is intended to inform the public objectively; if it does not compromise national security; if the subject involves only unclassified areas, activities, and information; if the assistance can be offered without interference to a mission or additional cost to the Government; and if it is not contrary to the best interest of the Department of Defense and the Government, a request for military participation will very likely be honored."
A television script, like the moviemaker's, has to be approved beforehand and the finished product presented for review - a process that may inhibit any kind of penetrating examination of possibly improper activity or errant behavior. A sizeable number of requests from television producers do not meet the military criteria. Over a five-year period, the proportion of "turn downs" received by television producers - 218 proposals, 30 rejections - was approximately the same as those for motion pictures. Some of the TV rejections were made for plausible enough reasons - unavailability of high-ranking officials on desired filming dates, operational conditions, or the inadvisability of discussing unresolved questions of policy in front of the camera. But most of the rejections, statedly made for security reasons, were of proposals concerning matters of great public moment - chemical and biological warfare, antiballistic missiles, and aspects of the Vietnam fighting.
If the Defense Department believes a commercial film script is in its "best interests," as Instruction 5410.16 puts it, a project officer may be assigned to work with the producing company. His role is much more than that of a technical adviser. He is on hand to "assure that the production adheres to the approved script and approved list for assistance requirements," to "attend pertinent production conferences," and to suspend assistance when action by the producing company is contrary to stipulations governing the project and to the best interest of DoD..."
When shooting is finished and the film put together, the filmmaker is then required to submit the completed production to the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs for an official review, "preferably before the interlock stage" (i.e. before the action and sound are finally put together), so that changes can be made if necessary. The review ostensibly is to ensure accuracy and check for violations of security.
Even if a filmmaker does not require physical assistance and the Department of Defense involvement entails only the sale of stock footage, the review process is supposed to be followed. The military is quite firm on the subject. Among material I received from Defense when I inquired about assistance given to commercial filmmakers was a brief summary titled "General Information: Motion Picture Film Production." It said in part:
There are no requirements for any company to come to the Department of Defense for assistance or even to submit its project for comment. Informational assistance, such a furnishing technical or historical facts, is given to any producer or writer regardless of the story. Likewise, in keeping with the Freedom of Information Act, stock footage is authorized for sale for research and study purposes regardless of the story content. The use of such stock footage, however, in any commercial motion picture is considered a form of assitance and before the sale the footage is authorized established criteria and policies are followed.
During the past five years, the Department of Defense says it has authorized assistance to the producers of forty-three feature motion pictures; in this same period, it refused assistance to eight others. The reasons for these "turn downs" range form "an uncomplimentary portrayal" of the President to lack of "positive value." "Embarrassment" migh have been cited as the reason for two rejections. One was a film titled Palomares Incident, the story of which was based on the loss of a hydrogen bomb in the Mediterranean after the collision of a bomber and an aerial tanker over Spain in 1966. "No positive value seemed to be inherent in dramatizing and publicizing worldwide such accidents," was the comment made by Defense. The second film, submitted last year, was titled The Weapon. Defense comment on this was: "This story was about a USAF aircraft carrying a nuclear bomb which was forced to land in the Middle East where Israeli and Jordanian forces try to retrieve the bomb for their national use. Assistance was turned down because a story about accidents involving nuclear weapons is not in the best national interest ..."
Plausible and undoubtedly possible dramatic content can be a reason for a "turn down." Such a decision was made concerning a film titled The Gunner about a psychopathic Air Force gunner. "The story," the Defense comment said, "in the opinion of the Air Force would not serve any useful purpose for that service and any consideration of assistance should be considered unfavorably." Sequences in Remagen Bridge, a World War II story, that showed an officer "condoning" a soldier´s robbing dead Germans and an officer threatening another with a pistol and an enlisted man knocking an officer into a bomb crater were among the reasons for another "turn down."
Among he forty-three films that qualified for assistance was the sexy James Bond fantasy Goldfinger, in which the gold reserves at Fort Knox are stolen. For this, the Department of Defense "authorized filming of scheduled training exercises where small aircraft dropped simulated gas on troops; scenes of entrance of Fort Knox, Kentucky, Gold Depository," and "permitted civilian aircraft to land at Fort Knox airfield; use of off-duty military personnel as extras." Since the gold in the depository is the responsibility of the Deparment of the Treasury, apparently there was no embarrassment to the military.
The Pentagon is quite frank about the role it plays in influencing filmmakers. A statement that accompanied the list of "turn downs" supplied to me said:
When a motion picture project is not favorably considered, this does not imply that the door has been closed irrevocably except in the most unusual circumstances. The producer can make story changes which possibly would qualify the screenplay for consideration of assistance. However, producers usually lose interest or perhaps decide to proceed without Department of Defense assitance.... For your information, there are few projects submitted to DoD which can be considered wholly acceptable in accordance with DoD criteria without some revisions. Such changes may be technical or may require plot and/or character revisions. Story conferences ensue and the screenplay is developed to the apparent mutual advantage of the producer or writer and DoD. These projects cannot be considered as "turn downs" and therefore are not listed.
When the Department of Defense is presented with a film project that puts the military in the best light possible , it can go to extraordinary lengths to render assistance. An illustrative example can is The Green Berets, referred to earlier. The film presents a highly polished image of the Army's Special Forces and their role in the early days of our commitment of troops to combat in Vietnam. The political line of the film is strongly pro-war, and several of the characters deliver long speeches justifying our involvement in it. Illustrative of the content is a scene in which a sergeant dumps an arm-load of captured weapons in front of a dovish newspaper correspondent and shouts, "What's involved here is Communist domination of the world."
Before going to Defense with his project, the star and maker of the film, John Wayne, sent a telegram to President Johnson describing the project and saying he needed Department of Defense assistance. According to the New York Times, Bill Moyers replied for the President with a letter in which he said "the President was interested in the project and it sounded like an interesting and exciting venture." The Times said that Moyers let the Department of Defense know about the telegram and the letter.
Batjac Productions, Inc., Wayne's filmmaking company, apparently complied with all of the procedures necessary to obtain military clearance which was approved in August 1967. It earlier had provided a staggering list of the physical requirements it needed of the Army. The list was eight pages long and included jeeps, captured Viet Cong weapons, American rifles, machine guns, carbines, parachutes, mortars, trucks, tanks, armored personnel carriers, bulldozers, ambulances, helicopters, cargo aircraft, and scout dogs. Without apparent demurrer, the Army made the equipment available at Fort Benning, Georgia, the major shooting location, and at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and at some nearby airfields where other filming was done.
Wayne's shooting schedule called for forty days of activity on the Army posts. According to a General Accounting Office examination of the Army's involvement with the filmmaking, Batjac was at Fort Benning or at other military installations in the area from August 9, 1967, to November 15, 1967 - ninety-eight calendar days. The "requirements" sheets submitted by Wayne´s organization indicated that up to 359 Army personnel would be needed to appear on camera, of whom 143 were classified as "permanent." Among those needed were troops of Asian extraction to play roles as Vietnamese - North, South, and Viet Cong. The Army obligingly found a platoon of such troops, men from Hawai, training at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, and put them on leave status so that Wayne could bring them to Fort Benning to be in the picture. All troops appearing as "extras," from Benning, Bragg, and Devens were on leave or "off-duty" status. As the Defense Department explains the procedure, "Military personnel whenever they are filmed doing anything above and beyond their normal activities involved in operations or scheduled training are on leave status. Personnel are never ordered to take leave; they do so as they desire and are hired by the producer on a voluntary basis..."
Anyone at all familiar with the life of an enlisted serviceman knows that leaves is sometimes hard to obtain, but apparently there were no obstacles put in the way of the men found suitable by Wayne's company to appear in The Green Berets. As for volunteering, since the soldier-extra were paid $1.40 an hour (the minimum Minimum Wage) and their Army pay did not stop, it is doubtful that there were any problems of filling the movie ranks.
Unpaid by Wayne, but paid for by the taxpayers, were the hundreds of troops involved in support functions. According to the General Accounting Office, "Batjac was not charged for military pay costs of troop support furnished by the 10th Aviation Group and the 197th Infantry Brigade of the Infantry Center and of project officers provided by DoD [Department of Defense] and the base commander." * (*According to the GAO, the Fort Benning commander provided an officer and five enlisted men to assist in the production. They spent 107 days at the task.) The GAO estimated that this support amounted to 3,800 man-days.
Another requirement that filmmakers supposedly must meet to qualify for military assistance is that there be no interference with normal activities or training if it can be at all avoided. It is hard to believe, however, that the presence of John Wayne's camera crews, electricians, technicians, director, and supernumeraries at Fort Benning,requiring 3,800 man-days of support, plus the use of rifles, mortars, aircraft, bulldozers, cranes, trucks and other arms and equipment did not interfere with the normal tenor of military activities.
Department of Defense Instruction 5410.15 includes among the principles for assistance to nongovernmental filmmakers the following: "Diversion of equipment, personnel, and material resources from normal military locations and military operations may be authorized only when circumstances preclude the filming without it, and such diversions shall be held to a minimum and without interference with military operations, and will be on the basis that the production company will reimburse the Government for expenses incurred in the diversion."
The General Accounting Office inquiry found that Wayne was not charged "the loan of weapons, for the use of equipment... [or] for 87 flying hours by UH-I helicopters."
Batjac Productions, Inc., after all was finished paid the U.S. Government $18,623.64. To operate a UH-I helicopter (the "Huey," extensively used in Vietnam) for 87 hours costs $36,105.
There is a Bureau of the Budget document, Circular A-25, of September 23, 1959, that covers payment to the U.S. Government for assistance such as that given Wayne's commercial enterprise. It says, "Where a service (or privilege) provides special benefits to an identifiable recipient above and beyond that which accrues to the public at large a charge should be imposed to recover the full cost to the Federal Government for rendering that service." [Italics mine.]
But the Department of Defense operates by its own rules; Department of Defense Instruction 730.7 of December 20, 1966, set up its own exclusion from the reimbursement requirement for "any service furnished representatives of public information media or the general public in the interest of public understanding of the Armed Forces."
The General Accounting Office coolly observed that the Department of Defense should make its practices "consistent" with those of the Bureau of the Budget.
While the film was still in production I received from a West Virginia publisher a letter and an editorial he had written questioning the extent of the Army's assistance to Wayne and his company. I passed the question along Secretary McNamara, and soon had a reply from Phil G. Goulding, then Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, within whose purview assistance to filmmakers came.
Goulding's letter defended his department's activities and the use of Army equipment saying, "When special or close-up scenes required authentic military material such photography was accommodated only when all material was free of military commitment, and when no private or commercial enterprise could provide same. When expenses to the Government were incurred, the Company reimbursed the Government in full... Assistance to the Batjac Company at Fort Benning was far from unilateral. Upon completion of photography, many truckloads of equipment, training aids, and material as well as a complete Montagnard village constructed at company expense were presented to the Infantry Center for use in its guerrilla warfare training program. Cumulatively, the donation can be evaluated at about $75,000, as estimated by Fort Benning officers, and will result in a significant contribution to the realism and effectiveness of guerrilla training conducted at the Center.
At the time, American troops had been in combat in Vietnam for more than two and a half years. If Fort Benning by then did not already have guerrilla training facilities as good or better than those left behind by Wayne's company there is something wrong with Army training. Could it be that there was not enough money to the multi-billion dollar defense budgets of the past several years to have provided the training cadres and the troops under their command those training aids and materials left behind (thereby saving trucking expenses)?
An interesting sidelight on the making of The Green Berets appeared in the New Yorker after the film opened in New York in the early summer of 1968. Talking to a reporter for the magazine at a party following the premiere, Robin Moore, author of the book from which the film was made, said Wayne's production "caught the spirit of the book but it didn´t follow the book. I mean in the book we showed some bad Vietnamese allies. But the movie showed only good ones. The movie should have shown the frustration with the bad Vietnamese. But that was a concession we had to make to the Defense Department. We couldn´t have made the film without their approval."
Another recent film to which the Department of Defense lent extraordinary assistance was Tora! Tora! Tora!, Darryl F. Zanuck's $20 million depiction of the events leading up to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and of the attack itself. ("Tora" means tiger and was the code word used by the Japanese pilots to signal that the attack had begun.) For the making of this film, Zanuck was given the use of the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Yorktown, five other Navy ships in active commission, and two destroyers from the inactive pool - in all, a "task force" of respectable size - and access to facilities in the continental United States and in the Honolulu area.
In the late autumn of 1968, the Yorktown sailed out of San Diego bound for Honolulu. She was scheduled to proceed farther into the Pacific to participate in the recovery of Apollo 8 after its lunar-orbit mission. Because of the nature of its duties, the ship did not have the normal complement of aircraft aboard. Instead, she carried forty World War II Japanese planes leased by Zanuck from commercial sources, twenty-nine Navy fliers on "authorized leave or off-duty status" and a number of civilian pilots who were to fly them, and a large deck crew for Marines from El Toro Naval Air Station in California, all experienced in handling aircraft on a carrier and also "off duty."
Once at sea, with Marines working on deck in Japanese uniforms and the Japanese ensign flying from an appropriately rigged staff, Zanuck's cameras filmed the take-offs of the "enemy strike force" from the Yorktown's deck. All the while, according to information given to me by the Department of Defense, the ship "conducted regular scheduled independent ship exercises." Concerning the use of the Japanese ensign that had been reported in the press, Defense took a testy stand.
"It has been implied," it said, "that the U.S.S. Yorktown operated under the Japanese national ensign. This is not true. At no time did the U.S.S. Yorktown operate under any colors but the U.S. national ensign [American flag]. During WWII, the Japanese national ensign was flown on a shorter staff aft of the island on the flight deck of Japanese carriers. It was from such a mast, constructed by TCF, that the Japanese flag was flown during filming aboard the U.S.S. Yorktown while the American ensign flew form its appropriate mast."
Once the film company got to Honolulu additional large demands were made on naval personnel and facilities. The "Japanese" planes used Barber's Point Naval Air Station as a base and from this field the simulated attacks on Pearl Harbor were flown. An ammunition lighter "not scheduled for Navy use during the production period" was loaned to the company to support a mock-up of the battleship U.S.S. Arizona, sunk in the attack; a Navy helicopter squadron took "training advantage of lifting externals loads" and moved eighteen full-scale models of P-40 fighters about five miles from dock to Wheeler Air Force Base; the schedules of several ships were altered to permit filming, and various base facilities were put at Zanuck's disposal.
Perhaps prompted by criticisms of the amount of money John Wayne was charged for assistance given to The Green Berets, the bill for Zanuck's use of the Yorktown, his "task force", and for other facilities was a sizeable one - $319,091 for "equipment, fuel consumption, maintenance and services, military labor and materiel, safety observers, parking fees, and related activities," and for transporting the Japanese planes from San Diego to Honolulu. The General Accounting Office says that the Navy's bill should have been $196,000 higher, and admirals appearing before the House Subcommittee on Defense Appropriations in February 1970 were asked what they were going to do about it. As far as I know the Navy had not come up with an answer.
Sizeable as the total of these amounts is, one wonders if they fully covered the costs of interference with normal naval operations and what a commercial organization would call "overhead charges." But apparently this aspect of military participation in Tora! Tora! Tora! did not bother the Navy. When the proposal first arose that Zanuck be loaned an aircraft carrier, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul H. Nitze, a former Secretary of the Navy; his successor, Paul R. Ignatius, and top admirals supported the idea, according to participants in the discussions. On a television broadcast in May of 1969 Arthur Sylvester, who had been Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs at the time Zanuck's film proposal was first presented for assistance, said the Navy thought the publicity for military preparedness was worth the risk of criticism.
Nearly twenty-nine years have passed since Pearl Harbor, American feelings toward the Japanese are no longer inimical. But the propriety of promoting preparedness by reconstructring the attack of December 7, 1941, even in the climate of present-day good feelings, is open to question. Perhaps in Zanuck's case, the instruction was considered retroactively, for he also produced The Longest Day, a star-emblazoned story of the Allied invasion of France in World War II. Interestingly, however, assistance given to him for that film raised questions also, since some 700 combat troops were brought from Germany to act in it - at a time when President Kennedy was calling up National Guardsmen and Reservists for duty because of the Berlin Crisis."
En la imagen vemos a DON LEÓNIDAS ZEGARRA UCEDA, cineasta extraordinario de la Fe Católica, Apostólica y Romana. Sus filmes con elevado contenido católico reciben la ayuda de la Divina Providencia y hasta de instituciones que también apoyan las enseñanzas de la Santa Madre Iglesia. El filme "VIRGEN DE COPACABANA: SU HISTORIA Y SUS MILAGROS" fue escrito por Don Leónidas Candelario Zegarra Uceda y el Reverendo Padre Sebastián Obermaier, quien tiene su parroquia en El Alto, en La Paz (Bolivia) y es muy respetado por la comunidad boliviana por su labor pastoral y caritativa. Dada la importancia que tiene esta película para difundir la veneración a la Virgen de Copacabana, la Santa Madre Iglesia ha organizado un acto público muy significativo para reconocer la labor de su director Don Leónidas Candelario Zegarra Uceda y otros importantes difusores de la Fe. Dicho acto público se realizará el 12 de Septiembre de 2012.