The reporters committee for Freedom of the Press
Operation Mockingbird: CIA Media Manipulation
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Audio: Media & Mind Control in America
by Steven Jacobson
#1 http://www.apfn.net/audio/L001I060312110344-mind-control1.MP3 (5.24MB) 22Min 52 Sec
#2 http://www.apfn.net/audio/L002I060312112719-mind-control2.MP3 (4.75MB) 20Min 45 Sec
By Mary Louise
The CIA's secret activities, covert missions, and connections of control are all done under the pretense and protection of national security with no accountability whatsoever, at least in their minds. Considering the public is held accountable for everything we think, say, and do there is something seriously wrong with this picture. The CIA is the President's secret army, who have been and continue to be conveniently above the law with unlimited power and authority, to conduct a reign of terror around the globe.
The "old boy network" of socializing, talking shop, and tapping each other for favors outside the halls of government made it inevitable that the CIA and Corporate America would become allies, thus the systematic infiltration and takeover of the media.
Under the guise of 'American' objectives and lack of congressional oversight, the CIA accomplish their exploits by using every trick in the book (and they know quite a few) that they actually teach in the notorious "School of the Americas", nicknamed the "School of Dictators" and "School of Assassins" by critics. The Association for Responsible Dissent estimates that 6 million people had died by 1987 as a result of CIA covert operations, called an "American Holocaust" by former State Department official William Blum. In 1948, the CIA recreated its covert action wing called the Office of Policy Coordination with Wall Street lawyer Frank Wisner as its first director. Another early elitist who served as Director of the CIA from 1953 to 1961 was Allen Dulles, a senior partner at the Wall Street firm of Sullivan and Cromwell, which represented the Rockefeller empire and other trusts, corporations, and cartels.
Starting in the early days of the Cold War (late 40's), the CIA began a secret project called Operation Mockingbird, with the intent of buying influence behind the scenes at major media outlets and putting reporters on the CIA payroll, which has proven to be a stunning ongoing success. The CIA effort to recruit American news organizations and journalists to become spies and disseminators of propaganda, was headed up by Frank Wisner, Allen Dulles, Richard Helms, and Philip Graham (publisher of The Washington Post). Wisner had taken Graham under his wing to direct the program code-named Operation Mockingbird and both have presumably committed suicide.
Media assets will eventually include ABC, NBC, CBS, Time, Newsweek, Associated Press, United Press International (UPI), Reuters, Hearst Newspapers, Scripps-Howard, Copley News Service, etc. and 400 journalists, who have secretly carried out assignments according to documents on file at CIA headquarters, from intelligence-gathering to serving as go-betweens. The CIA had infiltrated the nation's businesses, media, and universities with tens of thousands of on-call operatives by the 1950's. CIA Director Dulles had staffed the CIA almost exclusively with Ivy League graduates, especially from Yale with figures like George Herbert Walker Bush from the "Skull and Crossbones" Society.
Many Americans still insist or persist in believing that we have a free press, while getting most of their news from state-controlled television, under the misconception that reporters are meant to serve the public. Reporters are paid employees and serve the media owners, who usually cower when challenged by advertisers or major government figures. Robert Parry reported the first breaking stories about Iran-Contra for Associated Press that were largely ignored by the press and congress, then moving to Newsweek he witnessed a retraction of a true story for political reasons. In 'Fooling America: A Talk by Robert Parry' he said, "The people who succeeded and did well were those who didn't stand up, who didn't write the big stories, who looked the other way when history was happening in front of them, and went along either consciously or just by cowardice with the deception of the American people."
Major networks are primarily controlled by giant corporations that are obligated by law, to put the profits of their investors ahead of all other considerations which are often in conflict with the practice of responsible journalism. There were around 50 corporations a couple of decades ago, which was considered monopolistic by many and yet today, these companies have become larger and fewer in number as the biggest ones absorb their rivals. This concentration of ownership and power reduces the diversity of media voices, as news falls into the hands of large conglomerates with holdings in many industries that interferes in newsgathering, because of conflicts of interest. Mockingbird was an immense financial undertaking with funds flowing from the CIA largely through the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF) founded by Tom Braden with Pat Buchanon of CNN's Crossfire.
Media corporations share members of the board of directors with a variety of other large corporations including banks, investment companies, oil companies, health care, pharmaceutical, and technology companies. Until the 1980's, media systems were generally domestically owned, regulated, and national in scope. However, pressure from the IMF, World Bank, and US government to deregulate and privatize, the media, communication, and new technology resulted in a global commercial media system dominated by a small number of super-powerful transnational media corporations (mostly US based), working to advance the cause of global markets and the CIA agenda.
The first tier of the nine giant firms that dominate the world are Time Warner/AOL, Disney/ABC, Bertelsmann, Viacom/CBS, Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation/Fox, General Electric/NBC, Sony, Universal/Seagram, Tele-Communications, Inc. or TCI and AT&T. This is just the head of the octopus which has its second and third tier tentacles working together in unison or feigned division. This would include The Washington Post/Newsweek, The New York Times/Weekly Standard, Tribune Co., US News, Gannett/USA Today, Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal, Washington Times, Knight-Ridder, etcetera. A good site to visit for more information is Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, a public interest media watchdog group, at www.fair.org/index.html, www.fair.org/mediafiles/index.html and www.fair.org/extra/9711/gmg.html. Media propaganda tactics include blackouts, misdirections, expert opinions to echo the Establishment line, smears, defining popular opinions, mass entertainment distractions, and Hobson's Choice (the media presents the so-called conservative and liberal positions).
"Who Controls the Media? The Subversion of the Free Press by the CIA, The Depraved Spies and Moguls of the CIA's Operation Mockingbird", "The CIA: America's Premier International Terrorist Organization", and "Virtual Government: CIA Mind Control Operations in America" by Alex Constantine are an excellent source of information on this topic: www.alexconstantine.50megs.com/the_cia_and.html and www.alexconstantine.50megs.com. David Guyatt has written books and many articles including one entitled "Subverting the Media" at www.deepblacklies.co.uk/subverting_the_media.htm. Then there are two articles called "A Timeline of CIA Atrocities" and "The Origins of the Overclass" by Steve Kangas that are very informative although from a more liberal perspective. Steve will not be writing anymore articles as he is no longer with us, having unfortunately met his untimely death that was 'apparently' from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. If you read about him on his web page that is still available, you will see that he did not seem like a person who was suffering from deep depression. In his memory, please take the time to read what he wrote at www.korpios.org/resurgent/CIAtimeline.html, www.korpios.org/resurgent/CIAtimeline.html, and www.korpios.org/resurgent/index.html.
CNN aired "Valley of Death" in June of 1998 and Time magazine (both owned by Time-Warner) ran a story about a secret mission called Operation Tailwind and the activities of SOG, Studies and Observations Group, a secret elite commando unit of the Army's Special Forces that used lethal nerve gas (sarin), on a mission to Laos designed to kill American defectors. Suddenly the network was awash in denials and the story was hushed up, as usual. Acknowledged use of this gas coming at a time when the U.S. government was trying to get Saddam to comply with weapons inspections, was an embarrassment to say the least. What hypocrisy! Having actually used the weapons on our own troops, then complaining and accusing Saddam of potential use of stored similar weapons, of which some were manufactured in and supplied by the U.S. The broadcast was prepared after exhaustive research and rooted in considerable supportive data. To decide for yourself what the truth is read Floyd Abrams' report on the CNN site at www.cnn.com/US/9807/02/tailwind.findings/index.html.
Journalists Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward broke the stories on Watergate (late 70's) in the Washington Post, having gained access to what the CIA was trying to keep from congress about its program of using journalists at home and abroad, in deliberate propaganda campaigns. It was later revealed that Woodward was a Naval intelligence briefer to the White House and knew many insiders including General Alexander Haig. A high-level source told Bernstein, "One journalist is worth twenty agents."
CFR/Trilateralist Katharine Graham, in a 1988 speech given to senior CIA employees at Agency headquarters said, "We live in a dirty and dangerous world. There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn't. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows." Maybe that's another reason why folks get the impression that a suspicious agenda lurks behind the headlines. "25 Ways to Suppress Truth: Rules of Disinformation" and "8 Traits of the Disinformationalist" at www.proparanoid.com/truth.htm, sums it up very well.
Ralph McGehee was a CIA agent for 25 years, mainly in South-East Asia where he witnessed bombing and napalming of villages, which caused him to examine closely what the CIA was really all about. He has written about Vietnam's Phoenix Program www.vwip.org/articles/m/McGeheeRalph_VietnamsPhoenixProgram.htm and after a long battle with CIA censors, he published the book "Deadly Deceits" in 1983. Ralph has been harassed by the CIA and FBI, involving bodily injury, and his CIABASE website was shut down on Spring of 2000. He copied some reports that can be found at http://serendipity.magnet.ch/cia/ciabase_report_1.htm (and 2.htm), http://serendipity.magnet.ch/cia/death_squads.htm, and www.thirdworldtraveler.com/CIA/Deadly_Deceits.html. He concluded that the CIA is not now nor has it ever been a central intelligence agency but rather the covert action arm of the President's foreign policy advisors, of which disinformation is a large part of its responsibility and the American people are the primary target of its lies.
One of the primary reasons John F. Kennedy was assassinated had to do with the fact he dared to interfere in the framework of power. Kennedy was intent on exercising his ELECTED powers and not allowing them to be usurped by power-crazed individuals in the intelligence community, threatening to "splinter the CIA in a thousand pieces and scatter it to the wind." There were four things that filled the CIA with rage and sealed his fate; JFK fired Allen Dulles, was in the process of founding a panel to investigate the CIA's numerous crimes, put a damper on the breadth and scope of the CIA, and limited their ability to act under National Security Memoranda 55.
There is such an overwhelming amount of information pertaining to the CIA that it is impossible to cover it all in one book, much less an article. Personally, I have come to the conclusion that the media is not only influenced by the CIA.....the media is the CIA. Many Americans think of their supposedly free press as a watchdog on government, mainly because the press itself shamelessly promotes that myth. One of the first tenets for the control of a population is to control all sources of information the population receives and mostly because of the pervasive CIA and Operation Mockingbird, the mainstream American Press is a controlled multi-national corporate/government megaphone. They are up to their eyeballs in dirty deeds and there will never be an end to the corruption that prevails unless the CIA is abolished. Otherwise, the CIA will just keep on using their tricks of propaganda, stuffed ballot boxes, purchased elections, extortion, blackmail, drug trafficking, sexual intrigue, kidnapping, beating, torture, intimidation, economic sabotage, false stories about opponents in the local media, infiltration and disruption of opposing political parties, demolition and evacuation procedures, death squads, and politically motivated assassinations. The CIA is the epitome of organized crime run amuck!
Central Intelligence Agency ::: Official Media Relations Site
In an effort to provide the American people with accurate information about the CIA, its mission, and the contributions Agency employees make to national security, the Media Relations Division staff works with print and broadcast journalists on a daily basis. The Office of Public Affairs believes that accurate media coverage of aspects of the Agency's work will build better public understanding of our efforts. The Division's objective is to be as helpful and responsive to the media as possible while still protecting classified information, including intelligence sources and methods. To accomplish this goal, the Media Relations Division staff establishes professional relationships with print and broadcast reporters, responds to press inquiries on a wide range of issues, develops media strategies in advance of newsworthy events or announcements, prepares press releases, and arranges for Agency experts to provide background briefings for U.S. media. http://www.cia.gov/cia/public_affairs/media.html
A Short Peek into the Future - Part 1
By Wade Inganamort
Click. Click. Click. The familiar sound violently awoke Sam, sending shockwaves down his spine. Click. Click. Click. His first voluntary reaction was to think - Is it me? Do they know? Wondering how far away they were, he threw back the standard issue gray bedding and planted his feet firmly on the cold cement floor. His mind was racing in one consistent direction: escape.
Grabbing his overcoat, he stumbled to the door, while checking the pockets to ensure that he still had the document. I must get rid of it, he thought. Why did I have to be so damn curious? Click. Click. Click. The sound was getting closer.
How he wished that he didn't have this chip in his arm, then he could've just slipped away weeks ago. It's now or never, he whispered to himself. His left hand was cleching the document in his pocket as he turned the doorknob.
Swoosh. A dart flew by his right temple. It was too late. Click. Click. Click. There they were, his worse nightmare come true; a fleet of ten six-legged Lynxmotion Hexapod II walking robots were approaching from the end of the hallway. They were increasing speed, but from hearing so many rumors, the Haxapods were not what he feared. They were but mere slaves, doing reconnaissance as part of a distributed sensor network, relaying the triangulated information back to their master, ROBART.
ROBART he knew, was rather slow with his dual treads powered by 12-volt electric wheelchair motors. Escape was a matter of evading the Hexapods before he was remotely located by GPS from the signals that his subdermal microchip - Digital Angel was emitting. But where would he go? This sector's grid monitor prevented any free-roaming, unless a travel plan was first logged from a public Digital Angel uplink terminal. Click. Click. Click.
He made a dash to the right, hoping to get a small head start and immediately felt the first of six steel tipped darts enter his neck. Consciousness began to fade away. His left hand was still tightly gripping the illegal document. ROBART's remote camera zooms in on the torn Xeroxed paper as the puppetmasters 3,000 miles away can just barely read a portion of the title: The Constitution of the United Sta......
"We have money to blow up bridges over the Tigress and Euphrates and we
don't have money to build bridges in our major cities. We have money to destroy the health of the Iraqi people and we don't have enough money to repair the health of our own people in this country. There is something fundamentally wrong with the direction this administration is taking its foreign policy, and I intend to change that if I am elected president of the United States."
Dennis Kucinich on CNN's Crossfire: Friday February 21, 2003
They hang the man and flog the woman
who steal the goose from the Common
But the other man they let go loose
who steal the Common from the goose
Olde English Nursery Rhyme
The Origins of the Overclass
By Steve Kangas
The wealthy have always used many methods to accumulate wealth, but it was not until the mid-1970s that these methods coalesced into a superbly organized, cohesive and efficient machine. After 1975, it became greater than the sum of its parts, a smooth flowing organization of advocacy groups, lobbyists, think tanks, conservative foundations, and PR firms that hurtled the richest 1 percent into the stratosphere.
The origins of this machine, interestingly enough, can be traced back to the CIA. This is not to say the machine is a formal CIA operation, complete with code name and signed documents. (Although such evidence may yet surface and previously unthinkable domestic operations such as MK-ULTRA, CHAOS and MOCKINGBIRD show this to be a distinct possibility.) But what we do know already indicts the CIA strongly enough. Its principle creators were Irving Kristol, Paul Weyrich, William Simon, Richard Mellon Scaife, Frank Shakespeare, William F. Buckley, Jr., the Rockefeller family, and more. Almost all the machine's creators had CIA backgrounds.
During the 1970s, these men would take the propaganda and operational techniques they had learned in the Cold War and apply them to the Class War. Therefore it is no surprise that the American version of the machine bears an uncanny resemblance to the foreign versions designed to fight communism. The CIA's expert and comprehensive organization of the business class would succeed beyond their wildest dreams. In 1975, the richest 1 percent owned 22 percent of America's wealth. By 1992, they would nearly double that, to 42 percent, the highest level of inequality in the 20th century.
How did this alliance start? The CIA has always recruited the nation's elite: millionaire businessmen, Wall Street brokers, members of the national news media, and Ivy League scholars. During World War II, General "Wild Bill" Donovan became chief of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the forerunner of the CIA. Donovan recruited so exclusively from the nation's rich and powerful that members eventually came to joke that "OSS" stood for "Oh, so social!"
Another early elite was Allen Dulles, who served as Director of the CIA from 1953 to 1961. Dulles was a senior partner at the Wall Street firm of Sullivan and Cromwell, which represented the Rockefeller empire and other mammoth trusts, corporations and cartels. He was also a board member of the J. Henry Schroeder Bank, with offices in Wall Street, London, Zurich and Hamburg. His financial interests across the world would become a conflict of interest when he became head of the CIA. Like Donavan, he would recruit exclusively from society's elite.
By the 1950s, the CIA had riddled the nation's businesses, media and universities with tens of thousands of part-time, on-call operatives. Their employment with the agency took a variety of forms, which included:
Leaving one's profession to work for the CIA in a formal, official capacity. Staying in one's profession, using the job as cover for CIA activity. This undercover activity could be full-time, part-time, or on-call. Staying in one's profession, occasionally passing along information useful to the CIA.
Passing through the revolving door that has always existed between the agency and the business world.
Historically, the CIA and society's elite have been one and the same people. This means that their interests and goals are one and the same as well. Perhaps the most frequent description of the intelligence community is the "old boy network," where members socialize, talk shop, conduct business and tap each other for favors well outside the formal halls of government.
Many common traits made it inevitable that the CIA and Corporate America would become allies. Both share an intense dislike of democracy, and feel they should be liberated from democratic regulations and oversight. Both share a culture of secrecy, either hiding their actions from the American public or lying about them to present the best public image. And both are in a perfect position to help each other.
How? International businesses give CIA agents cover, secret funding, top-quality resources and important contacts in foreign lands. In return, the CIA gives corporations billion-dollar federal contracts (for spy planes, satellites and other hi-tech spycraft). Businessmen also enjoy the romantic thrill of participating in spy operations. The CIA also gives businesses a certain amount of protection and privacy from the media and government watchdogs, under the guise of "national security." Finally, the CIA helps American corporations remain dominant in foreign markets, by overthrowing governments hostile to unregulated capitalism and installing puppet regimes whose policies favor American corporations at the expense of their people.
The CIA's alliance with the elite turned out to be an unholy one. Each enabled the other to rise above the law. Indeed, a review of the CIAs history is one of such crime and atrocity that no one can reasonably defend it, even in the name of anticommunism. Before reviewing this alliance in detail, it is useful to know the CIAs history of atrocity first.
The Crimes of the CIA
During World War II, the OSS actively engaged in propaganda, sabotage and countless other dirty tricks. After the war, and even after the CIA was created in 1947, the American intelligence community reverted to harmless information gathering and analysis, thinking that the danger to national security had passed. That changed in 1948 with the emergence of the Cold War. In that year, the CIA recreated its covert action wing, innocuously called the Office of Policy Coordination. Its first director was Wall Street lawyer Frank Wisner. According to its secret charter, its responsibilities included propaganda, economic warfare, preventive direct action, including sabotage, antisabotage, demolition and evacuation procedures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance groups, and support of indigenous anti-communist elements in threatened countries of the free world.
By 1953, the dirty tricks department of the CIA had grown to 7,200 personnel and commanded 74 percent of the CIAs total budget. The following quotes describe the culture of lawlessness that pervaded the CIA:
Stanley Lovell, a CIA recruiter for "Wild Bill" Donovan: "What I have to do is to stimulate the Peck's Bad Boy beneath the surface of every American scientist and say to him, 'Throw all your normal law-abiding concepts out the window. Here's a chance to raise merry hell. Come help me raise it.'" (1)
George Hunter White, writing of his CIA escapades: "I toiled wholeheartedly in the vineyards because it was fun, fun, fun... Where else could a red-blooded American boy lie, kill, cheat, steal, rape and pillage with the sanction and blessing of the all-highest?" (2)
A retired CIA agency caseworker with twenty years experience: "I never gave a thought to legality or morality. Frankly, I did what worked."
Blessed with secrecy and lack of congressional oversight, CIA operations became corrupt almost immediately. Using propaganda stations like Voice of America and Radio Free Europe, the CIA felt justified in manipulating the public for its own good. The broadcasts were so patently false that for a time it was illegal to publish transcripts of them in the U.S. This was a classic case of a powerful organization deciding what was best for the people, and then abusing the powers it had helped itself to.
During the 40s and 50s, most of the public was unaware of what the CIA was doing. Those who knew thought they were fighting the good fight against communism, like James Bond. However, they could not keep their actions secret forever, and by the 60s and 70s, Americans began learning about the agencys crimes and atrocities. (3) It turns out the
Corrupted democratic elections in Greece, Italy and dozens of other nations;
Been involved to varying degrees in at least 35 assassination plots against foreign heads of state or prominent political leaders. Successful assassinations include democratically elected leaders like Salvador Allende (Chile) and Patrice Lumumba (Belgian Congo); also CIA-created dictators like Rafael Trujillo (Dominican Republic) and Ngo Dinh Diem (South Vietnam); and popular political leaders like Che Guevara. Unsuccessful attempts range from Fidel Castro to Charles De Gaulle.
Helped launch military coups that toppled democratic governments, replacing them with brutal dictatorships or juntas. The list of overthrown democratic leaders includes Mossadegh (Iran, 1953), Arbenz (Guatemala, 1954), Velasco and Arosemena (Ecuador, 1961, 1963), Bosch (Dominican Republic, 1963), Goulart (Brazil, 1964), Sukarno (Indonesia, 1965), Papandreou (Greece, 1965-67), Allende (Chile, 1973), and dozens of others.
Undermined the governments of Australia, Guyana, Cambodia, Jamaica and more;
Supported murderous dictators like General Pinochet (Chile), the Shah of Iran, Ferdinand Marcos (Phillipines), "Papa Doc" and "Baby Doc" Duvalier (Haiti), General Noriega (Panama), Mobutu Sese Seko (Ziare), the "reign of the colonels" (Greece), and more;
Created, trained and supported death squads and secret police forces that tortured and murdered hundreds of thousands of civilians, leftists and political opponents, in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Haiti, Bolivia, Cuba, Mexico, Uruguay, Brazil, Chile,
Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Iran, Turkey, Angola and others;
Helped run the "School of the Americas" at Fort Benning, Georgia, which trains Latin
American military officers how to overthrow democratic governments. Subjects include the use of torture, interrogation and murder;
Used Michigan State "professors" to train Diem's secret police in torture; Conducted economic sabotage, including ruining crops, disrupting industry, sinking ships and creating food shortages;
Paved the way for the massacre of 200,000 in East Timor, 500,000 in Indonesia and one to two million in Cambodia;
Launched secret or illegal military actions or wars in Nicaragua, Angola, Cuba, Laos and
Planted false stories in the local media;
Framed political opponents for crimes, atrocities, political statements and
embarrassments that they did not commit;
Spied on thousands of American citizens, in defiance of Congressional law;
Smuggled Nazi war criminals and weapon scientists into the U.S., unpunished, for their use in the Cold War;
Created organizations like the World Anti-Communist League, which became filled with ex-Nazis, Nazi sympathizers, Italian terrorists, Japanese fascists, racist Afrikaaners, Latin American death squad leaders, CIA agents and other extreme right-wing militants;
Conducted Operation MK-ULTRA, a mind-control experiment that gave LSD and other drugs to Americans against their will or without their knowledge, causing some to commit suicide;
Penetrated and disrupted student antiwar organizations;
Kept friendly and extensive working relations with the Mafia;
Actively traded in drugs around the world since the 1950s to fund its operations. The Contra/crack scandal is only the tip of the iceberg - other notorious examples include Southeast Asia's Golden Triangle and Noreiga's Panama.
Had their fingerprints all over the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcom X. Even if the CIA is not responsible for these killings, the sheer amount of CIA involvement in these cases demands answers;
And then routinely lied to Congress about all of the above.
The Association for Responsible Dissent estimates that by 1987, 6 million people had died as a result of CIA covert operations. (4) Former State Department official William Blum correctly calls this an "American Holocaust."
We should note that the CIA gets away with this because it is not accountable to democratic government. Former CIA officer Philip Agee put it best: "The CIA is the President's secret army." Prior to 1975, the agency answered only to the President (creating all the usual problems of authoritarianism). And because the CIA's activities were secret, the President rarely had to worry about public criticism and pressure. After the 1975 Church hearings, Congress tried to create congressional oversight of the CIA, but this has failed miserably. One reason is that the congressional oversight committee is a sham, filled with Cold Warriors, conservatives, businessmen, and even ex-CIA personnel.
The Business Origins of CIA Crimes
Although many people think that the CIAs primary mission during the Cold War was to "deter communism," Noam Chomksy correctly points out that its real mission was "deterring democracy." From corrupting elections to overthrowing democratic governments, from assassinating elected leaders to installing murderous dictators, the CIA has virtually always replaced democracy with dictatorship. It didn't help that the CIA was run by businessmen, whose hostility towards democracy is legendary. The reason they overthrew so many democracies is because the people usually voted for policies that multi-national corporations didn't like: land reform, strong labor unions, nationalization of their industries, and greater regulation protecting workers, consumers and the environment.
So the CIA's greatest "successes" were usually more pro-corporate than anti-communist. Citing a communist threat, the CIA helped overthrow the democratically elected Mohammed Mussadegh government in Iran in 1953. But there was no communist threat the Soviets stood back and watched the coup from afar. What really happened was that Mussadegh threatened to nationalize British and American oil companies in Iran. Consequently, the CIA and MI6 toppled Mussadegh and replaced him with a puppet government, headed by the Shah of Iran and his murderous secret police, SAVAK. The reason why the Ayatollah Khomeini and his revolutionaries took 52 Americans hostage in Tehran in 1979 was because the CIA had helped SAVAK torture and murder their people.
Another "success" was the CIAs overthrow of the democratically elected government of Jacabo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954. Again, there was no communist threat. The real threat was to Guatemalas United Fruit Company, a Rockefeller-owned firm whose stockholders included CIA Director Allen Dulles. Arbenz threatened to nationalize the company, albeit with generous compensation. In response, the CIA initiated a coup that overthrew Arbenz and installed the murderous dictator Castillo Armas. For four decades, CIA-backed dicatators would torture and murder hundreds of thousands of leftists, union members and others who would fight for a more equitable distribution of the countrys resources.
Another "success" story was Chile. In 1973, the country's democratically elected leader, Salvadore Allende, nationalized foreign-owned interests, like Chile's lucrative copper mines and telephone system. International Telephone & Telegraph (ITT) offered the CIA $1 million to overthrow Allende which the CIA allegedly refused but paid $350,000 to his political opponents. The CIA responded with a coup that murdered Allende and replaced him with a brutal tyrant, General Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet tortured and murdered thousands of leftists, union members and political opponents as economists trained at the University of Chicago under Milton Friedman installed a "free market" economy. Since then, income inequality has soared higher in Chile than anywhere else in Latin America.
Even when the communist threat was real, the CIA first and foremost took care of the elite. In testimony before Congress in the early 50s, it artificially inflated Soviet military capabilities. A notorious example was the "bomber gap" that later turned out to be grossly exaggerated. Another was "Team B," a group of hawkish CIA analysts who seriously distorted Soviet military data. These scare tactics worked. Congress awarded giant defense contracts to the U.S. military-industrial complex.
And not even the fall of the Soviet Union and the demise of American defense contracts have stopped the CIA from serving the elite. Journalist Robert Dreyfuss writes:
Since the end of the Cold War, Washington has been abuzz with talk about using the CIA for economic espionage. Stripped of euphemism, economic espionage simply means that American spies would target foreign companies, such as Toyota, Nissan and Honda, and then covertly pass stolen trade secrets and technology to U.S. corporate executives. (5)
If this isn't bad enough, a worse problem arises in that the CIA doesn't hand over this technology to every American auto-related company, but only the Big Three: Ford, Chrysler and General Motors.
In a 1975 interview, Ex-CIA agent Philip Agee summed up his personal observations of the agency:
To the people who work for it, the CIA is known as The Company. The Big Business mentality pervades everything. Agents, for instance, are called assets. The man in charge of the United Kingdom desk is said to have the "U.K. account"& American multinational corporations have built up colossal interests all over the world, and you can bet your ass that wherever you find U. S. business interests, you also find the CIA& The multinational corporations want a peaceful status quo in countries where they have investments, because that gives them undisturbed access to cheap raw materials, cheap labor and stable markets for their finished goods. The status quo suits bankers, because their money remains secure and multiplies. And, of course, the status quo suits the small ruling groups the CIA supports abroad, because all they want is to keep themselves on top of the socioeconomic pyramid and the majority of their people on the bottom. But do you realize what being on the bottom means in most parts of the world? Ignorance, poverty, often early death by starvation or disease&
Remember, the CIA is an instrument of the President; it only carries out policy. And, like everyone else, the President has to respond to forces in the society he's trying to lead, right? In America, the most powerful force is Big Business, and American Big Business has a vested interest in the Cold War. (6)
The CIA had no trouble recruiting elites who sought a more exciting life. Between 1948 and 1959, more than 40,000 American individuals and companies acted as sources for the U.S. intelligence community. (7) Let's look at each area of recruitment, and see how they enabled the CIA to conduct its crimes:
The CIA co-opted big business right from the start, beginning with the most famous billionaire of the time: Howard Hughes. Hughes had inherited his fathers million-dollar tool and die company at age 19. Anxious to expand his fortune, he made a conscientious decision "to go where the money is", namely, government. With a few well-placed bribes, Hughes secured defense contracts to build military planes. The result was the Hughes Aircraft company. By 1940, he had also acquired a controlling interest in Trans World Airlines. His government connections and international airline soon caught the attention of the CIA, and the two began a lifelong relationship. Hughes, whom the CIA dubbed "The Stockbroker," became the agency's largest contractor. Not only did he let the CIA use his business firms as fronts, but he also funded countless CIA operations. Perhaps the most notorious was Operation Jennifer, an allegedly failed attempt to recover nuclear codes from a sunken Soviet submarine. Hughes right-hand security man, Robert Maheu, was a CIA agent who at one time represented the CIA in negotiations with the Mafia to assassinate Fidel Castro.
The CIA's contacts with big business quickly spread. The agency showed a preference for international companies, public relations firms, media companies, law offices, banks, financiers and stockbrokers. The CIA didn't limit its activities to recruiting businessmen; sometimes the CIA bought or created entire companies outright. One benefit of co-opting big business was that the CIA was able to create a secret source of funds other than from government. With stock portfolios multiplying their profits, it's impossible now to say how flush the CIA really is. If Congress ever cut off funds for a mission, the business fraternity could easily replace them, either by donations or even setting up profitable businesses in the target country. In fact, this is precisely what happened during the Iran/Contra scandal.
By allying itself with the business community, the CIA received the funds and ability it needed to remove itself from democratic control.
Journalism is a perfect cover for CIA agents. People talk freely to journalists, and few think suspiciously of a journalist aggressively searching for information. Journalists also have power, influence and clout. Not surprisingly, the CIA began a mission in the late 1940s to recruit American journalists on a wide scale, a mission it dubbed Operation MOCKINGBIRD. The agency wanted these journalists not only to relay any sensitive information they discovered, but also to write anti-communist, pro-capitalist propaganda when needed.
The instigators of MOCKINGBIRD were Frank Wisner, Allan Dulles, Richard Helms and Philip Graham. Graham was the husband of Katherine Graham, today's publisher of the Washington Post. In fact, it was the Post's ties to the CIA that allowed it to grow so quickly after the war, both in readership and influence. (8)
MOCKINGBIRD was extraordinarily successful. In no time, the agency had recruited at least 25 media organizations to disseminate CIA propaganda. At least 400 journalists would eventually join the CIA payroll, according to the CIA's testimony before a stunned Church Committee in 1975. (The committee felt the true number was considerably higher.) The names of those recruited reads like a Who's Who of journalism:
Philip and Katharine Graham (Publishers, Washington Post) William Paley (President, CBS) Henry Luce (Publisher, Time and Life magazine) Arthur Hays Sulzberger (Publisher, N.Y. Times) Jerry O'Leary (Washington Star) Hal Hendrix (Pulitzer Prize winner, Miami News) Barry Bingham Sr., (Louisville Courier-Journal) James Copley (Copley News Services) Joseph Harrison (Editor, Christian Science Monitor) C.D. Jackson (Fortune) Walter Pincus (Reporter, Washington Post) ABC NBC Associated Press United Press International Reuters Hearst Newspapers Scripps-Howard Newsweek magazine Mutual Broadcasting System Miami Herald Old Saturday Evening Post New York Herald-Tribune
Perhaps no newspaper is more important to the CIA than the Washington Post, one of the nations most right-wing dailies. Its location in the nation's capitol enables the paper to maintain valuable personal contacts with leading intelligence, political and business figures. Unlike other newspapers, the Post operates its own bureaus around the world, rather than relying on AP wire services. Owner Philip Graham was a military intelligence officer in World War II, and later became close friends with CIA figures like Frank Wisner, Allen Dulles, Desmond FitzGerald and Richard Helms. He inherited the Post by marrying Katherine Graham, whose father owned it.
After Philip's suicide in 1963, Katharine Graham took over the Post. Seduced by her husband's world of government and espionage, she expanded her newspaper's relationship with the CIA. In a 1988 speech before CIA officials at Langley, Virginia, she stated:
We live in a dirty and dangerous world. There are some things that the general public does not need to know and shouldn't. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows.
This quote has since become a classic among CIA critics for its belittlement of democracy and its admission that there is a political agenda behind the Post's headlines.
Ben Bradlee was the Post's managing editor during most of the Cold War. He worked in the U.S. Paris embassy from 1951 to 1953, where he followed orders by the CIA station chief to place propaganda in the European press. (9) Most Americans incorrectly believe that Bradlee personifies the liberal slant of the Post, given his role in publishing the Pentagon Papers and the Watergate investigations. But neither of these two incidents are what they seem. The Post merely published the Pentagon Papers after The New York Times already had, because it wanted to appear competitive. As for Watergate, we'll examine the CIA's reasons for wanting to bring down Nixon in a moment. Someone once asked Bradlee: "Does it irk you when The Washington Post is made out to be a bastion of slanted liberal thinkers instead of champion journalists just because of Watergate?" Bradlee responded: "Damn right it does!" (10)
It would be impossible to elaborate in this short space even the most important examples of the CIA/media alliance. Sig Mickelson was a CIA asset the entire time he was president of CBS News from 1954 to 1961. Later he went on to become president of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, two major outlets of CIA propaganda.
The CIA also secretly bought or created its own media companies. It owned 40 percent of the Rome Daily American at a time when communists were threatening to win the Italian elections. Worse, the CIA has bought many domestic media companies. A prime example is Capital Cities, created in 1954 by CIA businessman William Casey (who would later become Reagan's CIA director). Another founder was Lowell Thomas, a close friend and business contact with CIA Director Allen Dulles. Another founder was CIA businessman Thomas Dewey. By 1985, Capital Cities had grown so powerful that it was able to buy an entire TV network: ABC.
For those who believe in "separation of press and state," the very idea that the CIA has secret propaganda outlets throughout the media is appalling. The reason why America was so oblivious to CIA crimes in the 40s and 50s was because the media willingly complied with the agency. Even today, when the immorality of the CIA should be an open-and-shut case, "debate" about the issue rages in the media. Here is but one example:
In 1996, The San Jose Mercury News published an investigative report suggesting that the CIA had sold crack in Los Angeles to fund the Contra war in Central America. A month later, three of the CIA's most important media allies, The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times immediately leveled their guns at the Mercury report and blasted away in an attempt to discredit it. Who wrote the Post article? Walter Pincus, longtime CIA journalist. The dangers here are obvious.
By the early 50s, CIA Director Allen Dulles had staffed the CIA almost exclusively with Ivy League graduates, especially from Yale. (A disproportionate number of CIA figures, like George Bush, come from Yale's "Skull and Crossbones" Society.) CIA recruiters also approached thousands of other professors to work in place at their universities on a part-time, contract basis. Not stopping at recruiting scholars, the agency would go on to create several departments at elite universities, including Harvard's Russian Research Center and the Center for International Studies at MIT.
Although most academics were supportive of the CIA in the 50s, most were unaware of its abuses. In the 60s, academia would become outraged to learn that anti-communist organizations like the National Student Association were actually creations of the CIA. The most audacious CIA front was the Congress for Cultural Freedom, an organization that attracted liberal, freethinking artists and intellectuals who nonetheless deplored communism.
By the late 60s and 70s, growing reports of CIA crimes and atrocities had deeply alienated academia. Scholars were further troubled to learn that the CIA had penetrated and disrupted student antiwar groups. Unlike business and the media, academia overwhelmingly denounced the CIA after the Vietnam era. This eventually forced the CIA to turn to new places to find their analysts and scholars. The most important source was the conservative think-tank movement, which it helped to create. More on this later.
The Roman Catholic Church
Although the CIA began as a mostly Protestant organization, Roman Catholics quickly came to dominate the new covert-action wing in 1948. All were staunchly conservative, fiercely anti-communist and socially elite. Just a few of the many Catholic operatives included future CIA directors William Colby, William Casey, and John McCone. Another well-known personality from this period was William F. Buckley, Jr., editor of the National Review and gadfly host of TV's Firing Line. Buckley, it turns out, served as a CIA agent in Mexico City, and his experiences there served as fodder for his Blackford Oakes spy novels.
There were several reasons for this influx of Catholic elites. First, Wisner (himself a Wall Street lawyer) had an extensive and glamorous circle of friends to recruit from. Second, Italy was in constant crisis in the 1940s, both during World War II and after. Throughout this troubled period, the American intelligence community's greatest ally in Italy was the Roman Catholic Church.
The Roman Catholic Church, of course, is one of the most anti-communist organizations in the world. The Marxist doctrine of atheism threatens Catholic theology, and its equality threatens the Church's strict tradition of hierarchy and authoritarianism. When Hitler invaded Communist Russia, the Vatican openly approved. Jesuit Michael Serafian wrote: "It cannot be denied that [Pope] Pius XII's closest advisors for some time regarded Hitler's armoured divisions as the right hand of God." (11)
But Hitler persecuted Catholics as well, and ultimately drove the Church to the Americans. In 1943, the Vatican reached a secret agreement with OSS Chief Donovan himself a devout Catholic to let the Holy See become the center of Allied spy operations in Italy. Donovan considered the Church to be one of his prize intelligence assets, given its global power, membership and contacts. He cultivated this alliance by sending America's most prestigious Catholics to the Vatican to establish rapport and forge an alliance.
After the war, half of Europe lay under Communist control, and the Italian communist party threatened to win the 1948 elections. The prospect of communism ruling over the heart of Catholicism terrified the Vatican. Once again, American intelligence gathered their most prestigious Catholics to strengthen ties with the Vatican. Because this was the first mission of the new covert action division, the American Catholic agents acquired positions of power early on, and would dominate covert operations for the rest of the Cold War.
At a public level, the U.S. government sunk $350 million in social and military aid into Italy to sway the vote. On a secret level, Wisner spent $10 million in black budget funds to steal the elections. This included disseminating propaganda, beating up left-wing politicians, intimidating voters and disrupting leftist parties. The dirty tricks worked the Communists lost, and the Catholic Americans success permanently secured their power within the CIA.
The Knights of Malta (12)
The Roman Catholic Church did not forget the American agents who had saved them from both Nazism and Communism. It rewarded them by making them Knights of Malta, or members of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM).
SMOM is one of the oldest and most elite religious orders in the Catholic Church. Until recently, it limited its membership to Italians and foreign heads of state. In 1927, however, an exception was made for the United States, given its emerging status as a world power. SMOM opened an American branch, awarding knighthood or damehood to several American Catholic business tycoons. This group was so conservative that one, John Raskob, the Chairman of General Motors, actually became involved in an aborted military plot to remove Franklin Roosevelt from the White House. SMOM has also been embarrassed by knighting or giving awards to countless people who later turned out to be Nazi war criminals. This is the sort of culture that thrives within the leadership of SMOM.
Officially, the Knights of Malta are a global charity organization. But beginning in the 1940s, knighthood was granted to countless CIA agents, and the organization has become a front for intelligence operations. SMOM is ideal for this kind of activity, because it is recognized as the worlds only landless sovereignty, and members enjoy diplomatic immunity. This allows agents and supplies to pass through customs without interference from the host country. Such privileges enabled the Knights of Malta to become a major supplier of "humanitarian aid" to the Contras during their war in the 1980s.
A partial list of the Knights and Dames of Malta reads like a Who's Who of American Catholicism:
William Casey, CIA Director. John McCone, CIA Director. William Colby, CIA Director. William Donovan OSS Director. Donovan was given an especially prestigious form of knighthood that has only been given to a hundred other men in history. Frank Shakespeare, Director of such propaganda organizations as the U.S. Information Agency, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty. Also executive vice-president of CBS-TV and vice-chairman of RKO General Inc. He is currently chairman of the board of trustees at the Heritage Foundation, a right-wing think tank. William Simon, Treasury Secretary under President Nixon. In the private sector, he has become one of America's 400 richest individuals by working in international finance. Today he is the President of the John M. Olin Foundation, a major funder of right-wing think tanks. William F. Buckley, Jr. , CIA agent, conservative pundit and mass media personality. James Buckley William's brother, head of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty. Clare Boothe Luce - The grand dame of the Cold War was also a Dame of Malta. She was a popular playwright and the wife of the publishing tycoon Henry Luce, who cofounded Time magazine. Francis X Stankard - CEO of the international division of Chase Manhattan Bank, a Rockefeller institution. (Nelson Rockefeller was also a major CIA figure.) John Farrell President, U.S. Steel Lee Iacocca Chairman, General Motors William S. Schreyer Chairman, Merrill Lynch. Richard R. Shinn Chairman, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. Joseph Kennedy Founder of the Kennedy empire. Baron Hilton Owner, Hilton Hotel chain. Patrick J. Frawley Jr. Heir, Schick razor fortune. Frawley is a famous funder of right-wing Catholic causes, such as the Christian Anti-Communist Crusade. Ralph Abplanalp - Aerosol magnate. Martin F. Shea - Executive vice president of Morgan Guaranty Trust. Joseph Brennan - Chairman of the executive committee of the Emigrant Savings Bank of New York. J. Peter Grace President, W.R. Grace Company. He was a key figure in Operatio
cientists and spies to the U.S. Many were war criminals whose atrocities were excused in their service to the CIA. Thomas Bolan, Of Saxe, Bacon and Bolan, the law firm of Senator McCarthy's deceased aide Roy Cohn. Bowie Kuhn Baseball Comissioner Cardinal John O'Connor Extreme right-wing leader among American Catholics, and fervent abortion opponent. Cardinal Francis Spellman The "American Pope" was at one time the most powerful Catholic in America, an arch-conservative and a rabid anti-communist. Cardinal Bernard Law - One of the highest-ranking conservatives in the American church. Alexander Haig, Secretary of State under President Reagan. Admiral James D. Watkins Hard-line chief of naval operations under President Reagan.
Jeremy Denton Senator (R Al). Pete Domenici Senator (R-New Mexico). Walter J. Hickel - Governor of Alaska and secretary of the interior.
When this group gets together, obviously, the topics are spying, business and politics.
The CIA has also used other religious and charity organizations as fronts. For example, John F. Kennedy -- another anticommunist Roman Catholic who greatly expanded covert operations -- created the U.S. Peace Corps to serve as cover for CIA operatives. The CIA has also made extensive use of missionaries, with the blessings of many right-wing, anticommunist Christian denominations.
But the World Grows Wise&
It was only a matter of time before other nations caught on to these fronts. They learned that when the CIA comes to their countries to commit their crimes and atrocities, they come disguised as American journalists, businessmen, missionaries and charity volunteers. Unfortunately, foreigners are now targeting these professions as hostile. In Lebanon, terrorists held U.S. journalist Terry Anderson hostage for nearly seven years, on the not unreasonable assumption that he was a spy. Whether or not this was true is beside the point. The CIA has put all Americans abroad at risk, whether they are CIA agents or not. In hearings before the Senate in 1996, many organizations urged Congress to stop using their professions as CIA cover. Don Argue of the National Association of Evangelicals testified: "Such use of missionary agents for covert activities by the CIA would be unethical and immoral." (13)
From the Cold War to the Class War
As noted above, academia was the first major institution to denounce the crimes of the CIA. Why? One reason is that scholars conduct their own extensive research into world affairs, so naturally they were the first to learn the truth. This is the main reason why protest against the Vietnam War and the CIA erupted first among students on the nation's campuses. By the end of the Vietnam War, the CIA had suffered a "brain drain" as its academic allies became its most articulate, passionate and eloquent critics.
The social revolutions of the 60s terrified the CIA. James Jesus Angleton, chief of counter-intelligence and a truly paranoid man, was convinced the Soviets had masterminded the entire antiwar movement. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover shared his conviction. The CIA had always spied on student groups throughout the 60s, but in 1968 President Johnson dramatically stepped up the effort with Operation CHAOS. This initially called for 50 CIA agents to go undercover as student radicals, penetrate their antiwar organizations and root out the Russian spies who were causing the rebellion. Tellingly, they never found a single spy. The agents also began a campaign of wire-tapping, mail-opening, burglary, deception, intimidation and disruption against thousands of protesting American civilians.
By the time Operation CHAOS wound down in 1973, the CIA had spied on 7,000 Americans, 1,000 organizations and traded information on more than 300,000 persons with various law agencies. (14) When academia learned of this, its outrage grew.
The loss of academia was only the first blow for the CIA. Other disasters quickly followed; in the early 70s, the CIA was trying desperately to stave off a growing number of scandals. The first was Watergate.
The CIA's fingerprints were all over Watergate. First, we should note the CIA had clear motives for helping oust Nixon. He was the ultimate "outsider," a poor California Quaker who grew up feeling bitter resentment towards the elite "Eastern establishment." Nixon, for all his arch-conservatism, was surprisingly liberal on economic issues, enfuriating businessmen with statements like "We are all Keynesians now." He created a whole host of new agencies to regulate business, like the FDA, EPA and OSHA. He signed the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, which forced businesses to clean up their toxic emissions. He imposed price controls to fight inflation, and took the nation fully off the gold standard. Nixon also strengthened affirmative action. Even his staffers were famously anti-elitist, like Kevin Philips, who would eventually write the bible on inequality during the 1980s, The Politics of Rich and Poor. Add to this Nixon's withdrawal from Vietnam and Détente with China and the Soviet Union. Nixon and his Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, had not only tried to remove control of foreign policy from the CIA, but had also taken measures to bring the CIA itself under control. Not surprisingly, Nixon and his CIA Director, Richard Helms, couldn't stand each other. (Nixon fired him for failing to cover up for Watergate.) Clearly, Nixon was fighting at cross-purposes with the CIA and the nation's elite.
As it turns out, the CIA had inside knowledge of Nixon's dirty work. Nixon had created his own covert action team, "The Committee to Reelect the President," more amusingly known by its acronym, CREEP. The team consisted of two CIA agents E. Howard Hunt and James McCord as well as former FBI agent G. Gordon Liddy. They also employed four Cubans with long CIA histories. In fact, a CIA front called the Mullen Company funded their activities, which ranged from disrupting Democratic campaigns to laundering Nixon's illegal campaign contributions. The CIA not only had intimate knowledge of Nixon's crimes, but it also acted as though it wanted the world to know them. When the FBI began investigating Watergate, Nixon tried using the CIA to cover up for him. At first the CIA half-heartedly complied, telling the FBI that the investigation would endanger CIA operations in Mexico. But a few weeks later it gave the FBI a green light again to proceed again with their investigation.
Furthermore, Watergate was exposed by the CIA's main newspaper in America, The Washington Post. One of the two journalists who investigated the scandal, Robert Woodward, had only recently become a journalist. Previously Woodward had worked as a Naval intelligence liaison to the White House, privy to some of the nation's highest secrets. He would later write a sympathetic portrait of CIA Director Bill Casey in a book entitled Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA. It was Woodward who personally knew and interviewed "Deep Throat," the unnamed source who revealed inside information on Nixon's activities. Many Watergate researchers consider one of Woodward's old intelligence contacts to be a prime candidate for Deep Throat. (15)
Despite all the facts of CIA involvement, Woodward and Bernstein made virtually no mention of the CIA in their Watergate reporting. Even during Senate hearings on Watergate, the CIA somehow managed to stay out of the spotlight. In 1974, the House would clear the CIA of any involvement in Watergate.
The CIA was not as lucky in 1974, when the Senate held hearings on James Jesus Angleton's illegal surveillance of American citizens. These disclosures resulted in his firing. But that was nothing compared to the 1975 Church Committee. This Senate investigation looked into virtually every type of CIA crime, from assassination to secret war to manipulating the domestic media. The "reforms" that resulted from these hearings were mostly cosmetic, but the details that emerged shattered the CIA's reputation forever. Interestingly enough, the two Senators who held these hearings/ Frank Church and Otis Pike, were both defeated for reelection, despite a 98 percent reelection rate for incumbents. The CIA wasn't the only conservative institution that found itself embattled in the early 70s. This was a bad time for conservatives everywhere. America had lost the war in Vietnam. U.S. corporations had to cope with the rise of OPEC. The anti-poverty programs of Roosevelt's New Deal and Johnson's Great Society were causing a major redistribution of wealth. And Nixon was making things worse with his own anti-poverty and regulatory programs. Between 1960 and 1973, these efforts cut poverty in half, from 22 to 11 percent. Meanwhile, between 1965 and 1976, the richest 1 percent had gone from owning 37 percent of America's wealth to only 22 percent. (16)
At a 1973 Conference Board meeting of top American business leaders, executives declared: "We are fighting for our lives," "We are fighting a delaying action," and "If we don't take action now, we will see our own demise. We will evolve into another social democracy." (17)
The CIA to the rescue
In the mid-1970s, at this historic low point in American conservatism, the CIA began a major campaign to turn corporate fortunes around.
They did this in several ways. First, they helped create numerous foundations to finance their domestic operations. Even before 1973, the CIA had co-opted the most famous ones, like the Ford, Rockefeller and Carnegie Foundations. But after 1973, they created more. One of their most notorious recruits was billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife. During World War II, Scaife's father served in the OSS, the forerunner of the CIA. By his mid-twenties, both of Scaife's parents had died, and he inherited a fortune under four foundations: the Carthage Foundation, the Sarah Scaife Foundation, the Scaife Family Foundations and the Allegheny Foundation. In the early 1970s, Scaife was encouraged by CIA agent Frank Barnett to begin investing his fortune to fight the "Soviet menace." (18) From 1973 to 1975, Scaife ran Forum World Features, a foreign news service used as a front to disseminate CIA propaganda around the world. Shortly afterwards he began donating millions to fund the New Right.
Scaife's CIA roots are typical of those who head the new conservative foundations. By 1994 the most active were: Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation Carthage Foundation Earhart Foundation Charles G. Koch David H. Koch Claude R. Lambe Philip M. McKenna J.M. Foundation John M. Olin Foundation Henry Salvatori Foundation Sarah Scaife Foundation Smith Richardson Foundation
Between 1992 and 1994, these foundations gave $210 million to conservative causes. Here is the breakdown of their donations: $88.9 million for conservative scholarships; $79.2 million to enhance a national infrastructure of think tanks and advocacy groups; $16.3 million for alternative media outlets and watchdog groups; $10.5 million for conservative pro-market law firms; $9.3 million for regional and state think tanks and advocacy groups; $5.4 million to "organizations working to transform the nations social views and giving practices of the nation's religious and philanthropic leaders." (19)
The political machine they built is broad and comprehensive, covering every aspect of the political fight. It includes right-wing departments and chairs in the nation's top universities, think tanks, public relations firms, media companies, fake grassroots organizations that pressure Congress (irreverently known as "Astroturf" movements), "Roll-out-the-vote" machines, pollsters, fax networks, lobbyist organizations, economic seminars for the nation's judges, and more. And because corporations are the richest sector of society, their greater financing overwhelms similar efforts by Democrats.
Besides creating foundations, the CIA helped organize the business community. There have always been special interest groups representing business, like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, and the CIA has long been involved with them. However, after 1973, a spate of powerful new groups would come into existence, like the Business Roundtable and the Trilateral Commission. These organizations quickly became powerhouses in promoting the business agenda.
Their efforts clearly succeeded. With the 1975 SUN-PAC decision, corporations persuaded government to legalize corporate Political Action Committees (the lobbyist organizations that bribe our government). By 1992, corporations formed 67 percent of all PACs, and they donated 79 percent of all campaign contributions to political parties. (20) In two landmark elections, 1980 and 1994, corporations gave heavily and one-sidedly to Republicans, turning one or both houses of Congress over to the GOP. Democratic incumbents were shocked by the threat of being rolled completely out of power, so they quietly shifted to the right on economic issues, even though they continued a public façade of liberalism. Corporations went ahead and donated to Democratic incumbents in all other elections, but only as long as they abandoned the interests of workers, consumers, minorities and the poor. As expected, the new pro-corporate Congress passed laws favoring the rich: between 1975 and 1992, the amount of national household wealth owned by the richest 1 percent soared from 22 to 42 percent. (21)
The CIA also helped create the conservative think tank movement. Prior to the 70s, think tanks spanned the political spectrum, with moderate think tanks receiving three times as much funding as conservative ones. At these early think tanks, scholars typically brainstormed for creative solutions to policy problems. This would all change after the rise of conservative foundations in the early 70s. The Heritage Foundation opened its doors in 1973, the recipient of $250,000 in seed money from the Coors Foundation. A flood of conservative think tanks followed shortly thereafter, and by 1980 they overwhelmed the scene. The new think tanks turned out to be little more than propaganda mills, rigging studies to "prove" that their corporate sponsors needed tax breaks, deregulation and other favors from government.
Of course, think-tank studies are useless without publicity, and here the CIA proved especially valuable. Using propaganda techniques it had perfected at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe, the CIA and its allies turned American AM radio into a haven for conservative talk show hosts. Yes, Rush Limbaugh uses the same propaganda techniques that Muscovites once heard from Voice of America. The CIA has also developed countless other media outlets, like Capital Cities (which eventually bought ABC), major PR firms like Hill & Knowlton, and of course, all the Agency's connections in the national news media. (22)
The following is a typical example of how the "New Media" operates. As most political observers know, the Republicans suffer from a "gender gap," in which women prefer Democrats by huge majorities. This is, in fact, why Clinton has twice won the presidency. But, curiously enough, as the 90s progressed, conservative female pundits began popping up everywhere in the media. Hard-right pundits like Ann Coulter, Kellyanne Fitzpatrick, Laura Ingraham, Barbara Olson, Melinda Sidak, Anita Blair and Whitney Adams conditioned us to the idea of the conservative woman. This phenomenon was no accident. It turns out that Richard Mellon Scaife donated $450,000 over three years to the Independent Women's Forum, a booking agency that heavily seeds such female conservative pundits into the media. (23)
The most obvious criticism of the New Over class is that their political machine is undemocratic. Using subversive techniques once aimed at communists, and with all the money they ever need to succeed, the Over class undemocratically controls our government, our media, and even a growing part of academia. These institutions in turn allow the Over class to control the supposedly "free" market. It doesn't win all the time, of course witness Bill Clinton's impeachment trial but it does score an endless string of other victories elsewhere, all to the detriment of workers, consumers, women, minorities and the poor. We need to fight it with everything we've got.
1. Mind Manipulators, Scheflin and Opton. p.241. 2. Captain George White in a letter to Dr. Sidney Gottlieb.
3. All history concerning CIA intervention in foreign countries is summarized from William Blums encyclopedic work, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions since World War II (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1995). Sources for domestic CIA operations come from Jonathan Vankin and John Whalens The 60 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time (Secaucus, N.J.: Citadel Press, 1997). Information about CIA drug running can be found at http://www.magnet.ch/serendipity/cia/blum1.html and http://speech.csun.edu/ben/news/cia/index.html.
4. Coleman McCarthy, "The Consequences of Covert Tactics" Washington Post, December 13, 1987.
5. Robert Dreyfuss, "Company Spies," Mother Jones. Website: http://www.mojones.com/mother_jones/MJ94/dreyfuss.html
6. Philip Agee: The Playboy Interview. Website: http://www.connix.com/~harry/agee.htm
7. Lara Shohet, "Intelligence, Academia and Industry," The Final Report of the Snyder Commission, Edward Cheng and Diane C. Snyder, eds., (Princeton Unversity: The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, January 1997). Website: http://www.fas.org/irp/eprint/snyder/academia.htm.
8. Website: http://www.europa.com/~johnlf/cn/cn9-35.
9. Deborah Davis, Katharine the Great and the Washington Post, 2nd ed. (Bethesda MD: National Press, 1987)
10. "Forum for Ben Bradlee," Watergate 25. Website: http://discuss.washingtonpost.com/zforum/97/bradlee.htm.
11. Lewy, Guenter, The Catholic Church and Nazi Germany (London and New York, 1964), pp. 249-250.
12. National Catholic Reporter, Jan 89, Mar 89, Apr 89, May 89, "Nazis, the Vatican and the CIA," Covert Action Information Bulletin, Winter 1986, Number 25 Website: http://www.mosquitonet.com/~prewett/knightsofmaltalist.html.
13. Anthony Collings, "Journalists tell Senate they want no CIA ties," CNN, July 18, 1996. Website: http://www.cnn.com/US/9607/18/spies.journalists/.
14. Morton Halperin, et al, eds., The Lawless State (New York: Penguin, 1976), p. 153.
15. Jim Hougan, Secret Agenda: Watergate, Deep Throat and the CIA.
16. Edward N. Wolff, "How the Pie is Sliced" The American Prospect no. 22 (Summer 1995), pp. 58-64. Website: http://epn.org/prospect/22/22wolf.html.
17. Quoted in Leonard Silk and David Vogel, Ethics and Profits (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1976), pp. 44-47.
18. Karen Rothmyer, "The man behind the mask," Salon, April 7, 1998.
19. Study conducted by National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, July 1997, as reported by the National Education Association. Website: http://www.nea.org/publiced/paycheck/paychkf.html.
20. Center for Responsive Politics, Washington D.C., 1993.
22. For CIA involvement in Capital Cities/ABC, see Dennis Mazzocco, Networks of Power (Boston: South End Press, 1994). For CIA involvement in the PR industry, see John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton, Toxic Sludge is Good for You! (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1995), pp. 49-51,153,157,160-63.
23. Jonathon Broder and Murray Waas, [Untitled] Salon, April 20, 1998. Website: http://www.salonmag.com/news/1998/04/20news.html
The CIA and the Media
Here's just a snippet from Carl Bernstein's famous 1977 article entitled "The CIA & The Media" from Rolling Stone, 10/20/77. Anyone with access to a library should try to find this - it's a truly breakthrough piece - 16 pages long in the reprint!
In 1953, Joseph Alsop, then one of America's leading syndicated columnists, went to the Philippines to cover an election. He did not go because he was asked to do so by his syndicate. He did not go because he was asked to do so by the newspapers that printed his column. He went at the request of the CIA.
Alsop is one of more than 400 American journalists who in the past 25 years have secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency according to documents on file at CIA headquarters. Some of these journalists' relationships with the Agency were tacit; some were explicit. There was cooperation, accommodation and overlap. Journalists provided a full range of clandestine services -- from simple intelligence-gathering to serving as go-betweens with spies in Communist countries. Reporters shared their notebooks with the CIA. Editors shared their staffs. Some of the journalists were Pulitzer Prize winners, distinguished reporters who considered themselves ambassadors without portfolio for their country. Most were less exalted: foreign correspondents who found that their association with the Agency helped their work; stringers and freelancers who were as interested in the derring-do of the spy business as in filing articles; and, the smallest category, full-time CIA employees masquerading as journalists abroad. In many instances, CIA documents show, journalists were engaged to perform tasks for the CIA with the consent of the managements of America's leading news organizations.
The history of the CIA's involvement with the American press continues to be shrouded by an official policy of obfuscation and deception for the following principal reasons:
The use of journalists has been among the most productive means of intelligence-gathering employed by the CIA. Although the agency has cut back sharply on the use of reporters since 1973 (primarily as a result of pressure from the media), some journalists are still posted abroad.
Further investigation into the matter, CIA officials say, would inevitably reveal a series of embarrassing relationships in the 1950's and 1960's with some of the most powerful organizations and individuals in American journalism. Among the executives who lent their cooperation to the Agency were William Paley of the Columbia Broadcasting System, Henry Luce of Time Inc., Arthur Hays Sulzberger of the New York Times, Barry Bingham Sr. of the Louisville Courier-Journal, and James Copley of the Copley News Services. Other organizations which cooperated with the CIA include the American Broadcasting Company, the National Broadcasting Company, the Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters, Hearst Newspapers, Scripps-Howard, Newsweek magazine, the Mutual Broadcasting System, the Miami Herald and the old Saturday Evening Post and New York Herald-Tribune.
By far the most valuable of these associations, according to CIA officials, have been with the New York Times, CBS and Time Inc.
Author: Ashley Overbeck
Title: A Report on CIA Infiltration and Manipulation of the Mass Media
original source: http://www.geocities.com/cpa_blacktown/20000318mediaoverb.htm
Should CIA agents be allowed to pose as journalists to further the aims of their clandestine activities?
Members of a Council on Foreign Relations task force on the future of U.S. intelligence in the post-Cold War world say yes, and a CIA official recently came forward to admit that the Agency already occasionally does so despite regulations barring the practice. But is this a breaking story or just the latest chapter in a spy story that traces its roots back to the 1950's? While they may act like strangers in public, the press and the CIA have a sordid past that spans more than four decades.
The CIA-Press Connection in the 1950s and 60s
The CIA-press connection traces its roots back to the early days of the Cold War, when Allen Dulles (who became CIA director in 1953) began courting the nation's most prestigious journalistic institutions for Agency operations. The mood of the day precluded the need for secretive infiltration, as Carl Bernstein points out in his 1977 expose on the topic. "American publishers, like so many other corporate and institutional leaders at the time, were willing to commit the resources of their companies to the struggle against global Communism," he writes. "Accordingly, the line separating the American press corps was often indistinguishable."
That's not to say that reporters acted as spies in the James Bond sense. Media outlets offered services that fell into the broad categories of providing "cover" for CIA operatives (i.e. jobs and credentials) or sharing information gathered by reporters on staff.
While the Agency ran a formal training program in the 50's that attempted to teach rank-and-file agents to be reporters, this was among the least common of the more than 400 relationships with the press described in CIA files. Most involved were journalists before their involvement with the CIA began. Reporters, especially foreign correspondents, typically served as "eyes and ears" for the CIA. Often they were briefed by agents before a trip and debriefed when they returned; they shared their notebooks, relayed things that they had seen or overheard and offered their impressions. More complex arrangements found reporters planting misinformation for the Agency or serving as liaisons between agents and foreign contacts, often in return for information or access.
"In return for our giving them information, we'd ask them to do things that fit their roles as journalists but that they wouldn't have thought of unless we put it in their minds," one agent told Bernstein. "For instance, a reporter in Vienna would say to our man, 'I met an interesting second secretary at the Czech Embassy.' We'd say, 'Can you get to know him? And after you get to know him, can you assess him? And then, could you put him in touch with us -- would you mind us using your apartment?'"
Another senior CIA official offered the following description of "reporting" by cooperating journalists: "We would ask them, 'Will you do us a favor? We understand that you're going to be in Yugoslavia. Have they paved the streets? Where did you see planes? Were there any signs of military presence? How many Soviets did you see? If you happen to meet a Soviet, get his name and spell it right."
It was a symbiotic relationship: reporters got the scoop and the spooks got the dirt. Correspondents with Agency ties were highly valued by their bosses for the stories they brought home. And agents saw in the press a perfect vehicle for information gathering: who else besides a reporter enjoyed such free access in a foreign country, could cultivate so many sources among foreign governments and elites and ask lots of probing questions without arousing suspicion?
CIA-press operations in the 50's and 60's relied heavily on journalists working in Latin America and Western Europe. Members of the press were used as go-betweens to deliver messages and money to European Christian Democrats and also helped the Agency track the movements of people coming from Eastern Europe. Additionally, the CIA owned 40 percent of the Rome Daily American, a now-defunct English-language newspaper in Italy.
Reporters funneled CIA dollars to opponents of Salvador Allende in Chile and wrote anti-Allende propaganda stories for CIA proprietary publications in that country. By Bernstein's account, two of the Agency's most valuable relationships in the 60's were with reporters who covered Latin America: Hal Hendrix, a Pulitzer Prize winner from the Miami News, and Jerry O'Leary of the Washington Star. CIA files on Hendrix (who went on to become a high-ranking official at ITT) detail information that he provided agents about Cuban exiles in Miami.
O'Leary's file lists him as a valued asset in both Haiti and the Dominican Republic, although he denies having a formal relationship with the Agency. "I might call them up and say something like, "Papa Doc has the clap, did you know that? and they'd put it in the file," O'Leary told Bernstein. "I don't consider that reporting for them. It's useful to be friendly to them, and generally I felt friendly to them. But I think that they were more helpful to me than I was to them."
Doing the "Right Thing"
To greater and lesser degrees, many journalists at the time shared the belief that relationships with the intelligence community were useful and that lending aid was the right thing to do. "Many (journalists working with the CIA) had gone to the same schools as their CIA handlers, moved in the same circles, shared fashionably liberal, anti-Communist political values, and were part of the 'old boy' network that constituted something of an establishment elite in the media, politics and academia of postwar America," Bernstein writes. "The most valued lent themselves for reasons of national service, not money."
This was true of syndicated columnist Joseph Alsop, who is open and unapologetic about his extensive CIA ties. Alsop's tasks in the 50's included a trip to Laos to investigate whether American reporters there were using anti-American sources and a visit to the Philippines at the behest of the CIA, who believed that his presence there might influence the outcome of an election. "I'm proud they asked me and proud to have done it," Alsop said of his involvement. "The notion that a newspaperman doesn't have a duty to his country is perfect balls."
According to one high-ranking official, Alsop's brother Stewart, also a columnist, was a CIA agent. He was rumored to have been particularly useful in obtaining information from foreign governments, planting misinformation and tipping off the Agency about potential foreign recruits, although his brother denies this. "I was closer to the Agency than Stew was, though Stew was very close," Joseph Alsop once said. "I dare say he did perform some tasks -- he just did the correct thing as an American."
Also notable is New York Times columnist C.L. Sulzberger (CFR), who the CIA lists as a valuable source of information throughout the 50's. Sulzberger claims that he "would never get near the spook business," but admits to sharing information with agents, many of whom were close personal friends: "I'm sure they consider me an asset. They can ask me questions. They find out you're going to Slobovia and they say, 'Can we talk to you when you get back?' Or they'll want to know if the head of the Ruritanian government is suffering from psoriasis. But I never took an assignment from one of those guys." However, Sulzberger does "think" that he signed a secrecy agreement with the CIA (as did his uncle, Times publisher Arthur Hays Sulzberger [CFR]), though.
Many CIA officials long for the days when there were more journalists like Sulzberger and the Alsops. "There was a time when it wasn't considered a crime to serve your government," one official bitterly told Bernstein. "This all has to be considered in the context of the morality of the times, rather than the against latter-day standards -- and hypocritical standards at that."
"(I)n the Fifties and Sixties there was a national consensus about a national threat. The Vietnam War tore everything to pieces -- shredded the consensus and threw it in the air."
But another agent remarked in Bernstein's expose, "there was a point when the ethical issues which most people submerged finally surfaced. Today a lot of these guys vehemently deny that they had any relationship with the Agency."
The Church Committee Investigation
A flurry of public attention began to cast doubts upon the ethics of a press wedded to the Central Intelligence Agency after a Washington Star-News story by Oswald Johnson reported that the CIA had three dozen American newsmen on its payroll at that time (November 1973). Then-CIA director William Colby (CFR) leaked this information to Johnson, fearing an embarrassing fallout after both the Star-News and New York Times approached him to ask if any of their staff members were receiving payments from the Agency. (A Times investigation four years later showed the number of CIA-funded journalists to be closer to 50; Bernstein's expose in Rolling Stone that same year claimed it was more like 400.)
By now, the times they had a-changed: In a 1974 article in the Columbia Journalism Review, former reporter Stuart Loory chastised fellow journalists for their history of chumming it up with the CIA and for their lax coverage of the issue once it came to light. "There is little question that if even one American overseas carrying a press card is paid by the CIA, then all Americans with those credentials are suspect," he wrote. "We automatically... consider Soviet and Chinese newsmen as mouthpieces and informants for their governments, while at the same time congratulating ourselves for our independence. Now we know that some of that independence has, with the stealth required of clandestine operations, been taken away from us -- or given away."
In 1975, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence headed by Frank Church (the Church Committee) focused its attention on the Agency's use of American news outlets. The CIA went to great lengths to curtail this part of the committee's investigation, though, and some members of the committee later admitted that the Agency was able to get the upper hand. Colby and his successor, George Bush (CFR, TC), were able to convince the Senate that a full inquiry would cripple their intelligence-gathering capabilities and would unleash a "witch-hunt" on the nation's reporters, editors and publishers.
"The Agency was extremely clever about it and the committee played right into its hands," one congressional source told Carl Bernstein. "Church and some of the other members were much more interested in making headlines than in doing serious, tough investigating. The Agency pretended to be giving up a lot whenever it was asked about the flashy stuff -- assassinations and secret weapons and James Bond operations. Then, when it came to things they didn't want to give away, that were much more important to the Agency, Colby in particular called in his chits. And the committee bought it."
Former intelligence officer William Bader (who returned to the Agency as a deputy to Stansfield Turner) and David Aaron (who later served as deputy to President Carter's national security advisor) supervised the committee's investigation of the CIA-press angle. CIA director Bush balked at all of Bader's requests for specific information about the scope of the Agency's media activities. Under pressure from the entire committee, Bush finally agreed to pull records on journalists and have his deputies condense them into one-paragraph summaries. The Agency would not make the raw files available, and neither the names of journalists nor their affiliations would be included. More than 400 summaries were compiled (a number that officials acknowledge was probably on the low side) in an attempt to give committee members "a broad, representative picture." "We never pretended it was a total description of the range of activities over 25 years, or the number of journalists that have done things for us," one official conceded. Still, even these sketchy details were enough for the committee to conclude that the CIA's relationships with the press were of a far greater magnitude than they had expected -- and that they needed to know more.
But Bush was intransigent. Heated confrontations produced a bizarre agreement: Bader and director of the committee staff William Miller (CFR) could have access to 25 "sanitized" files from among the 400 (still without journalists' identities). Church and committee vice-chairman John Tower would see five unsanitized files to verify that the CIA had included all but the names. No information on current CIA-press relationships would be divulged, and the whole deal was contingent upon Bader, Miller, Church and Tower's promises not to reveal the files' contents to the other committee members.
In the end, with time running out on the committee, the senators decided to drop the matter and leave a more detailed investigation to the CIA oversight committee that would succeed them. The committee interviewed none of the reporters, editors, publishers or broadcast executives detailed in the files. And although members concluded that "from the CIA point of view this was the highest, most sensitive covert program of all," and "a much larger part of the operational system than had been indicated," this was hardly part of the official findings when they were made public. The tcommittee dedicated a scant en pages of its final report to covert relationships with the media. The information included in the report was vague and misleading and, according to committee member Gary Hart, "hardly reflected what we found."
Bernstein offered the following commentary on the Church committee's output: "No mention was made of the 400 summaries or what they showed. Instead the report noted blandly that some fifty recent contacts had been studied by the committee staff -- thus conveying the impression that the Agency's dealings with the press had been limited to those instances. Colby's misleading public statements about the use of journalists were repeated without serious contradiction or elaboration. The role of cooperating news executives was given short shrift. The fact that the Agency had concentrated its relationships in the most prominent sectors of the press went unmentioned. That the CIA continued to regard the press as up for grabs was not even suggested."
Prominent CIA-Press Relationships
A source close to the Church committee remarked on the investigation that, "if this stuff got out some of the biggest names in journalism would get smeared." So just who was involved, and what was the nature of their relationships with the intelligence community? The following is a sampling of prominent organizations identified by Carl Bernstein and other researchers as high profile news outlets with low profile ties to the CIA.
CBS: CIA Broadcasting System?
Bernstein asserts that a good relationship between former CIA director Allen Dulles and former CBS president William Paley (CFR) made the network the CIA's most valuable broadcasting asset. "Over the years," Bernstein writes, "the network provided cover for CIA employees, including at least one well-known foreign correspondent and several stringers; it supplied outtakes of newsfilm to the CIA; established a formal channel of communications between the Washington bureau chief and the agency; and allowed reports by CBS correspondents... to be routinely monitored by the CIA."
Paley chose Sig Mickelson (CFR), president of CBS News from 1954 to 1961, as his liaison with the CIA. Mickelson (who went on to become president of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty) recalls complaining about having to use a pay phone to contact the CIA, and later installing a private line that bypassed the CBS switchboard for this purpose. A CBS investigation of his files revealed that he was involved in passing on CBS film and outtakes to CIA officials in exchange for payment and that he regularly forwarded copies of CBS' internal newsletter to his CIA handlers. The same investigation revealed that two CBS employees -- stringer Austin Goodrich and Frank Kearns, a network reporter from 1958-1971 -- were undercover CIA operatives.
Mickelson has discussed his CIA activities with Bernstein and others. "When I moved into the job I was told by Paley that there was an ongoing relationship with the CIA," he has recalled. "He introduced me to two agents who he said would keep in touch. We all discussed the Goodrich situation and the film arrangements. I assumed that this was the normal relationship at the time. This was at the height of the Cold War and I assumed the communications media were cooperating -- though the Goodrich matter was compromising."
Mickelson's successor Richard Salant says he continued some of these practices when he took the CBS helm. "I said no on talking to the reporters, and let them see broadcast tapes, but no outtakes," he explains. "This went on for a number of years -- into the Seventies."
Sign of the Times
The New York Times was for the CIA in the realm of newspapers what CBS was to the Agency among broadcasters. Publisher Arthur Hays Sulzberger (CFR) arranged for cover for approximately 10 CIA employees between 1950 and 1966 as part of his general policy of providing assistance to the CIA whenever possible.
According to CIA officials, the Agency's ties to the Times were stronger than to any other papers because of its large foreign news operation and because of close ties between publisher Sulzberger and director Dulles (a relationship described by one staff member as "the mighty dealing with the mighty.") The output of this close relationship generally included reporting for CIA agents and "spotting" new prospective foreign operatives. Sulzberger is said to have signed a secrecy agreement with the Agency in the 1950's -- some say he did so as a pledge not to reveal the classified information he was privy to; others claim it was a pact never to reveal the Times' dealings with the CIA.
Former Times reporter Wayne Phillips said CIA agents approached and tried to recruit him as an undercover operative in 1952, advising him that the Agency has a "working relationship" with Sulzberger. A Freedom of Information Act request later revealed that agents hoped to put him to work as an "asset" abroad. The Times ran a story about the attempted recruitment in 1976, in which Arthur Ochs Sulzberger (CFR) asserted that he had "never heard of the Times being approached, either in my capacity as publisher or as the son of the late Mr. Sulzberger."
A CIA Post?
Bernstein's former employers at the Washington Post escaped his expose unscathed, but other investigators have documented extensive CIA ties at the paper. According to John Kelly of CounterSpy magazine, Post reporter Walter Pincus (CFR) worked for the CIA in 1959 as an Agency trained and funded delegate sent to the International Youth Festival in Vienna to disrupt the festival and spy on fellow Americans. After briefing agents on his activities and taking a pledge of secrecy, he went on attend youth conferences in Ghana and Guinea. Pincus claims that he was offered, but turned down, a permanent CIA position, although he did attend a political meeting in New Delhi at the Agency's request before going on to bigger and better things at the Post. Pincus has written several pieces sympathetic to CIA operations. He published an article just prior to the release of Bernstein's Rolling Stone expose downplaying the article's claims, even though his report essentially let Post publisher Katherine Graham off the hook. Reporter Russell Warren Howe also has a long history of CIA service. In 1958, he once said, his "days as an asset had just begun." He worked for the CIA proprietary "Information Bulletin, Ltd." and its successor, "Forum Service" (later known as Forum World Features), in addition to the CIA-funded "Africa Report and "Survey." Howe was fully aware of his employer's CIA ties, referring once to the FWF as "the principal CIA media in the world." According to the Church Committee, the Post management was aware that one of their reporters worked for a CIA publication, and that on several occasions they knowingly reprinted propaganda from that paper in the Post.
Philip Geyelin (CFR) on the other hand was a CIA agent before taking a job as a Post reporter. Geyelin joined the Agency for 11 months during a leave from the Wall Street Journal. While at the Journal, CIA memos about Geyelin (which number in the hundreds, according to CounterSpy) described him as "a CIA resource" and a "willing collaborator." Geyelin has come to the CIA's defense in the Post: in response to a statement by Post ombudsman Charles Seib that the CIA should stick to dirty work, the press should inform the public, "and never the twain can meet," Geyelin replied that to the contrary, agents and journalists were "all searching for the same nuggets of truth about the outside world." He took this a step further when he protested Congressional efforts to regulate CIA-media ties, invoking journalists' constitutional right to be co-opted by spooks. "(I)n its zeal to restrict the freedom of the agency to subvert the press," he wrote, "Congress could wind up making a law that would in fact abridge -- or threaten to abridge -- some part of the freedom of the press that the First Amendment was intended to protect."
Publisher Katherine Graham is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations with close ties to former CIA directors Dulles and William Casey (CFR). She hired CIA-linked Wackenhut Security Corporation to break up a Post union strike, and invited former Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach (CFR) to join the Post's board of directors despite his well-documented past as a CIA apologist. Katzenbach is said to have asked a past Post editorial page editor to tone down an upcoming editorial about the CIA, and he chaired a presidential panel that "investigated" CIA domestic operations (but actually served as a rubber stamp for the Agency's activities). While he asserted that both the FBI and CIA were "the most decent and effective intelligence agencies in the world," Katzenbach had first hand knowledge of the seedier side of intelligence: the Church committee produced several memos documenting his suggestions to J. Edgar Hoover that he might undertake wiretap operations as part of the Bureau's campaign to discredit Martin Luther King, Jr.
Making Time for Spooks
Time and Life founder Henry Luce was considered one of the CIA's most cooperative sources in the media. Luce, another of Dulles' personal friends in the media, was said to freely allow staff members to work with the CIA and willingly provide credentials for agents who lacked journalistic experience. Throughout the 50's and 60's Time correspondents attended CIA briefing dinners, and Luce encouraged his foreign correspondents to meet with CIA officials after returning from trips abroad.
C.D. Jackson, a Life magazine vice president in the early 1960's, co-authored a CIA study on reorganization of the intelligence community during his tenure at Time-Life, and approved specific plans for granting cover to CIA operatives. Former Life managing editors Edward Thompson and George Hunt told Stuart Loory that they regularly allowed military intelligence agents to come to the Life office to look at photos and, since they were public domain, sometimes gave them prints. CIA agents were allowed to interview correspondents returning from overseas assignments too, Hunt said, although he did not consider this to be "working with" intelligence agencies. "We never cooperated with the CIA," Hunt claimed. "We didn't have any of that nonsense going on at Life."
Other News Outlets With Documented CIA Ties
Management at the Christian Science Monitor admitted the paper had an ongoing relationship with the CIA throughout the 1950's and early 60's. Joseph Harrison, who became editor in 1950, said he discovered that agents paid frequent visits to the news office to get information on Monitor stories. "I inherited the situation and I continued it," he said of the arrangement, which included allowing the Agency access to uncut versions of stories and letters from Monitor foreign correspondents. While Johnson characterized such activities as "helping out as an American," he drew the line at pursuing stories at the Agency's behest or allowing his employees to moonlight with the CIA. "That," according to his distinction, "would have been espionage."
CIA files show that ABC News provided cover for agents throughout the 1960's. During the Church committee hearings the Agency refused to reveal whether its relationship with the network was ongoing. As with ties to other high profile news outlets, arrangements were made at the highest level, with the full knowledge of network executives. CIA officials claim that Sam Jaffe and one other unnamed correspondent performed clandestine tasks for the Agency. Jaffe admits that he was approached by agents who offered to get him a job with CBS, who would send him on assignment in Moscow if he agreed to cooperate, but claims he never agreed to the deal. Jaffe did go on to do some work for CBS, though, and said he believed that the CIA had a hand in getting him the assignment.
One of the more unusual accounts of the CIA-press connection involves the Louisville Courier-Journal. Undercover operative Robert H. Campbell spent three months at the paper as a reporter in 1964-1965 as part of an arrangement made by the Agency and Courier-Journal executive editor Norman Issacs. The first account of Campbell's tenure at the paper appeared in a front-page story in 1976 -- in the Courier-Journal (one of the few self-investigative pieces written on this topic).
James Herzog reported that Campbell had been hired in spite of the fact that he could not type and knew little about newswriting. "Norman said that when he was in Washington, he had been called to lunch with some friend of his who was with the CIA [who] wanted to send this young fellow down to get him a little knowledge of newspapering," the paper's former managing editor recalled in the article. CIA sources say that the Courier-Journal arrangements were made so that Johnson could amass a record of journalistic experience (he also worked briefly for the Hornell, New York Evening Tribune). The Agency even sent funds to the Courier-Journal to pay Johnson's salary. These same sources claim that the deal was made with Issacs and approved by the paper's publisher, but neither man recalls being involved. "All I can do is repeat the simple truth," Issacs said in response to Herzog's story, "that never, under any circumstances or at any time, have I ever knowingly hired a government agent." But, he added, "none of this is to say that I couldn't have been 'had.'"
But clues were there. No one looked into Johnson's credentials when he was hired, and his file included the curious notation "Hired for temporary work -- no reference checks completed or needed." Johnson's journalistic prowess (or lack thereof) should have given him away: his editors characterized his work as "unreadable" and it was never published. If that was not clue enough, his penchant for announcing to patrons at a bar a few steps from his office that he was a CIA agent should have done the trick.
Who else? Bernstein compiled the following list of additional organizations known to have provided CIA cover: the New York Herald-Tribune, the Saturday Evening Post, Scripps-Howard Newspapers, Hearst Newspapers, the Associated Press, United Press International, the Mutual Broadcasting System, Reuters and the Miami Herald.
The CFR Report on "Making Intelligence Smarter"
A Council on Foreign Relations task force thrust the CIA-media connection back into the spotlight this year with the release of their report on post-Cold War intelligence. "Making Intelligence Smarter," released in February 1996, stresses the importance of "human intelligence" in successful clandestine operations. But many of the "innovations" the CFR suggests for cases when "the targeted activity is not easily captured by reconnaissance or eavesdropping," are all too familiar. "Clandestine operations for whatever purpose currently are circumscribed by a number of legal and policy constraints," the report states. "These deserve review to avoid diminishing the potential contribution of this instrument. At a minimum, the Task Force recommended that a fresh look be taken at limits on the use of nonofficial 'covers' for hiding and protecting those involved in clandestine activities."
Though the task force doesn't explicitly address the use of the press as cover, the implication is obvious. If nothing else, the Church committee investigation showed CIA-press relationships to be among the Agency's most secret -- and most valuable -- operations for nearly two decades. And congressional scrutiny, however ineffectual, led the Agency to codify the constraints alluded to in the report.
Former CIA director William Colby claimed in 1973 to have scaled back covert media operations in response to mounting criticism of the practice. His successor, George Bush, issued a statement pledging that the Agency would not enter into "paid or contractual relationships with full- or part-time news correspondents from accredited news organizations" when he took the Agency helm in 1976. (The statement was ambiguous on stringers and other news staffers, and included a statement that the Agency would "welcome" journalists' voluntary, unpaid cooperation. Stansfield Turner, Bush's replacement, put these assurances in writing the following year.
Contrary to the report's implication that all "nonofficial" covers are currently off limits, there is a loophole in the policy Turner drafted in 1977 allowing for exceptions "with the specific approval" of the Director of Central Intelligence. An unnamed source brought the loophole to attention of the Washington Post last month, indicating that such exceptions had been made "in extraordinarily rare circumstances" in the past 19 years. At least one such exception was granted for a CIA agent posing as a reporter during the Iranian hostage crisis.
Spies R Not Us?
Reaction from the press to the CFR report has been mixed. Many have invoked the First Amendment and uttered platitudes about the separation of press and state, while remaining silent about the two institutions' sordid pasts. Notably absent from both the CFR's report and the media's reaction is any historical frame of reference: the issue is presented as a stand-alone current event, taken out of its context as a legacy of CIA meddling and media complicity.
Evan Thomas, an assistant editor at Newsweek told the Post that while there were "inherent conflicts" in using the press as cover, "You would not want to rule out forever an opportunity in which a journalist might be the only one who could help in a desperate situation."
But Jim Naureckas, editor of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting's journal Extra!, seemed to have a better appreciation of the underlying implications. "Under no circumstance should CIA agents pose as journalists," he said. "Given the CIA's record in setting up fake press organs and manipulating the press, they have really lost the right to get involved with journalists. You can't combine their work with journalism, which is about the free and open exchange of ideas."
Washington Times columnist Ken Adelman charged that the uproar was much ado about nothing. "That such verbal waffling aroused such a ruckus says a great deal," he wrote in his March 6, 1996 column. "Not so much about the Council or the CIA -- but about the narcissism of today's journalists."
Contrary to the policy of his predecessors, Post executive editor Leonard Downie, Jr. said he was disturbed by the possibility that the CIA had either used journalistic organizations for cover or recruited journalists. Independence from the government, he said, was essential for both credibility and the safety of correspondents.
The CFR, the CIA, the Media and the New World Order
Will economic warfare replace the Cold War in the New World Order? In the wake of the Cold War, debate has erupted over the future use of intelligence agencies by the U.S. government. Many of America's political and business elite want to see a shift towards economic intelligence, to counter other nations' economic intelligence ops, as well as to further the goals of international capitalism.
It is therefore especially noteworthy that the CFR issued the report on "Making Intelligence Smarter." The roster of the Council on Foreign Relations is a Who's Who directory of the political, military, and economic elite in the United States. President Clinton's administration is staffed by nearly 100 of the CFR's 3,000 members. It has been said by political commentators on both the left and the right that if you want to find out what U.S. foreign policy will be next year, you should read the CFR's periodical Foreign Affairs this year.
Members of the CFR exert influence over a gigantic portion of the media in America. Many of the newspeople who operated with the CIA in the past were or are CFR members. The chief directors and news anchors of CBS, ABC, NBC, Time Inc., Public Broadcast Service, CNN, Newsweek, and many other major media outlets are CFR members. So are many CEOs and board members at Chase Manhattan Corp., Chemical Bank, Citicorp, Shell Oil, AT&T, General Motors, General Electric, and other multinational corporations.
It is also worth noting that three of the Task Force panel members who wrote the "Making Intelligence Smarter" report included past or present journalists. Leslie Gelb, CFR president, is a former foreign affairs columnist and Op-Ed page editor for The New York Times. Henry Grunwald is former Editor-in-Chief of Time magazine, and Jessica Mathews is a Post columnist.
Critics of the CFR on both sides of the political spectrum voice strong opposition to the Council's agenda of expansion of multinational capitalism and world government -- what has become known as the New World Order. A report from the CFR such as "Making Intelligence Smarter" will therefore make plenty of waves. The fact that the report was composed in part by members of the working press who are also CFR members is a brazen conflict of interest, in light of the CFR's history.
Will there be a shift in CIA/media operations towards global economic intelligence and propaganda? Only time will tell as the debate rages on. But if history serves as any sort of lesson, we could be standing on the threshold of a new flap of covert media manipulation.
"The CIA and the Media: How America's Most Powerful News Media Worked Hand in Glove with the Central Intelligence Agency and Why the Church Committee Covered it Up," Rolling Stone, October 20, 1977, p.55-67. "CIA in America," CounterSpy, Spring 1980, p. 42-43. "Washington Post -- Speaking for Whom?" CounterSpy, May-July 1981, p. 13-19. Loch K. Johnson, America's Secret Power: the CIA in a Democratic Society, New York: Oxford University Press, 1989, p. 182-311. "'Loophole Revealed in Prohibition on CIA Use of Journalistic Cover," New York Times, February 16, 1996, p. A24. "Making Intelligence Smarter," report of a task force of the Council on Foreign Relations, 1996. "Disinformation and Mass Deception: Democracy as a Cover Story," Covert Action Information Bulletin, Spring-Summer 1983, p. 3-12. "The CIA's use of the press: a 'mighty Wurlitzer,'" Columbia Journalism Review, September/October 1974, p. 9-18.
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In-Q-Tel, Inc. is a private, venture capital firm chartered by the CIA. In-Q-Tel strives to extend the Agency's access to new IT companies, solutions, and approaches to address their priority problems. In-Q-Tel invests in technologies that addresses critical CIA needs, and that can also become commercially viable.
The Subversion Of The Free Press By The CIA
"You could get a journalist cheaper than a good call girl, for a couple hundred dollars a month." CIA operative discussing with Philip Graham, editor Washington Post, on the availability and prices of journalists willing to peddle CIA propaganda and cover stories. "Katherine The Great," by Deborah Davis (New York: Sheridan Square Press, 1991)
As terrible as it is to live in a nation where the press in known to be controlled by the government, at least one has the advantage of knowing the bias is present, and to adjust for it. In the United States of America, we are taught from birth that our press is free from such government meddling. This is an insideous lie about the very nature of the news institution in this country. One that allows the government to lie to us while denying the very fact of the lie itself.
The Alex Constantine Article
Tales from the Crypt
The Depraved Spies and Moguls of the CIA's Operation MOCKINGBIRD
by Alex Constantine
Who Controls the Media?
Soulless corporations do, of course. Corporations with grinning,
double-breasted executives, interlocking directorates, labor squabbles
and flying capital. Dow. General Electric. Coca-Cola. Disney.
Newspapers should have mastheads that mirror the world: The
Westinghouse Evening Scimitar, The Atlantic-Richfield Intelligentser .
It is beginning to dawn on a growing number of armchair ombudsmen that
the public print reports news from a parallel universe - one that has
never heard of politically-motivated assassinations, CIA-Mafia banking
thefts, mind control, death squads or even federal agencies with
secret budgets fattened by cocaine sales - a place overrun by lone
gunmen, where the CIA and Mafia are usually on their best behavior. In
this idyllic land, the most serious infraction an official can commit
__is a the employment of a domestic servant with (shudder) no
This unlikely land of enchantment is the creation of MOCKINGBIRD.
It was conceived in the late 1940s, the most frigid period of the cold
war, when the CIA began a systematic infiltration of the corporate
media, a process that often included direct takeover of major news
In this period, the American intelligence services competed with
communist activists abroad to influence European labor unions. With or
without the cooperation of local governments, Frank Wisner, an
undercover State Department official assigned to the Foreign Service,
rounded up students abroad to enter the cold war underground of covert
operations on behalf of his Office of Policy Coordination. Philip
Graham, __a graduate of the Army Intelligence School in Harrisburg,
PA, then publisher of the Washington Post., was taken under Wisner's
wing to direct the program code-named Operation MOCKINGBIRD.
"By the early 1950s," writes former Village Voice reporter Deborah
Davis in Katharine the Great, "Wisner 'owned' respected members of the
New York Times, Newsweek, CBS and other communications vehicles, plus
stringers, four to six hundred in all, according to a former CIA
analyst." The network was overseen by Allen Dulles, a templar for
German and American corporations who wanted their points of view
represented in the public print. Early MOCKINGBIRD influenced 25
newspapers and wire agencies consenting to act as organs of CIA
propaganda. Many of these were already run by men with reactionary
views, among them William Paley (CBS), C.D. Jackson (Fortune), Henry
Luce (Time) and Arthur Hays Sulzberger (N.Y. Times).
Activists curious about the workings of MOCKINGBIRD have since been
appalled to find in FOIA documents that agents boasting in CIA
office memos of their pride in having placed "important assets" inside
every major news publication in the country. It was not until 1982
that the Agency openly admitted that reporters on the CIA payroll have
acted as case officers to agents in the field.
"World War III has begun," Henry's Luce's Life declared in March,
1947. "It is in the opening skirmish stage already." The issue
featured an excerpt of a book by James Burnham, who called for the
creation of an "American Empire," "world-dominating in political
power, set up at least in part through coercion (probably including
war, but certainly the threat of war) and in which one group of people
... would hold more than its equal share of power."
George Seldes, the famed anti-fascist media critic, drew down on Luce
in 1947, explaining tha__t "although avoiding typical Hitlerian
phrases, the same doctrine of a superior people taking over the world
and ruling it, began to appear in the press, whereas the organs of
Wall Street were much more honest in favoring a doctrine inevitably
leading to war if it brought greater commercial markets under the
On the domestic front, an abiding relationship was struck between the
CIA and William Paley, a wartime colonel and the founder of CBS. A
firm believer in "all forms of propaganda" to foster loyalty to the
Pentagon, Paley hired CIA agents to work undercover at the behest of
his close friend, the busy grey eminence of the nation's media, Allen
Dulles. Paley's designated go-between in his dealings with the CIA was
Sig Mickelson, president of CBS News from 1954 to 1961.
The CIA's assimilation of old guard fascists was overseen by the
Operations Coordination Board, directed by C.D. Jackson, formerly an
executive of Time magazine and Eisenhower's Special Assistant for Cold
War Strategy. In 1954 he was succeeded by Nelson Rockefeller, who quit
a year later, disgusted at the administration's political infighting.
Vice President Nixon succeeded Rockefeller as the key cold war
"Nixon," writes John Loftus, a former attorney for the Justice
Department's Office of Special Investigations, took "a small boy's
delight in the arcane tools of the intelligence craft - the hidden
microphones, the 'black' propaganda." Nixon especially enjoyed his
visit to a Virginia training camp to observe Nazis in the "special
forces" drilling at covert operations.
One of the fugitives recruited by the American intelligence
underground was heroin smuggler Hubert von Blücher, the son of A
German ambassador. Hubert often bragged that that he was trained by
the Abwehr, the German military intelligence division, while still a
civilian in his twenties. He served in a recon unit of the German Army
until forced out for medical reasons in 1944, according to his wartime
records. He worked briefly as an assistant director for Berlin-Film on
a movie entitled One Day ..., and finished out the war flying with the
Luftwaffe, but not to engage the enemy - his mission was the smuggling
of Nazi loot out of the country. His exploits were, in part, the
subject of Sayer and Botting's Nazi Gold, an account of the knockover
of the Reichsbank at the end of the war.
In 1948 he flew the coop to Argentina. Posing as a photographer named
Huberto von Bleucher Corell, he immediately paid court to Eva Peron,
presenting her with an invaluable Gobelin tapestry (a selection from
the wealth of artifacts confiscated by the SS from Europe's Jews?).
Hubert then met with Martin Bormann at the Hotel Plaza to deliver
German marks worth $80 million. The loot financed the birth of the
National Socialist Party in Argentina, among other forms of Nazi
In 1951, Hubert migrated northward and took a job at the Color
Corporation of America in Hollywood. He eked out a living writing
scripts for the booming movie industry. His voice can be heard on a
film set in the Amazon, produced by Walt Disney. Nine years later he
returned to Buenos Aires, then Düsseldorf, West Germany, and
established a firm that developed not movie scripts, but anti-chemical
warfare agents for the government. At the Industrie Club in Düsseldorf
in 1982, von Blücher boasted to journalists, "I am chief shareholder
of Pan American Airways. I am the best friend of Howard Hughes. The
Beach Hotel in Las Vegas is 45 percent financed by me. I am thus the
biggest financier ever to appear in the Arabian Nights tales dreamed
up by these people over their second bottle of brandy."
Not really. Two the biggest financiers to stumble from the drunken
dreams of world-moving affluence were, in their time, Moses Annenberg,
publisher of The Philadelphia Inquirer, and his son Walter , the
CIA/mob-anchored publisher of the TV Guide. Like most American
high-rollers, Annenberg lived a double life. Moses, his father, was a
scion of the Capone mob. Both Moses and Walter were indicted in 1939
for tax evasions totalling many millions of dollars - the biggest case
in the history of the Justice Department. Moses pled guilty and agreed
to pay the government $8 million and settle $9 million in assorted tax
claims, penalties and interest debts. Moses received a three-year
sentence. He died in Lewisburg Penitentiary.
Walter Annenbeg, the TV Guide magnate, was a lofty Republican. On the
campaign trail in April, 1988, George Bush flew into Los Angeles to
woo Reagan's kitchen cabinet. "This is the topping on the cake,"
Bush's regional campaign director told the Los Angeles Times. The Bush
team met at Annenberg's plush Rancho Mirage estate at Sunnylands,
California. It was at the Annenberg mansion that Nixon's cabinet was
chosen, and the state's social and contributor registers built over a
quarter-century of state political dominance by Ronald Reagan, whose
acting career was launched by Operation MOCKINGBIRD.
The commercialization of television, coinciding with Reagan's
recruitment by the Crusade for Freedom, a CIA front, presented the
intelligence world with unprecedented potential for sowing propaganda
and even prying in the age of Big Brother. George Orwell glimpsed the
possibilities when he installed omniscient video surveillance
technology in 1948, a novel rechristened 1984 for the first edition
published in the U.S. by Harcourt, Brace. Operation Octopus, according
to federal files, was in full swing by 1948, a surveillance program
that turned any television set with tubes into a broadcast
transmitter. Agents of Octopus could pick up audio and visual images
with the equipment as far as 25 miles away.
Hale Boggs was investigating Operation Octopus at the time of his
disappearance in the midst of the Watergate probe.
In 1952, at MCA, Actors' Guild president Ronald Reagan - a screen idol
recruited by MOCKINGBIRD's Crusade for Freedom to raise funds for the
resettlement of Nazis in the U.S., according to Loftus - signed a
secret waiver of the conflict-of-interest rule with the mob-controlled
studio, in effect granting it a labor monopoly on early television
programming. In exchange, MCA made Reagan a part owner. Furthermore,
historian C. Vann Woodward, writing in the New York Times, in 1987,
reported that Reagan had "fed the names of suspect people in his
organization to the FBI secretly and regularly enough to be assigned
'an informer's code number, T-10.' His FBI file indicates intense
collaboration with producers to 'purge' the industry of subversives."
No one ever turned a suspicious eye on Walter Cronkite, a former
intelligence officer and in the immediate postwar period UPI's Moscow
correspondent. Cronkite was lured to CBS by Operation MOCKINGBIRD's
Phil Graham, according to Deborah Davis.
Another television conglomerate, Cap Cities, rose like a horror-film
simian from CIA and Mafia heroin operations. Among other
organized-crime Republicans, Thomas Dewey and his neighbor Lowell
Thomas threw in to launch the infamous Resorts International, the
corporate front for Lansky's branch of the federally-sponsored mob
family and the corporate precursor to Cap Cities. Another of the
investors was James Crosby, a Cap Cities executive who donated
$100,000 to Nixon's 1968 presidential campaign. This was the year that
Resorts bought into Atlantic City casino interests. Police in New
jersey attempted, with no success, to spike the issuance of a gambling
license to the company, citing Mafia ties.
In 1954, this same circle of investors, all Catholics, founded the
broadcasting company notorious for overt propagandizing and general
spookiness. The company's chief counsel was OSS veteran William Casey,
who clung to his shares by concealing them in a blind trust even after
he was appointed CIA director by Ronald Reagan in 1981.
"Black radio" was the phrase CIA critic David Wise coined in The
Invisible Government to describe the agency's intertwining interests
in the emergence of the transistor radio with the entrepreneurs who
took to the airwaves. "Daily, East and West beam hundreds of
propaganda broadcasts at each other in an unrelenting babble of
competition for the minds of their listeners. The low-price transistor
has given the hidden war a new importance," enthused one foreign
A Hydra of private foundations sprang up to finance the propaganda
push. One of them, Operations and Policy Research, Inc. (OPR),
received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the CIA through private
foundations and trusts. OPR research was the basis of a television
series that aired in New York and Washington, D.C. in 1964, Of People
and Politics, a "study" of the American political system in 21 weekly
In Hollywood, the visual cortex of The Beast, the same CIA/Mafia
combination that formed Cap Cities sank its claws into the film
studios and labor unions. Johnny Rosselli was pulled out of the Army
during the war by a criminal investigation of Chicago mobsters in the
film industry. Rosselli, a CIA asset probably assassinated by the CIA,
played sidekick to Harry Cohn, the Columbia Pictures mogul who visited
Italy's Benito Mussolini in 1933, and upon his return to Hollywood
remodeled his office after the dictator's. The only honest job
Rosselli ever had was assistant purchasing agent (and a secret
investor) at Eagle Lion productions, run by Bryan Foy, a former
producer for 20th Century Fox. Rosselli, Capone's representative on
the West Coast, passed a small fortune in mafia investments to Cohn.
Bugsy Seigel pooled gambling investments with Billy Wilkerson,
publisher of the Hollywood Reporter.
In the 1950s, outlays for global propaganda climbed to a full third of
the CIA's covert operations budget. Some 3, 000 salaried and contract
CIA employees were eventually engaged in propaganda efforts. The cost
of disinforming the world cost American taxpayers an estimated $265
million a year by 1978, a budget larger than the combined expenditures
of Reuters, UPI and the AP news syndicates.
In 1977, the Copely News Service admitted that it worked closely with
the intelligence services - in fact, 23 employees were full-time
employees of the Agency.
Most consumers of the corporate media were - and are - unaware of the
effect that the salting of public opinion has on their own beliefs. A
network anchorman in time of national crisis is an instrument of
psychological warfare in the MOCKINGBIRD media. He is a creature from
the national security sector's chamber of horrors. For this reason
consumers of the corporate press have reason to examine their basic
beliefs about government and life in the parallel universe of these
"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed." -- President Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864
Massive Media: Facts and Figures
The world of the mass media is shrinking. How a handful of companies came to exercise such control over the media is one of the astonishing stories of our time. But there are real consequences to what's happening that affect democracy and consumers.
Approximate number of newspapers in North America: 1800
Approximate number of magazines in North America: 11,000
Approximate number of radio stations in North America: 11,000
Approximate number of television stations in North America: 2000
Approximate number of book publishers in North America: 3000
Number of companies owning a controlling interest in the media listed above in 1984: 50
Number of companies owning a controlling interest in the media listed above in 1987: 26
Number of companies owning a controlling interest in the media listed above in 1996: 10
The Massing of the Media
# THE LAW: Many media watchers point to the Telecommunications Act of 1996 as crucial to the growth of media giants. The Act lowered some long-standing limits on the number of media outlets that any one company could own in any single market. For television there's currently a cap limiting any one company from reaching more than 35 percent of the national audience. The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) website has a complete listing of public hearings on this issue and a facility for filing comments online.
# TELEVISION: The U.S. seems awash with TV choices. Between cable, dish and digital channels, choices number in the hundreds. A recent study by THE ECONOMIST found that though the market continues to grow, most people routinely watch only 15 channels. The top ten cable channels and the five networks still make up 90% of the watching audience. And what are they watching? American cable fare breaks down as follows:
# Entertainment ................36.6%
# Children's programming .21.1%
# News ...............................14.1%
# Nature/Education ............11.1%
# Women .............................7.0%
# Music ...............................5.4%
# Sport ............................... 4.7%
# NEWS: A few years ago, newspeople were lamenting the results of a study by Harvard's Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy which showed a marked decrease in international news coverage from 45% in the 1970s to just 14% in 1995. In the wake of September 11, some news organizations were revitalized. Overseas bureaus were saved from closure and hard news seemed important again but the companies lost money. Just this week, CNN announced its biggest prime-time audience of 2002 for...the arrest of Robert Blake.
Media analysis Andrew Tyndall watches the news every night and publishes the results in the Tyndall Report. Here's a round-up of the top stories on the three big networks for selected weeks past from the Tyndall Report:
July 19-31, 2001 (av. number of minutes):
# Disappearance of Chandra Levy (24 minutes)
# Human embryo stem cell research (14 minutes)
# Shark attacks (14 minutes)
April 8-12, 2002
# Enron bankruptcy (12 minutes)
# Anti-U.S. sentiment in Islamic world (10 minutes)
# Catholic pedophile priests (10 minutes) October 14-18, 2002
# DC sniper (76 minutes)
# Iraq: Saddam Hussein (28 minutes)
# Bali bombings (19 minutes)
Andrew Tyndall also recently completed an evaluation of three major cable news networks for THE NEWSHOUR WITH JIM LEHRER. Although he found that the three had different presentations and viewpoints the news they covered was similar in content (and very male-dominated). Read the whole report at Cable News Wars.
# BOOKS: Big media holds sway over more than the airwaves, many conglomerates have interest in major publishing houses as well.
# TimeWarner -- Warner Books/Little Brown/Time-Life
# Viacom -- Simon and Schuster/Pocket Books, etc.
# Bertelsmann is the largest book publisher in the United States
# Walt Disney -- Hyperion/Talk Miramax Books
# Vivendi International -- Houghton Mifflin
Links and add'l info:
Telecommunications Act of 1996
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 is the first major overhaul of telecommunications law in almost 62 years. The goal of this new law is to let anyone enter any communications business -- to let any communications business compete in any market against any other.
Milestones in the History of Media and Politics
Robert McChesney comments, "And the founding fathers...their legacy here is very rich. They understood that setting up a diverse, well funded media system with a broad range of viewpoints was the essence of building of the oxygen for democracy. And it took conscious policies. It didn't happen naturally you had to work at it." What events have shaped the media's role in reporting politics since the beginning of American history? And how has the press developed in the years since the Bill of Rights outlined its freedoms? NOW's history of media and politics takes us to the early recorded instances of journalism for some background.
In Renaissance Europe, newsletters containing information about everything from wars and economic conditions to social customs were handwritten and circulated among merchants. By the late 1400's, the first printed forerunners of the newspaper appeared in Germany as pamphlets or broadsides, often highly sensationalized in content. In the English-speaking world, the first successfully published title was THE WEEKLY NEWES. View the front page of CORANT OR WEEKLY NEWES, FROM ITALY, GERMANY, HUNGARIA, POLONIA, BOHEMIA, FRANCE, AND THE LOW-COUNTRIES published in London on October 11, 1621. In the 1640's and 50's, it was followed by a multitude of different titles in the similar newsbook format. Another prominent early paper (today the oldest continually published paper in the world) was the LONDON GAZETTE. See the GAZETTE coverage of the Great Fire of London.
Publication of information about contemporary affairs began in North America in the early 18th century, but they did not yet resemble the newspapers of today. In fact, at first, the notion that "news" should provide timely accounts of recent events was not self-evident. Read about some of the milestones in America's history of media and politics:
FCC and Media Deregulation sites:
Below are sites which contain more information about the issue of media deregulation and ways to take action on either side of the issue. The FCC site provides an area to make views on deregulation known, and provides contact information for the agency.
Center for Digital Democracy
The Web site of the Center for Digital Democracy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving media diversity, provides information regarding the issue of media concentration. The Center highlights the 1945 Supreme Court decision (Associated Press v. United States) which maintains that mergers that narrow the dissemination of information are unconstitutional. Other features include press headlines, articles, and resource links.
Colombia Journalism Review: Who Owns What?
"Who Owns What?" by the Colombia Journalism Review (CJR) features a list of media conglomerates and what they own. The page also provides a selected list of articles from the CJR archive on media concentration.
Consumer Federation of America
The Consumer Federation of America provides press releases, studies, brochures, and testimony to educate the American public about telecommunications issues and to advocate for pro-consumer policies.
Consumers Union: Nonprofit Publisher of Consumer Reports
The Consumers Union Web page, devoted to telephone-telecommunications regulation, provides a long list of articles, studies, and research describing how the deregulation of the telecommunications industry in 1996 has hurt consumers.
Economic and Political Consequences of the 1996 Telecommunications Act
Thomas Hazlett of the American Enterprise Institute argues that the 1996 Telecommunications Act resulted both in benefits to consumers and in "megamergers" that have benefited stockholders and market function. He contends that increased competition in the market had an effect on the political process, where the Telecommunications industry outspent all other industries in political contributions.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
The Federal Communication Commission is an independent government organization accountable to Congress. The FCC regulates "interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable" within U.S. jurisdiction. The FCC Web site features a special section on media ownership which includes information on the Broadcast-Newspaper Cross-Ownership Rule and the Local Radio Ownership Rule in the form of announcements, press releases, and policy studies.
The Telecommunications Act of 1996
This Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Web page is devoted to the landmark Telecommunications Act of 1996, which promoted deregulation of the telecommunication industry (cable, long distance telephone service, local telephone service, and broadband) to create a competitive communications market and deliver better services and prices to consumers. The Web site features the complete text of the legislation and provides relevant FCC materials related to the implementation and guidelines of the Act.
FRONTLINE: The Merchants of Cool - Media Giants
On PBS.org, the FRONTLINE Web site features a diagram of the seven largest media conglomerates and their numerous holdings. This information is provided within a larger context, asking how media mega-mergers and the products they sell affect children's psychological development. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/cool/giants/
What's Wrong With This Picture?
Crispin Miller of THE NATION magazine describes and analyzes the media cartel that has integrated all cultural industries into a few large corporations. Miller fears that American culture will become more homogenous with less dissent and fewer independent voices.. http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20020107&s=miller
FCC and Media Deregulation sites:
And having justified Bush/Cheney's coup, the media continue to betray American democracy. Media devoted to the public interest would investigate the poor performance by the CIA, the FBI, the FAA and the CDC, so that those agencies might be improved for our protection--but the news teams (just like Congress) haven't bothered to look into it. So, too, in the public interest, should the media report on all the current threats to our security--including those far-rightists targeting abortion clinics and, apparently, conducting bioterrorism; but the telejournalists are unconcerned (just like John Ashcroft). So should the media highlight, not play down, this government's attack on civil liberties--the mass detentions, secret evidence, increased surveillance, suspension of attorney-client privilege, the encouragements to spy, the warnings not to disagree, the censored images, sequestered public papers, unexpected visits from the Secret Service and so on. And so should the media not parrot what the Pentagon says about the current war, because such prettified accounts make us complacent and preserve us in our fatal ignorance of what people really think of us--and why--beyond our borders. And there's much more--about the stunning exploitation of the tragedy, especially by the Republicans; about the links between the Bush and the bin Laden families; about the ongoing shenanigans in Florida--that the media would let the people know, if they were not (like Michael Powell) indifferent to the public interest.
In short, the news divisions of the media cartel appear to work against the public interest--and for their parent companies, their advertisers and the Bush Administration. The situation is completely un-American. It is the purpose of the press to help us run the state, and not the other way around. As citizens of a democracy, we have the right and obligation to be well aware of what is happening, both in "the homeland" and the wider world. Without such knowledge we cannot be both secure and free. We therefore must take steps to liberate the media from oligopoly, so as to make the government our own.
Media Access Project
is a non-profit, public interest law firm which promotes the public's First Amendment right to hear and be heard on the electronic media of today and tomorrow.
ACT NOW.... TOP ISSUES:
"If in the first act you introduce a gun, by the third act you have to use it."
-- Anton Chekov
"Fear not the path of truth for the lack of people walking on it."
-- Robert F. Kennedy
"A political battle is merely a skirmish fought with muskets; a philosophical battle is a nuclear war."
-- Ayn Rand
"What distinguishes the New Right from other American reactionary movements and what it shares with the early phase of German fascism, is its incorporation of conservative impulses into a system of representation consisting largely of media techniques and media images." Philip Bishop: "The New Right and the Media"
"I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism."
-- Major General Smedley Butler, 1933
"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."
-- George Orwell
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