The CIA and the Media: Historical Fact #93

Upon its ascension to power in 1981 the Ronald Reagan-George Bush-led presidential administration faced a public relations crisis concerning its foreign policy plans for Central America. Severe human rights violations by right wing regimes there constituted an obstacle to gaining the American public’s approval to back such leadership. At the same time administration officials complained of having their hands tied with regard to domestic propaganda activities.

Thus the Reagan-Bush team established a strategy to initiate its own  propaganda campaign on the US population, called “Project Truth.” This effort was later absorbed by a larger propaganda effort directed at foreign audiences, dubbed, “Project Democracy.” The individual overseeing this program was Walter Raymond Jr., a Central Intelligence Agency staffer who spent 30 years with the Agency before is assignment as a National Security Council (NSC) staffer in 1982.

This ambitious propaganda apparatus was formally established on January 14, 1983 when President Reagan signed National Security Decision Directive 77, titled, “Management of Public Diplomacy Relations to National Security.” Reagan asserted that public diplomacy meant “those actions of the U.S. Government designed to generate support for our national security objectives.”

CIA propaganda and disinformation specialist Walter Raymond Jr. Raymond is partially obscured by President Reagan. To his right is National Security Adviser John Poindexter. (Via ConsortiumNews. Image credit: Reagan presidential library.)

Raymond was tapped to direct such “public diplomacy operations at home and abroad,” explains journalist Robert Parry. “The veteran CIA propagandist was a slight, soft-spoken New Yorker who reminded some of a character from a John leCarré spy novel, an intelligence officer who ‘easily fades into the woodwork,’ according to one acquaintance.”

In Raymond’s final post at CIA the spy worked within the Agency’s Directorate of Operations, formerly known as the Clandestine Service, “which is responsible for spying, paramilitary actions and propaganda–where his last job title was considered so revealing about the CIA’s disinformation capabilities that it remained a highly classified secret.”

In his new role Raymond went on to oversee the public diplomacy agenda of the Department of State, the United States Information Agency, the Agency for International Development, the Department of Defense, the CIA and the NSC.

“Critics would later question the assignment of a career CIA propagandist to carry out an information program that had both domestic and foreign components,” Parry writes.

After all, in CIA propaganda operations the goal is not to inform a target population, but rather to manipulate it. The trick is to achieve a specific intelligence objective, not foster a full-and-open democratic debate. In such cases, CIA tactics include disinformation to spread confusion or psychological operations to exploit cultural weaknesses. A skillful CIA operation will first carefully analyze what “themes” can work with a specific culture and then select–and if necessary distort–information that advances those “themes.” The CIA also looks for media outlets to disseminate the propaganda. Some are created; others are compromised with bribes to editors, reporters or owners.

According to one strategy paper developed under Raymond’s direction the “‘public diplomacy effort'” necessary to achieve acceptance of the Reagan-Bush policy in Central America included “‘foster[ing] a climate of editorial and public opinion that will encourage congressional support of administration policy.'” Along these lines, the news media necessitated “‘a comprehensive and responsive strategy, which would take timely advantage of favorable developments in the region, could at least neutralize the prevailing climate and perhaps, eventually overcome it.'”

Robert Parry, Secrecy and Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, Arlington VA: The Media Consortium Inc., 2004, 218-222.

 

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4 thoughts on “The CIA and the Media: Historical Fact #93”

  1. Oliver North was the lynch pin in the “Enterprise”, a euphemism for an international drug and gun running operation run without fear of reprisal from any law enforcement entity. Daddy Bush’s operation was so efficient at slinging dope, the native cocaine manufacturing capacity was maxed out, so Ollie set up their own kitchens. The idea someone like North can walk Scot free from what he did proves the justice system really is “JUST US!”. The basic blueprint was to fly guns and ammo down to Central America from Miami, trade it for a plane load of dope and fly it back to Mena-Arkansas while Bumba was Governor. Becoming President was payoff for running apart of the enterprise. The idea that the same Gov’t could also get away with selling arms to Iran, an official enemy of the US is beyond the pale. This proves there’s an untouchable class of people… the Bushes, the Clintons, Ollie North and all their cronies.

  2. Nice post, Dave Kraft.

    However, I still am unclear about many aspects of the “Iran / Contra” affair and do not expect much clarity in this life.

    I have always understood that the movement of guns and weapons flowed from the US to not only to/for the Contras in early 80s but also to Iran via Israel, which would have made the transfer of US weapons to Iran clean, like sort of weapons laundering scheme.

    If I could arrange a trade as to who should be sent to prison now, I’d give up Ollie in exchange for the dirty dirty dirty Bushs and Clintons going to prison for life right now.

    As for the CIA, I’m with JFK

    “I will splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it into the winds.”

  3. https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Charlie-Liteky-activist-who-renounced-his-Medal-10875732.php
    Charlie Liteky, activist who renounced his Medal of Honor, dies
    By Kurtis Alexander

    Updated 8:18 pm, Sunday, January 22, 2017
    Quote:

    “Charlie Liteky, a former Army chaplain who received a Medal of Honor for carrying more than 20 wounded soldiers to safety in Vietnam but later renounced the award as a bold protest against U.S. foreign policy, died Friday. He was 85.
    A resident of San Francisco, Mr. Liteky had been a relentless champion for peace for decades, winning respect not only in antiwar circles during the Cold War and ensuing American conflicts in the Middle East but also from onetime colleagues and admirers in the military.
    At a protest outside a training base in Fort Benning, Ga., where Mr. Liteky twice was sent to prison for his pacifist acts, Army paratroopers and Navy commandos were said to come outside the gates on occasion to meet Mr. Liteky and thank him for his service.
    “He was a person who took his beliefs and his values very seriously,” said longtime friend David Hartsough of San Francisco. “If you love your neighbor and your neighbor is getting beat up, he did something about it. He believed that people in Central America and people in Vietnam and people all over the world were his friends and family.””
    “Mr. Liteky’s decorated military service began in 1966, six years after being ordained a Catholic priest in Mentone, Ala. A child of a military family that had lived in such spots as Washington, D.C., Hawaii and Florida, he answered a call from the Army for chaplains, a job that thrust him into the center of the Vietnam War.
    “I was 100 percent behind going over there and putting those Communists in their place,” Mr. Liteky told The Chronicle in 2000. “I had no problems with that. I thought I was going there doing God’s work.”
    His most celebrated moment came in December 1967, when his company came under enemy attack in the Bien Hoa province. Mr. Liteky dragged more than 20 of his fellow servicemen who were injured in the gunfight to a medevac helicopter landing zone where they could be rescued.
    For his actions, President Lyndon Johnson honored Mr. Liteky a year later with the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for service in combat.”

    “When Mr. Liteky left the Army in 1971, his sights turned elsewhere. He quit the priesthood, citing problems with church doctrine and celibacy, and eventually moved to San Francisco, where he got work at the Veterans Administration Hospital. He met his future wife, Judy Balch, a former nun who was active in social issues, in the city.
    The two became partners in promoting peace, a journey that brought Mr. Liteky to some of the world’s most war-torn areas as well as back to Washington, D.C. On the steps of the U.S. Capitol in 1986, he engaged in a hunger strike to protest the Reagan administration’s military policy in Latin America and support of Contra rebels in Nicaragua.
    That July, he famously gave back his Medal of Honor, putting it and a letter to President Ronald Reagan at the wall of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. With that, he renounced the award’s benefits, which included a tax-free pension of $600 a month.”
    Captain Chaplain Charlie Angelo Liteky was a true American Hero with a conscience and a functioning brain. He was an example of the best the country ever produced, not the fake hero whores in Congress who sell out our country to terrorists in Israel every day! Compare this giant of an American Hero with lying traitors Bush, Cheney and the four star generals who sold out our country and aided and abetted the terrorist attack by Israel on 9/11/01:
    https://wikispooks.com/wiki/9-11/Israel_did_it
    Quote:
    • “Larry Silverstein – is a Jewish American businessman from New York. Silverstein obtained a 99 year lease on the entire world trade center complex on 24 July, 2001. [3] The towers were in fact close to worthless, being filled with asbestos, [4] yet Silverstein “felt a compelling urge to own them”. Silverstein had breakfast in “Windows on the World” restaurant (located in North Tower 107th Floor) every morning. [5] but broke this routine on the morning of 11 September 2001. Silverstein’s two children, who also worked in the WTC, were also absent from work that day. Larry Silverstein was paid a little over $4.5 Billion in insurance money as a result of the destruction of the WTC complex. [6] Silverstein was on personal friendship terms with Zionist media-magnate Rupert Murdoch, former Israeli president Ariel Sharon, as well as Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. Silverstein was such good friends with Netanyahu that, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz he would speak with him on the phone every sunday. [7]
    • Video – Where was Larry Silverstein on 9/11?”

    Winfield J. Abbe, Ph.D., Physics

    1. https://charterforcompassion.org/angelo-charles-liteky-vietnam-chaplin/congressional-medal-of-honor-recipient-addresses-u-s-forces-in-iraq Quote:
      Congressional Medal of Honor recipient addresses U.S. forces in Iraq
      By Charlie Liteky
      May 7, 2003
      at a Iraq War Protest

      “By way of introduction, my name is Charlie Liteky, a U.S. citizen, a Vietnam Veteran, and a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient. However, I renounced the Medal of Honor on July 29,1986 in opposition to U.S foreign policy in Central America. What the U.S. was supporting in El Salvador and Nicaragua, namely the savagery and domination of the poor, reminded me of what I was a part of in Vietnam 15 years earlier.

      I placed the medal at the apex of the Vietnam Memorial Wall into which are etched the names of 58 thousand young American men. In depth study of the Vietnam War revealed political and military liars insensitive to the value of human life, inclusive of their own countrymen. The biggest liar was the Commander in Chief of U.S. armed forces, President Lyndon Johnson, who lied to Congress about the Gulf of Tonkin incident. It was this lie that motivated Congress to vote the money for the war. As a veteran of an ill-fated war, in the waning years of my life, I’d like to share some reflections on my country’s attack on Iraq.

      Once again, I find myself in protest of a U.S. military action that no court in the world will declare legal. The U.S. attack on the sovereign country of Iraq fails to meet any of the necessary provisions of a just war. Iraq on the other hand, met the most fundamental condition for a country to use military force against an adversary, namely the defense of its homeland against an unjust aggressor. But, because of the incredible superiority of the U.S. military, there was no possibility of a successful defense.

      In its attack on Iraq, the U.S. violated the UN Charter, international law and universal standards of morality. This is borne out by the worldwide condemnation of the U.S. attack by mainstream religious denominations and spiritual leaders.

      Claiming liberation of the Iraqi people as a just cause for a war that kills thousands of innocents is hypocrisy at its worst. If liberation of an oppressed people were the real motive behind the invasion of Iraq – why did the U.S. wait 25 years to act? Why did the U.S. refrain from condemning Saddam Hussein’s use of chemical weapons in its war with Iran in the 80s? Why did the U.S. fail to prevent chemicals critical to the production of biological weapons from reaching Iraq? How is it that what we condemn today we approved yesterday?

      Many Iraqi people rejoiced at the sight of their American/British liberators, but many more did not, because they had no legs to walk to the sites of celebration, no arms to wave in jubilation or they had no life left to celebrate. The sanitary military term for such people is “collateral damage.”

      I first came to Iraq in November of 2002 in response to the bellicose words of war coming from the President of the U.S. and his staff. When I think of children, the most vulnerable of the innocents. In my imagination I could hear them crying, I could see the terror in their eyes and faces as they heard the planes overhead, followed by bombs exploding. I wanted to be with them to offer what small comfort I could.

      This cartoon [of a sly, American eagle with its talons deeply planted in Iraqi earth] published in the Jordan Times on April 23, 2003 depicts what many Arab people believe is the U.S. motivation behind its attack on Iraq, namely, a deep-rooted, long-lasting presence. Recently, newspapers have reported that plans are underway to establish four military bases in Iraq.

      What the cartoon does not include is the U.S. interest in and access to Iraq’s immense oil reserves. A two-time Medal of Honor recipient, General Smedley Butler, said that “War is a Racket” and that he spent his 33 year military career being a bodyguard for U.S. business interests. I submit that protecting U.S. business interests, sometimes referred to as “national interests” is still the primary mission of the U.S. military. Wartime profits go to a select few at the cost of many. Again to quote Gen. Smedley:

      “War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small ‘inside’ group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.”

      This letter containing some of my reflections is not meant to cast blame for an attack on Iraq on U.S. military personnel. I’m sure you believe that what you are a part of is right and just. I once believed the same of my participation in the Vietnam War. I share my thoughts and conclusions as gifts of truth revealed to me through years of studying U.S. foreign policy.”

      Sincerely,

      Charlie Liteky
      Vietnam Veteran

      Captain Chaplain Charlie Angelo Liteky: Giant American Hero with a Conscience for the ages.

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