In a controversial set of exchanges with former Sputnik editor Bill Moran, longtime author and journalist Kurt Eichenwald described himself as being “deeply wired into the intelligence community,” further counseling Moran that writing for the Russian outlet was not helpful for his career. The two were drawn together when Moran accidentally published an email released by Wikileaks between Sidney Blumenthal and Hillary Clinton wherein Blumenthal quotes an Eichenwald piece concerning Benghazi. Although Moran retracted the post in short order, Eichenwald shouted Moran’s error from the rooftops, citing the mistake as proof of broader Russian intrigue.
In late 2016 when Eichenwald was questioned by FoxNews’ Tucker Carlson on his numerous outbursts targeting President Donald Trump and Trump supporters, Eichenwald told the broadcast journalist he wanted to relay “a message I’ve got from the CIA.”
“I know a lot of officers. I know a lot of agents,” Eichenwald continued, “I’ve been in their homes, and I’m really delivering this to you and Donald Trump. These are people who’ve sacrificed a lot for this country … “ Despite Carlson’s request for Eichenwald to explain the dispatch on air no specific message was ever actually related.
In this debut of the MemoryHoleBlog’s news analysis and commentary video series we examine the lawsuits filed against Alex Jones and Infowars’ parent company on April 16, 2018.
In 2017 when Jones was sued by James Alefantis over “Pizzagate” the broadcaster settled out of court and agreed to never use the term again, thus leading the way in chilling investigation and commentary on the scandal. Will the public witness the same tactic used in responding to suits filed by Sandy Hook massacre victims’ families?
“‘I don’t believe that whom I was or wasn’t friends with interfered with our reporting at any of our publications,” wrote former Washington Post and Newsweek publisher Katharine Graham in her 1998 autobiography Personal History. Veteran investigative journalist Robert Parry disagrees. A Washington correspondent for Newsweek during the late 1980s, Parry claims to have witnessed “self-censorship because of the coziness between Post-Newsweek executives and senior national security figures.”
“On one occasion in 1987,” Parry explains, “I was told that my story about the CIA funneling anti-Sandinista money through Nicaragua’s Catholic Church had been watered down because the story needed to be run past Mrs. Graham, and Henry Kissinger was her house guest that weekend. Apparently, there was fear among the top editors that the story as written might cause some consternation.” According to media critic Norman Solomon, former CIA Director Robert Gates’ 1996 memoir “confirmed that Parry had the story right all along.”
Broadcaster’s Comments Prompted Death Threats, “Torment”
Editor’s Note: In an ongoing war against free speech the popular media personality has been sued in Austin Texas by two families of Sandy Hook massacre event victims. The legal actions are significant because if they are allowed to proceed Jones’ defense team will have the opportunity to proceed through discovery with the parties, requiring information and sworn testimony pertinent to plaintiffs’ claims be provided before proceeding to trial.
Alex Jones has spent years claiming the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School ― where a shooter killed 20 small children and six adults ― was faked. He has claimed the parents of these dead children are liars and “crisis actors.”
Now, those parents are coming after him.
Radio host Alex Jones commenting on Sandy Hook massacre in January 2013
In a pair of lawsuits filed late Monday, the parents of two children who died in the December 2012 shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, say Jones’ repeated lies and conspiratorial ravings have led to death threats. The suits join at least two other recent cases accusing the Infowars host of defamation.
I lost my son. I buried my son. I held my son with a bullet hole through his head.Neil Heslin, father of a 6-year-old boy killed during the Sandy Hook shooting.
Neil Heslin, the father of a 6-year-old boy killed in the shooting, and Leonard Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa, who lost their own little boy, filed the suits in Austin, Texas, where Jones’ conspiracy-minded media outlet is based. Each suit is seeking more than $1 million in damages from Jones, Infowars and a related company, Free Speech Systems LLC. Infowars reporter Owen Shroyer is also named in one of the suits.
“Even after these folks had to experience this trauma, for the next five years they were tormented by Alex Jones with vicious lies about them,” Mark Bankston, the lawyer handling the cases for the parents, told HuffPost. “And these lies were meant to convince his audience that the Sandy Hook parents are frauds and have perpetrated a sinister lie on the American people.”
Among the first major CIA clandestine operators and propagandists functioning abroad was OSS veteran and US Air Force Colonel Edward Lansdale. An early confidante of Allen and John Foster Dulles, Lansdale was an advertising executive-turned-spy and counterinsurgency expert, all the while projecting “a squeaky-clean, Boy Scout Image, behind which he masked his own perverse delight in atrocity,” writes historian Douglas Valentine.
In the prelude to America’s full-scale involvement in Southeast Asia Landsdale fulfilled a special role in the formation of the CIA’s infamous counterterror assassination program dubbed Phoenix, having successfully organized an anti-Communist movement in the Philippines. Acting in the 1950s as the Dulles’ emissary in Vietnam, Landsdale played an important role as US advisor to the South Vietnamese regime of Ngo Dinh Diem. And the slogan-savvy Lansdale coined the term “Vietcong”, forever denigrating Vietminh patriots in the Western mind.
Lansdale’s activities in the Philippines earned him the nickname the “Ugly American.” He brought those tactics to Saigon along with a team of dedicated Filipino anti-Communists who, in the words of one veteran CIA officer, ‘would slit their grandmother’s throat for a dollar eighty-five.’”
In one psychological warfare operation Landsdale sought to motivate Vietnamese government troops to vacate a village and engage Communist guerrilla fighters on the outskirts. The problem was that village’s leaders feared assassination by the same guerrillas if the troops left. As ad exec Landsdale recalls,
“A combat psywar [psychological warfare] team was brought in. It planted stories among town residents of a vampire living on the hill where the Huks were based. Two nights later, after giving the stories time to circulate among Huk sympathizers in the town and make their way up the hill to the camp, the psywar squad set up an ambush along a trail used by the Huks. When a Huk patrol came along the trail, the ambushers silently snatched the last man of the patrol, their move unseen in the dark night. They punctured his neck with two holes, vampire fashion, held the body up by the heels, drained it of blood, and put the corpse back on the trail. When the Huks returned to look for the missing man and found their bloodless comrade, every member of the patrol believed that the vampire had got him and that one of them would be next if they remained on the hill. When daylight came the whole Huk squadron moved out of the vicinity.”
Lansdale deemed the operation “’low humor’ and ‘ an appropriate response … to the glum and deadly practices of communists and other authoritarians,'” notes Valentine. “And by doing so, former advertising executive Lansdale–the merry prankster whom author Graham Greene dubbed the Quiet America–came to represent the hypocrisy of American policy in South Vietnam.
Douglas Valentine, The Phoenix Program, New York: William Morrow and Company, 1990, 25-26.
Are faculty at FAU and universities across America pristine embodiments of integrity and truth? Do they support a flourishing of scholarly perspectives, or are they political ideologues who carefully police their own ranks?
Flashback to Spring 2013: A liberal instructor and Democratic Party activist is under fire by conservative groups for a classroom exercise that at least one student claimed was offensive to his religious faith. He put in a kick and local media leapt on the event. After an outcry in the blogosphere FAU administrators responded apologetically to the student and public, stating instructors would never repeat such an experiment with students. Even Florida Republican Governor Rick Scott, ever the opportunist, responded by chiding FAU administrators.
This was the famous, “Stomp on Jesus” incident, where FAU instructor Deandre Poole, an African American, was carrying out an exercise published in a widely-circulated communication studies textbook that asked students to write the name “Jesus” on a piece of paper, then see if they could draw themselves to drop the paper to the ground and place their foot over it.
After the incident was called out by conservative groups and Poole received death threats there was an outpouring by progressive left faculty members, students and community members, who placed pressure on the administration to defend Poole by publicly demonstrating in defense of “academic freedom.”
As author Vitaly Petrussenko chronicles, following the failed Bay of Pigs invasion the CIA sustained significant negative impact. To help restore its luster “and his own image at the top of the Establishment” then-CIA Director “Allen Dulles authorized a big article in Fortune magazine, written by his friend Charles J.V. Murphy.” Classified documents intended to place CIA officials in a positive light and relieve them of responsibility of the failed invasion were turned over to Murphy “with Dulles’s consent.”
Shortly thereafter Dulles became the standard public spokesman for the Agency when he “began cultivating relations with television companies as suggested by Attorney General Robert Kennedy who himself was instructed by his President-brother to re-organize the Agency.” For example, “NBC television was offered the unique opportunity of producing a film about the CIA narrated by David Brinkley, NBC’s star commentator. Naturally, the film vindicated the CIA, and praised its cloak-and-dagger agents.
Vitaly Petrusenko, Trans. By Nocolai Kozelsky and Vladimir Leonov, A Dangerous Game: CIA and the Mass Media, Prague: Interpress, 1977, 23.