The NSA's Newly-Declassified Propaganda Posters Are Wild

Authored by Katherine Schwab via FastCoDesign.com,

Plenty of bosses hang up motivational posters around the office. But it’s not just companies that do this kind of brainwashing by graphic design: the NSA does, too.

A ream of internal propaganda posters that the NSA released in the 1950s and 1960s are now available online, thanks to a FOIA request from 2016. And they are a perfect mix of surreal imagery, pop culture references, and dark propaganda. One poster has a creepy skull inside of a spotlight with the words, “Don’t TALK yourself to death!”

A “Season’s Greetings” poster displays a Norman Rockwell-esque scene of a cute little town blanketed in snow–and a grim reminder at the bottom of the image that “security takes no holiday.” This poster in particular is so creepy because of how the designers juxtaposed the sheer normalcy of the scene and the frilly, Hallmark Card font used to wish employees happy holidays with their eerie message of constant vigilance and loyalty to the government.

Perhaps the most bone-chilling is a poster featuring the last words of the Gettysburg Address, with the word “people” crossed out in bloody red ink and replaced with “STATE.” Just in case NSA employees forgot who they were working for.

Because these paranoid posters are from so many years ago, the NSA of today doesn’t know who designed them, but whoever it was had the daunting task of reminding employees what the NSA is all about while scaring them into keeping their mouths shut. And the designers used some surreal tactics to get their point across. One poster declares, “Security is everyone’s responsibility” with dozens of heads that look like they were cut out from magazines floating on a pale yellow background.

Another shows a group of people walking down some stairs, all with images of old-fashioned safe locks in place of their mouths–bizarre enough to give you nightmares. Perhaps one of the most direct shows an image of a man’s hands tied behind his back with the grim caption, “Communist security.”

After all, many of the posters were from the era of McCarthy’s Red Scare.

There are pop culture and artistic references in the posters as well, including the Mona Lisa, Rodin’s The Thinker, and even a poster devoted to John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, complete with a terrible, hilarious pun: “Security-fever–catch it!”

It’s like the NSA is a very dorky parent who’s trying to be hip–dad jokes about John Travolta and all–but still has to make sure the kids never tell the family secrets.

The NSA told me that these kinds of posters still populate its walls, mostly in office areas where employees tend to congregate, like elevators, cafeterias, and water fountains, and maintains that they’re nothing out of the ordinary. Nonetheless, old posters are surreal gems of graphic design that capture the anxiety–and insanity–of the Cold War era.

Check out the entire set of posters here.

Comments

Croesus wadalt Sat, 06/09/2018 - 22:07 Permalink

It should come as no surprise that an organization with unlimited resources and no accountability to anyone would be corrupt to its core, and run by evil people.

I'm sure their current batch of motivational propaganda would make regular people lose sleep.

In reply to by wadalt

HedgeJunkie beemasters Sun, 06/10/2018 - 02:36 Permalink

A suicide is always a mystery.

I lost my son to suicide 06/28/2017 4:05 PM.

Thirteen years in Afghanistan as a military contractor with an “unknown” job...something related to computers and moving satillites.  He hung with Special Forces more than three times as a specialist. Got blown up three times.  Was originally on the helicopter that went down killing ten people about ten years ago.  Got off, leaving his gear, when his Army Contact took his position due to a broke thumb and wisdom teeth extraction.

Left a beautiful young wife and two boys under four.

Killed himself with a .50 cal S&W Deserat Eagle.

I’ll miss him the rest of my life.

In reply to by beemasters

HedgeJunkie beemasters Sun, 06/10/2018 - 02:36 Permalink

A suicide is always a mystery.

I lost my son to suicide 06/28/2017 4:05 PM.

Thirteen years in Afghanistan as a military contractor with an “unknown” job...something related to computers and moving satillites.  He hung with Special Forces more than three times as a specialist. Got blown up three times.  Was originally on the helicopter that went down killing ten people about ten years ago.  Got off, leaving his gear, when his Army Contact took his position due to a broke thumb and wisdom teeth extraction.

Left a beautiful young wife and two boys under four.

Killed himself with a .50 cal S&W Deserat Eagle.

I’ll miss him the rest of my life.

In reply to by beemasters

nmewn Croesus Sat, 06/09/2018 - 22:33 Permalink

Yeah...

"After all, many of the posters were from the era of McCarthy’s Red Scare."

...todays would look like...

Work Harder On Trump-Hitler-Putin! The Ass You Save Could Be Hillarys! ;-)

In reply to by Croesus

Harvey's-Rabbi Croesus Sat, 06/09/2018 - 23:55 Permalink

"Great men are almost always bad men.   Power corrupts and absolute power.....   

We will never be absolutely sure what Lord John Acton was going to say here. The unfinished note was found clutched in his hand, as his body was found in his hotel room this morning, hung by the neck from a doorknob.

In reply to by Croesus

JRobby Croesus Sun, 06/10/2018 - 09:10 Permalink

"Loose Lips Sink Ships"

The structure and hierarchy of these organizations, not unlike the military, defense contractors and other large corps. is layers and layers of "need to know" employees where the level of secrecy rises as you go up the chain of command. It goes without saying that they are paid very well under threat of ruin and prosecution if they don't keep it zip locked. Of course they search for the susceptible obiedients by using profiling and extensive background searches to find the right people.

What a great job!!!! Reminds me of some other nations that we were warned continuously throughout our lives that were are sworn enemies.

In reply to by Croesus

Let it Go Croesus Sun, 06/10/2018 - 10:01 Permalink

Anyone who doesn't believe that countries use psychological warfare and propaganda to sway the opinions of people both in and outside of their country should be considered naive. The overriding question is, when have we gone too far? While we are constantly reassured the main goal of these clowns is our protection it is difficult to forget the words of Lord Acton who back in 1887 wrote, Power tends to corrupt and absolute power tend to corrupt absolutely. The article below looks at whether all this is out of control.

 http://Psychological Warfare And Propaganda.html

In reply to by Croesus

ImGumbydmmt Let it Go Sun, 06/10/2018 - 10:48 Permalink

Infamous Hermann Goering Quote

 

"Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on
a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of
it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people
don't want war neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in
Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the
country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to
drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist
dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no
voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.
That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked,
and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the
country to danger. It works the same in any country."

(bold text added.)

http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote_blog/Hermann.Goering.Quote.65D2

In reply to by Let it Go

Endgame Napoleon Croesus Sun, 06/10/2018 - 11:25 Permalink

The one with locks on mouthes is from the Seventies. No surprise, the one reassuring Americans that employees work around the clock predates the early Seventies, when women started to enter the workforce en mass, forming their family-friendly workplaces, based on crony alliances of above-firing parents, taking off from work mornings, afternoons, days and weeks beyond PTO & pregnancy leave with no repercussions.

In the context of government surveillance, round-the-clock work takes on a different meaning, although our national security threat has varied in intensity. Right after the conclusion of WWII, it was understandable that the NSA staff was more vigilant. Right after 9/11, there was a similar period of justified, heightened fear, in that 9/11 was the biggest attack on US soil since Pearl Harbor. Problem is: Security agencies operate in full lock-down mode, even when times have changed, at the expense of liberty.

From a visual standpoint, those graphics are interesting. But even in design, government jobs have never been subject to the same brutal, irrational pay fluctuations as private-market jobs, and government employees get incremental raises and benefits.

One good thing: In those days, fewer, private-market graphic designers were producing clever compositions in jobs paying the equivalent of $12 — $14 per hour. When young, hip and worthy of in-house employment, they work in those jobs today, but back then, they could make a better living as adult breadwinners of all ages.

Back in the day, fewer of them were relegated to competing in bid-down wars for $200 gigs with umpteen-million designers around the globe. The applicant pools and bidding pools at home had not yet been doubled by moms with spousal income, or moms with monthly welfare that covers their rent & groceries and child tax credits up to $6,431, chasing jobs & gigs.

Feilds like design have a lot of women; only so many people can work in them. But back in that day, wages, in general, had not been diluted by so many moms, with unearned income from spouses or government, able to work for lower pay and part-time hours due to their layered, unearned income for womb productivity.

The wage dilution really gets dramatic in the many “voted best for moms” office jobs of other types in the private sector, where wages stay at rock-bottom levels due to so many womb-productive job chasers “with somethin comin in.” These jobs are often staffed mostly with single-earner moms, staying below the income limits for various government programs that cover their rent, groceries and other bills, plus refundable child tax credits up to $6,431. They stay under the income limits by working part time or by working temp jobs.

Can’t cover rent that absorbs more than half of your full-time wages as a single, childless, welfare-ineligible woman on part-time jobs, temp jobs or gigs with twice-as-high SS taxation in most cases. 

With spousal income and non-refundable child tax credits covering your major household bills, or with many streams of unearned income for womb productivity in single-earner households, it might be possible to live on the $200 gigs, sought by 2 million designers around the globe due to globalization & the internet, but not so much for the single, childless and non-welfare-eligible crowd.  

NSA’s new motivational posters should show a family-friendly and diversity-focused group of NSA employees, housed in an internet CLOUD, high above the plebes. Below the “cloud-based” NSA staff, which has cameras mounted on every limb and protruding body part, a crowd of angry,  underemployed or out-of-the-workforce youths demonstrates in the streets of various parts of the USA, yelling and throwing bricks and various messy food stuffs at passers by, holding signs that champion nutty causes that have little to do with their real economic plight. If they designed it that way, they might be accused of copying Ben Garrison’s cartoons.

In reply to by Croesus

HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 Magooo Sat, 06/09/2018 - 22:16 Permalink

Word is he used the belt from the hotel bathrobe and it was another Carridine event: auto erotic asphyxiation. What is it with old dudes choking themselves to get off? Sick.

As for the guy who found Bourdain, Eric Ripert, he always seemed gay, to me. I always thought Bourdain was a closet fag.

Who runs off with a 40-year old with that many tattoos? On her chest? I don't know what Bourdain was thinking when he posted that little photo last year of him and GF sitting on the grass. I remember thinking, WTF, dude, you are 60 years old and with that? And he thought she loved him? Yeah, right.

In reply to by Magooo

RumpleShitzkin HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 Sat, 06/09/2018 - 22:53 Permalink

Sid Vicious was this fags hero?

 

Told me all I needed to know. Sid was the dipshit pistol. Johnny was the clever one. He was the mind and voice behind it all. Lydon is brilliant.

 

ive always been suspicious of all these chefs and all this garbage from the Food Networks, CNN and NYT rags. All these food people look like pizza and hotdog fans. The way they make these loser chefs all look like poser punks. Nothing but junkies, fags and dykes that give each other award after award. What a joke. It’s like a Hollywood junior varsity.

They all look like disgusting smack addicted degenerates and I wouldn’t feed my dog a single thing they cooked.

There is nothing punk rock about being a goddamned chef. At all. Nothing edgy or cool. Stop playin with your fucking food.

 

There is something much, much bigger with all these sketchy types taking themselves out.

A trend is emerging...

I can smell the spirit cooked pizza, hotdogs and walnut sauce from here.

some shit is about to break and come out.

In reply to by HRH of Aquitaine 2.0

putaipan RumpleShitzkin Sun, 06/10/2018 - 00:53 Permalink

and if yo wanna know who she is watch the documentary

"The JT LeRoy Story" she was fishin' fer splintered souls from the get go.

as for fillin' in all the details... see the newest neonrevolt.com ....

swirll in a little NVIXM , some harvey and the next thing you know-

RDS is banned from reddit for outing tom hanks.

i've always disliked jerry seinfeld.....

In reply to by RumpleShitzkin

gmak HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 Sun, 06/10/2018 - 05:55 Permalink

If you have money and power - she will do enough of the status-seeking things to think she loves you. And, to tell you the truth, if you're making the beast with two backs with young tight skin, who really cares? If she's a good enough actor, that's all that matters.  At that age, you've had "woman's love" enough to know that there is no difference between the real thing, and the power/status induced thing.

 

 

In reply to by HRH of Aquitaine 2.0