Category Archives: The CIA and the Media

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.

0

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.

 

0

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.

0

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.

0

The CIA and the Media: Historical Fact #90

An early edition of the December 22, 1963  Washington Post carried an editorial by former US President Harry S. Truman, titled, “U.S. Should Hold CIA to Intelligence Role.” Echoing President Kennedy’s ambivalence toward the CIA, Truman cautioned the American people that the Agency needed to be confined to its intelligence-gathering role and restricted from wanton forms of espionage.

President Harry S. Truman. Image Credit: WIkipedia

“For some time I have been disturbed by the way the CIA has been diverted from its original assignment,” Truman wrote.

It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and many have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas. We have grown up as a nation, respected for our free institutions and for our ability to maintain a free and open society. There is something about the way the CIA has been functioning that is casting a shadow over our historic position and I feel we need to correct it.

JFK assassination researcher Ray Marcus recognized the publication’s significance and questioned why Truman’s observations, appearing exactly one month after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, failed to reverberate through the US body politic.

“According to my information,” Marcus explains, “it was not carried in later [Washington Post] editions that day, nor commented on editorially, nor picked up by any other major newspaper, nor mentioned on any national radio or TV broadcast.”

Truman’s observations are likewise entirely omitted from several critically acclaimed presidential biographies. “I have no reason to believe the authors were aware of it,” notes Marcus.

Can this be accidental? Can editors of all major newspapers, magazines, and news broadcasts have really been unaware of its existence? Can such individuals looking at the Truman article really have thought, no, this is of insufficient importance or interest to reprint, editorialize on, or even mention? Such an idea seems preposterously naïve. It is much more probable that the article was consciously suppressed by deliberate inattention, at decisive points of intervention. The pertinent question is—why?

“The Work of Ray Marcus,” Appendix VIII, in E. Martin Schotz, History Will Not Absolve Us: Orwellian Control, Public Denial, and the Murder of President Kennedy, Brookline MA: Kurtz, Ulmer and DeLucia Book Publishers, 1996, 237-238.

0