Disinformation, by Wikipedia

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Re: Disinformation, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Fri Sep 18, 2020 6:58 am

Part 4 of 4

Grenada, Airport '83: Reagan's Big Lie
by Clarence Lusane

The Reagan administration and western mass media have unleashed a tidal wave of negative propaganda against Grenada in recent months, a well orchestrated onslaught of innuendos and spectacular lies. From the bellicose speeches of President Reagan and nearly every high official in his administration to the front pages of the U.S.'s largest newspapers, Grenada has been insulted, maligned, and misrepresented.

• November, 1982, Vice-President George Bush, speaking before a Miami conference on the Caribbean, stated that Grenada's economy was bankrupt and the government was repressive.
• On February 22, 1983, in a speech before Florida Republicans, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Inter-American Affairs Nestor Sanchez accused Grenada of being a surrogate of Cuba.
• In the USIA's March, 1983 publication, Soviet Military Power, Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger claimed that the Grenadian government was engaged in a rapid military buildup.
• On March 9th, Weinberger told the Voice of America that military assistance from Cuba and the Soviet Union to the tiny island of Grenada had no other explanation than a projection of Soviet power in the region.
• On March 10th, President Reagan charged that Grenada was building a superior naval base.
• On March 14th, Under-Secretary of Defense Fred Ikle displayed aerial photos of the "Soviet-Cuban presence" in Grenada to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
• On March 23rd, in a televised statement, Reagan again referred to a rapid military buildup in Grenada and its threat to U.S. oil supply routes.

Going far beyond the economic and diplomatic obstacles erected after the March 1979 revolution, the U.S. government and its media allies have embarked on a sustained and hysterical campaign against the entire Grenadian people. In the past, administration and press assaults against Grenada focused on the usual human rights and press censorship bogeys. Additionally, in the last year the U.S. government accused the People's Revolutionary Government (PRG) of turning the island into a military base for Cuban and Soviet armed forces. At the heart of this media bombardment was the attempt to demonstrate the propaganda line that the new international airport being constructed at Point Salines with the aid of Cuban workers was really to be used as a refueling station for Soviet-built Cuban jets. From this perverse logic came the desired conclusion that the airport (and Grenada) threatened the national security of the U.S.

For U.S. military and political leaders the airport is a "cocked pistol." In his March 23rd speech before the National Association of Manufacturers, Reagan said as much. He argued that Grenada was building naval stations, air bases and army barracks to be used by "the enemy." Their goal, he said, was to tie down U.S. armed forces in defending the southern border if the Soviets attacked Western Europe. The Caribbean is our fourth border, he said.

Nestor Sanchez echoes his boss's sentiments. In a February 27, 1983 Washington Post article, he is quoted as saying that "The Cubans are constructing air and naval facilities there that far exceed the requirements of the tiny island."

Nestor Sanchez, a spy for 28 years, now concentrating his efforts against the Caribbean and Latin America

Sanchez, a former CIA intelligence officer with a long history of organizing covert operations in Latin America and the Caribbean, helped to coordinate the bungled Bay of Pigs invasion and years of secret attacks on Cuba from Florida. In 1965, he was sent to Venezuela for counterinsurgency work and then on to Guatemala to crush the military advances of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR). One of his proteges during that period was Efrain Rios Montt, now the psychotic president of Guatemala.

In 1981, Sanchez was also stationed in Madrid, Spain and then in Colombia. (See CAIB No. 4.) After 28 years as a CIA officer, he was named to his current position. A strident anti-communist, he still has close ties to the leadership of the counter-revolutionary Cubans operating out of Miami, often speaking at their gatherings.

The Truth About the Airport

Most of the U.S. press has accepted without challenge the fiction that the Grenadian airport is a Soviet-Cuban military base. But as we shall prove, the holes in this story are big enough to fly a B1 bomber through.

The tourist dependent economy of Grenada suffered under the pre-revolutionary regime's refusal to construct an airport which would adequately accommodate tourist flights. The current airport, built in 1943, is only 5,255 feet long -- too short to handle large commercial jets. Most tourists come to the Caribbean in large, wide-bodied passenger planes like DC-10s, Lockheed 1011s and Boeing 747s, which require runways from 8,000 to 10.000 feet. Grenada's new planned runway will be 9,000 feet, the same as that of the airports on Antigua, Aruba, and St. Lucia. It will be smaller than that of Barbados (11,000) and Trinidad (10,900). The old airport has no night landing facilities and is an hour and a half from St. George's, the capital. Surrounded by mountains and water, the old airport is not expandable. Over the years studies by Canadian, British, French and Grenadian engineers and by the World Bank all concluded that a new, modern and large international airport was essential to stimulating Grenadian economic development.

The Reagan administration claims that the airport is a Cuban-Soviet project for airlifting Cuban soldiers for battle in Africa. As the Grenadians have pointed out, this is a total fabrication. First, the Cubans already use the International airport in Barbados on their way to Europe and Africa. And Barbados remains one of the U.S.'s closest allies in the Caribbean. Second, aid for building the airport has come from all quarters. At least 16 countries are participating with finances or material. Libya, Algeria, Iraq and Syria have donated $50 million in cash; Venezuela has furnished $1.3 million in loans, a half-million gallon gasoline storage tank, and 10,000 barrels of diesel oil; Cuba has supplied 300 skilled technicians and engineers, heavy equipment, explosives, cement, and steel. The Soviet Union is not involved at all.

Although the U.S. refused to give any aid whatsoever two U.S. firms have been awarded over $11 million in contracts by the Grenadian government for engineering, architectural, and dredging services. One company has 30 American technicians on the island. Canadian and British firms are also involved in the airport construction.

Without a doubt, however, the principle support for the airport comes from the Grenadian people. The entire population, ranging from the conservative Chamber of Commerce to the radical trade unions, recognize the benefits promised by the airport.

Reagan attempted to paint the airport project as secret and clandestine in his television plea for his defense program on March 23. He intimated that the U.S. was forced to take covert aerial photos from spy planes to find out what was going on. Crying crocodile tears, he claimed he regretted that he had to release these "classified" photos but he felt that the public needed to know the "truth." This is exactly the type of theatrics, misleading slander, and distortion of the reality of Grenada that has characterized the Reagan administration since it came to power.

The airport, far from being a hidden, barbed-wire operation, is a focal point for tourists and Grenadians alike. On weekends Grenadians come from all over the island to the airport site to picnic, tours of the site are conducted regularly, and there are no restrictions on photo or film taking.

Purpose of the Attacks

If the airport is in reality no threat to the U.S. then the question has to be raised why the U.S. has slandered it so vehemently. The PRG believes that the airport is simply a pretext on which the U.S. has built its plans for the destabilization of Grenada.


Plans to destabilize Grenada began under the Carter administration, within months of the revolution. Operations against Grenada escalated after the PRG supported the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan and increased its ties and solidarity with Cuba. According to the Washington Post of February 27, former and current government officials said that Carter approved propaganda measures against Grenada, but was opposed to other covert actions. Headlines connecting Grenada and Cuba began appearing soon after the revolution and travel agents were encouraged by the U.S. State Department to warn tourists not to visit "unsafe" Grenada. In Grenada itself, several mysterious fires destroyed buildings in the heart of the tourist area, one of them the main tourist office.

Other destabilizing steps were taken during the Carter administration, including denial of military and economic aid and attempts to block relief funds from the OAS after devastating torrential rains battered Grenada in January 1980.

Needless to say, propaganda against the revolution increased significantly with the advent of the Reagan era. The American Security Council Foundation, a far-right supporter of Reagan, released a film entitled "Attack on the Americas" in January 1981. It attempted to portray Grenada as the newest surrogate of Soviet expansionism in the Caribbean and Central American region. Mutilated corpses in El Salvador -- actually persons murdered by right-wing death squads -- were intercut with provocative photos of Maurice Bishop and Fidel Castro.

The film was shown most recently in Washington, D.C. on March 22, 1983 on station WHMM, a Howard University-owned TV station. For the Reagan administration, this station was an excellent choice for anti-Grenadian propaganda because its audience is almost exclusively Black American, African, and Caribbean, the communities which have been the most supportive of the Grenadian revolution in the U.S.

Howard University's familiar relationship with the Reagan administration has caused some controversy and concern in the past. George Bush has spoken at a Howard graduation ceremony and Ronald and Nancy Reagan have both been honored by the school. Further, one of Grenada's sworn enemies, Stanley Cyrus, taught at Howard and used it as a base for his counter-revolutionary activities. (See CAIB No. 10.)

In June 1981 the U.S. International Communications Agency (which recently reverted to its original name, the U.S. Information Agency) helped to sponsor a conference to coordinate more systematic media attacks against Grenada. One of the seeds planted at this conference bore fruit on Sunday, September 27, 1981. On that day, all of the Eastern Caribbean's major newspapers published identical front page editorials condemning the PRG. Progressive journalists in the region immediately denounced the editorials and linked them to the Caribbean Publishers and Broadcasters Association (CPBA), a CIA-influenced group. The CPBA is linked to the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA), the organization with CIA links that planned and coordinated the attacks used by the right-wing papers El Mercurio in Chile and the Gleaner in Jamaica to destabilize the governments of Salvador Allende and Michael Manley.

During this same period, there appeared in Grenada a new publication calling itself the Grenadian Voice. After learning that the shareholders had met with suspected CIA personnel, the PRG shut the paper down. The government's suspicions were confirmed when CPBA protested the loudest and the longest.

Other major articles against the PRG began to appear in the U.S. media. One piece in the September 17, 1982 issue of National Review, William Buckley's widely read right-wing magazine, attempted to sketch Grenada as a Cuban-controlled puppet. The article, "The Castroization of Grenada," was filled with inaccuracies and slurs.

The CIA Plans

The extent to which the CIA's plans to destabilize Grenada had developed were revealed in the Post article referred to above. In the summer of 1981, the CIA had drawn up a detailed scheme to destabilize the government of Grenada politically and economically. The proposal, presented to the Senate Intelligence Committee, was "to cause economic difficulty for Grenada in the hopes of undermining the political control of Prime Minister Maurice Bishop."

Reportedly the Committee rejected the operation. One member, Senator Lloyd Bentsen (D-Tex.), responded to the proposal by saying, "You've got to be kidding." While the Committee has supported some of the greatly expanded covert actions proposed by U.S. intelligence agencies under the Reagan administration, they claim to have thrown out the most blatant and harebrained ones.

Although the Committee was quick to insist (naively, it would seem) that the CIA was out of the business of overthrowing governments, it admitted that it did sanction the CIA to "cause a little economic trouble, a little publicity and give aid to opposition groups."

This is a remarkable admission because it has been precisely those tactics which have been used to overthrow and destabilize governments. A "little economic trouble" in Chile under Allende meant choking the economy to the point where the country literally came to a halt.

Grenada: Nobody's Backyard

A sixteen mm., 60-minute color documentary celebrating the Grenadian Revolution on its first anniversary and examining the campaign of destabilization being waged against Grenada, the tiny "jewel" of the Caribbean. Includes interviews with Maurice Bishop, Cheddi Jagan, Isabel Letelier, Trevor Monroe, and Philip Agee.

Produced by Covert Action Information Bulletin; directed by Ellen Ray; for rental information, telephone (202) 265-3904, or write to P.O. Box 50272, Washington, DC 20004.


Maney's government in Jamaica was brought down in part due to the "little publicity" assistance given to the right-wing newspaper, the Gleaner. The Gleaner's daily fabrications and misinformation -- much of which was written at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia -- undermined confidence in the government and Manley's capacity to lead.

Finally, "aid to opposition groups" has often taken the form of arms, as in Angola or Nicaragua. CIA gun shipments to UNITA via South Africa and Zaire were made for the express purpose of toppling the MPLA-led government of Angola. Arms to the murderous ex-National Guardsmen of Somoza is causing terror and mayhem on the borders of Nicaragua today.

Already Grenada has been the target of economic troubles in the form of aid blocking, of negative propaganda via the Grenadian Voice, and of false statements from the establishment media here in the U.S. and throughout the region.

As to "aid to opposition groups," signs are becoming clearer every day that anti-PRG Grenadians are active and organizing in the U.S. Administration officials have admitted that they have been approached by expatriate Grenadians soliciting support in their efforts to overthrow the PRG. These officials did not elaborate on their responses.

The Grenadian government, however, feels that military attack hacked by the CIA may be imminent. In a radio speech to the nation on March 3, 1983, Prime Minister Bishop stated that the PRG had uncovered fresh evidence of a plot to overthrow the government. He cited several facts discovered by the Grenadian intelligence services to support this contention. They included:

1. More frequent meetings by counter-revolutionaries in recent times to iron out their differences.

2. Discovery of the name and background of the main CIA case officer in charge of the operation.

3. Identity of the main base of the operation on a neighboring island.

4. Uncovering the approximate number of men involved, the approximate number and type of weapons they have and the kind of logistical support they hope to receive.

It has also been noted by the Grenadians that during the fourth anniversary of the revolution in mid-March, NATO forces were conducting intimidating military maneuvers in the region. According to U.S. Admiral Robert Watkins, 36 U.S. ships, 6 British ships, one Dutch ship, 300 aircraft and 34 patrol vessels were involved in the maneuvers. Watkins stated that "the construction of an airfield in Grenada for use by Soviet planes" was one reason why the maneuvers were being conducted.

As a result of this genuinely felt threat from the U.S., Grenada has been on military alert since late March. As Prime Minister Bishop has said, when the big U.S. says its national security is threatened by the tiny island of Grenada, whose population is only 110,000 and whose size is roughly twice that of Washington, D.C., it is time for serious concern. Bishop also pointed out that Grenada is the only popular revolution which has not yet had a physical attack. "It is clear the time has come," he said.

The Fight Back

Besides going on military alert, Grenada has taken several other actions to counter the Reagan assault. It has dispatched Foreign Minister Unison Whiteman to the U.S. to speak with and gather support from the progressive community. He has spoken in New York, Washington and other areas of the country to expose the truth about what is really happening in Grenada and the potential danger that the Reagan administration poses to the revolution. Grenada has also sent telegrams and letters to the United Nations, Congress and the White House putting forth its commitment to discuss the situation while at the same time not relinquishing its right to choose its own path of development and friends.

The real threat that Grenada poses to the U.S. is as a model of what can be accomplished by a society that concentrates on the progressive peoples of the world. In the face of economic and political aggression from the U.S., Grenada has managed to grow economically each year since the revolution (5.5% in 1982). Grenada's unemployment has already dropped from the 49% figure existing under the U.S.-supported Gairy dictatorship to 14% under the PRG.

Similar results have been achieved by other progressive governments in the region since their revolutions. Instead of building military bases in the area as the U.S. has charged, what is actually being built is a new future for the Caribbean and Central America that promises regional cooperation, self-determination and forward progress.

Finally, it is quite true that there is one military base that is a threat to the security of the region and that needs to be removed. That base is the one maintained by the U.S. in Cuba at Guantanamo Bay.


The Journalist Spy

As the articles which follow demonstrate, journalists working for the CIA have paid us house calls on occasion. Philip Agee's memory and well organized files helped him to identify the heavily censored document he received under the Freedom of Information Act and led to the article which follows -- an article which was written before the death of its subject but submitted to and cleared by the CIA's publications review board shortly afterwards. Ken Lawrence presents some additional research on the late, friendly journalist.

A Friendly Interview
by Philip Agee

Summer of '74 was going to be relaxation at last. After four years of struggle in four different countries, I'd finally finished my book. Publication was months away, and we took a small cabin in a Cornish hamlet alongside a lovely river leading out to Falmouth Bay. It was a time for sailing, bird-watching and walks along the cliffs.

But in early July my name and book project came out with the Senate's report on its Watergate Investigation. Suddenly we were swamped with press and television crews, our idyll and anonymity shattered. In the coming weeks and months I saw them all, never refused still another interview, and only in the case of Robert Moss did I ask for questions in writing.

Still, I wondered how many journalists the CIA would send. Still fresh was the memory of the young American "underground" journalist who, along with an attractive female "student," had befriended me two years earlier in Paris -- only to turn out months later to be CIA spies.

In October, on returning from a trip, a letter was waiting for me. Another American journalist, a free-lancer named Robert Deindorfer, wanted an interview. I wrote him back, giving possible dates, and thought no more about it. Eventually he telephoned, and on the afternoon of November 16 he arrived with wife and young son in tow. He was writing a book for Random House, or so he said, and wanted to know what I knew about Mossad. I knew of a botched attempt to kidnap the Riga SS chief who had escaped to South America -- he was murdered in the attempt -- and I told him about it.

Deindorfer did little to control his hyper-active kid who climbed onto the roof of our landlord's house and started breaking the slates -- which I eventually paid to have repaired. But what was truly memorable about the visit was Deindorfer's glib stupidity combined with an exaggerated, gushy affability. He was a caricature of the "hale fellow, well met," the eternal sophomore at the class reunion. I remember how, through knowing glances alone, Angela, my two sons and I went into uncontrollable fits of laughter, tears and all -- but at him, not at his jokes.

Unknowingly, Deindorfer gave us one of those special family expressions. For years afterward, a flubbed tennis shot was a "Deindorfer;" when somebody did something stupid, you pulled a "Deindorfer;" or when someone worthy of ridicule came around. he was a "Deindorfer" although nobody ever quite equaled our visitor of that day.

I never saw him again, but a couple of years ago a curious document came my way through my FOIA lawsuit. It was a letter to Angus Thuermer, the CIA's press spokesman in the mid-1970's. The writer's name, return address, and half the letter were censored, but I had a clue. In the "Dear Angus" letter the writer described himself as a "half-assed writer temporarily adrift in the U.K." He went on: "I spent a couple of hours with your rogue agent Philip Agee, just this last weekend, out in his humble digs in Cornwall. He's a nice enough guy personally, of course, but do spare me these tiresome pro-Third World fanatics who desperately want to dismantle not only the CIA but, more important, the whole system of western capitalism. Dear God .... "

Robert G. Deindorfer, et Kellens, Lower Slaughter, _____
September 17, 1974

Mr. Philip B.F. Agee
St. Clements

Dear Mr. Agee:

At the risk of intruding on a crowded schedule, I'm writing to see if and when it would be convenient to come talk with you.

I'm an American writer -- have typewriter, will travel -- doing a voluntary two-year hitch here in the ___ green Ostswelde while I finish a couple of contrast books rather past the deadlines. I'd especially like to talk with you to help squeeze some possible background for a book for Random House which I wistfully hope to get finished by Christmas.

For your information, I've written on a number of subjects for magazines such as Life, Parade, Redbook and the Digest and committed a book, a joint venture with a man named Richard __, entitled Secret Services: Thirty Three Centuries of Espionage, to which Mr. Dulles kindly contributed his one and only foreword. (The book was such a roaring success I've still got a ___ of copies nobody wanted to buy stacked back in New York City.)

In any case, I was arrange to get out to Cornwall any time it's convenient, or else meet you somewhere else -- Emeter, London, wherever -- if you prefer.

My thanks.

Robert Deindorfer

Something rang a bell. I got out my old correspondence files, and found Deindorfer's original letter asking me for the interview, along with my reply to him and his note of appreciation after his visit. Placing the "Dear Angus" letter under his letter to me, the engraving of his Gloucestershire cottage and the lines of the letterhead fit perfectly with censored portions of the "Dear Angus" letter. And in his second letter to me, as in his "Dear Angus" letter, Deindorfer used that wonderful figure "hitting the spacebar" to describe the writer's trade.


Not Indexed

Mr. Angus [MacLean] Thuermer
[Office of the Director]
Central Intelligence Agency
Washington, D.C.

Dear Angus:

Like any other half-assed writer temporarily adrift in the U.K., I spent a couple of hours with your rogue agent Philip Agee, just this last weekend, out in his humble digs in Cornwall. He's a nice enough guy personally, of course, but do spare me these tiresome pro-Third World fanatics who desperately want to dismantle not only the CIA but, more important, this whole system of western capitalism. Dear God. His basic view appears far different than that of Marchetti, who -- I haven't seen his book yet -- apparently wants to eliminate some of the wilder stuff and develop greater efficiency.

With Agee, Marchetti and presumably several other such hitting the spacebar, I expect you're having a fairly hellish time of it. Don't let up. A gung ho journalist I know a little swears he's even going to establish once and for all a massive and official CIA involvement in Watergate, on the Nixon side of things, via Walters. (That was a nifty Law and Order ticket, Nixon-Agnew, right.


After putting it together I called Deindorfer several times at his cottage, but it was years after his visit and I got no answer. I wanted to ask him if the London Station had sent him out to interview me and what was in the censored paragraphs. I wanted to ask him if he'd been paid by the CIA for the interview. And, of course, I wanted to ask him what else he'd done for the CIA and for how long. I still wonder.


Death Overtakes a Spy
by Ken Lawrence

Just as we were preparing a number of hard questions to ask Robert G. Deindorfer, came news of his death on March 26.

Though never exposed during his lifetime, Deindorfer was a spy for the CIA.

According to the New York Times, the 61-year-old author and public relations executive had been a reporter for the United Press and a manager of the New York Stock Exchange's magazine, newspaper feature and book department.

He had done public relations work for the City of New York, the Institute of Life Insurance, and the Foundation for Full Service Banks. At the time of his death he was with the Financial Service Group of Carl Byoir & Associates, an international public relations firm.

The Times left out a lot about Deindorfer, who also wrote under the names Jay Bender, Jay Dender, and Robert Greene. He had taught journalism at New York University and had served as a consultant to the Peace Corps.

He also had written several books on a variety of topics ranging from professional football and fishing to country life in England and espionage.

The New York Times didn't mention that Deindorfer was a member of the CIA's "old boy" network, although a hint of this has been on record for some time. In an introduction to the 1967 edition of Secret Service: Thirty-Three Centuries of Espionage, former CIA Director Allen Dulles wrote that Deindorfer was well qualified to complete the revision of Richard W. Rowan's book after that author's death because of his "accurate and objective sense of perspective."

Until recently, the precise measure of his accuracy and objectiveness lay hidden in CIA files, but a tiny portion was revealed in the uncensored fragment of the document released to Philip Agee under the Freedom of Information Act.

Deindorfer was a friend of Angus Thuermer, once a reporter for the Associated Press and later the CIA's press liaison. After the events described above, Thuermer orchestrated the media disinformation campaign against Agee and this magazine's predecessor, the old CounterSpy, falsely holding them responsible for the 1975 assassination of Richard Welch, the CIA's station chief in Athens. It may have been Thuermer himself who dispatched Deindorfer to spy on Agee while he was living in England in 1974.

At the time of his meeting with Agee, Deindorfer was listed in Contemporary Authors with "two books on espionage" in progress, but to our knowledge these have not been published.

In 1977 Agee and a colleague, journalist Mark Hosenball, were issued deportation orders by then British Home Secretary Merlyn Rees for reasons that to this day remain secret. Agee and Hosenball, together with other journalists, had published articles about state security and intelligence in a number of magazines, and it is clear that intelligence agencies on both side of the Atlantic were eager to silence them. One may safely presume that the censored contents of Deindorfer's report, denied to Agee, to us, and to our readers, were long ago shared with the British secret intelligence service MI-6, and very likely became part of the secret brief in the proceedings against Agee.

As Agee notes, we had hoped to ask Deindorfer a number of things: How long had he been doing this sort of work? Was this an exceptional assignment or was it routine for him? And so on. Unfortunately death overtook him just as we were preparing to call.

Robert G. Deindorfer has taken many secrets to his grave.


News Notes

The "Poet" Cop

On his release from a Cuban prison in October 1982, Armando Valladares was hailed as a hero by western media and the Right. During his internment, Valladares complained of being tortured and mistreated by his Cuban jailers. His punishment was so severe, he claimed, that he had lost the use of his legs and was unable to walk. His supporters were therefore quite embarrassed when they met him with a wheelchair at the Madrid airport and he walked off the plane looking healthy.

Valladares's May 1958 ID cards identifying him as Vigilante [Vgte.] number 2747 -- a Batista cop.

Valladares has been characterized as a "poet" and "artist" of deep religious conviction by the press. In fact, he was actually a police officer in the Batista regime. The honors that he received were for his work as a cop and never as a poet. He was not arrested after the revolution first came to power, but was later jailed when he was caught red-handed in a plot to overthrow the new revolutionary government.


Beirut: Frontline Story

Beirut: Frontline Story, by Selim Nassib with Caroline Tisdall, photographs by Chris Steele-Perkins, is an exceptionally useful book that has just been published. It is an eyewitness, hour-by-hour account of last summer's war in Lebanon from the siege to the massacre, with excellent maps and illustrations. It costs $6.95 plus $1.00 for postage from Africa World Press, P.O. Box 1892, Trenton, NJ 08608.


NSA Listens In On Canadian Journalist

In the last issue, we reported on the Defense Intelligence Agency's spying on the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canada's intelligence service. Now it seems that the National Security Agency has got into the act. Don Sellar, a Washington correspondent for the Canadian paper Southam News, has evidence that at least one of his stories has been intercepted by U.S. intelligence.

Last year, he had written a hard-hitting series of articles on secret missile testing deals between the U.S. and Canadian governments. Imagine his surprise when he found himself in the strange position of being congratulated by a friend about a story he had called in but which had not yet been published. His friend claimed that he had been shown a transcript of the unpublished story by U.S. officials. Apparently, these officials thought that Sellar's friend was leaking information about the secret talks.


The NSA had no comment when confronted with the charge of intercepting journalistic and (no doubt) diplomatic messages. Reportedly, the Canadian government has drastically reduced the amount of information going into its Washington Embassy via phone and other electronic devices since the story broke. It has reverted to the slower, but more "secure" diplomatic pouch.


Jamaican Newspaper Shut Down

The Jamaica Daily News was closed down on April 21 by Prime Minister Edward Seaga. The immediate reason given for shutting the paper's doors was financial insolvency. Much of the debt was owed to the Commodity Trading Company, a government-owned enterprise.

The Daily News had been owned by the government since 1977 when Michael Manley was in power. When Seaga became Prime Minister in 1980, the paper's workers made an offer to buy it which was refused. A restructuring plan proposed by the workers was also denied.

On April 20, the paper went into receivership. The employees learned of the situation over the government's Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation. All the workers were fired except 30 who were to prepare a financial report. The entire editorial department was dismissed, including Ben Brodie, president of the progressive Press Association of Jamaica. With the closing of the Jamaica Daily News, Jamaicans are for the first time left with only one daily newspaper. That paper is the right-wing, CIA-supported Daily Gleaner.

The response by media workers in Jamaica has been militant. The PAJ passed a resolution to start an international campaign and a series of national actions to protest the closing. Messages of solidarity have poured in from progressive journalists in Suriname, Grenada, and other parts of the Caribbean, as well as from the International Organization of Journalists.

In Jamaica, the fired employees and their supporters are picketing the plant where the paper is located. In addition to getting statements of solidarity from the Workers Party of Jamaica and Manley's Peoples National Party, picket organizers have also met with the former Prime Minister.

This incident stands in sharp contrast to the report issued in March by the CIA surrogate Inter-American Press Association. The report summarized press freedom in 26 nations in the Caribbean and Latin America, a region thoroughly dominated by U.S.-backed right-wing dictatorships. After noting that there was "no" freedom of the press in Haiti, the progressive governments of Suriname, Nicaragua, and Cuba, received the harshest criticism.

Now Available
My 25 Years in the CIA
By Ralph W. McGehee

Ralph McGehee spent 25 years in the CIA, much of it as a case officer in southeast Asia. He saw the folly of the Vietnam War and argued, to no avail, with the likes of William Colby. This is his timely story of how the CIA distorts reality to conform to the political line coming from Washington.

This 250-page book, with an appendix, a glossary, and a detailed index, will be published February 1. Order your copy now.

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The CIA Legend
by Ken Lawrence

Lies, and deceit have been the hallmark of the Central Intelligence Agency since its inception.

The late Frank Wisner, the CIA's Deputy Director for Plans (the Directorate for Plans was the old name for the clandestine service) was proud of his "Mighty Wurlitzer," as he called his worldwide propaganda and disinformation network. In 1976 the House Select Committee on Intelligence (Pike Committee) reported that media and propaganda projects were probably "the largest single category of covert action projects undertaken by the CIA."

There have always been prominent journalists who would help out, and some who justify publishing official lies as news. Former CBS diplomatic correspondent Marvin Kalb (now with NBC) once wrote, "Lying is a legitimate part of the defense mechanism of the administration, and the reporter goes along with it when in his opinion it is in the national interest." [Ray Hiebert, ed., The Press in Washington (Dodd, Mead: New York, 1966), page 162.]

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (Church Committee), reporting later in 1976, found two "reasons for concern" with the CIA's use of journalists. One was the problem of "fallout" [blowback] -- "the potential, inherent in covert media operations, for manipulating or incidentally misleading the American public. "The second was that all U.S. journalists and media would be discredited as the relationship between the CIA and some of them became known. The committee expressed no concern for the foreign victims of CIA lies. [Few U.S. writers have devoted sufficient attention to this concern. One of the best discussions is contained in Vitaly Petrusenko, A Dangerous Game: CIA and the Mass Media (Interpress: Prague, n.d. [1977]), available from Imported Publications, 320 West Ohio Street, Chicago, Il 60610.]

In his recent book, Deadly Deceits: My 25 Years in the CIA, Ralph W. McGehee has shown that "the American people are the primary target audience of [the CIA's] lies," not simply an unfortunate, incidentally affected group.

Yet, despite all the disclosures of the past seven years more than 1,000 books published by the CIA, a quarter of them in English; 400 journalists on the CIA's payroll; clandestine relationships between the CIA and the very largest and most influential U.S. media followed by vocal and sustained protest, there has been no significant reform.

Former President Jimmy Carter has admitted in his memoir Keeping Faith (p. 509) that, even during the period of the "Turner guidelines" (CIA Director Stansfield Turner's directive that appeared to prohibit the clandestine use of journalists), CIA operatives were masquerading as journalists in Iran with his approval.

In a sworn statement last year, CIA Director William Casey told how journalists were used before Turner's guidelines were issued:

"Some, perhaps a plurality, were simply sources of foreign intelligence: others provided cover or served as a funding mechanism; some provided nonattributable material for use by the CIA, collaborated in or worked on CIA-produced material or were used for the placement of CIA-prepared material in the foreign media; others assisted in nonmedia activities by spotting, assessing or recruiting potential sources or by handling other agents, and still others assisted by providing access to individuals of intelligence interest or by generating local support for U.S. policies and activities. Finally, with respect to some of these individuals, the CIA simply provided informational assistance or requested assistance in suppressing a media item such as a news story."

Today, all that is required to continue these practices is Casey's judgment that there is "an emergency involving human lives or critical national interests."

How can the Agency manage to continue to flout the strong opposition of the public, important sectors of the press, and the Congress?

One answer is found in the CIA legend, itself one of the Agency's most successful media operations. This is the oft-repeated story of great, yes legendary, accomplishments of the CIA in its heyday. Whatever shortcomings there may have been, so the tale goes, you have to give the CIA its due; the methods may be dirty, but they are outweighed by the good the CIA does. And what could be better than a true life spy story of worldwide importance to take the wind out of critics' sails? That's the stuff of the CIA legend.

The greatest exploit of the CIA's legendary derring-do was the clandestine acquisition of Nikita Khrushchev's speech to the 20th Communist Party Congress in Moscow in 1956 and its subsequent publication. Friends and critics alike have been virtually unanimous in heaping accolades on CIA Director Allen Dulles and his spies for a major espionage accomplishment. [Critics who have taken one or another version of this story at face value, and thereby themselves have contributed to the myth, include David Wise and Thomas B. Ross in The Invisible Government and The Espionage Establishment. Victor Marchetti and John Marks in The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence, and William R. Corson in The Armies of Ignorance. ]

The story of how the CIA got "Khrushchev's secret speech," internally contradictory in many respects, is almost wholly false. If true, it would actually be an example of a colossal breakdown in intelligence, not a success at all. The plot of this legend, like any other good folk tale, changes according to the audience, the time or place it's told, and who's telling it, so it's never easy to be certain which story is intended as the official one.

In his book The Craft of Intelligence, Allen Dulles wrote:

An intelligence "document hunt" was instituted, as the speech, never published in the U.S.S.R." was of great importance for the Free World. Eventually the text was found but many miles from Moscow, where it had been delivered. It was necessary in this case for headquarters to alert many kinds of sources and to make sure all clues were followed up. I have always viewed this as one of the major coups of my tour of duty in intelligence. Since the text was published in full by the State Department, it also was one of the few exploits which could be disclosed as long as sources and methods of acquisition were kept secret.

In that final sentence Dulles is blowing smoke in our eyes, because, while many CIA "successes" had been widely reported by the time of his claim, official policy was neither to confirm nor to deny them.

Besides, there has been a long parade of leaks concerning the alleged source of the document, again serving the needs of propaganda, not truth.

In his memoir Honorable Men: My Life in the CIA, William Colby relates a debate over what to do with the Khrushchev speech once it had been obtained:

The more conspiratorial elements of CIA, led by the counterintelligence experts, saw it as the basis for an operation to spread confusion and deception among the Communists of the world. As one move in this program they turned to the Italian station [Colby was stationed in Rome at the time] and its press outlets to plant a copy of it sourced in Italy, with subtle variations in the original text to increase suspicions and backbiting among Communists. But before it was published, more politic heads prevailed (among them Ray Cline, as an analyst looking at the over-all impact it could have on world political trends), and Allen Dulles delivered the true text to The New York Times. It is clear that the political approach was right, and that the speech marked a watershed in the appeal of the Soviets to other peoples throughout the world, unblemished by doubts as to how an obscure Italian publication might have obtained such a document, or as to the accuracy of its text.

Aside from continuing his feud with James Jesus Angleton ("counterintelligence experts"), Colby too is blowing smoke. One widely circulated rumor held that Italian Communist Party leader Palmiro Togliatti had sold a copy of the speech to the CIA for a large amount of money, undoubtedly intended to discredit Togliatti among Communists. In Secrets, Spies and Scholars Cline claimed the CIA had paid "a very handsome price" for the text, while Angleton told The New York Times, "There was no payment."

In addition, Angleton has led some writers, including William Corson, to the conclusion that the CIA obtained it from Israeli intelligence sources "which, giving the Israelis their due, probably included a deep-cover European communist." Angleton was the head of the CIA's Israeli desk as well as the counterintelligence chief. Last year Iser Harel, former head of Israel's Mossad, complained to the Daily Ma'ariv that Mossad had never been given credit for having obtained the speech and having supplied it to the CIA. Once a myth has been launched successfully, everyone involved wants to be its hero, it seems.

There is a variety of other published accounts of the source. Wise and Ross wrote that "a certain high Yugoslav official" almost was persuaded. "But then he thought better of it, and backed off." Marchetti and Marks report it came from "an Eastern European communist official," as does Peer da Silva in Sub Rosa: The CIA and the Uses of Intelligence. Andrew Tully in CIA: The Inside Story, says a Moscow functionary named Andrei "was in a position when he had the opportunity" to give the speech to his CIA handlers -- complete with lurid tales of a "dead drop" (a bench slat in Gorky Park), "live drop," "safe house," "cut out," and most conspiratorial meetings in the lobby of the Bolshoi Ballet Theater. In The Secret War, Sanche de Gramont says it was "smuggled out of Poland by a CIA agent." This is clearly material for a thriller.

The truth, however, is both more obvious and more prosaic, though it has the distinct disadvantage, from the CIA's point of view, of not enhancing the Agency's image in the world of espionage.

In those days Dorothy Healey was an important leader of the Communist Party U.S.A. She recalls that on April 28, 1956, the late Eugene Dennis, then the party's general secretary, had his political secretary read the speech aloud to a meeting of the party's national committee at the Jefferson School in New York -- a building permanently bugged by the FBI and CIA, as Healey points out. There was no need whatever for any of the international cloak and dagger business. [Healey's account is confirmed in Joseph R. Starobin, American Communism in Crisis, 1943-1957 (University of California Press: Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1972, 1975).]

Nevertheless the legend is endlessly recycled. Some months ago William Safire included it in a column, suggesting that the CIA had tampered with Khrushchev's text, perhaps to shore up Angleton's version of the story. Healey says, however, that nothing in the published version differs from the text she heard at the Jefferson School meeting.

Now a new intelligence myth is undermining the credibility of the legend: occasionally one good tale must yield to another. This one is the FBI's attempt to recoup its reputation in the espionage field.

For almost 20 years the FBI has been trying to find ways to link the government of Cuba to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, but until recently only rightwing propagandists considered that account worth repeating.

Supposedly J. Edgar Hoover sent an undercover agent codenamed "Solo" -- a leading member of the Communist Party U.S.A. -- to interview Fidel Castro in early 1964. "Solo" reported that Castro said Lee Harvey Oswald had told Cuban consulate officials in Mexico City of his intention to kill Kennedy. Castro denied this to the House Select Committee on Assassinations, and the committee believed him. "On balance, the committee did not believe that Oswald voiced a threat to Cuban officials. However reliable the confidential source ["Solo"] may be, the committee found it to be in error in this instance."

Unwilling to abandon this disinformation campaign, an FBI source gave historian David J. Garrow, author of The FBI and Martin Luther King, Jr. from "Solo" to Memphis, the identity of "Solo" and an account of his background and recruitment. This, in turn, gave the FBI a renewed opportunity to promote the "Cuba connection" to the JFK assassination on an ABC television special with revitalized credibility, since the identity of "Solo" had been disclosed in Garrow's 1981 book, sharply critical of the FBI.

Garrow identified "Solo" as two brothers, Morris Childs, one-time editor of the Daily Worker, and his brother Jack: Morris was the important one. (Oddly, in a small book with 82 pages of reference notes, one fourth of the total, there is no documentation for the allegation. Since Morris Childs is evidently still alive and hasn't come forward to refute Garrow, however, it seems reasonable to accept Garrow's description of him as a high-level undercover FBI operative since 1951.)

Although release of the "Solo" identity has failed so far to breathe new life into the FBI's anti-Castro campaign, it has permanently, perhaps fatally, wounded the CIA legend. Morris Childs traveled so frequently to the Soviet Union that he was colloquially dubbed "the ambassador" by leaders of the Communist Party. Healey doesn't recall whether he was personally present when the Khrushchev speech was read to the party leadership, but he certainly would have had access to it, and very likely before the rest of them heard it.

So much for secret sources in Moscow, Poland, Yugoslavia, or Italy. So much for the wizardry of Israel's Mossad and the genius of spymaster James Angleton. So much for the CIA legend. If the intelligence agencies were doing their job at all, they got the text of Khrushchev's speech from a microphone surveillance in New York or from "Solo" in Chicago.

What, then, is the CIA legend made of?

Lies and deceit, like everything else the CIA stands for.

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Re: Disinformation, by Wikipedia

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Committee on Public Information
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 9/18/20

Committee on Public Information
CPI pamphlet, 1917
Agency overview
Formed: April 13, 1917
Dissolved: August 21, 1919
Superseding agencies
liquidated to: Council of National Defense
similar later agencies: Office of War Information (WWII)
Jurisdiction: United States Government
Headquarters: Washington, D.C.
Employees: significant staff plus over 75,000 volunteers
Agency executives: George Creel, chairman; Robert Lansing, ex officio for State; Newton D. Baker, ex officio for War; Josephus Daniels, ex officio for Navy
Parent agency: Executive Office of the President
Child agencies: over twenty bureaus and divisions including: News Bureau; Film Bureau

The Committee on Public Information (1917–1919), also known as the CPI or the Creel Committee, was an independent agency of the government of the United States created to influence public opinion to support US participation in World War I.

In just over 26 months, from April 14, 1917, to June 30, 1919, it used every medium available to create enthusiasm for the war effort and to enlist public support against the foreign and perceived domestic attempts to stop America's participation in the war. It used mainly propaganda to accomplish its goals.

Organizational history

"U.S. Official War Pictures", CPI poster by Louis D. Fancher


President Woodrow Wilson (the 28th president) established the Committee on Public Information (CPI) through Executive Order 2594 on April 13, 1917.[1] The committee consisted of George Creel (chairman) and as ex officio members the Secretaries of: State (Robert Lansing), War (Newton D. Baker), and the Navy (Josephus Daniels).[2] The CPI was the first state bureau covering propaganda in the history of the United States.[3]

Creel urged Wilson to create a government agency to coordinate "not propaganda as the Germans defined it, but propaganda in the true sense of the word, meaning the 'propagation of faith.'"[4] He was a journalist with years of experience on the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News before accepting Wilson's appointment to the CPI. He had a contentious relationship with Secretary Lansing.[5]


Wilson established the first modern propaganda office, the Committee on Public Information (CPI), headed by George Creel.[6][7] Creel set out to systematically reach every person in the United States multiple times with patriotic information about how the individual could contribute to the war effort. It also worked with the post office to censor seditious counter-propaganda. Creel set up divisions in his new agency to produce and distribute innumerable copies of pamphlets, newspaper releases, magazine advertisements, films, school campaigns, and the speeches of the Four Minute Men. CPI created colorful posters that appeared in every store window, catching the attention of the passersby for a few seconds.[8] Movie theaters were widely attended, and the CPI trained thousands of volunteer speakers to make patriotic appeals during the four-minute breaks needed to change reels. They also spoke at churches, lodges, fraternal organizations, labor unions, and even logging camps. Speeches were mostly in English, but ethnic groups were reached in their own languages. Creel boasted that in 18 months his 75,000 volunteers delivered over 7.5 million four minute orations to over 300 million listeners, in a nation of 103 million people. The speakers attended training sessions through local universities, and were given pamphlets and speaking tips on a wide variety of topics, such as buying Liberty Bonds, registering for the draft, rationing food, recruiting unskilled workers for munitions jobs, and supporting Red Cross programs.[9] Historians were assigned to write pamphlets and in-depth histories of the causes of the European war.[10][11]

4-Minute-Men 1917

The CPI used material that was based on fact, but spun it to present an upbeat picture of the American war effort. In his memoirs, Creel claimed that the CPI routinely denied false or undocumented atrocity reports, fighting the crude propaganda efforts of "patriotic organizations" like the National Security League and the American Defense Society that preferred "general thundering" and wanted the CPI to "preach a gospel of hate."[12]

The committee used newsprint, posters, radio, telegraph, and movies to broadcast its message. It recruited about 75,000 "Four Minute Men," volunteers who spoke about the war at social events for an ideal length of four minutes. They covered the draft, rationing, war bond drives, victory gardens and why America was fighting. They were advised to keep their message positive, always use their own words and avoid "hymns of hate."[13] For ten days in May 1917, the Four Minute Men were expected to promote "Universal Service by Selective Draft" in advance of national draft registration on June 5, 1917.[14]

The CPI staged events designed for many different ethnic groups, in their language. For instance, Irish-American tenor John McCormack sang at Mount Vernon before an audience representing Irish-American organizations.[15] The Committee also targeted the American worker and, endorsed by Samuel Gompers, filled factories and offices with posters designed to promote the critical role of American labor in the success of the war effort.[16]

The CPI's activities were so thorough that historians later stated, using the example of a typical midwestern American farm family, that[17]

Every item of war news they saw—in the country weekly, in magazines, or in the city daily picked up occasionally in the general store—was not merely officially approved information but precisely the same kind that millions of their fellow citizens were getting at the same moment. Every war story had been censored somewhere along the line— at the source, in transit, or in the newspaper offices in accordance with ‘voluntary’ rules established by the CPI.

Creel wrote about the Committee's rejection of the word propaganda, saying: "We did not call it propaganda, for that word, in German hands, had come to be associated with deceit and corruption. Our effort was educational and informative throughout, for we had such confidence in our case as to feel that no other argument was needed than the simple, straightforward presentation of facts."[18]

A report published in 1940 by the Council on Foreign Relations credits the Committee with creating "the most efficient engine of war propaganda which the world had ever seen", producing a "revolutionary change" in public attitude toward US participation in WWI:[19]

In November 1916, the slogan of Wilson's supporters, 'He Kept Us Out Of War,' played an important part in winning the election. At that time a large part of the country was apathetic.... Yet, within a very short period after America had joined the belligerents, the nation appeared to be enthusiastically and overwhelmingly convinced of the justice of the cause of the Allies, and unanimously determined to help them win. The revolutionary change is only partly explainable by a sudden explosion of latent anti-German sentiment detonated by the declaration of war. Far more significance is to be attributed to the work of the group of zealous amateur propagandists, organized under Mr. George Creel in the Committee on Public Information. With his associates he planned and carried out what was perhaps the most effective job of large-scale war propaganda which the world had ever witnessed.

Organizational structure

During its lifetime, the organization had over twenty bureaus and divisions, with commissioner's offices in nine foreign countries.[20]

Both a News Division and a Films Division were established to help get out the war message. The CPI's daily newspaper, called the Official Bulletin, began at eight pages and grew to 32. It was distributed to every newspaper, post office, government office, and military base.[21] Stories were designed to report positive news. For example, the CPI promoted an image of well-equipped US troops preparing to face the Germans that were belied by the conditions visiting Congressmen reported.[22] The CPI released three feature-length films: Pershing's Crusaders (May 1918), America's Answer (to the Hun) (August 1918), Under Four Flags (November 1918). They were unsophisticated attempts to impress the viewer with snippets of footage from the front, far less sensational than the "crudely fantastical" output of Hollywood in the same period.[23]

To reach those Americans who might not read newspapers, attend meetings or watch movies, Creel created the Division of Pictorial Publicity.[24] The Division produced 1438 designs for propaganda posters, cards buttons and cartoons in addition to 20000 lantern pictures (slides) to be used with the speeches.[25] Charles Dana Gibson was America's most popular illustrator – and an ardent supporter of the war. When Creel asked him to assemble a group of artists to help design posters for the government, Gibson was more than eager to help. Famous illustrators such as James Montgomery Flagg, Joseph Pennell, Louis D. Fancher, and N. C. Wyeth were brought together to produce some of World War I's most lasting images.

Media incidents

One early incident demonstrated the dangers of embroidering the truth. The CPI fed newspapers the story that ships escorting the First Division to Europe sank several German submarines, a story discredited when newsmen interviewed the ships' officers in England. Republican Senator Boies Penrose of Pennsylvania called for an investigation and The New York Times called the CPI "the Committee on Public Misinformation."[26] The incident turned the once compliant news publishing industry into skeptics.[27] There is some confusion as to whether or not the claims are correct based upon subsequent information published by the CPI.[28]

Early in 1918, the CPI made a premature announcement that "the first American built battle planes are today en route to the front in France," but newspapers learned that the accompanying pictures were fake, there was only one plane, and it was still being tested.[29] At other times, though the CPI could control in large measure what newspapers printed, its exaggerations were challenged and mocked in Congressional hearings.[30] The Committee's overall tone also changed with time, shifting from its original belief in the power of facts to mobilization based on hate, like the slogan "Stop the Hun!" on posters showing a US soldier taking hold of a German soldier in the act of terrorizing a mother and child, all in support of war bond sales.[31]

International efforts

The CPI extended its efforts overseas as well and found it had to tailor its work to its audience. In Latin America, its efforts were led where possible by American journalists with experience in the region, because, said one organizer, "it is essentially a newspaperman's job" with the principal aim of keeping the public "informed about war aims and activities." The Committee found the public bored with the battle pictures and stories of heroism supplied for years by the competing European powers. In Peru it found there was an audience for photos of shipyards and steel mills. In Chile it fielded requests for information about America's approach to public health, forest protection, and urban policing. In some countries it provided reading rooms and language education. Twenty Mexican journalists were taken on a tour of the United States.[32]

Political conflict

Creel used his overseas operations as a way to gain favor with congressmen who controlled the CPI's funding, sending friends of congressmen on brief assignments to Europe.[33] Some of his business arrangements drew congressional criticism as well, particularly his sale by competitive bidding of the sole right to distribute battlefield pictures.[34] Despite hearings to air grievances against the CPI, the investigating committee passed its appropriation unanimously.[35]

Creel also used the CPI's ties to the newspaper publishing industry to trace the source of negative stories about Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, a former newsman and a political ally. He tracked them to Louis Howe, assistant to Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt and threatened to expose him to the President.[36] As a Wilson partisan, Creel showed little respect for his congressional critics, and Wilson enjoyed how Creel expressed sentiments the President could not express himself.[37][38]

Termination and disestablishment

Committee work was curtailed after July 1, 1918. Domestic activities stopped after the Armistice was signed on November 11, 1918. Foreign operations ended June 30, 1919. Wilson abolished the CPI by executive order 3154 on August 21, 1919.

The Committee on Public Information was formally disestablished by an act of Congress on June 30, 1919, although the organization's work had been formally completed months before.[39] On August 21, 1919, the disbanded organization's records were turned over to the Council of National Defense.[39]


Creel later published his memoirs of his service with the CPI, How We Advertised America, in which he wrote:[18]

In no degree was the Committee an agency of censorship, a machinery of concealment or repression. Its emphasis throughout was on the open and the positive. At no point did it seek or exercise authorities under those war laws that limited the freedom of speech and press. In all things, from first to last, without halt or change, it was a plain publicity proposition, a vast enterprise in salesmanship, the world's greatest adventures in advertising.... We did not call it propaganda, for that word, in German hands, had come to be associated with deceit and corruption. Our effort was educational and informative throughout, for we had such confidence in our case as to feel that no other argument was needed than the simple, straightforward presentation of the facts.


Walter Lippmann, a Wilson adviser, journalist, and co-founder of The New Republic, was a sharp critic of Creel. He had once written an editorial criticizing Creel for violating civil liberties, as Police Commissioner of Denver. Without naming Creel, he wrote in a memo to Wilson that censorship should "never be entrusted to anyone who is not himself tolerant, nor to anyone who is unacquainted with the long record of folly which is the history of suppression." After the war, Lippmann criticized the CPI's work in Europe: "The general tone of it was one of unmitigated brag accompanied by unmitigated gullibility, giving shell-shocked Europe to understand that a rich bumpkin had come to town with his pockets bulging and no desire except to please."[40]

The Office of Censorship in World War II did not follow the CPI precedent. It used a system of voluntary co-operation with a code of conduct, and it did not disseminate government propaganda.[17]


Among those who participated in the CPI's work were:

• Edward Bernays, a pioneer in public relations and later theorist of the importance of propaganda to democratic governance.[41] He directed the CPI's Latin News Service. The CPI's poor reputation prevented Bernays from handling American publicity at the 1919 Peace Conference as he wanted.[42]
• Carl R. Byoir (1886 – 1957), like Bernays, a founding father of public relations in America.
• Maurice Lyons was the Secretary of the Committee. Lyons was a journalist who got involved in politics when he became secretary to William F. McCombs, who was Chairman of the Democratic National Committee during Woodrow Wilson's presidential campaign of 1912.
• Charles Edward Merriam, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago and an adviser to several US Presidents.
• Ernest Poole. Poole was the co Director of the Foreign Press Bureau division. Poole was awarded the very first Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his novel, His Family.
• Dennis J. Sullivan, Manager of Domestic Distribution for films made by the CPI.[43]
• Vira Boarman Whitehouse, director of the CPI's office in Switzerland. She repeatedly crossed into Germany to deliver propaganda materials. She later told of her experiences in A Year as a Government Agent (1920).[44]

See also

• American Alliance for Labor and Democracy
• Office of War Information
• United States Information Agency
• Writers' War Board
• World War I film propaganda


1. Gerhard Peters; University of California, Santa Barbara. "Executive Order 2594 - Creating Committee on Public Information". ucsb.edu.
2. United States Committee on Public Information; University of Michigan (1917). Official U. S. Bulletin, Volume 1. p. 4. Retrieved October 23, 2009.
3. Kazin, Michael (1995). The Populist Persuasion. New York: Cornell University Press. p. 69.
4. Creel, George (1947). Rebel at Large: Recollections of Fifty Crowded Years. NY: G.P. Putnam's Son's. p. 158. The quoted words refer to the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith.
5. Creel, 158-60
6. George Creel, How We Advertised America: The First Telling of the Amazing Story of the Committee on Public Information That Carried the Gospel of Americanism to Every Corner of the Globe.(1920)
7. Stephen Vaughn, Holding Fast the Inner Lines: Democracy, Nationalism, and the Committee on Public Information (1980). online
8. Katherine H. Adams, Progressive Politics and the Training of America’s Persuaders (1999)
9. Lisa Mastrangelo, "World War I, public intellectuals, and the Four Minute Men: Convergent ideals of public speaking and civic participation." Rhetoric & Public Affairs 12#4 (2009): 607-633.
10. George T. Blakey, Historians on the Homefront: American Propagandists for the Great War (1970)
11. Committee on public information, Complete Report of the Committee on Public Information: 1917, 1918, 1919 (1920) online free
12. Creel, 195-6
13. Thomas Fleming, The Illusion of Victory: America in World War I. New York: Basic Books, 2003; pg. 117.
14. Fleming, The Illusion of Victory, pp. 92-94.
15. Fleming, The Illusion of Victory, pp. 117-118.
16. Fleming, The Illusion of Victory, pg. 118.
17. Sweeney, Michael S. (2001). Secrets of Victory: The Office of Censorship and the American Press and Radio in World War II. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. pp. 15–16. ISBN 978-0-8078-2598-3.
18. George Creel, How We Advertised America. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1920; pp. 4–5.
19. pp. 75-76, Harold J. Tobin and Percy W. Bidwell, Mobilizing Civilian America, New York: Council on Foreign Relations.
20. Jackall, Robert; Janice M Hirota (2003). Image Makers: Advertising, Public Relations, and the Ethos of Advocacy. University of Chicago Press. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-226-38917-2.
21. Fleming, The Illusion of Victory, pp. 118-119.
22. Fleming, The Illusion of Victory, pg. 173.
23. Thomas Doherty, Projections of War: Hollywood, American Culture, and World War II (NY: Columbia University Press, 1999), 89-91. Hollywood's films "served to discredit not only the portrayal of war on screen but the whole enterprise of cinematic propaganda." Hollywood titles included Escaping the Hun, To Hell with the Kaiser!, and The Kaiser, the Beast of Berlin.
24. Library of Congress. "The Most Famous Poster". Retrieved 2007-01-02.
25. Creel, George. How we advertised America. New York & London: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1920. p. 7.
26. Fleming, The Illusion of Victory, pp. 119-120.
27. Mary S. Mander, Pen and Sword: American War Correspondents, 1898-1975 (University of Illinois, 2010), 46. Creel believed his story was correct, but that opponents in the military who were jealous of his control of military information minimized what happened en route.
28. Creel, George (1920). How We Advertised America: The First Telling of the Amazing Story of the Committee on Public Information that Carried the Gospel of Americanism to Every Corner of the Globe. Harper & Brothers.
29. Fleming, The Illusion of Victory, pg. 173. Creel blamed the Secretary of War for the false story.
30. Fleming, The Illusion of Victory, pg. 240.
31. Fleming, The Illusion of Victory, pg. 247.
32. James R. Mock, "The Creel Committee in Latin America," in Hispanic American Historical Review vol. 22 (1942), 262-79, esp. 266-7, 269-70, 272-4
33. Stone, Melville Elijah. Fifty Years a Journalist. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Page and Company, 1921. p. 342-5.
34. Hearings Before the Committee on Ways and Means, House of Representatives, on the Proposed Revenue Act of 1918, Part II: Miscellaneous Taxes (Washington, DC: 1918), 967ff., available online, accessed January 19, 2011.
35. Stephens, Oren. Facts to a Candid World: America's Overseas Information Program. Stanford University Press, 1955. p. 33.
36. Fleming, The Illusion of Victory. p. 148-149.
37. Fleming, The Illusion of Victory. p. 315.
38. For Wilson's support of Creel to a group of senators, see Thomas C. Sorenson, "We Become Propagandists," in Garth S. Jowett and Victoria O'Donnell (eds.), Readings in Propaganda and Persuasion: New and Classic Essays (Sage Publications, 2006), p. 88. Asked if he thought all Congressmen were loyal, Creel answered: "I do not like slumming, so I won't explore into the hearts of Congress for you." Wilson later said: "Gentlemen, when I think of the manner in which Mr. Creel has been maligned and persecuted, I think it is a very human thing for him to have said."
39. Creel, How We Advertised America, pg. ix.
40. Ronald Steel, Walter Lippmann and the American Century.Boston: Little, Brown, 1980, pp. 125-126, 141-147; Fleming, The Illusion of Victory, pg. 335; John Luskin, Lippmann, Liberty, and the Press. University of Alabama Press, 1972, pg. 36
41. W. Lance Bennett, "Engineering Consent: The Persistence of a Problematic Communication Regime," in Peter F. Nardulli, ed., Domestic Perspectives on Contemporary Democracy (University of Illinois Press, 2008), 139
42. Martin J. Manning with Herbert Romerstein, Historical Dictionary of American Propaganda (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press), 24
43. "Dennis J. Sullivan collection: Veterans History Project (Library of Congress)". memory.loc.gov. Retrieved 2017-05-09.
44. Manning, 319-20

Further reading

• Benson, Krystina. "The Committee on Public Information: A transmedia war propaganda campaign." Cultural Science Journal 5.2 (2012): 62-86. online
• Benson, Krystina. "Archival Analysis of the Committee on Public Information: The Relationship Between Propaganda, Journalism and Popular Culture." International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society (2010) 6#4
• Blakey, George T. Historians on the Homefront: American Propagandists for the Great War Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky, 1970. ISBN 0813112362 OCLC 132498
• Breen, William J. Uncle Sam at Home : Civilian Mobilization, Wartime Federalism, and the Council of National Defense, 1917-1919. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1984. ISBN 0313241120 OCLC 9644952
• Brewer, Susan A. Why America Fights: Patriotism and War Propaganda from the Philippines to Iraq. (2009).
• Fasce, Ferdinando. "Advertising America, Constructing the Nation: Rituals of the Homefront during the Great War." European Contributions to American Studies 44 (2000): 161-174.
• Fischer, Nick, "The Committee on Public Information and the Birth of U.S. State Propaganda," Australasian Journal of American Studies 35 (July 2016), 51–78.
• Kotlowski, Dean J., "Selling America to the World: The Office of War Information's The Town (1945) and the American Scene Series," Australasian Journal of American Studies 35 (July 2016), 79–101.
• Mastrangelo, Lisa. "World War I, public intellectuals, and the Four Minute Men: Convergent ideals of public speaking and civic participation." Rhetoric & Public Affairs 12.4 (2009): 607-633.
• Mock, James R. and Cedric Larson, Words that Won the War: The Story of the Committee on Public Information, 1917-1919, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1939. OCLC 1135114
• Pinkleton, Bruce. "The campaign of the Committee on Public Information: Its contributions to the history and evolution of public relations." Journal of Public Relations Research 6.4 (1994): 229-240.
• Ponder, Stephen.. "Popular Propaganda: The Food Administration in World War I." Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly (1995) 72#3 pp. 539–50. it ran a separate propaganda campaign
• Schaffer, Ronald. America in the Great War: The Rise of the War-Welfare State. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991. ISBN 0195049039 OCLC 23145262
• Vaughn, Stephen. Holding Fast the Inner Lines: Democracy, Nationalism, and the Committee on Public Information. (University of North Carolina Press, 1980). ISBN 0807813737 OCLC 4775452 online
• Vaughn, Stephen. "Arthur Bullard and the Creation of the Committee on Public Information," New Jersey History (1979) 97#1
• Vaughn, Stephen. "First Amendment Liberties and the Committee on Public Information." American Journal of Legal History 23.2 (1979): 95-119. online
• Merriam, Charles. American Publicity in Italy
• Smyth, Daniel. "Avoiding Bloodshed? US Journalists and Censorship in Wartime", War & Society, Volume 32, Issue 1, 2013. online
• Zeiger, Susan. "She didn't raise her boy to be a slacker: Motherhood, conscription, and the culture of the First World War." Feminist Studies 22.1 (1996): 7-39.

Primary sources

• Committee on public information, Complete Report of the Committee on Public Information: 1917, 1918, 1919 (1920) online free
• Creel, George. How We Advertised America: The First Telling of the Amazing Story of the Committee on Public Information That Carried the Gospel of Americanism to Every Corner of the Globe. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1920.
• George Creel Sounds Call to Unselfish National Service to Newspaper Men Editor and Publisher, August 17, 1918.
• United States. Committee on Public Information. National service handbook (1917) online free


• "Records of the Committee on Public Information". 2016-08-15.

External links

• Guy Stanton Ford, "The Committee on Public Information," in The Historical Outlook, vol 11, 97-9, a brief history by a participant
• Committee on Public Information materials in the South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA)
• Open Library. Walter Lippmann; Public Opinion. 1922
• The Committee on Public Information
• Who's Who - George Creel
• WWI: The Home Front
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Re: Disinformation, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sat Sep 19, 2020 12:06 am

The C.I.A.'s 3‐Decade Effort To Mold the World's Views
by John M. Crewdson and Joseph B. Treaster
The New York Times
Dec. 25, 1977

The following article was written by John M. Crewdson and is based on reporting by him and Joseph B. Treaster.

For most of the three decades of its existence, the Central Intelligence Agency has been engaged in an unremitting, though largely unrecognized, effort to shape foreign opinion in support of American policy abroad.

Although until recently the C.I.A. counted a number of American journalists among its paid agents, with a few notable exceptions they do not appear to have been part of its extensive propaganda campaign.

Instead, the agency has channeled information and misinformation through once‐substantial network of newspapers, news agencies and other communications entities, most of them based overseas, that it owned, subsidized or otherwise influenced over the years.

The C.I.A.'s propagandizing appears to have contributed to at least some distortion of the news at home as well as abroad, although the amount and nature of misinformation picked up by the American press from overseas is impossible to determine.

Recent attention given the C.I.A.'s involvement with the press has been focused on reports that the agency employed American reporters as agents and numbered others as sources of information or “assets” useful to its operations.

The recurring allegations have led the House Select Committee on Intelligence to schedule hearings on the matter, beginning Tuesday, and prompted The New York Times to survey the C.I.A.'s relationships with American news organizations.

While the three‐month inquiry by team of Times reporters and researchers indicated that the C.I.A. employed relatively few of the many hundreds of American journalists reporting from abroad over the past 30 years, there emerged a broad picture of an agency effort to shape news and opinions through a far‐flung network of news organizations that it controlled to a greater or lesser degree.

The C.I.A. has refused every appeal for details of its secret relationship with American and foreign journalists and the news‐gathering organizations that employed them, even though most have been brought to an end.

One C.I.A. official, explaining that such relationships were entered into with promises of “eternal confidentiality,” said that the agency would continue to refuse to discuss them “in perpetuity.”

But in interviews with scores of present and former intelligence officers, journalists and others, the scope and substance of those relationships became clearer. Among the principal features that emerged were the following:

1. The C.I.A. has at various times owned or subsidized more than 50 newspapers, news services, radio stations, periodicals and other communications entities, sometimes in this country but mostly overseas, that were used as vehicles for its extensive propaganda efforts, as “cover” for its operatives or both. Another dozen foreign‐based news organizations, while not financed by the C.I.A., were infiltrated by paid C.I.A. agents.

2. Nearly a dozen American publishing houses, including some of the most prominent names in the industry, have printed at least a score of the more than 250 English‐language books financed or produced by the C.I.A. since the early 1950's, in many cases without being aware of the agency's involvement.

3. Since the closing days of World War II, more than 30 and perhaps as many as 100 American journalists employed by a score of American news organizations have worked as salaried intelligence operatives while performing their reportorial duties. A few others were employed by the American military and, according to intelligence sources, by some foreign services, including the K.G.B., the Soviet intelligence agency.

4. Over the years at least 18 American reporters have refused C.I.A. offers, in some cases lucrative ones, to undertake clandestine intelligence assignments. Another dozen employees of American newspapers, wire services and news magazines, though never paid, were considered by the agency to be valued sources of information or assistance.

5. In the last 30 years, at least a dozen full‐time C.I.A. officers have worked abroad as reporters or noneditorial employees of American‐owned news organizations, in some cases with the approval of the organizations whose credentials they carried.

According to a number of former C.I.A officials, the agency's broad campaign of propaganda was carried out with the awareness that the bogus news stories it planted might be treated as genuine by the American media, which they sometimes were.

The agency's legislative charter has been interpreted as prohibiting the propagandizing of Americans, but it says nothing about the propriety of the domestic effect, inadvertent or intentional, of propaganda disseminated overseas.

Lyman B. Kirkpatrick, for many years the C.I.A.'s Inspector General, said he could not recall any agency employee's ever having raised questions about the ethics or legality of its endeavors in mass communications.

Lawrence R. Houston, its retired general counsel, said it had always been his understanding that the C.I.A. was forbidden by law to employ American journalists, although he said no one had ever consulted him on that matter.

The C.I.A.'s efforts to mold foreign opinion ranged from tampering with historical documents, as it did with the 1956 denunciation of Stalin by the late Nikita S. Khrushchev; to embellishing and distorting accounts that were otherwise factual, such as the provision of detailed quotes from a Russian defector; to outright fabrication, as with a report that Chinese troops were being sent to aid Vietnamese Communists.

According to former C.I.A. officials, the agency has long had an “early warning network” within the United States Government that advises diplomats and other key officials to ignore news stories that have been planted by the agency overseas. The network, they said, has worked well, with only occasional failures.

But there is no such mechanism for alerting newspapers, magazines and broadcasting stations in this country as to which of the foreign dispatches that come chattering across their teletypes are distorted or, in a few instances, altogether false. There is, the former officials say, simply no practical way of letting Americans know that some of the stories they read over their morning coffee were written not by a foreign correspondent but by a C.I.A. officer in a corner of some American embassy.

Domestic ‘Replay’ of Items Was Considered Inevitable

The C.I.A. accepts, as an unavoidable casualty of its propaganda battles, the fact that some of the news that reaches American readers and viewers is tainted with what the Russians call “disinformation.” The agency has even coined terms to describe the phenomenon; blowback, or replay, or domestic fallout.

“The particularly dangerous thing” about bogus information, a former senior agency official said recently, “is the blowback potential. It's a real one and we recognize that.”

A 1967 C.I.A directive stated simply that “fallout in the United States from a foreign publication which we support is inevitable and consequently permissible.” Or as one succinct former C.I.A. man put it, “It hits where it hits.”

The agency's favorite medium for launching what it terms “black,” or unattributed, propaganda has always been the foreign‐based media in which it has had a secret financial interest, or the reporters and editors overseas who were among its paid agents. At one time, according to agency sources, there were as many as 800 such “propaganda assets,” mostly foreign journalists. Asked in an interview last year whether the C.I.A. had ever told such agents what to write, William E. Colby, the former C.I.A. Director, replied, “Oh, sure, all the time.”

Most often, former officials have said, the C.I.A.'s propaganda consisted of factual accounts that the agency felt were not being widely reported, or of essentially accurate accounts with some distortions or embellishments. But one authoritative former official said that “there were outright fabrications, too.”

There seems to have been little question that in its efforts to mold opinion the C.I.A. viewed citizens of foreign countries as its principal targets. As one veteran C.I.A. officer who had conducted his share of propaganda operations put it, “I didn't want Walter Lippmann. I wanted the Philippine Walter Lippman.”

Some former agency employees said in interviews, however, that they believed that apart from unintended blowback, some C.I.A. propaganda efforts, especially during the Vietnam War, had been carried out with a view toward their eventual impact in the United States.

And although nearly all of the American journalists employed by the C.I.A. in years past appear to have been used for the collection of intelligence or the support of existing information‐gathering operations, a few cases emerged in which such agents became, knowingly or otherwise, channels of disinformation to the American public.

One agency official said that the C.I.A. had in the past used paid agents in the foreign bureaus of the Associated Press and United Press International to slip agency‐prepared dispatches onto the news wire. In some cases, as in the A.P.'s Singapore bureau in the early 1950's, the agents were natives known as “local hires.” But in others they were Americans.

Although the A.P. and the U.P.I. are two of the most prominent news‐gathering organizations in the world—the A.P. estimates that its dispatches alone reach half the world's population in some form—they were given no special consideration by the C.I.A.

“We would not tell U.P.I. or A.P. headquarters in the U.S. when something was planted abroad,” one C.I.A. official said, and he conceded that as a result such stories were likely to he transmitted over those agencies’ domestic news wires, “if they were any good.”

U.P.I. has said it was satisfied that none of its present employees is involved in any way with the C.I.A. but that was unable to say what might have happened in the past. An A.P. executive said his organization had investigated similar reports in the past and had concluded “that none of its staffers was involved in C.I.A. activities.”

One story good enough to be widely disseminated, former officials said was a report in the early 1950's, fabricated by the C.I.A. and put out by an agent inside one of the major American wire services, that Chinese troops were on board ships steaming for Vietnam to aid the Communists in their battle with the French.

Though such examples of propaganda planted directly with American news organizations were relatively rare, another former C.I.A. official asserted that throughout the 1950's and 1960's, when the agency's propaganda network was at peak strength, it was “commonplace for things to appear in the U.S. press that had been picked up” from foreign publications, some but not all of them “proprietaries,” in which the C.I.A, had placed propaganda.

Sometimes, the foreign publishers and editors were unwitting of the origin of such stories, but more often they were what the C.I.A. called “witting.” The agency preferred one official said, to give its propaganda “to somebody who knows what it is.” Where that was not possible, he said, “You gave it to anybody.

Propaganda Was Planted In a Multitude of Ways

The propaganda took many forms and surfaced in many forums. It ranged, officials have said, from the Innocuous, such as letters to the editor in major American newspapers that did not identify the writer as an agency employee, to items of far more consequence, such as news reports of Soviet nuclear weapons tests that never took place.

Such stories were planted in a variety of ways besides the use of media “assets.” One common focus of propaganda activity, former officials said, was the press clubs that exist in nearly every foreign capital, which serve as ‘mail drops, message centers, hotels and restaurants for local correspondents and those just passing through.

Until a few years ago, one former official said the manager of the Mexico City press club was a C.I.A. agent, and so was the manager of the local press club in Manila.

“He used to work very successfully,” a C.I.A. man with many years in the Philippines recalled, “Some guys are lazy. They'd be sitting at the bar and he'd slip them things and they'd phone it in.”

With more diligent correspondents, the man continued, “it was a matter of making stuff available if they wanted to use it. My mission was to get local people to write editorials. This would be material that wouldn't be coming out of the embassy. It wouldn't be a U.S.I.A. handout. It would be from some thoughtful local commentator and it would hopefully carry more weight.”

The United States Information Agency, an arm of the State Department, has the official responsibility for spreading the American message overseas. According to several former C.I.A. officials, the U.S.I.A. was aware, though sometimes only dimly, of the agency's propagandizing.

“One of the problems that never really got settled journalistically,” a former C.I.A. man recalled, “was the relationship between U.S.I.A. and the C.I.A.'s media activities. They knew, but they didn't have the force or the funds to do anything about it.”

From the C.I.A.'s standpoint, its own “black” propaganda was far more effective than the “white,” or attributed, version put out by U.S.I.A. to anyone who would listen.

In Argentina, for example, while the U.S.I.A. was openly making motion pictures available to groups interested in various facets of life in the United States, the C.I.A.'s clandestine agents were tampering with the newsreel accounts of world events shown in local theaters.

The thrust of that particular operation, one C.I.A. man recalled, was “to get the American point of view across regarding Castro in the hemisphere. The Argentines didn't believe Castro was any threat, they were so far away. So we'd get the event on film and then make up the commentary.”

One of the most ambitious of the C.I.A.'s propaganda efforts occurred in June 1956, a few months after Mr. Khrushchev, then the Soviet leader, delivered a “secret” five‐hour speech to a closing session of the 20th Communist Party Congress in Moscow from which all foreign delegates had been excluded.

As word seeped through to the West that Mr. Khrushchev had broken in stunning fashion with Stalin, his predecessor, whom he described as a savage, half‐mad despot, the word went out within the C.I.A. that a copy of the text must be obtained at all costs.

Amended Text Was Given To C.I.A. Outlets Abroad

By late May, the agency's counterintelligence staff had succeeded in obtaining a text in Poland. A few days later it was released to American news organizations through the State Department, and the C.I.A. ever since has cited its obtaining of the “secret speech” as among its greatest triumphs of intelligence.

What it has not said about the matter, however, is that the text it obtained was an expurgated version, prepared for delivery to the nations of Eastern Europe, from which some 34 paragraphs of material concerning future Soviet foreign policy had been deleted.

Although the text made available to United States newspapers was the genuine expurgated version, another text, containing precisely 34 paragraphs of material on future foreign policy, was put out by the C.I.A. over several other channels around the world, including the Italian news agency ANSA.

The 34 paragraphs in the foreign version, former officials said, were written not by Mr. Khrushchev's speechwriters, but by counterintelligence experts at C.I.A. headquarters in Virginia. The effort to cause consternation in Moscow was said to have been a brilliant success.

One dilemma posed by the C.I.A.'s use of its media assets abroad, especially those published or broadcast in the English language, was that they were likely to be closely watched by American correspondents not fluent in the local language and thus became prime sources of potential “replay” in the United States.

Former agency officials have said that the English‐language assets were used with impunity under the C.I.A. charter, on the ground that the intended propaganda target was not American correspondents or tourists traveling abroad but English‐speaking foreigners, a rationale that one former agency man said “always seemed absurd to me.”

Agency Fostered the Spread Of Stories to Other Nations

Within foreign countries, the agency did all it could to foster “replay.” In Latin America, for example, lest its disinformation efforts be forgotten as soon as they had appeared, the agency began an operation, known by the cryptonym KM FORGET, in which stories planted in one country were clipped and mailed to others for insertion by local media assets. Such efforts enhanced the likelihood that the stories would be seen by an American correspondent and transmitted home.

In spite of the agency's insistence that domestic fallout was unsought but unavoidable, there is some evidence that may have been welcome in certain cases.

One of the C.I.A.'s most extensive propaganda campaigns of the past decade was the one it waged against Chilean President Salvador Allende Gossens, Marxist, in the years before his election in 1970 and until his overthrow and death in 1973,

According to the report of the Senate intelligence committee, millions of dollars were spent by the C.I.A. to produce a stream of anti‐Allende stories, editorials and broadcasts throughout Latin America.

A C.I.A. propaganda assessment obtained by the committee, prepared shortly after Mr. Allende's election in September 1970, reported a “continued replay of Chile theme materials” in a number of Latin American capitals, with pickups by United States newspapers.

“Items also carried in New York Times, Washington Post,” the summary went on. “Propaganda activities continue to generate good coverage of Chile developments along our theme guidance.”

In interviews, a number of former C.I.A. officers spoke about what they said were, to them, unmistakable attempts to propagandize the American public indirectly through “replay” from the foreign press.

One agency official recalled the heavy propaganda campaign waged by the C.I.A. during the Vietnam War, conducted along the lines that “whatever bad happened in Vietnam had to be the enemy's fault.”

A former C.I.A. official recalled that at the time of the “incursion” by American forces into Cambodia in the spring of 1970, the Hong Kong station “got cable from headquarters instructing us to have all our assets present this in as favorable a light as possible.”

Most of the Chinese in the region, the man said, resented the American military presence in Southeast Asia and were only further inflamed by the favorable portrayal of the motives for the American invasion and of its success. But he noted that the newspapers in which the slanted stories appeared were read by a number of influential American correspondents.

Some American Reporters Got Misleading Information

One of the reasons for the C.I.A.'s wide use of foreign “assets” in its black propaganda efforts, another former official said, was that most American journalists, even those on the agency's payroll, were too scrupulous to “take stuff they knew was phony.”

But other sources cited some occasions on which American reporters accepted misleading information from the C.I.A. in the belief that it was legitimate.

As a rule, one former C.I.A. man said, such stories were fundamentally accurate, though with “embellishments” supplied for operational purposes. He recalled one such report, a dispatch to The Christian Science Monitor from Rangoon nearly 20 years ago, that he said “was really dressed up.”

The dispatch by a Monitor special correspondent, Arnold Beichman, was an account of a young Russian named Aleksandr Kaznacheyev, who some months earlier had walked into the American Embassy in Rangoon and asked for asylum. Asked about the nature of the embellishment, the former C.I.A. man replied, “Defectors usually don't have very good English.”

Mr. Beichman's account contained extensive quotes from Mr. Kaznacheyev, some of them remarkably well phrased, about the “hatred” for the Soviet system that had driven him from his homeland.

According to the article, the quotations were taken from a tape recording that Mr. Kaznacheyev had made. But Mr. Beichman said in a recent telephone interview that he could not now say where he had obtained the quoted material. “I can't say if I heard a tape recording or saw a transcript,” he said. “I don't know how to check it.”

Mr. Beichman said that he had never met Mr. Kaznacheyev, but had “pieced the story together from officials in the American Embassy.” “For all I know,” he conceded, “he might never have been in the embassy. It might have been a fraud.”

There have been other instances over the years in which American news organizations were taken in by the C.I.A. One former agency official recalled, for example, a riot at a Soviet trade fair in the Far East that he said had been staged by the C.I.A.

The agency, the man said, later planted an article with a major American magazine that cited the “riot” as evidence of dissatisfaction with the Russians in that part of the world.

Some correspondents, as well, were quick to acknowledge that they had been duped on some occasions by the C.I.A.

One reporter, a Latin American specialist, recalled that a few years back he had met with a C.I.A. station chief in a country he would not identify who gave him what appeared to be an exclusive story. The local Communist Party, which had until then been following a peaceful line in seeking power, was said by the station chief to have a cache of 400 rifles provided by outside supporters.

Correspondent Learned That Story Was Unfounded

The correspondent, unable to check the information, decided to use it rather tentatively, in an article on the general situation in the country. Later he found the C.I.A. material had been unfounded.

Another Instance in which the C.I.A. passed information to an American journalist, according to an agency official, involved C. L. Sulzberger, the foreign affairs columnist of The New York Times.

The C.I.A. official, who in the past has had access to relevant agency files, said that a column about the Soviet K.G.B. that appeared on Sept. 13, 1967, under Mr. Sulzberger's name in The Times was, “verbatim,” a briefing paper that the C.I.A. had prepared for Mr. Sulzberger on the subject.

Mr. Sulzberger has denied that he ever “took a paper from the C.I.A. and put my name on it and telephoned it to The New York Times.”

In addition to its efforts to make the news, the C.I.A. has also attempted on several occasions to intervene directly with American news organizations to shape the way in which they report it.

In some cases the agency's overtures have been rebuffed and in others they have been accepted. Some news organizations, sources have said, have even provided the C.I.A. with the opportunity for such intervention without being asked.

One former official recalled an instance several years ago In which the now defunct Collier's magazine received an article from a correspondent in the Far East, mentioning that two ostensibly private corporations in the area, Sea Supply in Bangkok and Western Enterprises on Taiwan, were the C.I.A.'s principal operating proprietaries in that part of the world.

The editors of Collier's, the former official said, submitted the article to the C.I.A. for censorship. The agency officer who read the manuscript pointed out that the C.I.A.'s links with both corporations were an open secret throughout the Far East, but the magazine killed the article anyway.

A large part of the C.I.A.'s efforts at domestic censorship appear to have been concerned with impending news accounts not about world affairs but rather about its own operations.

In the months before the 1961 invasion of Cuba by C.I.A.‐trained exile forces at the Bay of Pigs, for example, the agency was successful in halting the publication of several stories, including a major article by David Kraslow, then of The Miami Herald, about the training of the exile forces in Florida.

Mr. Kraslow, now publisher of The Miami News, said that his editors had asked him to take the details he had uncovered to Allen W. Dulles, then head of the C.I.A., and that Mr. Dulles had cautioned that their publication would not be “in the national interest.” Soon afterward, the C.I.A. moved the training from Florida to Guatemala.

Agency Denigrated Book After Trying to Suppress It

Three years later, when David Wise and Thomas B. Ross published “The Invisible Government,” the agency's first reaction was to try to suppress the volume.

Among other things, the C.I.A. seriously considered a plan to buy up the entire first printing of the book to keep it from public view.

Cord Meyer Jr., the C.I.A. official in charge of many of the agency's propaganda activities, visited Random House, the book's publisher, and was told that the agency was welcome to purchase as many printings as it liked but that additional copies would be produced for public sale.

That idea was abandoned, but former C.I.A. officials have said that a propaganda campaign was initiated to encourage reviewers to denigrate the book as misinformed and dangerous.

Mr. Meyer, who is still a senior C.I.A. official, declined to talk about this episode or any aspect of his career with the agency.

What one former senior agency official described as another “period of great crisis” for the agency occurred two years later, in 1966, when the Washington bureau of The New York Times set out to produce a series of articles aimed at determining whether the C.I.A. did in fact amount to an “invisible government.”

Cables were sent by editors to most of The Times's overseas bureaus, asking correspondents to file memorandums on several aspects of C.I.A. operations in their areas, and the former official recalled that the consternation within the agency was nearly immediate.

The agency's fear that The Times might divulge some sensitive secrets abated, however, when the newspaper submitted the articles in advance of publication to John A. McCone, who by then had retired as Director of Central Intelligence. According to Tom Wicker, then the chief of The Times Washington bureau, Mr. McCone removed some elements of the series before it appeared.

The inquiry by The Times unearthed yet another occasion in which the C.I.A. interfered with the newspaper's reporting. In 1954 Allen Dulles, then the chief of the C.I.A., told a Times executive that he did not believe that Sydney Gruson, the newspaper's correspondent in Mexico, was capable of reporting with objectivity on the impending revolution in Guatemala.

Mr. Dulles told The Times that his brother, John Foster Dulles, then Secretary of State, shared his concern, and he asked that the newspaper keep Mr. Gruson, whom the agency believed to have “liberal” leanings, away from the story.

It did not become known until several years after the overthrow of Col. Jacobo Arbenz Guzman, the leftist Guatemalan leader, that the C.I.A. had played a central role in fostering the revolution that led to his downfall. There is some evidence in agency files that the C.I.A. feared that Mr. Gruson's reporting was edging toward a premature discovery of its role.

Mr. Gruson, now an executive vice president of The Times, said in an interview that he had learned later that Arthur Hays Sulzberger, then the newspaper's publisher, had complied with the C.I.A.'s wishes by contriving to keep him in Mexico City and away from Guatemala during the revolution, on the pretense that he had received a tip that the fighting might spill across the border into Mexico.

Not all of the C.I.A.'s propaganda efforts have been conducted through the news media. For example, some of the thousand or so books published by the C.I.A. or on its behalf have contained propaganda ranging from tiny fictions to outright deceptions.

One such book, sources said, was “The Penkovsky Papers,” published for what the Senate intelligence committee called “operational reasons” by the C.I.A. through Doubleday & Company in 1965. The book purports to be a journal kept by the Soviet double agent, Col. Oleg Penkovsky, in the months before he was unmasked by his Soviet superiors, tried and executed. In the book, the colonel's name was transliterated according to C.I.A. style.

Although the information in the book was largely authentic, sources said that it had not been taken from Colonel Penkovsky's journal—which did not exist—but was compiled from C.I.A. records by Frank Gibney, then an employee of The Chicago Daily News, and Peter Deriabin, a K.G.B. defector employed by the C.I.A.

“It was not a diary,” said one C.I.A. official, “and it was a major deception to that extent.” Another former official acknowledged that the book had been “cosmetized,” and a third added drily, “Spies don't keep diaries.”

Authors Were Assisted For Operational Purposes

Reached by telephone in Japan, Mr. Gibney conceded that “the journal as such did not exist.” He said he had taken most of the material directly from reports of the C.I.A.'s interviews with Colonel Penkovsky during his brief visits to the West.

In several other instances, agency sources said, the C.I.A. has assisted authors with books that it felt might serve some operational purpose
, even where the agency had no hand in preparing the manuscript.

One such case, sources said, was the agency's decision to cooperate with John Barron in his research on a recent book about the Soviet K.G.B. That decision, sources said, was a response to the K.G.B.'s publication a few years before of a small volume, largely accurate, entitled “Who's Who in the C.I.A.”

That book named dozens of C.I.A. officers, along with some American diplomats and others who have never had any connection with the agency, and the C.I.A. is still angry over the combined deception and large‐scale “burning,” or identification, of its personnel by a hostile intelligence service.

The Barron book contains a 35‐page compendium of names of K.G.B. officers serving under various covers around the world. Mr. Barron said in an interview that although he had received “quite a bit of help" from the C.I.A.
, the list of names had been compiled from a variety of sources worldwide.

One of the more intriguing C.I.A. disinformation campaigns of recent years was its attempt to discredit the Cuban revolutionary movement in the eyes of other Latin American nations by planting the suggestion that it was controlled to some extent from Moscow.

Bunke in 1962 wearing the tilted beret of the newly formed Cuban People's Defence Militia

The agency's strategy, one official said, was to take an East German woman named Tamara Bunke who had joined the guerrilla band of Maj. Ernesto Che Guevara in Bolivia and make her out to be “the biggest, smartest Communist there ever was,” as well as an operative of the East German Ministry of State Security and the Soviet K.G.B.

Asked how the agency had disseminated its fabrication, the official recalled that it had provided “material and background” to Daniel James, an American author and former managing editor of The New Leader, living in Mexico, who published a translation of Major Guevara's Bolivian diaries in 1968.

In his introduction, Mr. James noted that Miss Bunke, who had taken the nom de guerre of Tania and who is scarcely mentioned in the diaries, had nonetheless been identified a few months earlier by a low‐level East German defector as an agent of the East German security agency.

C.I.A. Portrayal of Woman Helped Make Her a Hero

Mr. James did not provide any support in the book for his assertion that, during her time with Major Guevara's group, Miss Bunke was “attached to the Soviet K.G.B.” He said in an interview that that had been his own conclusion, although he acknowledged having talked to the C.I.A. in connection with the book.

“I did get information from them,” he said. “I got information from a lot of people.” He said that he had been acquainted with Winston Scott, at the time the C.I.A.'s Mexico City station chief, and that he had asked Mr. Scott for “anything that they could get for me or help me with.”

He declined to say whether the agency had supplied him with any of the material concerning Miss Bunke.

Perhaps in part because of the C.I.A.'s portrayal of Tania, the dead woman has become a hero of the revolutionary left around the world. Her alias was adopted by Patricia Hearst, the San Francisco heiress, after she was kidnapped in 1974 by the Symbionese Liberation Army and announced that she had decided to join the group.

Reminded of that the C.I.A. official chuckled. “Domestic fallout,” he said.

Most C.I.A. propaganda was planted overseas, but it was once ‘commonplace,’ a former agency official said, for United States newspapers to pick it up.

The C.I.A.'s involvement with mass communications in this country was sometimes aimed at censoring impending accounts of the agency's own activities.

Associated Press

William E. Colby

Asked in an interview last year whether the C.I.A. had ever told foreign journalists, working as paid agents, what to write, he replied, ‘'Oh, sure, all the time.”

Associated Press

Allen W. Dulles

In 1954, he told a New York Times executive that he did not believe the paper's Mexico correspondent was capable of reporting with objectivity on impending Guatemala revolution.

Lyman B. Kirkpatrick

He could not recall any C.I.A. officials ever questioning the ethics or legality of the agency's endeavors in mass communications.
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