The CIA has been producing fake news for a long time and can “get a journalist cheaper than a good call girl”

cia

It sounds like just another conspiracy theory. The Russians hacked the Democrats and the Republicans the story goes. They released selected material from the Democrats via Wikileaks but did not do the same with the Republican material. This was to help Trump win. This is an “assessment” by the CIA (and 16 other intelligence agencies). The FBI is not so certain in their assessments. Note however that it is not contested that the material released by Wikileaks was genuine. 

In the 1980s most of the Iran-Contra stories were planted by the CIA. One remembers of course how the same constellation of agencies, led by the CIA, concluded on the presence of Saddam Hussain’s WMD. Here they even invented evidence for Colin Powell to present to the UN and make an utter fool of himself. One notes also that these same intelligence agencies all missed 9/11 though they had links with Bin Laden. They also missed – or chose to miss – the rise of ISIS completely.

While the war of words continue about Russian hacking and the US Election, it is not fanciful to conclude that the CIA is “faking” news again. The CIA has and does spend a lot of effort on manipulating news not only abroad but also on US soil. Operation Mockingbird has now been well documented and was reported on by the US Congress in 1976.

Operation Mockingbird was a campaign by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to influence media during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Begun in the 1950s, it was initially organized by Cord Meyer and Allen W. Dulles, and was later led by Frank Wisner after Dulles became the head of the CIA. The organization recruited leading American journalists into a propaganda network to help present the CIA’s views. It funded some student and cultural organizations and magazines as fronts. As it developed, it also worked to influence foreign media and political campaigns, in addition to activities by other operating units of the CIA. The CIA’s use of journalists continued unabated until 1973, when the program was scaled back, finally coming to a halt in 1976 when George H.W. Bush took over as director.

In addition to earlier exposés of CIA activities in foreign affairs, in 1966, Ramparts magazine published an article revealing that the National Student Association was funded by the CIA. The United States Congress investigated the allegations and published a report in 1976. Other accounts were also published. The media operation was first called Mockingbird in Deborah Davis’s 1979 book, Katharine the Great: Katharine Graham and The Washington Post.

The CIA fake news activities never stopped. Even the Washington Post wrote 2 weeks ago. I particularly like the quote from a CIA operative that “you could get a journalist cheaper than a good call girl, for a couple hundred dollars a month”.

But – as we document below – the government and mainstream media are by far the biggest purveyors of fake news.

The Government’s Been Deploying Propaganda On U.S. Soil for Many Years

The United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities found in 1975 that the CIA submitted stories to the American press:

Wikipedia adds details:

After 1953, the network was overseen by Allen W. Dulles, director of the CIA. By this time, Operation Mockingbird had a major influence over 25 newspapers and wire agencies. The usual methodology was placing reports developed from intelligence provided by the CIA to witting or unwitting reporters. Those reports would then be repeated or cited by the preceding reporters which in turn would then be cited throughout the media wire services.

The Office of Policy Coordination (OPC) was funded by siphoning off funds intended for the Marshall Plan [i.e. the rebuilding of Europe by the U.S. after WWII]. Some of this money was used to bribe journalists and publishers.

In 2008, the New York Times wrote:

During the early years of the cold war, [prominent writers and artists, from Arthur Schlesinger Jr. to Jackson Pollock] were supported, sometimes lavishly, always secretly, by the C.I.A. as part of its propaganda war against the Soviet Union. It was perhaps the most successful use of “soft power” in American history.

A CIA operative told Washington Post owner Philip Graham … in a conversation about the willingness of journalists to peddle CIA propaganda and cover stories:

You could get a journalist cheaper than a good call girl, for a couple hundred dollars a month.

Famed Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein wrote in 1977:

More than 400 American journalists … in the past twenty‑five years have secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency, according to documents on file at CIA headquarters.

***

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.

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Among the executives who lent their cooperation to the Agency were [the heads of CBS, Time, the New York Times, the Louisville Courier‑Journal, and Copley News Service. Other organizations which cooperated with the CIA include [ABC, NBC, AP, UPI, 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.

***

There is ample evidence that America’s leading publishers and news executives allowed themselves and their organizations to become handmaidens to the intelligence services. “Let’s not pick on some poor reporters, for God’s sake,” William Colby exclaimed at one point to the Church committee’s investigators. “Let’s go to the managements.

***

The CIA even ran a formal training program in the 1950s to teach its agents to be journalists. Intelligence officers were “taught to make noises like reporters,” explained a high CIA official, and were then placed in major news organizations with help from management.

***

Once a year during the 1950s and early 1960s, CBS correspondents joined the CIA hierarchy for private dinners and briefings.

***

Allen Dulles often interceded with his good friend, the late Henry Luce, founder of Timeand Life magazines, who readily allowed certain members of his staff to work for the Agency and agreed to provide jobs and credentials for other CIA operatives who lacked journalistic experience.

***

In the 1950s and early 1960s, Time magazine’s foreign correspondents attended CIA “briefing” dinners similar to those the CIA held for CBS.

***

When Newsweek was purchased by the Washington Post Company, publisher Philip L. Graham was informed by Agency officials that the CIA occasionally used the magazine for cover purposes, according to CIA sources. “It was widely known that Phil Graham was somebody you could get help from,” said a former deputy director of the Agency. “Frank Wisner dealt with him.” Wisner, deputy director of the CIA from 1950 until shortly before his suicide in 1965, was the Agency’s premier orchestrator of “black” operations, including many in which journalists were involved. Wisner liked to boast of his “mighty Wurlitzer,” a wondrous propaganda instrument he built, and played, with help from the press.)

***

In November 1973, after [the CIA claimed to have ended the program], Colby told reporters and editors from the New York Times and the Washington Star that the Agency had “some three dozen” American newsmen “on the CIA payroll,” including five who worked for “general‑circulation news organizations.” Yet even while the Senate Intelligence Committee was holding its hearings in 1976, according to high‑level CIA sources, the CIA continued to maintain ties with seventy‑five to ninety journalists of every description—executives, reporters, stringers, photographers, columnists, bureau clerks and members of broadcast technical crews. More than half of these had been moved off CIA contracts and payrolls but they were still bound by other secret agreements with the Agency. According to an unpublished report by the House Select Committee on Intelligence, chaired by Representative Otis Pike, at least fifteen news organizations were still providing cover for CIA operatives as of 1976.

***

Those officials most knowledgeable about the subject say that a figure of 400 American journalists is on the low side ….

“There were a lot of representations that if this stuff got out some of the biggest names in journalism would get smeared” ….

An expert on propaganda testified under oath during trial that the CIA now employs THOUSANDS of reporters and OWNS its own media organizations. Whether or not his estimate is accurate, it is clear that many prominent reporters still report to the CIA.

A 4-part BBC documentary called the “Century of the Self” shows that an American – Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays – created the modern field of manipulation of public perceptions, and the U.S. government has extensively used his techniques.

The activity has continued under the Obama Administration and is clearly still ongoing.

And the government is treating the real investigative reporters like criminals … or even terrorists:

  • The government admits that journalists could be targeted with counter-terrorism laws (and here). For example, after Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges, journalist Naomi Wolf, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and others sued the government to enjoin the NDAA’s allowance of the indefinite detention of Americans – the judge asked the government attorneys 5 times whether journalists like Hedges could be indefinitely detained simply for interviewing and then writing aboutbad guys. The government refused to promise that journalists like Hedges won’t be thrown in a dungeon for the rest of their lives without any right to talk to a judge
  • In an effort to protect Bank of America from the threatened Wikileaks expose of the bank’s wrongdoing, the Department of Justice told Bank of America to a hire a specific hardball-playing law firm to assemble a team to take down WikiLeaks (and see this)

Postscript: See this and this.


 

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