Cameron Reilly & Ray Harris public
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If there’s one thing the CIA loved in its early days, it was hiring Nazis – like General Reinhard Gehlen who ran their West German spying operation and ended up running West Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND). There something secret here that only members can see. Probably an audio player or something. HOW TO LISTEN Reinhard Gehlen…
 
Leonardo’s Adoration of the Magi has been called “the most influential unfinished painting in the history of art” and “the most revolutionary and anti-classical picture of the fifteenth century”. Commissioned as a favour to his father when LDV was 29. As payment, he would only get some firewood and some property near Florence – but he had to pay fo…
 
Leonardo da Vinci liked boys. Young boys were his weakness. He liked to draw them, paint them and have sex with them. He even got arrested twice for sodomy, which was punishable by death in Florence. Fortunately for us, one of his co-accused was tight with the Medici. Oh dear! This page contains Member's Only content... and you aren't logged in! Su…
 
The CIA wanted to secretly funnel American cash to European politicians, criminals and businesses that would do their bidding. They also wanted to influence public opinion about capitalism, communism, but without appearing to. To accomplish this, they set up an enormous number of front groups, many of which still exist today. They also hid known fa…
 
On September 1, 1948, Frank Wisner took charge of the CIA’s covert operations. Known as the OPC – The Office of Policy Co-ordination. Although the CIA was a publicly known entity, the OPC was top secret. One of the first things he did was establish a multinational media conglomerate for spreading anti-Communist and pro-American propaganda. He spent…
 
Thirty years before he painted the Mona Lisa, Leonardo’s first non-religious painting was a portrait of another woman – Ginevra de’Benci. He was only 21, but already his genius was showing. This portrait broke new ground in several important ways. Who was Ginevra and why did he paint her portrait? Oh dear! This page contains Member's Only content..…
 
Nero becomes emperor on the murder of his step-father. He’s 16 or 17 years old. Why didn’t the Senate stop him? It might have something to do with Seneca and Burrus. Seneca wrote him a speech where he promised to be nice. And, indeed, the first five years of his rule seemed to go well. His mother, Agrippina, ruled by his side. The post Nero #2 – Ni…
 
This is the story of Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus. Known to us as Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus. Or just “Nero”. On this episode, we ask - how is it possible that a man tutored and guided by one of the most famous Stoic philosophers, Seneca, would end up with the reputation as one of history’s worst tyrants? The post Nero #1 – The Last OG…
 
In addition to working with his old master, Verrocchio, on painting in the 1470s, Leonardo also produced at least four paintings mostly on his own. The Annunciation, two Madonnas and a portrait of Ginevra de’ Benci. In these paintings we can see the young master innovating, experimenting and even making some mistakes. Oh dear! This page contains Me…
 
Leonardo’s earliest surviving work of art is a landscape sketch of Vinci in his notebook dating from 1473 when he was 21 years old. The earliest surviving painting is BAPTISM OF CHRIST, a collaboration with his old master, Verrocchio (as seen in Marketing The Messiah). On this episode, we go deep on both works of art, looking at what made Leonardo …
 
Taking a short break from our CIA series this week to talk to retired U.S. Major Danny Sjursen. Danny was a U.S. Army strategist and history instructor at West Point. He served tours with reconnaissance units in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He has written a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghost Riders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, an…
 
Taking a short break from our CIA series this week to talk to retired U.S. Major Danny Sjursen. Danny was a U.S. Army strategist and history instructor at West Point. He served tours with reconnaissance units in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He has written a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghost Riders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, an…
 
Messallina decides the time has come. She has a poison expert released from prison and they prepare a special dish of mushrooms for Claudius’ last meal. But the mushrooms weren’t enough and so they had to finish him off - with a feather. The post Claudius #15 – A Mushroom & A Feather appeared first on Life Of The Caesars.…
 
What will the GOP look like after January 20? I see four main scenarios. Trump remains as the leader and it’s business as usual. Trump retires from the position gracefully and they search for new leadership. Trump is pushed out. Trump sets up his own political party. Let’s talk about what might happen. Meanwhile: Trump intervening with SCOTUS Mike …
 
Part 4 of our series on the creation of the CIA. Even the CIA’s original legal counsel warned them that covert missions were illegal – but they did them anyway. On December 14, 1947, they were ordered to execute “covert psychological operations designed to counter Soviet and Soviet-inspired activities.” Their first mission was to spend tens of mill…
 
Leonardo’s first known artwork is a Frankenstein monster and he invents sfumato. Oh dear! This page contains Member's Only content... and you aren't logged in! Sucks to be you, seriously, because the content you are missing is really funny. And clever. And probably very, very sexy. So sign up now and your life will be improved substantially. The po…
 
Part 3 of our series on the creation of the CIA. In 1947, Truman’s popularity was plunging. The CIA came out of his attempt to scare the hell out of the country. Exit Director Vandenberg and enter Rear Admiral Roscoe Hillenkoetter, Allen Dulles, the National Security Council and some loosey-goosey wording in the CIA’s charter that you could drive a…
 
We examine Leonardo’s writing style, and his apprenticeship at age 14 to Andrea del Verrocchio, an Italian painter, sculptor, and goldsmith, because even geniuses need a master to learn from (despite what The Queen’s Gambit would have you believe). Oh dear! This page contains Member's Only content... and you aren't logged in! Sucks to be you, serio…
 
“Extraordinary power … conjoined with remarkable facility, a mind of regal boldness and magnanimous daring.” That’s how Vasari described Leonardo da Vinci. But how much do we really know about the world’s most famous artist? And how much of what we think we know is myth? The post #108 – Leonardo da Vinci Part 1 – A Complete Bastard appeared first o…
 
Part 2 of our series on the creation of the CIA. After Truman’s decision to shut down the OSS, Wild Bill Donovan’s deputy, Brigadier General John Magruder, met secretly with John McCloy, the assistant secretary of war, taking advantage of the fact that Henry Stimson, secretary of war and a huge opponent of the idea of an “American Gestapo”, had jus…
 
It's 48 CE. Messalina is dead. So now Claudius needs a new wife. There are several candidates, including Julia Agrippina, the daughter of Germanicus, making her Claudius' niece. Conveniently, her rich husband had recently died. She is also the mother of a young boy called Domitius Ahenobarbus - but who will soon change his name to Nero. The post Cl…
 
According to Truman, he never intended for the CIA to be a “Cloak & Dagger Outfit”. It was intended to be a centralized reporting agency, not to act as a spy organization. Today we start a series about how the CIA rose from the ashes of Wild Bill Donovan’s incompetent OSS after WWII. HOW TO LISTEN If you are seeing this message, it means you aren’t…
 
Savonarola was notified that he and his closest colleagues had been condemned to die. His most ardent believers had faith that the Lord would save him at the last minute, but, yet again, God didn’t show up for work. At 1pm, May 23, 1498, they were degraded then burned in the Piazza della Signoria. And now Florence needs to get its shit together. Do…
 
The trials of Savonarola begin. First he is put on trial by the Signoria of Florence for his political interference. Then he is put on trial by the Pope for his religious accusations and claims of prophecy. This being Catholic Italy, part of the trial involves torture – the strappado. Under torture Savonarola confesses to making everything up and b…
 
Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo - brother-in-law of Caligula - is sent by Claudius to Germany to deal with some rebellious tribes. But he's TOO successful, so Claudius calls him home. Messalina decides to get married again - while still married to Claudius. Surprisingly he isn't too happy about it when he finds out. So she has a date - with a sword. The po…
 
Tito’s form of Communism quickly became much more liberal than those in the Soviet bloc countries and China. The question is why? The collectivisation of land was put in reverse. The police were reformed and the press was given additional freedoms. Tito turned the tables on Stalin, accusing the USSR of abandoning socialist principles in favour of i…
 
Tito has his own Central Committee member Žujović arrested for treason, which leads the Cominform to expel Yugoslavia. This creates a rift between the pro-Soviet Yugoslav Communists and the pro-Tito Communists, and Tito sends thousands of “Cominformists” to slave in the camp on Goli Otok. To show that he could out-Stalin Stalin, he announced there …
 
With Charles out of the picture, Piero de Medici figures it’s time to return to Florence. He marched into Tuscany with a force of four hundred lancers, light cavalry, and foot soldiers. Unfortunately, nobody shows up to welcome him and he went back into exile. But his attempt to return sets off a series of political assassinations in Florence, supp…
 
A miracle prevents Mad Max from invading Italy and Savonarola’s prophetic credentials continue to rise. But he still wants Florence to purify itself further so he orders his first Bonfire Of The Vanities. Oh dear! This page contains Member's Only content... and you aren't logged in! Sucks to be you, seriously, because the content you are missing is…
 
The invasion of Brittania continues. When Plautius has them nearly finished, he sends for Claudius who turns up to take credit for the final blow. The Senate grant him tons of honours as a result of his victory. But he’s more interested in explaining to Romans how an eclipse works. The post Claudius #9 Vini Vidi Vici Bitchi appeared first on Life O…
 
Yes, we’re still talking about Savonarola! Deal with it! On this episode, Savonarola refuses the Pope’s summons to go to Rome and to stop preaching. He uses the ol’ Bill Clinton defence. During some of his downtime, one of his colleagues offers to go through a trial by fire to prove how much God loves Savonarola. And when he returns to preaching, S…
 
This week we have a couple of guests from Slovenia - Lovro and Izak. They are 20-year-old students of international relations at The University of Ljubljana. They joined Cam on Zoom a few weeks ago to talk about Slovenia today and how the era of Tito and the Republic of Yugoslavia are taught in the schools and remembered by their families.…
 
The Australian government is trying to force Facebook and Google to pay Australia news organisations free money; compare the narrative around Aussie journalists in China versus Assange; No, the CDC did *not* say only 6% of people died from COVID; Senate Report about Trump and Russia contains nothing new; who put the Novichok poison in Navalny’s tea…
 
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