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