SPY VS SPY: Disney, DeSantis and a Shared CIA History
It’s always more fun when you have a dog in the fight. Watching sports on TV just isn’t the same when you hate both teams equally. Dallas Cowboys vs. the New York Giants? Quite the Sophie’s choice. For me, it’s the same with the fight between DeSantis and Disney. I find myself in the peculiar position of no position at all.
DeSantis and conservative activists are attacking the Walt Disney Company after the media monolith half-heartedly came out against the Parents Rights in Education bill, AKA the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill. In a recent special session, DeSantis and his Republican legislature voted to strip Disney of its Vatican-like status that let the company operate as a sovereign government within the state of Florida.
I will not come to Disney’s defense. Disney is bad. Ending the company’s ability to operate with impunity and zero oversight is good. And as much as I can’t stand Gov. DeSantis’s faux-populist nonsense, as a native Floridian, I believe Disney to be an abomination. A blight on God’s formerly green earth.
To be fair, I never liked Disney. I think my father indoctrinated me at an early age. He swore he’d never take me, and he never did. I ended up going to both Disney World and EPCOT once. Both were school field trips. I never got the appeal. I do not like waiting in lines. I do not like concrete and sun. I remember the heat and that it all felt sticky, like a candy-soaked child had put their unwashed hands everywhere.
Maybe I’m just being a grumpy crank who doesn’t want people to have fun. But, my Disney-loving friends, before your hatred of DeSantis makes you believe Mickey Mouse is a comrade, there are many indisputably wretched things about the most magical place on earth.
You can’t ignore the environmental toll the corporation has had on Florida. Laying billions of tons of concrete over the center of the state has all but cut off the wildlife corridor and the movement of water further south. Florida is like a giant, slow-moving river. Its flatness makes the hydrology hypersensitive to change. Disney cut the state in half and brought the suburbs to the middle of Florida.
Disney’s consolidation of our media system is concerning as well. The company owns nearly 40% of the entire movie and TV industry in America: 20th Century Fox, ABC, A&E, Endemol Shine (producers of everything from Deal or No Deal to Black Mirror), ESPN, Fox Sports Network, FX, GoPro, History Channel, Hollywood Records, Hulu, Lifetime, Lucasfilm, National Geographic, Marvel, Photobucket, Pixar, Touchstone Pictures, and Vice Media.
But it doesn’t stop there. Over the years, Disney has diversified its portfolio significantly:
“Disney owns construction companies, luxury cruises, hotels, theme parks, music producers, libraries, digital marketing companies, web streaming services, photography companies, video game studios, television and radio stations, magazines and book publishers, financial and real-estate firms, and more. Disney owns local news stations in eight major U.S. cities, an amusement park in Paris, a marine port in the Bahamas, venture capital firms in Shanghai, and even its own private government district in Florida. In total, Disney’s net worth is estimated to be larger than the economies of Ukraine or Morocco."
With all this business, it wields significant influence over policy in this country. It lobbied heavily and got its way in both the 1976 Copyright Act and the 1998 Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA). Critics of US copyright law refer to the CTEA as the “Mickey Mouse Protection Act.”
Because of Disney’s nefarious past and present, I now find myself on the side of some of the most brain-dead and mean-spirited people—Disney should not have its own fiefdom within the state of Florida. But this isn’t the first time I’ve found myself with strange bedfellows. Over the past six years there’s been a shift in conservative worldview. Because of the whole Russiagate fiasco, Trump turned his MAGA supporters against our state intelligence agencies. The FBI and CIA are now officially the other and villains of the highest order. All of a sudden, I found myself in the weird position of arguing with Democrats who decided to come to the defense of our intelligence agencies when I brought up the history of CIA atrocities.
Now of course, these MAGA folk hate Disney for all the wrong reasons. Just like they did with the CIA and Epstein, they find a kernel of truth, and then take things in fantastical directions. The truth is, they’re not mad at Disney for being a media monopoly or an environmental plague. No, they are mad at Disney for being gay. And because Disney “supports" gay people, that means they are pedophiles. And because they are pedophiles, that means that they must be CIA-backed child sex traffickers.
That’s some crazy shit. Turns out QAnon never went away. It was just hiding in wait.
But they’re not completely wrong. It is true that Walt Disney, the man and the company, have significant FBI and CIA ties.
Walt Disney, FBI Informant
Besides the fact that Walt Disney was a known Nazi sympathizer, he was also a secret FBI informant and close friend of J. Edgar Hoover. From 1940 until his death in 1966, Walt Disney helped the FBI suss out alleged communists by snitching on Hollywood actors, writers, producers, directors, technicians and union activists. Disney also allowed Hoover to access and edit scripts for his TV and movies to help with the bureau’s propaganda. Disney did such a good job working with the FBI that in 1954, they made him a “full Special Agent in Charge Contact.” According to The New York Times, as a SAC Contact, he would provide transportation and equipment as well as public relations services to the bureau. Disney was not the only famous Hollywood informant for the FBI. Ronald Reagan, who was president of the Screen Actors Guild, was also an asset who the bureau referred to as “Source T-10.”
(A pissed-off Walt Disney testifying at the House of Un-American Activities Committee because his workers were on strike.)
Disney’s work with US intelligence agencies didn’t end there.
On November 22, 1963, the same day President Kennedy was assassinated, Walt Disney flew over pristine southwest Orlando and pointed out the window. “That’s it,” he said. Disney saw the suburban future of the state and just where to put his new kingdom.
(Walt maps out his new kingdom.)
In order to buy up the 40 square miles that would make up his magic kingdom as cheaply as possible, Disney enlisted the help of the “Father of the CIA,” William “Wild Bill” Donovan, founder of the Office of Strategic Services, the precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency, and senior CIA operative Paul Helliwell, the man who helped launch the secret CIA war in Indochina, funded the Bay of Pigs invasion and worked as legal counsel for “mob accountant” Meyer Lansky.
With the help of Donovan’s New York law firm (where future CIA director William Casey was also employed), Wild Bill and co created fake identities for Disney agents, orchestrated a disinformation campaign and controlled the media.
In TD Allman’s book, “Finding Florida,” he revealed the media’s complicity in Disney’s business machinations:
“When the Orlando Sentinel caught wind of Disney’s clandestine activities, the newspaper forbade its reporters to investigate for the same reason The New York Times had refused to report on the CIA’s planned invasion of Cuba.”
Using his covert experience destabilizing governments and propping up dictators around the world, Helliwell came up with a way for Disney to avoid taxation, environmental regulations and pesky democratic elections by setting up puppet governments around central Florida. They created two phantom cities, filled them with Disney employees and “elected” officials who would do Disney’s bidding.
To this day, Disney operates independently of Florida law. After a 4-year-old boy died on the ride Mission: Space, the chief of Florida's Bureau of Fair Rides Inspection said there wasn’t anything that they could do about it. “We don't have the authority to close the park down or close the rides.”
The CIA helped Disney, and while it is refreshing to see these wicked organizations face scrutiny from the right, they conveniently ignore the fact that their boy, Ronald Dion DeSantis, is also a CIA stooge.
DeSantis is a Spook?
(I can see DeSantis glowing from space.)
Could Gov. DeSantis be a spook? He certainly has all the necessary ingredients.
To begin with, DeSantis attended both Yale and Harvard. If you didn’t already know, this is THE breeding ground for establishment rulers and shadowy figures. Yale and Harvard are the two most preferred schools for the Central Intelligence Agency’s recruitment efforts.
Since WWII, Yale has been a den of CIA recruitment. Historian Robin W. Winks in his 1987 book Cloak & Gown: Scholars in the Secret War, 1939-1961 said, “Rightly or wrongly, a historian could, in assessing the link between the university and the agency, declare in 1984 that Yale had influenced the CIA more than any other university did.”
There are too many Yalies who became CIA to list here, but three of the agencies directors—George H.W. Bush, R. James Woolsey and Porter Goss—were Yale graduates. I’d like to note that Goss, before becoming director, was a representative in the House of Representatives from 1989 until 2004 in Florida.
At Yale, DeSantis was captain of the baseball team. The CIA was known to recruit from sports teams, often employing coaches to pick out desirable candidates.
I’m not even going to get into the whole Skull and Bones craziness at Yale, but if you’re interested, look up “Skull and Bones, Prescott Bush, Geronimo’s skull and masturbation initiation ritual.”
After Yale, DeSantis went on to Harvard Law. In Daniel Golden’s book, Spy Schools: How the CIA, FBI, and Foreign Intelligence Secretly Exploit America’s Universities, he revealed how Harvard knowingly allowed undercover CIA agents onto its campus to recruit agents and assets. While the university's administrators were aware of the disguised agents, the faculty was not. The administrators also worked diligently to hide their true identities. “We will protect your identity,” one administrator said. “We serve the government. This is our government.”
During his last year at Harvard law, the Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps (JAG) selected DeSantis for its program. Less than a year after graduating, DeSantis was sent to Guantanamo Bay, the CIA’s most famous extrajudicial torture outpost. While there, DeSantis worked directly with inmates to “advocate for the fair and humane treatment of the detainees to ensure the U.S. military complied with the law.” More specifically, DeSantis acted as a prosecutor. How one might fairly and humanely “prosecute” in the absence of habeas corpus is a mystery to me. Any efforts to find out what exactly DeSantis did during his time at GITMO is next to impossible, especially when records are known to mysteriously disappear.
It would appear that DeSantis’s time at Guantanamo did not soften his heart or lead to any critical thinking. During a May 16, 2016 hearing as chairman of the House Oversight Committee’s National Security Subcommittee, he argued against releasing the remaining 80 detainees still at Gitmo, saying they were “hardened and unrepentant” jihadis and releasing them would only “risk harming America’s national security…in case they returned to terrorism.”
Right after Guantanamo, DeSantis was sent in 2007 to Iraq to act as a senior legal adviser to the Navy SEALs in Fallujah. No details have been released about his time in Iraq or his responsibilities during the deadliest year of the entire war. As a JAG in Iraq, it was his job to give legal cover to soldiers. In other words, he would help decide whether it was legal or not to risk shooting civilians during a military operation.
Also worthy of scrutiny is DeSantis’s meteoric rise to political power. If you were ever suspicious of former mayor and presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg’s suspicious rise to political prominence after doing mysterious work for the military and a short stint as an elected official, DeSantis is equally as curious. Instead, DeSantis fans herald him as Trump’s heir apparent in the fight against the Deep State.
DeSantis is riding this new wave of conservative populist fervor within America to great success. But would a true populist bend over backwards for a foreign country? During his campaign for governor DeSantis said, “As soon as I take the oath of office, that very day, we’ll have the most pro-Israel governor in the country.” As governor, he suspended the first amendment with his Anti-Semitism Protections Bill which makes it a crime to criticize the state of Israel. DeSantis is just another tentacle of the neoconservative monster.
(Every populist my swear fealty to the state of Israel.)
The Disney vs. DeSantis headlines are just noise. It’s unclear whether the state of Florida can legally take away Disney’s special protections. What will likely ensue is an costly court battle (that the taxpayers will pay for), and even if Disney does lose its special status, it can just reapply for it in July of next year. I’m not even convinced that this is a real conflict. Disney gave the DeSantis campaign hundreds of thousands of dollars. Just last year, Disney had a direct line to DeSantis’s administration. When DeSantis and co. proposed the Stop the Censorship of Floridians by Big Tech, a bill that targeted companies like Facebook, Twitter, but also Disney+, a special amended was proposed that carved out an exemption for the Walt Disney Company. It was revealed Disney had a direct line to the DeSantis administration and wrote the amendment. Nor is Disney on the morally just side of marginalized people. Disney has no morals. It functions with the cold math of every major corporation: where is the money?
DeSantis versus Disney is not some biblical battle of good and evil. Both DeSantis and Disney come from the same intelligence apparatus. You do not have to pick a side because neither side has ever picked you. Instead, take this as an opportunity for opening eyes. If we are lucky, maybe the two will eat each other alive.
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