Tag Archives: CIA and the Media

The CIA and the Media: Historical Fact #99

The CIA used a mind-controlled assassin to kill the most politically-outspoken recording artist in modern music history. This is the claim of attorney and UK legal reporter Fenton Bresler, who spent eight years investigating the December 8, 1980 murder of John Lennon by Mark David Chapman.

At the time of his death Lennon was poised to secure US citizenship and in the process of launching a comeback with chart-topping albums. At the same time the former Beatle’s political views were at sharp variance with the election of Republican Ronald Reagan to the US presidency that took place one month before Lennon’s assassination.

Bresler argues in his 1989 book Who Killed John Lennon? that the CIA oversaw Lennon’s murder by collaborating with Atlanta police intelligence to train Chapman as the assassin. Author Phil Strongman reached a similar conclusion after his detailed study of Lennon’s death. Atlanta police officer Dana Reeves was Chapman’s handler, “guid[ing] Chapman through his path of becoming a drugged and hypnotized CIA tool, in the way other investigators believed had been done with Robert Kennedy’s assassin, Sirhan Sirhan,” according to historian John L. Potash.

Dana Reeves was working as a Dekalb County sheriff’s officer in the Atlanta area, where he developed a close relationship and extreme control over Chapman by the time he was nineteen years old. Chapman’s parents feared Reeve’s involvement with their son, and said the police officer changed their son’s personality. For example, the parents and others described Chapman as anti-gun throughout his teens, but Reeves turned Chapman on to guns, training him to be a very competent shooter. Chapman had worked at a regular YMCA summer camp in Atlanta. In 1975, Chapman applied for exotic positions in YMCA’s abroad program, first unsuccessfully in the Soviet Union, despite not speaking Russian, and then working in Beirut, Lebanon in June 1975.

Reportedly a hotbed of CIA-backed terrorist activity in the mid-1970s, Chapman was “blooded” (desensitized to violence) in Beirut before returning to the US to work as an armed security guard. In early 1977 he moved to Hawaii where he was eventually treated for clinical depression at Castle Memorial Hospital., a Seventh Day Adventist institution. Bresler argues that at Castle Memorial and several other locations Chapman underwent “CIA-developed behavior modification” as he was honed as a mind-controlled assassin.

In the remaining period leading up to late 1980 Chapman, who continued employment as a security guard, allegedly received a loan from Castle Memorial to tour the world, visiting a dozen countries where he sometimes lodged at luxurious hotels Such an excursion would have been difficult on his modest security guard salary.

After Chapman shot Lennon with a .38 caliber revolver at the entrance of the musician’s residence on the night of December 8, 1980, instead of fleeing the scene the assailant calmly took out a copy of J.D. Salinger’s A Catcher in the Rye and waited for law enforcement to arrive.

Lieutenant Arthur O’Connor, a police officer who oversaw the murder investigation, informed Bresler “that someone could have programmed Chapman for the murder of Lennon. ‘I studied him intensely,'” O’Connor said.

“[Chapman] looked like he could have been programmed, and I know what you are going to make of that word! that was the way he looked and that was the way he talked.” He was the second police officer to make that assessment. After Chapman was arrested for killing Lennon, his bizarre behavior was never checked with a drug test.

John L. Potash, Drugs as Weapons Against Us: The CIA’s Murderous Targeting of SDS, Panthers, Hendrix, Lennon, Cobain, Tupac, and Other Activists, Walterville OR: 2015, 208-213.

 

 

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The CIA and the Media: Historical Fact #59

Editor’s Note: In August 2015 MHB published, “The CIA and the Media: 50 Historical Facts The World Needs to Know.” The present series seeks to augment this initial article with several dozen additional facts and observations on the relationship between the US intelligence community, the mass media, and public opinion.

The Central Intelligence Agency often acts to serve the strategic financial interests of transnational corporations as spycraft and corporate largess act symbiotically to conceal each other’s misdeeds. In 1979 the McGraw-Hill publishing house released Kermit Roosevelt’s, Countercoup: The Struggle for the Control of Iran. In the book former CIA officer told his exclusive story of “how intelligence agencies overthrew a left-leaning Iranian premier, Mohammad Mossadegh, in 1953 and reinstated the Shah,” former Washington Post editor and college journalism educator Ben Bagdikian explains.

“The issue was control of oil. The plot was called ‘Ajax,’ of which Roosevelt wrote: ‘The original proposal for Ajax came from the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) after its expulsion from Iran nine months earlier.’” Copies of Countercoup “were on sale in bookstores and reviewer copies were already in the mails when British Petroleum, successor corporation to AIOC, persuaded McGraw-Hill to recall all the books—from the stores and from reviewers.”

Ben H. Bagdikian, The Media Monopoly, Fourth Edition, Boston: Beacon Press, 1992, 39.

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The CIA and the Media: Historical Fact #55

Editor’s Note: In August 2015 MHB published, “The CIA and the Media: 50 Historical Facts The World Needs to Know.” The present series seeks to augment this initial article with several dozen additional facts and observations on the relationship between the US intelligence community, the mass media, and public opinion. One historical fact will be released each day over the next month and beyond.


From its formation in 1948 the CIA sought to influence not only the pedestrian informational landscape via news, but also academe’s intellectual topography. Through propaganda programs the Agency cultivated fierce anti-communist sentiment on a transnational basis to help propel the Cold War and its attendant military industrial complex. This involved, for example, a “campaign against ‘neutralism’” according to communications historian Christopher Simpson. “Beginning in 1950,” Simpson notes,

the CIA sponsored and financed the Congress for Cultural Freedom and a series of politically liberal, strongly anticommunist publications including Encounter (England), Der Monat (Germany), Forum (Austria), Preuves (France), and Cuadernos (Latin America) as a means of combating the perceived neutrality of intellectuals in the face of purported communist expansion. Sidney Hook, Melvin Lasky, Edward Shils, Daniel Bell, and Daniel Lerner, among others, emerged as prominent public spokesmen for this campaign, though they have insisted in later years that they were unaware of the CIA’s sponsorship for their work.

Christopher Simpson, Science of Coercion: Communication Research and Psychological Warfare 1945-1960, New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994, 100-101.

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The CIA and the Media: Historical Fact #54

Editor’s Note: In August 2015 MHB published, “The CIA and the Media: 50 Historical Facts The World Needs to Know.” The present series seeks to augment this initial article with several dozen additional facts and observations on the relationship between the US intelligence community, the mass media, and public opinion. One historical fact will be released each day over the next month and beyond.


A historical episode along the lines of the US Democratic Party and corporate media’s feigned concern over “Russian meddling in US elections” arose in 1964 when then-CIA Director John McCone sought to suppress publication of journalists Wise and Ross’ The Invisible Government, an exposé of the CIA’s influence corrupting influence. McCone and his second-in-command, Lieutenant General Marshall Carter, placed phone calls to Random House, the book’s publisher, objecting to its publication. Another CIA official approached Random House with an offer to buy up the book’s entire first printing—15,000 copies. “Calling this action ‘laughable,’ Random House’s president, Bennet Cerf, agreed to sell the agency as many books as it wanted, but stated that additional printings would be made for the public,” former CIA officer Victor Marchetti notes.

“The final chapter in the agency attack against The Invisible Government came in 1965 when the CIA circulated an unattributed document on ‘The Soviet and Communist Bloc Defamation Campaign” to various members of Congress and the press. This long study detailed the many ways used by the KGB to discredit the CIA, including the ‘development and milking of Western journalists. Americans figure prominently among these.’ The study singled out as an example of KGB disinformation a Soviet radio broadcast that quoted directly from The Invisible Government. The agency’s message was not too subtle,” Marchetti concludes, “but then the CIA never put its name on the document.”

Victor Marchetti and John D. Marks, The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1974, 359-360.

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The CIA and the Media: Historical Fact #52

Editor’s Note: In August 2015 MHB published, “The CIA and the Media: 50 Historical Facts The World Needs to Know.” The present series seeks to augment this initial article with several dozen additional facts and observations on the relationship between the US intelligence community, the mass media, and public opinion. One historical fact will be released each day over the next month and beyond.


The CIA’s integration with mass media is especially insidious because it operates as a secret organization with its own rules and is answerable to no one. “’The National Security Act of 1947,’” in the words of Allen W. Dulles, “’…has given Intelligence a more influential position in our government than Intelligence enjoys in any other government of the world.’” As journalists David Wise and Thomas B. Ross wrote over a half-century ago,

The American people have not been in a position to assess these changes. They know virtually nothing about the Invisible Government. Its employment rolls are classified. Its activities are top secret. Its budget is concealed in other appropriations. Congress provides money for the Invisible Government without knowing how much it has appropriated or how it will be spent. A handful of congressmen are supposed to be kept informed by the Invisible Government, but they know relatively little about how it works.

Overseas, in foreign capitals, American ambassadors … are told they have control over the agents of the Invisible Government. But do they? The agents maintain communications and codes of their own. And the ambassador’s authority has been judged by a committee of the United States Senate to be a “polite fiction.”

At home, the intelligence men are directed by law to leave matters to the FBI. But the CIA maintains more than a score of offices in major cities throughout the United States; it is deeply involved in many domestic activities, from broadcasting stations and a steamship company to the university campus. The Invisible Government is also generally thought to be under the direct control of the National Security Council. But, in fact, many of its major decisions are never discussed in the Council. These decisions are handled by a small directorate, the name of which is only whispered. How many Americans have heard of the ‘Special Group’? The name of this group, even its existence, is unknown outside the innermost circle of the Invisible Government.

David Wise and Thomas B. Ross, The Invisible Government, New York: Random House, 1964, 4, 5.

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