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The CIA and the Media: Historical Fact #96

Douglas Valentine has critiqued the progressive-left’s uncritical stance toward public luminaries, such as longtime CIA operative Daniel Ellseberg, or the functioning deity of American liberals, the New York Times itself. According to Valentine, political progressives demonstrate crucial blindspots in their adoration of such figures and institutions. Works and authors that shed light on the contradictory nature of this adoration are either ignored or derogated by what CIA official Cord Meyer termed “the Compatible Left,” notes Valentine.

Upon The Phoenix Program‘s publication in 1990 “the word went out to ignore the book, not just because it revealed CIA secrets,” observes Valentine,

but because it identified the media, and the Times in particular, as the reason why the public can’t see the CIA clearly for what it is: a criminal conspiracy on behalf of wealthy capitalists.

I had also noted that the release of the Pentagon Papers distracted attention from Congressional hearings into Phoenix. In subsequent books I added that it distracted attention from reports on CIA drug trafficking as well.

Indeed, Valentine argues that he was effectively “neutralize[d]” by CIA media assets, and even his allies responded in chorus that he’d “crossed the line and would never get another book published in the United States. So I learned the hard way,” he continues, “that the CIA has a strategic intelligence network of management level people in the information industry who know, through instruments like the Times Book Review section, what books and authors to marginalize.”

Valentine explains how author Peter Dale Scott was similarly marginalized as a result of his landmark books, The War Conspiracy (1972) and Deep Politics and the Death of JFK (1993). “Peter supported me,” Valentine recalls,

and a few years after the Phoenix book was published, I mentioned to him that I was writing an article based on my interviews with [CIA officers Frank] Scotton and [Lucien] Conein, about Ellseberg’s deep state political association with the CIA. Peter is Ellsberg’s friend, and even though the article had the potential to embarrass Ellsberg, he arranged for me to interview him. Peter gave me Ellsberg’s number and I called at a pre-arranged time. And the first thing Ellsberg said to me was, “You can’t possibly understand me because you’re not a celebrity.

CIA Operative and Progressive-Left Darling, Daniel Ellsberg. Image Credit: Huffington Post

If you want to understand the critical role celebrities play in determining what society accepts as real and valuable, read Guy Debord’s books The Society of the Spectacle and its sequel, Comments. Debord explains the symbolic role celebrities play (at times inadvertently) in maintaining the illusions we confuse with reality.

Debord cites the German philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach, who famously said: “But certainly for the present age, which prefers the sign to the thing signified, the copy to the original, representation to reality, the appearance to the essence… illusion only is sacred, truth profane. Nay, sacredness is held to be enhanced in proportion as truth decreases and illusion increases, so that the highest degree of illusion comes to be the highest degree of sacredness.”

When Ellsberg told me he was a celebrity, he was saying that he underwent a symbolic transformation the moment he leaked the Pentagon Papers, and landed  in a social realm that alienated him from non-celebrities like me. He became an icon, and nobody on the left is about to say, “Oh, my god! Valentine had this revelation about Ellsberg. Let’s rethink everything we believe is true.”

Like its doppelgängers on the right, the management class on the left is invested in celebrity heroes who represent their business interests. they focus on the symbol and ignore any contradictory but essential facts, the way [journalists Glenn] Greenwald and [Jeremy] Scahill] ignore Pierre Omidyar’s funding of the Center for the United Action in Kiev, which was a Phoenix-style coordination center for covert political action.

Douglas Valentine, “How William Colby Gave Me the Keys to the CIA Kingdom (based on interview with James Tracy),” in The CIA as Organized Crime: How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World, Atlanta GA: Clarity Press, 2017, 31-32.

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Santa Fe Student Miraculously Survives .38 Cal Neck Wound

Santa Fe High School baseball player Rome Shubert claims he was “shot in the head” at the mass shooting at his school on May 18. Shubert only spent a short time in hospital before requesting the nurse call his mom, presumably so he could go home.

The New Nationalist provides a helpful overview of Shubert’s improbable wound:

At Santa Fe High School, we have a young man. Rome Shubert who unknowingly sustained a shot in the head and emerged unfazed. To quote CNN: “A bullet sliced clean through the back of the Santa Fe High School sophomore’s head … Remarkably, he walked away with just bandages, and said on Twitter he was “completely okay and stable.”

Acting on pure adrenaline, he said, he sprinted to a rear exit in the room and bounded over a 7-foot wall. That’s when Mr. Shubert realized he was covered in blood and he had been shot.

The young man’s mother, Sheri Shubert, chimed in, saying, “The doctors told me it went in clean and came out clean.” She added, “We have to do something. We have to take a stand. America has to take a stand for our kids.”

Yes, those special black-magic bullets again. No contusions or bruising, no swelling, no real effect on hearing except “ears ringing.”

Continue reading Santa Fe Student Miraculously Survives .38 Cal Neck Wound

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The CIA and the Media: Historical Fact #95

The famous Senate committee led by Idaho Senator Frank Church tasked to review the CIA’s internal affairs and relationships with mass media was in fact overseen by former CIA officer and Ford Foundation staffer William B. Bader. Bader proceeded to effectively censor a multitude of the committee’s most damning revelations concerning Agency-media liaisons. After his service in this regard he became an upper-echelon intelligence official at the Department of Defense and chief of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Later in his career Bader was appointed by President Clinton to be Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Bader’s assistant in the Senate committee investigation was David Aaron, who previously served in Henry Kissinger’s National Security Council and went on to become a career diplomat after being deputy to President Carter’s National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski. In the 1990s Aaron was appointed ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development by Clinton.

Former CIA official and Senate Committee censor William B. Bader

One CIA official who sought to convince committee members that the Agency’s relationship with journalists was insignificant argued that the files under examination were “filled with puffing’ by case officers,” according to investigative reporter Carl Bernstein.

“You can’t establish what is puff and what isn’t,” he claimed. Many reporters, he added, “were recruited for finite [specific] undertakings and would be appalled to find that they were listed [in Agency files] as CIA operatives.”

The same CIA officer suggested that these files included descriptions of several “‘famous'” reporters and correspondents. “The files show,'” according to this official, “‘that the CIA goes to the press for and just as often that the press comes to the CIA …There is a tacit agreement in many of these cases that there is going to be a quid pro quo’” which means the reporter in question can expect to receive important stories and information from the Agency and in exchange the CIA will obtain helpful services from the reporter.

The upshot was that the Senate committee’s inquest on the Agency’s use of journalists were purposefully suppressed “from the full membership of the committee, from the Senate and from the public,” Bernstein notes.

“There was a difference of opinion on how to treat the subject,” explained one source. “Some [senators] thought these were abuses which should be exorcized and there were those who said, ‘We don’t know if this is bad or not.’”

In fact, former CIA officer Bader’s findings on the CIA’s relationship with the media were withheld froth committee, even behind closed doors in executive session because the senators were afraid that, “[a]t the slightest sign of a leak the CIA might cut off the flow of sensitive information as it did, several times in other areas), claiming that the committee could not be trusted with secrets.” As one committee staff member pointed out, “’It was as if we were on trial—not the CIA.’”

To describe in the committee’s final report the true dimensions of the Agency’s use of journalists would cause a furor in the press and on the Senate floor. And it would result in heavy pressure on the CIA to end its use of journalists altogether. “We just weren’t ready to take that step,” said a senator.

The committee also decided “to conceal the results of the staff’s inquiry into the use of academics,” and Bader himself wrote those portions of the committee’s final report. Pages 191 to 201 of that document were entitled, “Covert Relationships with the United States Media.” “’It hardly reflects what we found,’” Senator Gary Hart stated. “’There was a prolonged and elaborate negotiation [with the CIA] over what would be said.’”

Carl Bernstein, “The CIA and the Media,” Rolling Stone, October 20, 1977.

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The CIA and the Media: Historical Fact #94

A lengthy prosecution of teachers and owners of the Manhattan Beach California-based Virginia McMartin Preschool for allegations of sexually abusing their students dominated news headlines and broadcasts throughout the 1980s. An initial investigation involving interviews with hundreds of McMartin students by an experienced child therapist found a majority of students affirming such abuse.

Despite abundant evidence and blanket media coverage the defendants were acquitted in 1990 after six years of trial proceedings costing $15 million. Defendant Raymond Buckey was retried shortly thereafter and again exonerated.

The observations of students included a number of tunnels existing underneath McMartin classrooms and bathrooms connecting to external exits, through which students passed to be taken to other locations where they attended and partook in occult rituals. Following the McMartin students’ allegations reports of similar abuse began to emerge at preschools throughout the US.

Despite abundant evidence gathered by prosecutors supporting the allegations the defense attorneys eventually turned the tables and put the children and their families on trial, arguing that anxious parents and the appointed child therapist used “leading questions” to instill and capture children’s “false memories” that contributed to unreliable if not wholly erroneous testimony.

Several nationally-recognized psychologists, journalists and news outlets took this cue to label the students’ claims as groundless and absurd, and condemned the parents of creating a “Satanic panic” out of their children’s fertile imaginations. It was further contended by the defense and its supporters that ritual abuse of children was not a genuine social phenomenon. The McMartin defendants’ storyline explaining away the accusations has been echoed in recent years by such CIA-linked news outlets as the august New York Times (here and here.

“The hysteria thesis, promoted by a small group of pedophile defense psychologists, mostly, has appeared in publications of stature including the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, Village Voice, Harper’s, New Yorker and Newsweek,” notes author Alex Constantine, who contends that CIA infiltration of news media played a key role in mitigating public belief and concern over McMartin and similar events involving such potential ritual abuse.

Media boosters of the defense neglect to acknowledge the most damning evidence in the McMartin case. Instead, they explain away superficial, carefully sifted pieces of the case. In preparation for the trial, 380 toddlers were interviewed–nearly all of them described abuse at the preschool, and do to this day. Some 80 percent had physical symptoms, including blunt force trauma of sexual areas, scarring, rectal bleeding and sexual diseases …

Ritual abuse “skeptics” with CIA connections are covering up the latest phase in Agency-sponsored mind control experimentation. For thirty years Agency scientists have collaborated with cults (many of them founded by the government) to conceal the development of mind control technology. Jim Jones and the People’s Temple were one product of the alliance. McMartin was another. Both episodes have been buried in disinformation. The campaign to mislead the public about ritual abuse is ambitious, rivaling the campaign to conceal facts in the murder of John F. Kennedy.

In 1993, as the second trial of Raymond Buckey proceeded, McMartin parents and former FBI officer Ted Gunderson oversaw an excavation of the McMartin School grounds conducted by a team of geologists and archaeologists from LA area universities accompanied by a professional photographer and carbon-dating specialist. After several weeks the group discovered and carefully documented the very tunnels described in the toddler-students’ numerous testimonies, in addition to various occult objects. The prosecutor in Buckey’s second trial appeared at the excavation site refused to acknowledge this crucial find.

“Until the tunnels were found,” notes Constantine,

the L.A. Times covered the dig–with a smirk. The parents and scientists involved were portrayed as crack pots until the existence of the tunnels was substantiated by experts, at which time the newspaper abruptly stopped reporting the story. The public was left with the false impression that the search had failed.

Alex Constantine, Psychic Dictatorship in the USA, Los Angeles: Feral House, 1995, 77, 81, 84.

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Arlington Road

1999 Film Portending Today’s “Conspiracy-Fueled Climate”

Editor’s Note: Arlington Road was surely an uncommon Hollywood production in that it addressed “conspiratorial” subject matter, including false flag terror, blackmail by government agencies, the Patriot movement, and pedophilia, all in a not-so-thinly-veiled fashion. The film was developed in the shadow of Ruby Ridge, the Waco massacre, and the Murrah federal building bombing while also eerily anticipating the events of September 11, 2001 and the subsequent culture of paranoia and conspiracy the government response to those events helped shape. Arlington Road was also an artifact examined in James Tracy’s infamous Culture of Conspiracy class, which he taught as a tenured faculty member at Florida Atlantic University prior to being terminated for not reporting his protected speech to school officials posted on this personal blog .

Mike D’Angelo
A.V. Club
(May 15, 2018)

Calling Arlington Road an unsung summer blockbuster admittedly stretches that category’s definition. A political thriller in the Parallax View mold, the film did get a wide release (in July 1999), but it was made for a relatively low budget and boasted decidedly mid-level stars: Jeff Bridges, Tim Robbins, Joan Cusack, and Hope Davis.

Nobody likely expected a box-office bonanza. Still, it underperformed even by that metric, finishing sixth on its opening weekend (even though the only other studio film to bow that week was American Pie), and received largely mixed reviews. In today’s conspiracy-fueled climate, the commercial and critical fate of a movie as deftly engineered and deeply cynical as this one might well be very different.

Bridges plays Michael Faraday, a history professor still mourning his late wife, who’d worked for the FBI and been killed in a Waco-style standoff. Seeking a playmate for his young son, Faraday is happy to meet new neighbors Oliver and Cheryl Lang (Robbins and Cusack), as they have a boy around the same age.

Soon, however, Faraday begins to suspect that this seemingly ordinary, exceedingly friendly couple is harboring some sort of dark secret. Some of the personal information they impart doesn’t check out, and as Faraday starts snooping around and keeping tabs, he discovers more and more discrepancies and inexplicable behavior. Eventually, he concludes that the Langs are homegrown terrorists plotting an attack.

More…

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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 Raymon 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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The CIA and the Media: Historical Fact #92

The CIA played a leading role in orchestrating propaganda efforts in the lead up to the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion of April 17, 1960, particularly via its broadcasting front organization, Radio Swan.

“Project officers … consulted with Voice of America and the United States Information Agency on propaganda operations,” Agency internal documents reveal.

“There were many discussions with the Federal Communications Commission on the licensing of Radio Swan and with the Defense Department concerning its cover. The State Department was regularly consulted on political matters.”

 

As the actual Cuban invasion approached “Radio Swan and other outlets were broadcasting 18 hours a day on medium-wave and 16 hours on short-wave. Immediately after D Day, these totals were increased to 55 hours and 26 hours, respectively. Fourteen frequencies were used. By the time of the invasion a total of 12,000,000 pounds of leaflets had been dropped on Cuba.”

Peter Kornbluh (ed.), The Secret CIA Report on the Invasion of Cuba, New York: New Press, 1998, 27, 28, 38.

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Corporate Media Promote “World Press Freedom Day”

“Read and Watch” Mainstream Peers

Several corporate news media recognized the “World Press Freedom Day” on May 3 with promotional messages in the pages of their respective publications and via social media.

The occasion is in fact sponsored by the United Nations Environmental, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), a vital arm of the UN that has overseen a multitude of social engineering projects since its founding in 1948 by individuals including eugenicist Julian Huxley.

From UNESCO’s site,

In 2018, UNESCO will lead the 25th celebration of World Press Freedom Day. The main event, jointly organized by UNESCO and the Government of the Republic of Ghana, will take place in Accra, Ghana on 2 – 3 May. This year’s global theme is ‘Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law’, and will cover issues of media and the transparency of the political process, the independence and media literacy of the judicial system, and the accountability of state institutions towards the public. The Day will also examine contemporary challenges of ensuring press freedom online. (Emphases retained)

In celebration of UNESCO’s observation the New York Times, which has had a historic information-sharing and censorial relationship with the Central Intelligence Agency instructs its audience on examples of the vaunted Western “free press.”

The fact that such entities are promoting “Press Freedom” is especially noteworthy in the wake of the recent court decision that legally codifies the CIA practice of selectively disclosing select information to journalists and news outlets of its choosing.

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"Don’t just read The New York Times." Look at the front page of NYT today! #WorldPressFreedomDay from Journalism

The event is also recognized by US Senator Diane Feinstein, who encourages her followers to “fight fake news” by reading quality journalism. In 2013 Feinstein proposed legislation that would effectively define “journalism” as being only something practiced by individuals drawing a salary, thus eliminating a broad array of independent, citizen journalists from the information gathering, sharing, and analyzing equation.

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Chicago: 862 People Shot in 2018

More Than Six People Injured or Killed By Guns Daily Since January

A “Parkland Massacre” Every Week

These shooting victims do not receive nationwide publicity via corporate media because they are predominantly 1) Poor,  2) Black, 3) Their assailants wield illegally-purchased and/or stolen firearms (unlike Adam Lanza, Nikolas Cruz, and other bogeys) 4) Their municipality’s intensive gun control efforts have failed, and 5) They and/or their assailants do not receive support or abetment from the Democratic National Committee, US Department of Justice, US Department of Homeland Security, FEMA, FBI, BATF, CNN, their state government, corrupt state and local law enforcement agencies, and the Gun Control Lobby

Data through Sunday, May 13, 2018
From Chicago Tribune

The Chicago Tribune crime team tracks shooting victims in Chicago. Data represents number of victims, not shooting incidents.

Additional homicide statistics are available here.

Shootings in Chicago so far this year

2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
791 638 687 776 1,288 1,164 862


For almost 50 years Chicago has enacted some of the strictest gun control laws among major US cities. Certain pro-gun control news media argue that such restrictions have been relaxed in recent years. Yet this position is disingenuous as it overlooks the fact that such laws are only followed by lawful gun owners in the first place.

The victims of shootings

50 most recent victims in 2018
(Not Available on CNN)

12:30 AM, May 13

23-Year-Old Male

READ STORY

 

5:46 PM, May 12

43-Year-Old Male

READ STORY

 

12:10 PM, May 12

29-Year-Old Male

READ STORY

 

10:15 AM, May 12

15-Year-Old Male

READ STORY

 

2:03 PM, May 12

15-Year-Old Male

READ STORY

 

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The CIA and the Media: Historical Fact #91

Immediately following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy the CIA used its own disinformation conduits to link the event to Cuban President Fidel Castro. The Nov. 23, 1963, special edition of the magazine, Trinchera (in English: Trenches), was published by members of the Cuban Student Directorate (DRE), a CIA-funded organization operating out of Miami.

The CIA funneled leaders of the Directorate $51,000 per month in 1963 dollars ($389,000 per month in 2013 dollars), or about $4.8 million per year, according to Agency records. Trinchera’s publication was paid for by the CIA officer George Joannides, who was chief of psychological operations at the CIA’s station in Miami.

In August 1963, agents in Joannides’s organization provided the public backdrop for their November 23 Trinchera publication by counter-protesting Oswald’s one-man chapter of the pro-Castro “Fair Play for Cuba Committee.”  Trinchera’s November 23, 1963 special edition also highlighted comments Oswald made during an August 1963 debate on a New Orleans radio program with DRE Delegate Carlos Bringuier. Drawing on this, the DRE argued that Oswald and Castro were “the presumed assassins.”

Joseph Lazarro, “First JFK Assassination Conspiracy Theory Was Paid For By the CIA,” International Business Times, December 5, 2013.

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