Freedom of Speech The CIA Way
A Little Recent History
In the early days after September 11, 2001, Americans were bombarded with media headlines designed to keep our attention focused on our terrible loss, reminding us at every opportunity where we could place our blame. We were reminded of the tremendous threat of the Muslim world beyond our borders. Though such countries were half way around the world, we were made to feel as though they were a hair's breadth away, creeping onto our doorsteps, trying the locks and seeking concealed crevices from which they might pounce upon us unaware.
As time moved slowly forward, fear was replaced with anger when major television networks aired the recorded threats and diatribes, directed at all things American, by one Osama Bin Laden. These network news shows remained on the air for hours at a time, analyzing and discussing what the latest outburst from the Muslim extremists might mean for the safety of the United States and her citizens. Again, we were led to be afraid. We were told we had a right to be angry. We had a right to thirst for blood. The networks played to those among us who would scream for retribution, demand a military action to exact our revenge. The screams would not go unheeded, for we were playing right into the hands of our government. Dreams turned to plans for occupying and controlling the Middle East had long been in the works.
The news networks didn't only play to the hot tempered extreme patriotism some of us felt. They also played to those of us who wanted to display our humanitarian traits. Many Americans refused to get caught up in the behavior of harassing and belittling the Muslims next door who had been their neighbors for years. We wanted to honor the foundations of our country, remembering how our ancestors had come here as immigrants, perhaps also hated and rejected. We wanted to believe that those we had welcomed openly, would not turn on us now. We wanted to believe those same neighbors did not have anything to do with the tragedy of 9/11.
The weeks turned into months and serious questions about the validity of the official stories were being questioned. At first, small tidbits of information that didn't fit with the official story were repressed or denied. Then some very credible scientists started to weigh the evidence against the story. Retired servicemen and intelligence agency personnel began to voice doubts, using their extensive experience in like situations against what was currently taking place.
After years of conspiracy theories and innuendos, some people began to demand investigations that didn't smell of corruption and coercion. The fiercest patriots turned their anger against those who wished for proper investigation, proclaiming that failure to accept the given story was tantamount to being a traitor. America turned her anger and fear against herself, creating a nation divided, which is exactly what those in power wanted to happen.
The CIA Is Formed
These are the same tactics used by the CIA since its inception in 1947. These are the very tactics used by the Nazis as they worked to put Hitler at the head of a New World Order. It isn't surprising that Nazi tactics were embraced given that the CIA had recruited many of the Nazi intelligence network into the American agency.
There's a name for what is happening in our country, just as it happened in the 1950's. Xenophobia is described as having a deep-rooted antipathy towards foreigners. It is also the fear or aversion to other cultures and belief systems. It was the result of a collection of CIA backed campaigns concentrated on keeping Americans in fear of the Soviet Union and Communism.
Frank Wisner was appointed director of the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC), a newly formed branch of the CIA, in 1948. It was to become the espionage and counter-intelligence branch of the CIA. The secret charter of the OPC was to be an organization that concentrated on “propaganda, economic warfare; preventive direct action, including sabotage, anti-sabotage, demolition and evacuation measures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance groups, and support of indigenous anti-Communist elements in threatened countries of the free world.”
That same year, Wisner established the secret program, Mockingbird. Its purpose was to influence the domestic and foreign media. His first recruit for the operation was The Washington Post publisher and co-owner, Philip Graham. After appointing Graham to run the project from within the industry, Wisner went on to recruit other respected members of journalism who were affiliated with The New York Times, Newsweek, CBS, and others.
One of the most important journalists controlled by Operation Mockingbird was Joseph Alsop, a columnist who's accredited with having been syndicated in over 300 different newspapers. Other journalists alleged to have promoted views from the CIA perspective included Stewart Alsop (New York Herald Tribune), Ben Bradlee (Newsweek), James Reston (New York Times), Charles Douglas Jackson (Time Magazine), Walter Pincus (Washington Post), William C. Baggs (The Miami News), Herb Gold (The Miami News), and Charles Bartlett (chattanooga Times). It's also alleged that Wisner even commissioned articles to be written with classified information provided by the CIA.
Cord Meyer who had already been spying on liberal organizations of which he had been a member, was recruited to the CIA by the director, Allen Dulles. He became known as Mockingbird's “principal operative.”
By 1953, the entire network came under the jurisdiction of Dulles. By this time, there were over 25 newspapers and wire agencies in the CIA's pockets. These media organizations were run by those known to possess right-wing views. William Paley (CBS), henry Luce (Time and Life Magazine), Arthur Hays Sulzberger (New York Times), Alfred Friendly (managing editor of the Washington Post), Jerry O'Leary (Washington Star), Hal hendrix (Miami News), Barry Bingham (Louisville Courier-Journal), James Copley (Copley News Services), and Joseph Harrison (Christian Science Monitor) were a few of the media profession to have joined in the effort.
It took an immense amount of money to run a media project of such size. To fund the effort, hundreds of millions of dollars were skimmed from the Marshall Plan, officially known as the European Recovery Program. While a large amount of the money was used to bribe journalists and publishers, Wisner was always looking for ways to convince the public of the dangers of Communism.
In 1954, Wisner arranged for the Hollywood production of George Orwell's classic, Animal Farm. In the original work, the farm animals looked back and forth between the tyrannical pigs and the exploitative farmers but found it “impossible to say which was which.” It was a comparison between communism and capitalism, with the ending giving the impression that either was no better than the other. Wisner didn't like that ending. The CIA purchased the rights after the author's death and changed the ending to make its message more anti-Communist. The ending to another of Orwell's works, the book 1984, was changed to reflect the character's hate for Big Brother rather than his love.
Animal Farm wasn't the CIA's only attempt at dabbling in movie media. In response to criticism from the Soviet sectors of the world regarding America's race problem, one operative who was also a producer and talent agent, slipped affluent-looking African-Americans into several films as extras.
During the 1950's, more than 3,000 salaried and contract employees were engaged in propaganda efforts. In addition to commissioning articles with a decidedly right-wing spin, and manipulating the works of authors and Hollywood, Wisner was also able to restrict newspapers from reporting about certain events, such as the CIA plots to overthrow the governments of Iran and Guatemala.
Tom Braden, Mockingbird Operative
Many years later, Tom Braden, who played an important role in Operation Mockingbird, revealed just what that role had been: “If the director of the CIA wanted to extend a present, say, to someone in Europe – a Labor Leader – suppose he just thought, 'This man can use $50,000. He's working well and doing a good job' – he could hand it to him and never have to account to anybody...There was simply no limit to the money it (the CIA) could spend and no limit to the people it could hire and no limit to the activities it could decide were necessary to conduct the war – the secret war...It was a multinational. Maybe it was one of the first. Journalists were a target, labor unions a particular target – that was one of the activities in which the communists spent the most money.”
These days I do not turn on my television set. I do not turn on the radio while I wash my dishes. I do not spend a dollar to buy a newspaper. I have become so tired of reading news which is nothing more than carefully orchestrated propaganda directed at convincing me to stop thinking for myself and let my government provide the guidance to my thinking, that I often find myself immersed in researching the past, looking for clues which will bring the answers for correcting these wrongs.
What I've discovered is disheartening, yet brimming with hope. Between the pages of history, we find events of the same nature as what we are experiencing today. It is disheartening because we see history in the process of repeating itself. It is full of hope because we can remember what led us to allow our freedoms to be impeded, and dare to stand firm in our guard against it.
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