Audio: Media & Mind Control in America
Operation Mockingbird: CIA Media Manipulation
by Steven Jacobson
(5.24MB) 22Min 52 Sec
(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 "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
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
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
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/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 . 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 , and
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
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
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
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
2.htm), http://serendipity.magnet.ch/cia/death_squads.htm , and
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
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.
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
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
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
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 CIA s
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 CIA s history of atrocity
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 CIA s total budget. The
following quotes describe the culture of lawlessness that pervaded the
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
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 agency s crimes and atrocities. (3) It turns out the
Corrupted democratic elections in Greece, Italy and dozens of other
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
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
Undermined the governments of Australia, Guyana, Cambodia, Jamaica and
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
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
embarrassments that they did not commit;
Spied on thousands of American citizens, in defiance of Congressional
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
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
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 CIA s 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
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 CIA s overthrow of the democratically elected
government of Jacabo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954. Again, there was no
communist threat. The real threat was to Guatemala s 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 country s 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
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 father s 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
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 nation s 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
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
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
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
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
world s 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."
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 Blum s 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 Whalen s 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
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:
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:
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:
13. Anthony Collings, "Journalists tell Senate they want no CIA ties,"
CNN, July 18, 1996. Website:
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:
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:
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.
23. Jonathon Broder and Murray Waas, [Untitled] Salon, April 20, 1998.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
O'Reilly's Information Tech CIA Connection ::: Download Presentation
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 residency status.
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 outlets.
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 strategist.
"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
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 revival.
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
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
transistorhas given the hidden war a new importance," enthused one
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
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
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..
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
-- 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
-- George Orwell
MetaMagic MediaMinistry @
Hidden Elitist Conspiracies?
Visit BeamShip MUTANEX
News of the Strange & Supernatural Mark Fiore's FlashToon :::
Media "SPIN" Doctors &