Under CIA manipulation, direction and, usually, their payroll, were past and present presidents of Mexico, Colombia, Uruguay and Costa Rica, “our minister of labor”, “our vice-president”, “my police”, journalists, labor leaders, student leaders, diplomats, and many others. If the Agency wished to disseminate anti-communist propaganda, cause dissension in leftist ranks, or have Communist embassy personnel expelled, it need only prepare some phony documents, present them to the appropriate government ministers and journalists, and – presto! – instant scandal.” (William Blum, CIA Manipulation: The Painful Truths Told by Phil Agee, Anti-Empire Report 27 June 2013)
Independent media outlets are increasingly challenging the powers that be and, thanks to social media, the truth about what is really happening in our world can be shared at the click of a button.
Sadly, the imperial war machine continues to rear its violent head in exponential proportion under the guise of democracy and “War on Terrorism”.
This war machine is promoted by the mainstream media who cannot be trusted for many reasons. It is a well documented fact that the CIA has used journalism as a cover for its agents and has planted stories in the media.
According to CIA documents, “more than 400 American journalists … in the past twenty‑five years have secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency“, wrote Carl Bernstein in 1977.
In this episode of Alternative views, former CIA agent John Stockwell explains “how CIA ‘disinformation’ tactics manipulate public opinion by planting stories in the press and by financing and supporting right-wing newspapers“. Planting stories in the media is a standard CIA technique:
A common Agency tactic was writing editorials and phony news stories to be knowingly published by Latin American media with no indication of the CIA authorship or CIA payment to the media. The propaganda value of such a “news” item might be multiplied by being picked up by other CIA stations in Latin America who would disseminate it through a CIA-owned news agency or a CIA-owned radio station. Some of these stories made their way back to the United States to be read or heard by unknowing North Americans. (Blum, op. cit.)
Moreover several journalists are members of the very influential foreign policy think tank Council on Foreign Relations, which has among its corporate members:
1. Major financial institutions such as:
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.
JPMorgan Chase & Co
The Nasdaq OMX Group
2. All the companies part of what is known as Big Oil:
Exxon Mobil Corporation
Shell Oil Company
3. Major defense and security contractors which largely rely on military sales (figures from SIPRI) and government subsidies, among others:
DynCorp International (70% of revenues from military sales in 2011)
Lockheed Martin Corporation (78% of revenues from military sales in 2011)
Northrop Grumman (81% of revenues from military sales in 2011)
Raytheon Company (90% of revenues from military sales in 2011)
Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. (99% of revenues from federal government)
In addition, mainstream media experts on foreign policy issues are often linked to the military-industrial complex and are very often presented as ”independent”.
During the public debate around the question of whether to attack Syria, Stephen Hadley, former national security adviser to George W. Bush, made a series of high-profile media appearances. Hadley argued strenuously for military intervention in appearances on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and Bloomberg TV, and authored a Washington Post op-ed headlined “To stop Iran, Obama must enforce red lines with Assad.”
In each case, Hadley’s audience was not informed that he serves as a director of Raytheon, the weapons manufacturer that makes the Tomahawk cruise missiles that were widely cited as a weapon of choice in a potential strike against Syria. Hadley earns $128,500 in annual cash compensation from the company and chairs its public affairs committee. He also owns 11,477 shares of Raytheon stock, which traded at all-time highs during the Syria debate ($77.65 on August 23, making Hadley’s share’s worth $891,189). Despite this financial stake, Hadley was presented to his audience as an experienced, independent national security expert. (Public Accountability, War or No War on Syria: Conflict of Interest of “Experts” who Commented in Favor of Military Intervention, October 15, 2013)