Disinformation, by Wikipedia

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Disinformation, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:25 am

Part 1 of 2

by Wikipedia
Accessed: 9/15/20

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”

— William Casey, CIA director, February 1981

-- Project Truth, by Charles Z. Wick, International Communication Agency
-- Chinese Request to NED, by Walter Raymond, Dated January 2, 1985
-- Examples of institute funding
-- How US Flooded the World with Psyops, by Robert Parry
-- Letter From James R. Huntley to Anne W. Coulter, Dated 25 June 1982
-- Letter from Leo Cherne to William J. Casey [Bill], Dated June 24, 1981
-- Letter from R. Bruce McColm to Walter Raymond, Jr., Dated August 9, 1982
-- Military Psychological Operations and U.S. Strategy, by Col. Alfred H. Paddock, Jr.
-- National Security Council: Information, Dated July 9, 1984
-- President Ronald Reagan, The Westminster Address, Dated June 8, 1982
-- Project Truth Enhancement
-- Reagan Library Topic Guide : Public Diplomacy
-- Skeptics Pelt Schultz With Queries on Reagan's 'Project Democracy', by Bernard Gwertzman
-- The CIA and the Media: How America's Most Powerful News Media Worked Hand in Glove with the Central Intelligence Agency and Why the Church Committee Covered It Up, by Carl Bernstein
-- CIA, State Department, American Committee for Liberation Discussion of Radio Liberty Broadcasting
-- Hadley Cantril [Albert Hadley Cantril, Jr.], by Wikipedia
-- Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, by Wikipedia
-- Worldwide Propaganda Network Built by the C.I.A., by John M. Crewdson and Joseph B. Treaster
-- National Security Decision Directive No. 130, by Ronald Reagan
-- Establishing of a Psychological Operations Committee, by John M. Poindexter
-- Establishment of a Psychological Operations Committee, by Craig Alderman, Jr., Deputy, Department of Defense
-- First Meeting of the Psychological Operations Committee, by Rodney B. McDaniel, Executive Secretary, National Security Council
-- Interim Executive Summary: Project NIAGARA FALLS, by Craig Alderman, Jr., Deputy, Department of Defense
-- Memorandum for Dr. Stearman, National Security Council, by Alfred H. Paddock, Jr., Colonel
-- Memorandum for the Chairman, Special Planning Group, Public Diplomacy, by Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger
-- PSYOPS Operations Committee, by Walter Raymond, Jr., Vincent M. Cannistraro, William L. Stearman
-- SI Meeting
-- The Psychological Operations Committee Gets Under Way, by Walter Raymond, Jr., Vincent M. Cannistraro, William L. Stearman
-- PropOrNot: Evidence of a CIA Psychological Operation, by Kurt Nimmo
-- Propaganda and Disinformation, from The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence, by Victor Marchetti
-- Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare, by Central Intelligence Agency
-- Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intelligence Dossier’ Directed against Donald Trump, by Prof Michael Keefer
-- Washington Post’s ‘Fake News’ Guilt, by Robert Parry
-- US spy operation that manipulates social media: Military's 'sock puppet' software creates fake online identities to spread pro-American propaganda, by Nick Fielding and Ian Cobain
-- Doctrine Re Rumors, by Office of Strategic Services Planning Group
-- Guideposts from Just War Theory: Managing Covert Political Action, by James A. Barry
-- Morale Operations Branch, by Wikipedia
-- Provoking nuclear war by media, by John Pilger
-- Newly Obtained Documents Prove: Key Claim of Snowden’s Accusers Is a Fraud, by Glenn Greenwald
-- Text: S.2692 — 114th Congress (2015-2016), Introduced in Senate (03/16/2016), To counter foreign disinformation and propaganda, and for other purposes.
-- Trust Is Collapsing in America: When truth itself feels uncertain, how can a democracy be sustained?, by Uri Friedman
-- Why Has Trust in Media Collapsed? Look at Actions of WSJ, Yahoo, Business Insider and Slate, by Glenn Greenwald

-- Washington Post’s ‘Fake News’ Guilt, by Robert Parry
-- A Clinton Fan Manufactured Fake News That MSNBC Personalities Spread to Discredit WikiLeaks Docs, by Glenn Greenwald
-- A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack: Former NSA experts say it wasn’t a hack at all, but a leak—an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system, by Patrick Lawrence
-- Alex Jones Calls Charlottesville Violence a False Flag, Because Alternative Facts Are Still a Thing, by Alexander Nazaryan
-- Deep State is "Going to Kill the President," Alex Jones Claims, by Aidan Quigley
-- Balance of Power 2016: DIA's Trump vs. CIA's PropOrNot, by Tara Carreon
-- BBC Propaganda Watch: Tell-Tale Signs That Slip Through The Cracks, by Editor, Medialengs.org
-- Bill O’Reilly hosted a fake Swedish defense “advisor” to fearmonger about refugees. Swedish Armed Forces Press Secretary: "We do not know who he is," by Nick Fernandez
-- Fake Sweden expert on Fox News – has criminal convictions in US, no connection to Swedish security, by Dagens Nyheter
-- Comments on the Society of the Spectacle (EXCERPT), by Guy Debord
-- Corporate media’s “fake news” war is backfiring by showing the world the power of alt media: This battle has literally nil to do with fake news – or even Russia – and everything to do with the power of dissent, by Claire Bernish
-- Counter-Propaganda Bill: Quietly Creates US Propaganda Factory, by John Laurits
-- Dealing With Assange and the WikiLeaks Secrets (The Times's Dealings With Julian Assange), by Bill Keller
-- Demonstration Elections: U.S.-Staged Elections in the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, and El Salvador, by Edward S. Herman and Frank Brodhead
-- Deserving Trust, by Ken White
-- Did NATO Promise Not to Enlarge? Gorbachev Says “No”, by Steven Pifer
-- Doctrine Re Rumors, by Office of Strategic Services Planning Group
-- Dugin’s Occult Fascism and the Hijacking of Left Anti-Imperialism and Muslim Anti-Salafism, by Wahid Azal
-- Excerpt from 1984, by George Orwell
-- Facebook Censorship and the Atlantic Council, by Jonathan Sigrist
-- Facebook Moves to Stem Fake News, by Jay Stanley
-- Failed Venezuela coup was fake news — designed to fool people in two nations: CNN and the New York Times made major reporting errors in covering the failed coup. Was it laziness or propaganda?, by Dave Lindorff
-- Fake News About 'Fake News' - The Media Performance Pyramid, by Editor, Medialens.org
-- 'Fake News' And How The Washington Post Rewrote Its Story On Russian Hacking Of The Power Grid, by Kalev Leetaru
-- ‘Fake news’ in America: Homegrown, and far from new: The corporate state created this monstrous propaganda machine and bequeathed it to Trump. by Chris Hedges
-- Fixing Fake News, by Jay Stanley
-- Glenn Greenwald: Mainstream U.S. media is culpable for disseminating fake & deceitful news on Russia. "Any story that bolsters the prevailing D.C. orthodoxy on the Russia Threat, no matter how dubious, is spread far and wide," by Amy Goodman
-- Guideposts from Just War Theory: Managing Covert Political Action, by James A. Barry, Central Intelligence Agency
-- H.R.4909 - National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, 114th Congress (2015-2016) , SEC. 1259C. Global Engagement Center.
-- Investigation Into ‘PropOrNot Blacklist Case’ Finds Shoddy Methods and an Ominous Potential, by Bill Boyarsky
-- Jim Carrey: Hollywood Elites ‘Eat Whole Babies’ For Christmas, by Baxter Dmitry
-- Jim Carrey Did NOT Say Hollywood Elites “Eat Babies For Christmas,” Despite Fake News, by Andrew Shuster
-- Morale Operations Branch, by Wikipedia
-- MSNBC Does Not Merely Permit Fabrications Against Democratic Party Critics. It Encourages and Rewards Them, by Glenn Greenwald
-- Newly Obtained Documents Prove: Key Claim of Snowden’s Accusers Is a Fraud, by Glenn Greenwald
-- Once Again, Mainstream Media Get It Wrong on Venezuela: Foreign outlets, dutifully supporting Trump administration calls for regime change, reported that a widespread uprising was underway, even though Juan Guaidó’s coup attempt had little support, by Michael Fox
-- Probers Reading the Script: The Story of CBS and the Plot to Invade Haiti, by Gus Constantine
-- PropOrNot: Evidence of a CIA Psychological Operation, by Kurt Nimmo
-- PropOrNot: Is It Propaganda or Not?: Your Friendly Neighborhood Propaganda Identification Service, Since 2016! Black Friday Report: On Russian Propaganda Network Mapping, by The PropOrNot Team
-- Provoking nuclear war by media, by John Pilger
-- Removing Additional Inauthentic Activity from Facebook, by Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy and Oscar Rodriguez, Product Manager
-- Return of the Blacklist: What’s Next — Book Burning?, by John Laurits
-- Russian government hackers do not appear to have targeted Vermont utility, say people close to investigation, by Ellen Nakashima and Juliet Eilperin
-- Russian operation hacked a Vermont utility, showing risk to U.S. electrical grid security, officials say, by Juliet Eilperin and Adam Entous
-- Shumlin: Vermont Better Off Without Nuclear Plant, by Mike Faher
-- So Remember All Those Times Democrats Said Russia Hacked The French Election? About That, by Caitlin Johnstone
-- Text: S.2692 — 114th Congress (2015-2016), Introduced in Senate (03/16/2016), To counter foreign disinformation and propaganda, and for other purposes.
-- The art of the Trumpaclysm. How the U.S. invaded, occupied, and remade itself, by Tom Engelhardt
-- The Bizarre Not-Murder of Arkady Babchenko: The story of a crusading Russian journalist who faked his death to expose his enemies will fuel Moscow’s accusations of Ukrainian deceit, by Natasha Bertrand
-- The CIA’s Absence of Conviction, by Craig Murray
-- The Principles of Newspeak, by George Orwell (Excerpt from 1984)
-- The Story of CBS and the Plot to Invade Haiti, by Gus Constantine
-- Chapter 6: The Times, Excerpt From The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Cliveden, by Carroll Quigley
-- The 'Washington Post' 'Blacklist' Story Is Shameful and Disgusting: The capital's paper of record crashes legacy media on an iceberg, by Matt Taibbi
-- This Is How Your Hyperpartisan Political News Gets Made. BuzzFeed News traced a group of liberal and conservative websites back to the same company. “The product they’re pitching is outrage,” said one liberal writer, by Craig Silverman
-- Trust Is Collapsing in America: When truth itself feels uncertain, how can a democracy be sustained?, by Uri Friedman
-- US spy operation that manipulates social media: Military's 'sock puppet' software creates fake online identities to spread pro-American propaganda, by Nick Fielding and Ian Cobain
-- What Santa And The Dying Child Story Teaches Us About Fake News, Data And Verification, by Kalev Leetaru
-- Who’s Behind PropOrNot’s Blacklist of News Websites, by Pam Martens and Russ Martens
-- Why Has Trust in Media Collapsed? Look at Actions of WSJ, Yahoo, Business Insider and Slate, by Glenn Greenwald
-- Yahoo says one billion accounts exposed in newly discovered security breach, by Jim Finkle and Anya George Tharakan

-- Our Man in London: The Scandal of the 35-Page ‘Intelligence Dossier’ Directed against Donald Trump, by Prof Michael Keefer
-- A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack: Former NSA experts say it wasn’t a hack at all, but a leak—an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system, by Patrick Lawrence
-- Background to “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections”: The Analytic Process and Cyber Incident Attribution, by Office of the Director of National Intelligence
-- Beating or Driving, by Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News
-- How George W. Bush dissed the U.S. intelligence community. The likelihood is that the crimes of Bush, Cheney, Libby and Rove so far revealed are only the tip of the iceberg, by Juan Cole
-- Cambridge Prof with CIA, MI6 Ties Met with Trump Adviser During Campaign, Beyond, by Chuck Ross
-- Clinton Ally Says Smoke, But No Fire: No Russia-Trump Collusion, by Ken Dilanian
-- Clinton Campaign and Democratic Party Helped Pay for Russia Trump Dossier, by Kenneth P. Vogel
-- Clinton campaign, DNC paid for research that led to Russia dossier, by Adam Entous, Devlin Barrett and Rosalind S. Helderman
-- Coming in From the Cold, Going Out to the Bush Campaign, by Bill Peterson
-- Dmitry Medvedev Twitter account hacked: Hoaxers post messages saying Russian PM is resigning to become a photographer, and subverting Crimea hashtag, Alec Luhn
-- FBI once planned to pay former British spy who authored controversial Trump dossier, by Tom Hamburger and Rosalind S. Helderman
-- F.B.I. Used Informant to Investigate Russia Ties to Campaign, Not to Spy, as Trump Claims, by Adam Goldman, Mark Mazzetti and Matthew Rosenberg
-- Former CIA chief: Trump is Russia’s useful fool, by Michael V. Hayden
-- Full Clapper: "No Evidence" of Collusion Between Trump and Russia, Interview with James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, by Chuck Todd, Meet The Press
-- ‘Getting Trump’ with the New McCarthyism, by Robert Parry
-- Here’s How Much The FBI Planned To Pay Trump Dossier Author, by Chuck Ross
-- Hillary Clinton’s Deceptive Blame-Shifting, by Robert Parry
-- Hillary Clinton’s disingenuous dossier outrage, by Callum Borchers
-- How James Clapper will get away with perjury: Yes, the national director of intelligence lied under oath, and his defense is implausible. You think that matters? by Paul Campos
-- I Ran the C.I.A. Now I’m Endorsing Hillary Clinton, by Michael J. Morrell
-- Intelligence experts accuse Cambridge forum of Kremlin links: Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of MI6, resigns from Cambridge Intelligence Seminar, by Sam Jones
-- Iraq war: the greatest intelligence failure in living memory. On the tenth anniversary of the Iraq war, Panorama's Peter Taylor reveals the sources close to Saddam Hussein whose intelligence could have changed the course of history, by Peter Taylor
-- John Podesta, Whose Lawyer Paid For Dossier, Told Senate He Didn’t Know Who Funded It, by Chuck Ross
-- Key Democratic Officials Now Warning Base Not To Expect Evidence of Trump/Russia Collusion, by Glenn Greenwald
-- Mass Media Has Duped Democrats Into Believing Russia Hacked Voting Machines, by Caitlin Johnstone
-- Meet Professor Juan Cole, Consultant to the CIA, by John V. Walsh
-- New Cracks in Russia-gate ‘Assessment’, by Robert Parry
-- On Washington's hacking hysteria – what would Freud say?, by John Wight
-- Partners of firm behind ‘Trump dossier’ plead the Fifth during congressional hearing, by lynx.media
-- President Donald Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence's full remarks at the CIA Headquarters on Saturday, by President Donald Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence
-- Reagan Aides Describe Operation to Gather Inside Data on Carter, by Leslie H. Gelb
-- Robert Mueller Did Not Merely Reject the Trump-Russia Conspiracy Theories. He Obliterated Them, by Glenn Greenwald
-- Spy Agencies Investigating Claims Trump Advisers Worked With Russian Agents: The unverified allegations—including a claim Russia has material that could be used to blackmail Mr. Trump—were deemed sufficiently significant to brief the president-elect, by Shane Harris, Devlin Barrett and Alan Cullison
-- The Deep State Goes to War With President-Elect, Using Unverified Claims, as Democrats Cheer, by Glenn Greenwald
-- The Democratic Party line that could torch civil liberties … and maybe help blow up the world. We should reject the guidance of politicians and commentators who are all too willing to throw basic tenets of civil liberties overboard, by Norman Solomon
-- The Dubious Case on Russian ‘Hacking’, by William Binney and Ray McGovern
-- The FBI Informant Who Monitored the Trump Campaign, Stefan Halper, Oversaw a CIA Spying Operation in the 1980 Presidential Election, by Glenn Greenwald
-- The Hacking Evidence Against Russia Is Extremely Weak, by WashingtonsBlog
-- The king's beaters: Hunts and beaters, by http://en.parcoalpimarittime.it
-- The leaked Trump-Russia dossier rings frighteningly true: There is factual confusion in this document but its depiction of the Kremlin’s tactics is sound, by Andrei Soldatov
-- The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S., by Eric Lipton, David E. Sanger and Scott Shane
-- The Pleasures of Shooting. After Luncheon the "Beating" is a little Wild. (2) [Michael J. Morell, Michael V. Hayden, James Clapper, Hillary Clinton, John Brennan, Hunters; Donald Trump, Tiger], by Tara Carreon
-- The Royal Hunt of Donald the Terrible, by Charles Carreon
-- The Steele Dossier or the Hitler Diaries Mark II, by Craig Murray
-- Trump slams Democrats as 'disgrace' for helping to fund dossier, by Brian Ross, Matthew Mosk, and Cheyenne Haslett
-- US Intel Agencies Try to Strong-Arm Trump into War With Russia, by Mike Whitney
-- ‘US intel community lost professional discipline’: Ex-NSA tech director on ‘Russia hacking’ report, by Jim Urquhart
-- US Presidential Election: Republican Candidate Donald Trump's Activities in Russia and Compromising Relationship With the Kremlin, by Christopher Steele
-- US Report Still Lacks Proof on Russia ‘Hack’, by Robert Parry
-- Warner: Identifying FBI source to undermine Russia probe could be a crime, by Kyle Cheney
-- When Scandals Collide, by Andrew C. McCarthy

-- Clinton Journalist Has Meltdown After His Russian Conspiracy Theory Is Debunked. Pro-Clinton mainstream media remains convinced there must be nefarious, pro-Kremlin incentives for anyone opposing her, by Michael Sainato
-- A Bernie Sanders Campaign Adviser Was a Russian. Now He’s Speaking Out, by Glenn Greenwald
-- A Veteran Spy Has Given the FBI Information Alleging a Russian Operation to Cultivate Donald Trump: Has the bureau investigated this material?, by David Corn
-- Background to “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections”: The Analytic Process and Cyber Incident Attribution, by Office of the Director of National Intelligence
-- Branding Democracy: U.S. Regime Change in Post-Soviet Eastern Europe (EXCERPT), by Gerald Sussman
-- Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta Tied to Russian Mafia, Money Laundering: Emails released by Wikileaks show Podesta shared in the Clintons' corrupt schemes via the Clinton Foundation and oligarch Viktor Vekselberg's Skolovo Foundation, by Roger Stone
-- Clinton's campaign manager: Russia helping Trump, by Eric Bradner, CNN
-- Clinton Ally Says Smoke, But No Fire: No Russia-Trump Collusion, by Ken Dilanian
-- Dear Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, I Am Not Sidney Blumenthal, by Kurt Eichenwald
-- Dem Super-Lobbyist Podesta Got $170 K to End U.S. Sanctions on Russian Bank, by Richard Pollock
-- Democrats' new warning: Leaks could include Russian lies. The move could help inoculate Hillary Clinton against an October cyber surprise, by Cory Bennett
-- Democrats Now Demonize the Same Russia Policies that Obama Long Championed, by Glenn Greenwald
-- Dems Claim Next Wikileaks Release Will Include Fabricated Content. DNC would prefer another Cold War than admit bias for Clinton, by Michael Sainato
-- Did Newsweek's Kurt Eichenwald Use Threats and Bribery to Silence a Young Journalist?, by Walker Bragman and Shane Ryan
-- Ex-British ambassador who is now a WikiLeaks operative claims Russia did NOT provide Clinton emails - they were handed over to him at a D.C. park by an intermediary for 'disgusted' Democratic whistleblowers, by Alana Goodman
-- Full Clapper: "No Evidence" of Collusion Between Trump and Russia, Interview with James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, by Chuck Todd, Meet The Press
-- Hack of Democrats’ Accounts Was Wider Than Believed, Officials Say, by Eric Lichtblau and Eric Schmitt
-- Elevate Trump, by Tara Carreon
-- Hillary Clinton Campaign Was Connected to Russian Government, by Dan Wright
-- Hillary’s Secret Kremlin Connection Is Quickly Unraveling: Exactly how Clinton profited off deals with Skolkovo is something the American public has a right to know before November 8, by John R. Schindler
-- Intelligence figures fear Trump reprisals over assessment of Russia election role, by Spencer Ackerman
Julian Assange, by Afshin Rattansi

-- Key Democratic Officials Now Warning Base Not To Expect Evidence of Trump/Russia Collusion, By Glenn Greenwald
-- Killer, kleptocrat, genius, spy: the many myths of Vladimir Putin. Russia’s role in Trump’s election has led to a boom in Putinology. But do all these theories say more about us than Putin?, by Keith Gessen
-- Kremlin spokesman: Russian ambassador met with advisers to Clinton campaign too, by Olivia Beavers
-- Leading Putin Critic Warns of Xenophobic Conspiracy Theories Drowning U.S. Discourse and Helping Trump, by Glenn Greenwald
-- Members of the Aspen Institute Homeland Security Group Issue Statement on DNC Hack, by The Aspen Institute
-- MSNBC’S Rachel Maddow Sees A "Russia Connection" Lurking Around Every Corner, by Aaron Maté
-- Much Ado About Nothing: The ODNI report on Russian “hacking” is short on proof: It’s respected voices like these that are missing from the current debate about Russia, by Derek Royden
-- Obama Loses His War on Whistleblowers, by Craig Murray
-- Open Letter From Military Leaders Re: Supporting Donald Trump
-- Putin Derangement Syndrome Arrives: Whatever the truth about Trump and Russia, the speculation surrounding it has become a dangerous case of mass hysteria, by Matt Taibbi
-- RT beats internet to break #Podestaemails6 & everybody loses their minds (conspiracy theory warning), by RT.com
-- Russian Intelligence Hacked DNC Emails, Say Top U.S. Officials, by Ken Dilanian and Josh Meyer
-- Sberbank confirms hiring Podesta Group for lobbying its interests, by TASS Russian News Agency
-- So Remember All Those Times Democrats Said Russia Hacked The French Election? About That…, by Caitlin Johnstone
-- The CIA’s Absence of Conviction, by Craig Murray
-- The Increasingly Unhinged Russia Rhetoric Comes From a Long-Standing U.S. Playbook, by Glenn Greenwald
-- The Myths of ‘Democracy Assistance’: U.S. Political Intervention in Post-Soviet Eastern Europe (EXCERPT), by Gerald Sussman
-- The New Yorker’s Big Cover Story Reveals Five Uncomfortable Truths About U.S. and Russia, by Glenn Greenwald
-- The Secret Life of Bill Clinton: The Unreported Stories: Excerpt, by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
-- The United States and NATO Are Preparing for a Major War With Russia. Massive military exercises and a troop buildup on NATO’s eastern flank reflect a dangerous new strategy, by Michael T. Klare
-- There’s No Need for a New Cold War: The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald is skeptical Russia is really a new, serious threat, by Isaac Chotiner
-- Twitter Comments, by Kurt Eichenwald
-- What’s Worse: Trump’s Campaign Agenda or Empowering Generals and CIA Operatives to Subvert It?, by Glenn Greenwald
-- Who is Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States?, by Tim Lister
-- Why Vladimir Putin's Russia Is Backing Donald Trump, by Kurt Eichenwald
-- With New D.C. Policy Group, Dems Continue to Rehabilitate and Unify With Bush-Era Neocons, by Glenn Greenwald
-- With Saudi and Russian ties, Clinton machine’s tentacles are far reaching, according to Panama Papers, by Ben Norton

Disinformation is false or misleading information that is spread deliberately to deceive.[1][2][3] This is a subset of misinformation.

The English word disinformation is a loan translation of the Russian dezinformatsiya,[1][2][3] derived from the title of a KGB black propaganda department.[4] Joseph Stalin coined the term, giving it a French-sounding name to claim it had a Western origin.[1] Russian use began with a "special disinformation office" in 1923.[5] Disinformation was defined in Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1952) as "false information with the intention to deceive public opinion".[1][2][6] Operation INFEKTION was a Soviet disinformation campaign to influence opinion that the U.S. invented AIDS.[1][6][7] The U.S. did not actively counter disinformation until 1980, when a fake document reported that the U.S. supported apartheid.[8]

U.S. Disinformation Today

In spite of the long history of U.S. government propaganda, disinformation, and lying, each succeeding Administration insists it is clean, inventing alternative sources on whom to place the blame for the corruption of communications and dialogue. None of them wants the public to find the pea under the shell in this age-old con game. President Reagan has naturally accused the Soviets of introducing the practice. The State Department has fostered the myth that disinformation is a Russian word. Dezinformatsiya, according to one of their busy little defectors, Ladislav Bittman, is the province of "Directorate A" of the KGB. Bittman, a Czech who left his country well over ten years ago, only recently began making these widely-reported pronouncements about disinformation. The au courant darling of the right-wing press, he conveniently confirms their suspicions about Soviet global intentions, while Reagan warns television audiences about Soviet-style runways and Cuban-style army barracks. The danger is that through incessant repetition of the word, disinformation has become synonymous in the minds of the American public with Soviet intelligence operations.

Historical facts, however, point to quite another conclusion as the preceding sections have indicated. Disinformation has clearly been part of the U.S. intelligence, military, and Cold War offensive waged in peacetime since the end of World War II, an integral part of national security which has no clear relationship to truth or the beliefs of its practitioners. And as the activists of U.S. foreign policy, the CIA is its chief author.

Exposing Media Operations

In 1975, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (the Church Committee), in an investigation of CIA wrongdoing, revealed just a tiny portion of the extent of CIA penetration of world media. It was patently obvious to the investigators that only U.S. intelligence agencies could practice the art of disinformation on such a grand scale, given the extraordinary expense of manipulating, influencing, and outright purchasing of news throughout the world. The number of organizations and persons who must be paid off to place fictitious stories across the globe is staggering. Almost ten years ago the Church Committee said it had found evidence of more than 200 wire services, newspapers, magazines, and book publishing complexes owned outright by the CIA. A 1977 New York Times expose uncovered another 50 media outlets run by the CIA, inside and outside the U.S., with more than twelve publishing houses responsible for over 1000 books, some 250 of them in English. Beyond the wholly-owned proprietaries there were countless agents and friendly insiders working in media operations around the world. These exposures are, of course, only the tip of the iceberg. The mind reels at what remained hidden from Congress and the New York Times and continues so to the present.

Estimates of the portion of the U.S. intelligence budget -- kept secret from the American people and Congress -- devoted to propaganda range from a few to many billions of dollars a year. An extremely conservative guess in the December 1981 Defense Electronics put the overall U.S. intelligence budget for that year at $70 billion, of which about $10 billion, they said, went to the CIA. Media specialists have estimated that at least one third of the CIA's budget is devoted each year to the spread of disinformation, conservatively placing CIA covert media manipulation alone for that year at almost three and a half billion dollars. None of this takes into account the myriad of income-generating proprietaries owned by the CIA, firms which make a profit which is then poured back into more covert operations: CIA banks, holding companies, airlines, investment firms, and the like.

Anyone who has even a casual knowledge of the world hard currency situation knows that the Soviet Union does not have the kind of foreign exchange which billion dollar operations entail. Only the secret U.S. intelligence budget -- taken from unwitting American taxpayers -- can pay for inventing news on such a mammoth scale. And invent they do, as we shall see below in an examination of a few of their hysterical scenarios....

It is time the American people took a good dose of their own history to begin to understand what ails this society. One benefit might be a revival of old-fashioned American skepticism toward authoritative pronouncements. History has rebutted the argument of disinformation's origin as a KGB plot, and traced its twentieth century development as a hidden partner of the imperial process and national security apparatus. We have learned that propaganda intruded itself into the democratic process long ago.

The most important lesson of history's warnings, however, would be an understanding of what went wrong with information in the past to help people resist the inroads of further deception. The next time the government floats a story, demand in each instance to know why it is propagating this information, whose interests it is serving, and what is being concealed. Then perhaps this country can abandon the process of government by the misinformed.

-- The CIA and the Media, by CovertAction Information Bulletin

The word disinformation did not appear in English dictionaries until the late-1980s.[1][2] English use increased in 1986, after revelations that the Reagan Administration engaged in disinformation against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.[9] By 1990, it was pervasive in U.S. politics;[10] and by 2001 referred generally to lying and propaganda.[11][12]
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Re: Disinformation, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:46 am

Part 2 of 2

Etymology and early usage

The English word disinformation, which did not appear in dictionaries until the late-1980s, is a translation of the Russian дезинформация, transliterated as dezinformatsiya.[2][6][1] Where misinformation refers to inaccuracies that stem from error, disinformation is deliberate falsehood promulgated by design.[4] Misinformation can be used to define disinformation—when known misinformation is purposefully and intentionally disseminated.[13] Front groups are a form of disinformation, as they fraudulently mislead as to their actual controllers.[14] Disinformation tactics can lead to blowback, unintended negative problems due to the strategy, for example defamation lawsuits or damage to reputation.[14] Disinformation is primarily prepared by government intelligence agencies.[15] Another method that disinformation has been spreading is through the media, the term "fake news" has been on the rise and is described as intentionally incorrect and meant to mislead readers or viewers.[16]

The tactic was used during the long Roman-Persian Wars, examples being the Battle of Mount Gindarus, Battle of Telephis–Ollaria, and Heraclius assault on Persia.

Usage of the term related to a Russian tactical weapon started in 1923, when the Deputy Chairman of the KGB-precursor the State Political Directorate (GPU), Józef Unszlicht, called for the foundation of "a special disinformation office to conduct active intelligence operations".[5] The GPU was the first organization in the Soviet Union to use the term disinformation for their intelligence tactics.[17] William Safire wrote in his 1993 book Quoth the Maven that disinformation was used by the KGB predecessor to indicate: "manipulation of a nation's intelligence system through the injection of credible, but misleading data".[17] From this point on, disinformation became a tactic used in the Soviet political warfare called active measures.[18][5] Active measures were a crucial part of Soviet intelligence strategy involving forgery as covert operation, subversion, and media manipulation.[19] The 2003 encyclopedia Propaganda and Mass Persuasion states that disinformation came from dezinformatsia, a term used by the Russian black propaganda unit known as Service A which referred to active measures.[18] The term was used in 1939, related to a "German Disinformation Service".[20][21] The 1991 edition of The Merriam-Webster New Book of Word Histories defines disinformation as a probable translation of the Russian dezinformatsiya.[21] This dictionary notes that it was possible the English version of the word and the Russian-language version developed independently in parallel to each other—out of ongoing frustration related to the spread of propaganda before World War II.[21]

Ion Mihai Pacepa, former senior official from the Romanian secret police, said the word was coined by Joseph Stalin and used during World War II.[6][1] The Stalinist government then used disinformation tactics in both World War II and the Cold War.[22] Soviet intelligence used the term maskirovka (Russian military deception) to refer to a combination of tactics including disinformation, simulation, camouflage, and concealment.[23] Pacepa and Ronald J. Rychlak authored a book titled Disinformation, in which Pacepa wrote that Stalin gave the tactic a French-sounding title in order to put forth the ruse that it was actually a technique used by the Western world.[1] Pacepa recounted reading Soviet instruction manuals while working as an intelligence officer, that characterized disinformation as a strategy used by the Russian government that had early origins in Russian history.[6][1] Pacepa recalled that the Soviet manuals said the origins of disinformation stemmed from phony towns constructed by Grigory Potyomkin in Crimea to wow Catherine the Great during her 1783 journey to the region—subsequently referred to as Potemkin villages.[6][1]

In their book Propaganda and Persuasion, authors Garth Jowett and Victoria O'Donnell characterized disinformation as a cognate from dezinformatsia, and was developed from the same name given to a KGB black propaganda department.[4] The black propaganda division was reported to have formed in 1955 and was referred to as the Dezinformatsiya agency.[21] Former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director William Colby explained how the Dezinformatsiya agency operated, saying that it would place a false article in a left-leaning newspaper.[21] The fraudulent tale would make its way to a Communist periodical, before eventually being published by a Soviet newspaper, which would say its sources were undisclosed individuals.[21] By this process a falsehood was globally proliferated as a legitimate piece of reporting.[21]

According to Oxford Dictionaries the English word disinformation, as translated from the Russian disinformatsiya, began to see use in the 1950s.[24] The term disinformation began to see wider use as a form of Soviet tradecraft, defined in the 1952 official Great Soviet Encyclopedia as "the dissemination (in the press, radio, etc.) of false information with the intention to deceive public opinion."[2][6] During the most-active period of the Cold War, from 1945 to 1989, the tactic was used by multiple intelligence agencies including the Soviet KGB, British Secret Intelligence Service, and the American CIA.[20] The word disinformation saw increased usage in the 1960s and wider purveyance by the 1980s.[6] Former Soviet bloc intelligence officer Ladislav Bittman, the first disinformation practitioner to publicly defect to the West, described the official definition as different from the practice: "The interpretation is slightly distorted because public opinion is only one of the potential targets. Many disinformation games are designed only to manipulate the decision-making elite, and receive no publicity."[2] Bittman was deputy chief of the Disinformation Department of the Czechoslovak Intelligence Service, and testified before the United States Congress on his knowledge of disinformation in 1980.[18]

Disinformation may include distribution of forged documents, manuscripts, and photographs, or spreading dangerous rumours and fabricated intelligence. A major disinformation effort in 1964, Operation Neptune, was designed by the Czechoslovak secret service, the StB, to defame West European politicians as former Nazi collaborators.[25]

Defections reveal covert operations

The extent of Soviet disinformation covert operation campaigns came to light through the defections of KGB officers and officers of allied Soviet bloc services from the late 1960s to the 1980s.[26][10] Disorder during the fall of the Soviet Union revealed archival and other documentary information to confirm what the defectors had revealed.[26] Stanislav Levchenko and Ilya Dzerkvilov defected from the Soviet Union; by 1990, both had written books recounting their work in the KGB on disinformation operations.[10]

In 1961, a pamphlet was published in the United Kingdom, A Study of a Master Spy (Allen Dulles), which was highly critical of U.S. Director of Central Intelligence Allen Dulles.[8] The purported authors were given as Independent Labour Party Member of Parliament Bob Edwards and the reporter Kenneth Dunne, but the real author was senior disinformation officer KGB Colonel Vassily Sitnikov.[8]

An example of successful Soviet disinformation was the publication in 1968 of Who's Who in the CIA, which was quoted as authoritative in the West until the early 1990s.[27]

According to senior SVR officer Sergei Tretyakov, the KGB had been responsible for creating the entire nuclear winter story to stop the deployment of Pershing II missiles.[28] Tretyakov says that in 1979, the KGB started work to prevent the United States from deploying the missiles in Western Europe and that they had been directed by Yuri Andropov to distribute disinformation, based on a faked "doomsday report" by the Soviet Academy of Sciences on the effect of nuclear war on climate, to peace groups, the environmental movement and the journal AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment.[28]

During the 1970s, the U.S. intelligence apparatus paid little attention to try to counter Soviet disinformation campaigns.[8] That posture changed in September 1980, during the Carter administration, after the White House had been subjected to a propaganda operation by Soviet intelligence on international relations between the U.S. and South Africa.[8] On 17 September 1980, White House Press Secretary Jody Powell acknowledged a falsified Presidential Review Memorandum on Africa reportedly stated the U.S. endorsed the apartheid government in South Africa and was actively committed to discrimination against African Americans.[8] Prior to the revelation by Powell, an advance copy of the 18 September 1980 issue of San Francisco-based publication the Sun Reporter had been disseminated, which carried the fake claims.[8] Sun Reporter was published by Carlton Benjamin Goodlett, a Presidential Committee member of a Soviet front group, the World Peace Council.[8] U.S. President Jimmy Carter was appalled at the lies, and his administration then displayed increased interest in the CIA's efforts to counter Soviet disinformation.[8]

In 1982, the CIA issued a report on active measures used by Soviet intelligence.[29] The report documented numerous instances of disinformation campaigns against the U.S., including planting a notion that the it had organized the 1979 Grand Mosque seizure, as well as forgery of documents purporting to show the U.S. would use nuclear bombs on its NATO allies.[29]

Operation INFEKTION was an elaborate disinformation campaign that was begun in 1985 to influence world opinion to believe that the U.S. had invented AIDS.[6][7] That included the allegation that the purpose was the creation of an "ethnic bomb" to destroy non-whites.[7] In 1992, the head of Russian foreign intelligence, Yevgeny Primakov, admitted the existence of the Operation INFEKTION.[6][7]

In 1985, Aldrich Ames gave the KGB a significant amount of information on CIA sources, and the Soviet government swiftly moved to arrest those individuals.[30] Soviet intelligence feared that the rapid action would alert the CIA that Ames was a spy.[30] To reduce the chances the CIA would discover Ames's duplicity, the KGB manufactured disinformation as to the reasoning behind the arrests of the intelligence agents.[30] In the summer of 1985, a KGB officer who was a double agent working for the CIA on a mission in Africa traveled to a dead drop in Moscow on his way home but never reported in.[30] The CIA heard from a European KGB source that its agent had been arrested.[30] Simultaneously, the FBI and CIA learned from a second KGB source of its agent's arrest.[30] Only after Ames had been outed as a spy for the KGB would it become apparent that the KGB had known all along that both agents had been double agents for the U.S. government and had played them as pawns to send disinformation to the CIA to protect Ames.[30]

Russian disinformation since 2000

In the post-Soviet era, disinformation evolved to become a key tactic in the military doctrine of Russia.[31]

The European Union and NATO saw Russian disinformation in the early 21st century as such a problem that both set up special units to analyze and debunk fabricated falsehoods.[31] NATO founded a modest facility in Latvia to respond to disinformation[32] and agreement by heads of state and governments in March 2015 let the EU create the European External Action Service East Stratcom Task Force, which publishes weekly reports on its website "EU vs Disinfo."[33] The website and its partners identified and debunked over 3,500 pro-Kremlin disinformation cases between September 2015 and November 2017.[33]

Russia meanwhile used its television outlet RT (formerly known as Russia Today) and the Sputnik news agency.[31] When explaining the 2016 annual report of the Swedish Security Service on disinformation, the representative Wilhelm Unge stated: "We mean everything from Internet trolls to propaganda and misinformation spread by media companies like RT and Sputnik."[31] RT and Sputnik were created to focus on Western audiences and function by Western standards, and RT tends to focus on how problems are the fault of Western countries.[34]

In the 2010s, as social media gained prominence, Russia then began to use platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to spread disinformation. Facebook believes that as many as 126 million of its users have seen content from Russian disinformation campaigns on its platform. Twitter stated that it had found 36,000 Russian bots spreading tweets related to the 2016 U.S. elections.[35] Elsewhere, Russia has used social media to destabilize former Soviet states such as Ukraine and Western nations such as France and Spain.[36]

English language spread

How Disinformation Can Be Spread, explanation by U.S. Defense Department (2001)

The United States Intelligence Community appropriated usage of the term disinformation in the 1950s from the Russian dezinformatsiya, and began to use similar strategies[5][37] during the Cold War and in conflict with other nations.[6] The New York Times reported in 2000 that during the CIA's effort to substitute Mohammed Reza Pahlavi for then-Prime Minister of Iran Mohammad Mossadegh, the CIA placed fictitious stories in the local newspaper.[6] Reuters documented how, subsequent to the 1979 Soviet Union invasion of Afghanistan during the Soviet–Afghan War, the CIA put false articles in newspapers of Islamic-majority countries, inaccurately stating that Soviet embassies had "invasion day celebrations".[6] Reuters noted a former U.S. intelligence officer said they would attempt to gain the confidence of reporters and use them as secret agents, to impact a nation's politics by way of their local media.[6]

In October 1986, the term gained increased currency in the U.S. when it was revealed that two months previously, the Reagan Administration had engaged in a disinformation campaign against then-leader of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi.[9] White House representative Larry Speakes said reports of a planned attack on Libya as first broken by The Wall Street Journal on August 25, 1986 were "authoritative", and other newspapers including The Washington Post then wrote articles saying this was factual.[9] U.S. State Department representative Bernard Kalb resigned from his position in protest over the disinformation campaign, and said: "Faith in the word of America is the pulse beat of our democracy."[9]

The executive branch of the Reagan administration kept watch on disinformation campaigns through three yearly publications by the Department of State: Active Measures: A Report on the Substance and Process of Anti-U.S. Disinformation and Propaganda Campaigns (1986); Report on Active Measures and Propaganda, 1986–87 (1987); and Report on Active Measures and Propaganda, 1987–88 (1989).[5]

Disinformation first made an appearance in dictionaries in 1985, specifically Webster's New College Dictionary and the American Heritage Dictionary in 1985.[38] In 1986, the term disinformation was not defined in Webster's New World Thesaurus or New Encyclopædia Britannica.[1] After the Soviet term became widely known in the 1980s, native speakers of English broadened the term as "any government communication (either overt or covert) containing intentionally false and misleading material, often combined selectively with true information, which seeks to mislead and manipulate either elites or a mass audience."[3]

By 1990, use of the term disinformation had fully established itself in the English language within the lexicon of politics.[10] By 2001, the term disinformation had come to be known as simply a more civil phrase for saying someone was spouting lies.[11] Stanley B. Cunningham wrote in his 2002 book The Idea of Propaganda that disinformation had become pervasively used as a synonym for propaganda.[12]


The authors of a 2006 book about psychopathy in the workplace, Snakes in Suits describe a five-phase model of how a typical workplace psychopath climbs to and maintains power. In phase three, manipulation, the psychopath will create a scenario of "psychopathic fiction"—where positive information about themselves and negative disinformation about others will be created, casting others in roles as a part of a network of pawns or patrons to be used and groomed into accepting the psychopath's agenda.[39]

Responses from cultural leaders

Pope Francis criticized disinformation in a 2016 interview, after being made the subject of a fake news website—during the 2016 U.S. election cycle he was falsely said to support Donald Trump.[40][41][42] He said the worst thing the news media could do was spread disinformation, that it was a sin,[43][44] comparing those who spread disinformation to individuals who engage in coprophilia.[45][46]

Ethics in warfare

In a contribution to the 2014 book Military Ethics and Emerging Technologies, writers David Danks and Joseph H. Danks discuss the ethical implications in using disinformation as a tactic during information warfare.[47] They note there has been a significant degree of philosophical debate over the issue as related to the ethics of war and use of the technique.[47] The writers describe a position whereby the use of disinformation is occasionally allowed, but not in all situations.[47] Typically the ethical test to consider is whether the disinformation was performed out of a motivation of good faith and acceptable according to the rules of war.[47] By this test, the tactic during World War II of putting fake inflatable tanks in visible locations on the Pacific Islands in order to falsely present the impression that there were larger military forces present would be considered as ethically permissible.[47] Conversely, disguising a munitions plant as a healthcare facility in order to avoid attack would be outside the bounds of acceptable use of disinformation during war.[47]


Research related to disinformation studies is increasing as an applied area of inquiry.[48][49] The call to formally classify disinformation as a cybersecurity threat is made by advocates due to its increase in social networking sites.[50]

Consequences of exposure to disinformation online

There is a broad consensus amongst scholars that there is a high degree of disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda online; however, it is unclear to what extent such disinformation has on political attitudes in the public and therefore political outcomes.[51] This conventional wisdom has come mostly from investigative journalists, with a particular rise during the 2016 US election: some of the earliest work came from Craig Silverman at Buzzfeed News.[52] Cass Sunstein supported this in #Republic, arguing that the internet would become rife with echo chambers and informational cascades of misinformation leading to a highly polarised and ill-informed society.[53]

However, research done on this topic points less clearly in this direction. For example, internet access and time spent on social media does not appear correlated with polarisation.[54] Further, misinformation appears not to significantly change political knowledge of those exposed to it.[55] There seems to be a higher level of diversity of news sources users are exposed to on Facebook and Twitter than conventional wisdom would dictate, as well as a higher frequency of cross-spectrum discussion.[56][57] Other evidence has found that disinformation campaigns rarely succeed in altering the foreign policies of the targeted states.[58]

Strategies for spreading disinformation

There are four main methods of spreading disinformation recognised in academic literature:[51]

1. Selective Censorship.
2. Manipulation of search rankings.
3. Hacking and Releasing
4. Directly Sharing Disinformation

See also

• 1995 CIA disinformation controversy
• Active measures
• Active Measures Working Group
• Agitprop
• Counter Misinformation Team
• Chinese information operations and information warfare
• Demoralization (warfare)
• Denial and deception
• Fact checking
• Fake news
• False flag
• Fear, uncertainty and doubt
• Forgery as covert operation
• Gaslighting
• Information warfare
• Internet manipulation
• Iraq Dossier
• Kompromat
• Media censorship and disinformation during the Gezi Park protests
• Media manipulation
• Manufacturing Consent
• Operation Shocker
• Operation Toucan (KGB)
• Politico-media complex
• Post-truth politics
• Propaganda in the Soviet Union
• Russian military deception
• Scientific misconduct
• September Dossier
• Sharp power
• Social engineering (political science)
• Steele Dossier, double-sided concerning both its veracity and its non-veracity


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2. Bittman, Ladislav (1985), The KGB and Soviet Disinformation: An Insider's View, Pergamon-Brassey's, pp. 49–50, ISBN 978-0-08-031572-0
3. Shultz, Richard H.; Godson, Roy (1984), Dezinformatsia: Active Measures in Soviet Strategy, Pergamon-Brassey's, pp. 37–38, ISBN 978-0-08-031573-7
4. Garth Jowett; Victoria O'Donnell (2005), "What Is Propaganda, and How Does It Differ From Persuasion?", Propaganda and Persuasion, Sage Publications, pp. 21–23, ISBN 978-1-4129-0898-6, In fact, the word disinformation is a cognate for the Russian dezinformatsia, taken from the name of a division of the KGB devoted to black propaganda.
5. Martin J. Manning; Herbert Romerstein (2004), "Disinformation", Historical Dictionary of American Propaganda, Greenwood, pp. 82–83, ISBN 978-0-313-29605-5
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8. Waller, J. Michael (2009), Strategic Influence: Public Diplomacy, Counterpropaganda, and Political Warfare, Institute of World Politics Press, pp. 159–161, ISBN 978-0-9792236-4-8
9. Biagi, Shirley (2014), "Disinformation", Media/Impact: An Introduction to Mass Media, Cengage Learning, p. 328, ISBN 978-1-133-31138-6
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11. Barton, Geoff (2001), Developing Media Skills, Heinemann, p. 124, ISBN 978-0-435-10960-8
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16. Tandoc, Edson C; Lim, Darren; Ling, Rich (7 August 2019). "Diffusion of disinformation: How social media users respond to fake news and why". Journalism. 21 (3): 381–398. doi:10.1177/1464884919868325. ISSN 1464-8849. S2CID 202281476.
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19. Ostrovsky, Arkady (5 August 2016), "For Putin, Disinformation Is Power", The New York Times, retrieved 9 December 2016
20. Henry Watson Fowler; Jeremy Butterfield (2015), Fowler's Dictionary of Modern English Usage, Oxford University Press, p. 223, ISBN 978-0-19-966135-0
21. "disinformation", The Merriam-Webster New Book of Word Histories, Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, Inc, 1991, pp. 143–144, ISBN 978-0-87779-603-9
22. Mendell, Ronald L. (2013), "Disinformation", Investigating Information-based Crimes, Charles C Thomas Publisher Ltd, p. 45, ISBN 978-0-398-08871-2
23. Hy Rothstein; Barton Whaley (2013), "Catching NATO Unawares: Soviet Army Surprise and Deception Techniques", The Art and Science of Military Deception, Artech House Intelligence and Information Operations, Artech House Publishers, pp. 189–192, ISBN 978-1-60807-551-5
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25. Bittman, Ladislav (1972), The Deception Game: Czechoslovak Intelligence in Soviet Political Warfare, Syracuse University Research Corporation, pp. 39–78, ISBN 978-0-8156-8078-9
26. Holland, Max (2006), "The Propagation and Power of Communist Security Services Dezinformatsiya", International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, 19 (1): 1–31, doi:10.1080/08850600500332342, S2CID 153652552
27. United States Information Agency (1992), "Crude, Anti-American Disinformation: 'Geheim' and 'Top Secret' Magazines: Purveyors of Crude, Defamatory Disinformation", Soviet Active Measures in the 'Post-Cold War' Era 1988–1991 – A Report Prepared at the Request of the United States House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations by the United States Information Agency, Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office
28. Earley, Pete (2007), Comrade J: The Untold Secrets of Russia's Master Spy in America After the End of the Cold War, Penguin Books, pp. 167–177, ISBN 978-0-399-15439-3
29. Goulden, Joseph (2012), "Disinformation (dezinformatsiya)", The Dictionary of Espionage: Spyspeak into English, Dover Military History, Weapons, Armor, Dover Publications, p. 64, ISBN 978-0-486-48348-1
30. Johnson, Loch K., ed. (2012), "Counterintelligence as Disinformation Operations", The Oxford Handbook of National Security Intelligence, Oxford Handbooks, Oxford University Press, pp. 548–550, ISBN 978-0-19-992947-4
31. MacFarquharaug, Neil (28 August 2016), "A Powerful Russian Weapon: The Spread of False Stories", The New York Times, p. A1, retrieved 9 December 2016
32. Anne Applebaum; Edward Lucas (6 May 2016), "The danger of Russian disinformation", The Washington Post, retrieved 9 December 2016
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34. Moore, Cerwyn (2019). "Russia and Disinformation". S2CID 202895613.
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37. Murray-Smith, Stephen (1989), Right Words, Viking, p. 118, ISBN 978-0-670-82825-8
38. Bittman, Ladislav (1988), The New Image-Makers: Soviet Propaganda & Disinformation Today, Brassey's Inc, pp. 7, 24, ISBN 978-0-08-034939-8
39. Babiak, Paul; Hare, Robert D. (2007), Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work, HarperCollins, p. 240, ISBN 978-0061147890
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46. Griffin, Andrew (7 December 2016), "Pope Francis: Fake news is like getting sexually aroused by faeces", The Independent, retrieved 7 December 2016
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48. Spies, Samuel (14 August 2019). "Defining "Disinformation", V1.0". MediaWell, Social Science Research Council. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
49. Tandoc, Edson C. (2019). "The facts of fake news: A research review". Sociology Compass. 13 (9): e12724. doi:10.1111/soc4.12724. ISSN 1751-9020.
50. Caramancion, Kevin Matthe (2020). "An Exploration of Disinformation as a Cybersecurity Threat". 2020 3rd International Conference on Information and Computer Technologies (ICICT): 440–444. doi:10.1109/ICICT50521.2020.00076. ISBN 978-1-7281-7283-5. S2CID 218651389.
51. Tucker, Joshua; Guess, Andrew; Barbera, Pablo; Vaccari, Cristian; Siegel, Alexandra; Sanovich, Sergey; Stukal, Denis; Nyhan, Brendan (2018). "Social Media, Political Polarization, and Political Disinformation: A Review of the Scientific Literature". SSRN Working Paper Series. doi:10.2139/ssrn.3144139. ISSN 1556-5068.
52. "This Analysis Shows How Viral Fake Election News Stories Outperformed Real News On Facebook". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
53. Sunstein, Cass R. (14 March 2017). #Republic : divided democracy in the age of social media. Princeton. ISBN 978-0691175515. OCLC 958799819.
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Further reading

• Bittman, Ladislav (1985), The KGB and Soviet Disinformation: An Insider's View, Pergamon-Brassey's, ISBN 978-0-08-031572-0
• Boghardt, Thomas (26 January 2010), "Operation INFEKTION – Soviet Bloc Intelligence and Its AIDS Disinformation Campaign" (PDF), Studies in Intelligence, 53 (4), retrieved 9 December 2016
• Golitsyn, Anatoliy (1984), New Lies for Old: The Communist Strategy of Deception and Disinformation, Dodd, Mead & Company, ISBN 978-0-396-08194-4
• O'Connor, Cailin, and James Owen Weatherall, "Why We Trust Lies: The most effective misinformation starts with seeds of truth", Scientific American, vol. 321, no. 3 (September 2019), pp. 54–61.
• Ion Mihai Pacepa and Ronald J. Rychlak (2013), Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism, WND Books, ISBN 978-1-936488-60-5
• Fletcher Schoen; Christopher J. Lamb (1 June 2012), "Deception, Disinformation, and Strategic. Communications: How One Interagency Group. Made a Major Difference" (PDF), Strategic Perspectives, 11, retrieved 9 December 2016
• Shultz, Richard H.; Godson, Roy (1984), Dezinformatsia: Active Measures in Soviet Strategy, Pergamon-Brassey's, ISBN 978-0080315737
• Taylor, Adam (26 November 2016), "Before 'fake news,' there was Soviet 'disinformation'", The Washington Post, retrieved 3 December 2016
• Legg, Heidi; Kerwin, Joe (1 November 2018), The Fight Against Disinformation in the U.S.: A Landscape Analysis, Harvard Kennedy School, Shorenstein Center, retrieved 10 August 2020

External links

• Disinformation review – a weekly European Union review of "disinformation attacks that target European audience".
• Disinformation – a learning resource from the British Library including an interactive movie and activities.
• MediaWell – an initiative of the nonprofit Social Science Research Council seeking to track and curate disinformation, misinformation, and fake news research.
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Re: Disinformation, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:07 am

CIA Has Global Media Machine, Ex-Aides Say
by Frank Greve
Philadelphia Inquirer
October 3, 1986
Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2010/06/17: CIA-RDP91-00587R000200780004-3

Washington -- "Our mighty Wurlitzer" is what Central Intelligence Agency personnel often call the agency's global propaganda machine, according to retired operative Ralph McGehee.

The machine is a huge, far-flung network of pro-American reporters, editors and news media owners in foreign nations who, for ideologic or mercenary reasons, help the CIA "play any propaganda anywhere in the world at any time," McGehee said.

Although the agency ended paid participation by U.S. foreign correspondents in 1978, except at the director's discretion, foreign reporters and media outlets play on at a price estimated at $3 billion by Covert Action, Washington-based watchdogs of the intelligence community.

A Wurlitzer tune -- in this case, unattributable propaganda intended to keep Col. Moammar Gadhafi off balance and deter Libyan-backed terrorism -- apparently was part of the Reagan administration's disinformation plan against Gadhafi that was developed late last summer and revealed yesterday in a Washington Post article that also appeared in The Inquirer.

White House spokesman Larry Speakes insisted yesterday that no attempt had been made to provide disinformation to U.S. media, but would not comment about a White House memo quoted in the Post as calling for "foreign media placements" by the CIA as part of the destabilization campaign.

Speakes declined repeatedly to say whether CIA disinformation -- that is, false and-or misleading information -- was planted in foreign media.

It is a common CIA practice, according to both McGehee of Herndon, Va., and John Stockwell of Elgin, Texas, another former CIA agent. In 1976, the Senate Intelligence Committee estimated that 900 foreign journalists, or agents posing as journalists, helped the agency plant propaganda.

The phony news story "could be an article we'd write and just give to a reporter under contract," said McGehee. "Or we'd give them guidelines, saying, 'Here's the story we want generated; you write it in the local context.'

"Once you'd planted an article successfully, you'd clip it and airmail it around the world, get it placed in news media everywhere," he continued.

McGehee resigned from the CIA in 1977 after 25 years, mostly in the agency's directorate for operations.

Another player of the Wurlitzer was Stockwell, who supervised the agency's media campaign as chief of the CIA Angola Task Force in the mid-1970s.

"It's easy to crank out the stories," he said in a telephone interview. "The harder part is to create sources that check out. In Angola, we set up several stringers (free-lance reporters who served as local writers for many publications abroad) who would send a hot story, with pictures, or, if the boss came down to check it out, would wine him and dine him and send him home satisfied."

Mostly, the propagandizing worked smoothly and well, Stockwell recalled. His most celebrated coup, he said, was a false story carried worldwide that Cuban troops in Angola had raped numerous native women. ("Nobody was going to say it didn't happen," he said.) His biggest gaffe was an equally false story that 43 Soviet advisors had been captured in Angola, which drew dozens of unanswerable inquiries. ("It died an embarrassing, slow death," Stockwell said.)

Both McGehee and Stockwell, author of In Search of Enemies: A CIA Story, insisted that CIA propaganda efforts abroad often reappeared in U.S. media, in effect feeding disinformation to Americans. While CIA media director Kathy Pherson declined to comment, as usual, on agency operations, Speakes insisted that propagandizing of Americans had not occurred in the effort against Gadhafi.

"That's hard to imagine," said McGehee. "Back when I was a CIA analyst preparing studies, I recall drawing on what I assumed was genuine information. Years later, I'd find out that the sources I was using were agency resources. If the CIA can't protect its own personnel from what we called 'blowback,' how could it protect newsmen?"
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Part 1 of 4

The CIA and the Media
by CovertAction Information Bulletin
Number 19
Spring-Summer 1983
© 1983 by Covert Action Publications, Inc.
Approved For Release 2010/06/09: CIA-RDP90-00845R000100180003-5



Three years have passed since we last devoted an issue to the ties between the media and the intelligence complex. The need for such scrutiny now, we believe, is greater than ever, and this entire special issue deals with the subject.

As the U.S. government sinks deeper into an ideological morass, the watchdog role of the press becomes that much more important. Yet we see complacency rather than skepticism. The country is being run by people who lie unashamedly; yet most of the media wag their tails and accept everything. Cabinet officers who assert that Grenada is a threat to the national security of the United States should be laughed off the podium; senior military and CIA officials who fear an imminent invasion from the Peoples Republic of Mexico should be retired. Yet it seems that the administration can say almost anything and be taken seriously by a large segment of the Fourth Estate.

We do not demean the efforts of the excellent investigative journalists -- of both the print and electronic media -- who have helped to expose some of the more outrageous abuses of this government, especially the illegal war against Nicaragua. Indeed it is amazing, considering the way the deck is stacked against them, that they can expose anything. Truly, the administration holds almost all the cards. They can manipulate through selective background briefings and orchestrated leaks in a way that very few honest journalists can combat.

Most people in the media have not spoken out. When the present government seems hellbent on pouring many millions into the coffers of every fascist dictator in the world, on arming and financing regimes responsible for torture, disappearances, and thousands of deaths, on flagrantly breaking both U.S. and international law as a matter of course, the media must be intensely critical, not insufferably fawning. When someone lies outrageously, you have to say so, whether the speaker is the President or a famous foreign correspondent. Many journalists who accept every foolish bureaucratic utterance should know better; some, unfortunately, do know better. Some unwittingly spread administration disinformation; some create it. In this special issue of CAIB, we study the complex problem of disinformation from a number of perspectives. We include a comprehensive historical overview by William Preston and Ellen Ray and several current examples. We are especially pleased to present the devastating analysis by Edward Herman and Frank Brodhead of the "plot" to kill the Pope, exposing in meticulous detail a major current disinformation operation. We also review the new book by Georgie Anne Geyer, a leading disinformationist, and we dissect the media operation which the Reagan administration is mounting against Grenada. We present, after a long absence from these pages, Philip Agee's detective work which led to the exposure of a CIA wolf in journalist's clothing. And we conclude with news notes and Ken Lawrence's Sources and Methods column, all devoted to the media and intelligence operations. We hope that journalists are vigilant in rejecting the pressures to spread disinformation; we hope that our readers will be relentless in exposing it.

Table of Contents

• Editorial
• Disinformation and Deception
• The '''Plot'' Against the Pope
• Georgie Anne Geyer
• Grenada; Reagan's Big Lie
• The Journalist Spy
• News Notes
• Sources and Methods

Cover At by Johanna Vogelsang. 

Disinformation and Mass Deception: Democracy as a Cover Story

By William Preston, Jr. and Ellen Ray [William Preston. Jr. is President of the Fund for Open Information and Accountability, Inc. (FOIA. Inc.) and Chair of the History Department of John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City: Ellen Ray is editor of the FOIA, Inc. newsletter, Our Right to Know, and co-editor of Covert Action Information Bulletin.]

During World War I, the atrocity story came into its own as an instrument of foreign policy. In those simpler days, governments could turn public opinion against the enemy with tales of individual brutality: the rape of a nun, the bayonetting of a baby, or the execution of a Red Cross nurse. Such propaganda externalized the issues and focused national attention on an appropriate scapegoat. Doubters or dissenters were swept aside in the patriotic fallout, in an emotional downpour that insisted, "Once at war, to reason is treason."

This crude propaganda, however, had a temporary, war-related quality which often foundered on its own exaggerations. The idea of truth in those days had not yet been obliterated by the continuous covert manipulation of information in peacetime just as in war; nor had deception, secrecy, and lying come to be so much a part of the national menu as to be swallowed whole like the junk food that satiates the public appetite.
Today there is no better example of the corrupted circumstances that now confront the consumer of news than the undercover campaign of official disinformation about Cuba.

Having failed to restore its hegemony over Cuba in the Bay of Pigs invasion or in the long, secret war waged under the code name "Operation Mongoose," the United States Central Intelligence Agency recently stepped up its 20-year psychological warfare operations to discredit and destroy the Cuban government and any other Latin American or Caribbean government which stands in ideological unity with them. Propaganda aimed at that small, struggling country intentionally manipulates emotions of horror, revulsion, and fear in the uninformed citizen of the Yankee Colossus. Cuba is falsely pictured by the U.S. as embracing in its foreign policy the contemporary apocalyptic trio: drugs, criminality, and terrorism -- a far more terrible spectre than the individual bloodletting of the World War I propaganda. Images of corrupted American youth, gangsterism, and revolutionary violence sent from Cuba throughout Latin America are daily media fare for the American public.

Cuba as scapegoat and Fidel Castro as the implacable enemy of world national security interests have become easy answers for the complex realities of hemispheric change. And the sophisticated techniques with which official information about Cuba is concealed, denied, created, regulated, shaped, and planted seem to have heightened public acceptance of the Big Lie.

While a shoot-out at credibility gap might not rescue the truth about Cuba from the hands of its abductors, a historical perspective of official U.S. deception operations against its own people might at least inoculate some against further ravages of this advancing affliction.

The Overt Era of Information Abuse, 1898-1945

No one with any knowledge of governments would ever insist there was a utopian past. Governments have always monitored dissent to impose their version of events on the public consciousness, to control the circulation of hostile opinion, and to manage the news. Secrecy always had a place, as had executive privilege. But the First Amendment guarantees, as well as the separation and checking of powers, seemed designed to limit the U.S. government's inherent tendency to manipulate information for its own interest. But as we shall see, this is not the case.

During and after the Civil War. while not engaging in deliberate deception, the government nevertheless insisted on "codes of press behavior" (the same which we criticize UNESCO and Third World nations for daring to put forth in the New International Information Order) and could classify information as too poisonous to circulate if judged "incendiary," "seditious," "treasonable," "immoral," "indecent," or "obscene."

The buildup of the North American Empire, then, added a new dimension of danger for information. During the Spanish-American War, the brutal military mop-up against the "rebels" in the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Cuba involved secret planning, undercover operations, and premeditated coverups in the face of public and Congressional opposition.

The New York Times: Documents Prove Lenine and Trotzky Hired by Germans. Communications Between Berlin and Bolshevist Government Given Out by Creel.

It was the first World War, however, that led the U.S. to move beyond censorship and overt suppression into the heady realm of disinformation itself. In April 1917, President Woodrow Wilson authorized the Committee on Public Information, headed by George Creel, to take an active part in disseminating and propagandizing an official point of view. To unite public opinion behind the war, Creel's CPI conducted "a fight for the mind of mankind." Fake intelligence suggesting that German spies were everywhere generated waves of hatred and hysteria against the "barbaric Huns." In disinformation coups reminiscent of today, the State Department used selective information to "prove" Germany was funding American pacifist organizations.

The capacity for covert conduct also gained ground as U.S. military intelligence expanded its role in domestic surveillance, laying plans in 1920 for a secret, domestic, counter-insurgency program aimed at radicals -- an authentic progenitor of the COINTELPRO operations of the later Hoover years.
Anticipating the CIA mania for cover, U.S. intelligence also dispatched agents to Europe as members of the International Red Cross.

By the end of the war, the country had acquired an institutionalized intelligence system, initiated the classification of sensitive information, and bitten into the apple of deception. The Committee for Public Information left a legacy of experience for later generations of disinformationists to apply, if not to duplicate.

Public Relations Is Born As Disinformation

During two subsequent decades of peace in which the trauma of an economic collapse followed the delirium of a perilous prosperity, a subtle yet significant development shaped the future of information: the rise of public relations and its professional advocates.

Exemplified by Edward Bernays
, a man who began his career as consultant to the U.S. delegation to the Versailles Peace Conference which terminated World War I and ended it as a hired hand for United Fruit Company in Latin America, public relations and its covert marketing strategies quickly seeped into the very core of American life. As Bernays cynically stated in a PR manual in 1928, "The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country ... it is the intelligent minorities which need to make use of propaganda continuously and systematically."

The New Deal Thirties witnessed further assaults on the integrity of information. In the U.S., the realities of the depression inspired a militant labor union campaign for recognition and power, one in which the Communists participated as allies. The conservative reaction to this movement was vicious, projecting an image of it as the secret "red" subversion of U.S. society -- a mindless image which haunts the public consciousness even today. Imagined threats from front organizations and Fifth Columns brought further waves of tainted information. Thus the stage was set for the massive escalation of mistrust in any information not certified "pure" by the U.S. government. Since it could have the field to itself, all competitors were labeled un-American.

What the government would do with this power was not yet clear, but its existence and potential for abuse could not be denied -- an incredible opportunity for any proponent of the Bernays school of manipulation.

Other trends in the years immediately preceding Pearl Harbor accelerated the information counter-revolution. The growth of classification expanded the domain of U.S. secrecy and the ability of government officials to conceal or selectively leak information on behalf of their own political agendas. Loyalty oaths and security checks came into being, designed to eliminate disclosure of this same material. "Subversive activities" and espionage, meanwhile, became top priorities for the U.S. government, justifying generalized surveillance of a population considered suspect. Covert intelligence activity would soon come to serve the information management of successive U.S. Administrations.

World War II and the New Disinformation

On the eve of its second crusade to save the world, the U.S. was also poised on the brink of a new information era. How secret its policies would become, to what extent it would adopt the techniques of deception, and how each of these would affect democratic decision-making began to emerge as the war progressed. These questions were illuminated in the dramatic struggle for power which occurred between the Office of War Information (OWI), essentially a civilian organization charged with the mission of promoting an understanding of the war to the world at large, and the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the wartime predecessor of today's CIA. These two agencies had irreconcilable differences over the nature and purpose of propaganda. The OSS victory in this struggle would foreshadow the growth of an Orwellian Ministry of Truth to be used as a covert instrument of Cold War policies against a new enemy -- the Soviet Union. But all that came later.

Elmer Davis, OWI Director and ex-newsman, began WWII believing his agency should deal in facts, not opinion, disseminating truths to friend and enemy alike -- something the BBC's wartime broadcasts were attempting to accomplish. But neither President Roosevelt nor the Army, Navy, and State Departments believed that the public had a right to know what was really going on. (Documents recently obtained under the Freedom of Information Act even suggest U.S. foreknowledge of Pearl Harbor.) In any case, the war-related bureaucracy remained adamant about sharing information with the OWI, seriously undermining its mission.

Colonel William J. Donovan, head of the OSS, on the other hand, had an adventurer's enthusiasm for secret operations, dirty tricks, and disinformation of the crudest sort. Psychological warfare dominated the OSS approach to the war, though neither its costs nor its benefits to the American people were evaluated. Nor was truth considered a weapon of any potential.

Psychological warfare thus sold itself to the high command and the OWI was forced to adopt the methods of its competitor, subordinating all information projects to the expedient of winning the war. Interestingly, it was hardly this capitulation which influenced the course of the war, since the same methods of manipulation were carried to the extreme by the enemy -- the Goebbels approach to information.

By the time hostilities ended, the OWI had become a converted exponent of American power, its liberal one-world ideology long since subordinated to the commitment of U.S. involvement in every region of the world. Nowhere, their propaganda now claimed, could the U.S. "renounce its moral and ideological interests ... as a powerful and righteous nation."

In the OSS similar readjustments of priorities took place. Where once psychological warfare had at least been balanced by careful intelligence analysis to secure and interpret information, covert operations with their deceptive components of subverting and transforming facts became the new intelligence obsession.

In sum, a watershed had been reached. Information thereafter became Bernays's reality -- an "unseen mechanism" by which "intelligent minorities" shaped the opinions of the masses by deceiving them.

The Intelligence Era: Information Goes Underground

During the controversy surrounding publication of the Pentagon Papers in 1971, Leslie Gelb, in charge of producing that voluminous and revealing report for the New York Times, commented on the continuing Cold War dedication to the philosophy of Bernays. "Most of our elected and appointed leaders in the national security establishment," he confirmed, "felt they had the right -- and beyond that the obligation -- to manipulate the American public in the national interest as they defined it." The same notion in abbreviated form slipped out in an exchange between Defense Secretary McNamara's press spokesman and a group of reporters in 1962: "It's inherent in the government's right, if necessary, to lie to save itself," the aide argued.

The right to manipulate and the right to lie have had other post-war companions: the right to plausibly deny; the right to a cover story; the right to conceal; and the need to know, a standard of classification that created another right, that of privileged access, with its step-child, the right to selectively leak.

In analyzing the period since the atom bombs leveled the Japanese will to resist, it is as if the intelligence agencies had not yet heard that the war was over, and are still hiding in caves on some Washington atoll. Yet the patterns which have unfolded are a logical outcome of the wartime experience, beginning with the failure to reorganize, control, or totally dismantle the secret coercive machinery which was created for that war. Quite the contrary. Stopping international communism provided the rationale for the even broader mandate for world-wide conquest -- the neocolonialism and imperialism of the new empire. And to help in those operations, the U.S. intelligence agencies had no qualms about enlisting the support of their former enemies -- the Gehlen intelligence network of Nazi Germany.

Documents of some of the early proposals to set up the central intelligence unit -- the present CIA -- give a flavor of the crisis atmosphere with which they viewed the future struggle against the Soviet Union: "the task of detecting ... any developments which threaten the security of the world;'' ''to create a system in which every U.S. citizen who travels abroad ... is a source of political intelligence;" "maintaining a constant check on foreign intelligence and propaganda, including propagandized U.S. citizens;" and "keep ... informed on political trends inside the U.S .... because state legislatures are peculiarly vulnerable to outside influences and would be a logical objective of foreign intelligence services .... " It is small wonder that the CIA's fears became self-fulfilling prophesies.

Early CIA post-war victories over communism such as the Italian elections of 1948 -- bought and paid for unwittingly by the American people -- brought about unholy alliances as distasteful as those the intelligence agencies had made with the war criminals, dealings with the Mafia and the attendant corruption which comes with sharing a dirty secret with thugs.

Later the Korean War produced an equally important impact on the spy operatives' own psychological outlook. Korea revived the atmosphere of total war, and created an "anything goes" philosophy directed against the "enemy." It meant, as General Maxwell Taylor argued in 1961 with reference to Fidel Castro, there would be a policy of "no long-term living with ... dangerously effective exponents of communism and anti-Americanism." Iran (1953), Guatemala (1954), Vietnam (1954-1973), Brazil (1962), Indonesia (1965), and Chile (1973) were among the targets of covert operations encouraged by this philosophy.

But the strangest outcome of all in this web of deceit and disinformation was its coming home to roost. The intelligence establishment actually began to eat its own vomit. False propaganda fed into foreign outlets came to be reported back to the U.S. and the government began to make policy decisions based on its own lies.

U.S. Disinformation Today

In spite of the long history of U.S. government propaganda. disinformation, and lying, each succeeding Administration insists it is clean, inventing alternative sources on whom to place the blame for the corruption of communications and dialogue. None of them wants the public to find the pea under the shell in this age-old con game. President Reagan has naturally accused the Soviets of introducing the practice. The State Department has fostered the myth that disinformation is a Russian word. Dezinformatsiya, according to one of their busy little defectors, Ladislav Bittman, is the province of "Directorate A" of the KGB. Bittman, a Czech who left his country well over ten years ago, only recently began making these widely-reported pronouncements about disinformation. The au courant darling of the right-wing press, he conveniently confirms their suspicions about Soviet global intentions, while Reagan warns television audiences about Soviet-style runways and Cuban-style army barracks. The danger is that through incessant repetition of the word, disinformation has become synonymous in the minds of the American public with Soviet intelligence operations.

Historical facts, however, point to quite another conclusion as the preceding sections have indicated. Disinformation has clearly been part of the U.S. intelligence, military, and Cold War offensive waged in peacetime since the end of World War II, an integral part of national security which has no clear relationship to truth or the beliefs of its practitioners. And as the activists of U.S. foreign policy, the CIA is its chief author.

The English word disinformation is a loan translation of the Russian dezinformatsiya, derived from the title of a KGB black propaganda department. Joseph Stalin coined the term, giving it a French-sounding name to claim it had a Western origin. Russian use began with a "special disinformation office" in 1923. Disinformation was defined in Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1952) as "false information with the intention to deceive public opinion". Operation INFEKTION was a Soviet disinformation campaign to influence opinion that the U.S. invented AIDS. The U.S. did not actively counter disinformation until 1980, when a fake document reported that the U.S. supported apartheid.

-- Disinformation, by Wikipedia

Exposing Media Operations

In 1975, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (the Church Committee), in an investigation of CIA wrongdoing, revealed just a tiny portion of the extent of CIA penetration of world media. It was patently obvious to the investigators that only U.S. intelligence agencies could practice the art of disinformation on such a grand scale, given the extraordinary expense of manipulating, influencing, and outright purchasing of news throughout the world. The number of organizations and persons who must be paid off to place fictitious stories across the globe is staggering. Almost ten years ago the Church Committee said it had found evidence of more than 200 wire services, newspapers, magazines, and book publishing complexes owned outright by the CIA. A 1977 New York Times expose uncovered another 50 media outlets run by the CIA, inside and outside the U.S., with more than twelve publishing houses responsible for over 1000 books, some 250 of them in English. Beyond the wholly-owned proprietaries there were countless agents and friendly insiders working in media operations around the world. These exposures are, of course, only the tip of the iceberg. The mind reels at what remained hidden from Congress and the New York Times and continues so to the present.

Estimates of the portion of the U.S. intelligence budget -- kept secret from the American people and Congress -- devoted to propaganda range from a few to many billions of dollars a year. An extremely conservative guess in the December 1981 Defense Electronics put the overall U.S. intelligence budget for that year at $70 billion, of which about $10 billion, they said, went to the CIA. Media specialists have estimated that at least one third of the CIA's budget is devoted each year to the spread of disinformation, conservatively placing CIA covert media manipulation alone for that year at almost three and a half billion dollars. None of this takes into account the myriad of income-generating proprietaries owned by the CIA, firms which make a profit which is then poured back into more covert operations: CIA banks, holding companies, airlines, investment firms, and the like.

Anyone who has even a casual knowledge of the world hard currency situation knows that the Soviet Union does not have the kind of foreign exchange which billion dollar operations entail. Only the secret U.S. intelligence budget -- taken from unwitting American taxpayers -- can pay for inventing news on such a mammoth scale. And invent they do, as we shall see below in an examination of a few of their hysterical scenarios.

The Levels of Disinformation

Spreading disinformation involves four levels of activity, a complex architecture that suggests how devious, costly, and important this activity has become. It currently runs from overt propaganda of the more traditional sort through covert operators and various public, nongovernmental disinformation peddlers to the deliberate scapegoating of the enemy as the source of documents and events which have been manufactured domestically.

The most well-known overt propaganda outlet for foreign consumption available to the U.S. is the Voice of America (VOA) and other projects of the United States Information Agency (USIA). Radio Free Europe (RFE) and Radio Liberty (RL), propaganda operations directed against Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, were originally covert U.S. intelligence operations. But when it became an open secret that they were financed by the CIA, they were taken out of the closet for direct Congressional funding in 1971. Though the government claims they are "private corporations," their employees must still go through extensive security clearances. Recent revelations about ex-Nazis who were absorbed into RFE/RL after World War II should invite closer scrutiny of these propaganda tools.


Inflammatory broadcasts by RFE in the 1950s misled a small number of Hungarian people to rebel in 1956, believing the U.S. was ready to intervene on their behalf. The ensuing uproar forced RFE to modify its broadcasting methods, though its recent diatribes against Poland are reminiscent of the Hungarian fare -- but on a more sophisticated plane. Similarly, broadcast propaganda by the CIA's Radio Swan played a part in inducing the Bay of Pigs invaders of Cuba in 1961 to believe, quite incorrectly, that the Cuban population would support them. And, as the U.S. seldom learns from its mistakes, the energy the Reagan Administration has spent attempting to blackmail Congress into establishing Radio Marti against Cuba will surely backfire again.

In addition to its broadcasts, RFE/ RL openly operate the largest "private" research facility in the west which concentrates on information gathering -- or spying -- on Soviet and Eastern European nations, and on communist and socialist affairs.

But perhaps the most chilling "overt" propaganda project of the U.S. government to date is the newly unveiled Democracy Institute.

This $85 million-a-year panorama of intelligence collection, recruitment, and training complete with a covert operations section, rivals the CIA's most ambitious media plans. It was quietly begun in January after a classified Executive Order was signed by President Reagan. This plan is discussed more fully in the conclusion below.

The second level of media activities of the U.S. government are the covert operations in the traditional sense. In theory, these deception operations are directed at influencing foreign, not domestic, opinion. Prior to December 1981, domestic activities were theoretically forbidden by the CIA's charter and by the Executive Orders governing CIA behavior. For all practical purposes, however, the charter was systematically violated. But now under President Reagan's Executive Order 12333, the CIA can operate within the United States so long as what it does is not "intended" to influence public opinion domestically. Who or what determines CIA "intentions" is not specified, leaving a wide open field for more blatant manipulation of U.S. public opinion.

Even operations conducted entirely abroad are liable to cause "blowback," the situation wherein the U.S. media picks up reports from overseas, disseminating them at home, without realizing (or caring) that the reports are false and emanate from U.S. intelligence in the first place. Blowback is very dangerous; in Vietnam there was so much CIA disinformation being spread that U.S. military intelligence reports were often unwittingly based on complete fabrications which had been produced at CIA Headquarters. In other cases, the CIA itself performed as an anti-intelligence agency in which the covert operators had to supply the information that the policy makers wanted. Government thus became the victim of its own disinformation line, compounding the original damage and leading officials to be twice removed from reality. (Numerous examples of this are documented in Deadly Deceits: My 25 Years in the CIA, a recent book by Ralph W. McGehee [Sheridan Square Publications, New York: 1983].)

One of the most graphic examples of an intentional blowback operation was cited by former CIA officer John Stockwell in his book about Angola, In Search of Enemies. In order to discredit the Cuban troops who were aiding the MPLA government forces in that country's war with South Africa, CIA propagandists in Kinshasa, Zaire, came up with a story about Cuban soldiers raping Angolan women. Using an agent/stringer for a wire service, the Agency had the story passed into the world media. Subsequently it was embellished by further spurious reports of the capture of some of the Cubans by the women they had raped, of their trial, and of their execution by their own weapons. The entire series, spread out in the U.S. press over a period of several months, was a complete CIA fabrication.

Some covert media operations have been run on a very grand scale. One of the largest was Forum World Features, ostensibly a global feature-news service based in London, but in fact a CIA operation from the beginning. When its cover was blown it was forced to suspend operations. Similarly, the CIA owned outright, among other papers, the Rome Daily American, for decades the only English language paper in Italy.

In the third instance of press manipulation, the U.S. disguises its handiwork by engaging in the double whammy: accusing the Soviet Union of disseminating the phoney documents it has itself produced. Given the widespread coverage these charges receive, the "proof" is astonishingly contradictory. Last year, for example, a supposedly bogus letter from President Reagan to King Juan Carlos of Spain was publicly denounced by the State Department as a Soviet forgery because it had errors in language and, as one officer noted, "it fits the pattern of known Soviet behavior." The previous year, another document was called a Soviet forgery because it was "so good" it had to be a Soviet product. Periodically the government will call forth one of their stable of "defectors" to confirm that something is a forgery and the U.S. media buy it without much question. Several short-lived triumphs of the intelligence establishment show, however, that sometimes the people are not fooled, causing the press to reexamine their proffered themes. The State Department "White Paper" on Cuban aid to El Salvador, and the incredible Libyan "hit squad" saga are two examples. The White Paper, an unsuccessful attempt to recreate a Gulf of Tonkin situation, was shown by the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and Philip Agee to have been based on government forgeries and mistranslations. The hit squad rumors which made headlines for several days disappeared from the country and from the news -- when Jack Anderson finally admitted he had been duped by his "intelligence sources."

The Disinformation Agents

Finally there are the disinformation peddlers, people who may or may not at a given moment be in the direct employ of the CIA or other intelligence agencies, but who can be counted on to repeat, embellish, or pass on whatever their disinformation masters in Washington decree. Here ideology is often as important as salary. Organizations like the Heritage Foundation and Accuracy in Media can be counted on to run with whatever balderdash the government wants spread, when they are not inventing it themselves.

Robert Moss's fascist Chilean connections were well known.

Arnaud de Borchgrave in Rhodesian army gear, one of his favorite outfits.

The greatest assistance in disinformation -- especially during the current Administration -- is always forthcoming from the Reader's Digest. In 1977 the Times series exposed Digest editor John Barron as having worked hand in glove with the CIA on a book about the KGB. Other fraudulent journalists like Robert Moss, Arnaud de Borchgrave, Daniel James, Claire Sterling, and Michael Ledeen, among others, seem to pick up disinformation themes almost automatically. In fact, coordination between the development of propaganda and disinformation themes by the covert media assets, the overt propaganda machine, and the bevy of puppet journalists is quite calculated. A theme which is floated on one level -- a feature item on VOA about Cuba for example -- will appear within record time as a lead article in Reader's Digest, or a feature in a Heritage Foundation report, or a series of "exposes" by Moss and de Borchgrave or Daniel James in some reactionary tabloid like Human Events or the Washington Times or Inquirer. Then they will all be called to testify by Senator Denton's Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism, repeating one another's allegations as "expert witnesses."

After that they are given credibility by the "respectable" Cold War publications like the National Review, Commentary, and the New Republic. And finally, since they have repeated the theme so many times it must be true, they are given the opportunity to write Op Ed pieces for the New York Times or the Washington Post.

These interconnections are by no means fortuitous. There is practically a revolving door policy from organization to organization, from the government, the CIA, to the "private" media, or the reversal of that process. The new director of VOA, Kenneth Tomlinson, for example, was formerly a Reader's Digest editor, who is hosted at black-tie parties by his old friend, McCarthyite Roy Cohn. Arnaud de Borchgrave, who works actively with several governments' security services, has a difficult time keeping his "journalism" and his spying separate. One of the reasons he was fired from Newsweek magazine was that he kept dossiers on the co-workers whom he suspected of being KGB dupes. Robert Moss has also had a longtime relationship with the CIA, which financed his book on Chile. He too was "let go" from his job as editor of the London Economist's Foreign Report because his intelligence connections gave his columns a taint which could not be ignored. The Spike, a badly written novel by these two unsavory characters, presaged the disinformation era with all its ramifications.

The Plot Against the Pope

A year ago, USIA Director Charles Z. Wick commented that the U.S. is "waging a war of ideas with our adversaries," whereupon he begged for more funds for VOA broadcasts. In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Wick said "we are refuting the massive Soviet campaign of disinformation and misinformation about us and our intentions in the world." In particular, according to Wick, the Soviets are guilty of spreading "rumors and lies" such as the contention that the United States was involved in the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II. While no documentation was presented to Congress, it is now apparent that Wick and the Reagan government believe in the adage that the best defense is a good offense. At the same time he was testifying, the VOA had already prepared a major campaign to assert the contrary, that the KGB through its Bulgarian "surrogates" was behind the plot to kill the Pope.

All the disinformationists have now joined in. Claire Sterling wrote the first major article which espoused this argument, replete with "confirmations" from unidentified "confidential" sources. (Sterling's disinformation efforts go back to postwar Italy when she worked with William Colby to ensure the defeat of the Italian Communist Party, spreading propaganda in the Rome Daily American, a CIA proprietary.)

Reader's Digest ran the Sterling piece on the Pope, and variations on the theme soon appeared throughout the right-wing press. Then the TV networks picked it up, particularly Marvin Kalb of NBC who narrated a "documentary" following the Sterling thesis, though Kalb was forced to admit (rather unprecedented in a prime time "documentary") that there was no proof whatsoever for the claim being advanced at that time. No matter; "proof" would soon be forthcoming.

The situation became even more complicated when, in the absence of any resounding denouement to the hysteria, conservative legislators, led by New York Senator Alfonse D'Amato, blamed the CIA for hampering efforts to prove the KGB guilty. The logic of this argument is missing. Nevertheless, Wick took to the air in February 1983 to say that the VOA believed the CIA was not hampering the investigation. This "news" was apparently based on assurances from Vice-President Bush, a former Director of the CIA.

Given the absurdity of the original charge, and the consequent absence of evidence, it remains a very clever ploy of the right wing to assert a cover-up, keeping the whole story playing in the news.

The Nuclear Freeze Plot

Nearly all the cast of characters discussed above are involved actively in pursuing another major theme which strains credulity: that the nuclear freeze movement in part, and the disarmament movement in general, is also a KGB plot, and its proponents Soviet dupes or "agents of influence." The litany for this sermon was, once again, an article in Reader's Digest, cited by no less avid a reader than President Reagan. The President, however, was not eager to give his source. Having referred to "proof positive" at a press conference, he left it to aides later to reveal that his "intelligence source" was, in fact, Reader's Digest.

Two faces of a spy: John Rees undercover during demonstrations, May 1971; and in his current, rightwing, corporate get-up.

Some of the covert media experts who have pushed the nuclear freeze plot include self-described police agents and informants such as John Rees, a fanatical right-wing activist who spent much of the 1960s and 1970s infiltrating first the anti-war movement and then the anti-nuclear movement. He is now a writer for the John Birch Society's Review of the News, editor of a police intelligence report on the left called Information Digest and the editor of Western Goals Reports, a far right organization connected with Rep. Larry McDonald. Rees is the author of a book entitled "The War Called Peace," which advances the theory that Soviet disarmament proposals are in reality warmongering that must be countered with massive weapons buildups in the name of peace. This is the level of logic surrounding the entire anti-freeze movement, recently adopted even by the lunatic fringe of rightists, Lyndon LaRouche and his "National Democratic Policy Committee. "

Cuba and the Drug Trade

One of the most insidious of the continually unfolding disinformation themes currently propagated by the U.S. government is the attempt to implicate high Cuban government officials -- including the commander of the Cuban armed forces, Raul Castro -- in international drug-trafficking. This campaign was recently escalated by the blatant covert manipulation of the U.S. judicial system on a scale hardly seen since the Rosenberg-Sobell proceedings.

The creation of this theme can be traced to the highest levels of the Reagan Administration: from a VOA campaign orchestrated by President Reagan's good friend, USIA Director Charles Z. Wick, to a trial in Miami sponsored by the Justice Department. The criminal charges -- at least those purporting to show Cuban government involvement -- were so ludicrous that at first only the Miami Herald (with deep ties to the Cuban exile community) saw fit to play them up. But in April, Sen. Alfonse D'Amato held "hearings" in New York and got big play in the New York Times and on national TV (see sidebar).

The VOA campaign began in early 1982 with a series of reports in February and March which suggested Cuba's involvement in drug traffic to the U.S. Some reports said that the purpose was to get drug smugglers to run guns to the FMLN in El Salvador or to the M-19 in Colombia; some said it was to raise money for those guns; and some said it was to drug the American people into a stupor, presumably to facilitate a takeover. None of the reports seemed concerned that one reason was inconsistent with another.

The VOA then broadcast an interview with the Foreign Minister of Colombia, who repeated the charges and speculated that the Cubans were working with the Mafia. This was rather ironic, considering that for more than twenty years the Mafia has worked hand in glove with the CIA trying to assassinate Fidel Castro, out of bitterness for having lost their drug, gambling, and prostitution empires to the revolution in Cuba. The VOA also gave extensive coverage to similar stories from a Colombian newspaper, suggesting that Cuba and the Mafia were cooperating in the drug business. These reports came from the same Colombian news outlets which had spread the scurrilous story that Celia Sanchez, one of the heroines of the Cuban revolution who had long been suffering with cancer, had been killed in a shootout between Raul and Fidel Castro. In March, Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Enders was broadcast by VOA throughout Latin America repeating the Colombian news reports about drugs and Cuba almost verbatim.

While this disinformation was being spread in the hemisphere, a similar campaign was being waged within the U.S. But before analyzing that propaganda geared to domestic consumption, it is well to understand the significance of the campaign abroad. The goal, as with most propaganda directed against Cuba, is to isolate Cuba from the rest of Latin America, to make it appear a foreign -- i.e., Soviet -- entity, divorced from other Latin American or Caribbean countries. It is only by so isolating Cuba that the U. S. can encourage active measures against it -- like the breaking of diplomatic relations -- without creating contradictions in its own Monroe Doctrine pronouncements. Moreover, traditionally, both politically and culturally, Cuba has been in the mainstream of Latin American and, more recently, Caribbean thought, with an influence the U.S. has taken great pains to lessen.

During the middle of 1982, the campaign against Cuba was less intensive, because of the hemisphere's preoccupation with the Malvinas crisis. American disregard for Latin American opinion in aiding the U.K. in that war underscored the hypocrisy of the U.S. position. But the VOA's loss was the New York Post's gain. In June, the Post, Rupert Murdoch's gutter paper, ran a three-part series entitled "Castro's Secret War." by Arnaud de Borchgrave "and Robert Moss. The articles by these sleazy fabricators not only repeated the basic charge of Cuban involvement in the drug trade, but also gave minute details -- names and dates and alleged meetings. Not sourced, the "facts" presented were that several middle-level drug smugglers had had meetings with Raul Castro and Nicaraguan leader Daniel Ortega. They hinted that this information might have come from a Colombian smuggler named Jaime Guillot.

Indeed Guillot starred in the next chapter of the saga. when, in July, Reader's Digest ran a five-page article by a Nathan M. Adams based on unnamed "law-enforcement and intelligence sources." This "expose," even more detailed than the Moss/de Borchgrave tripe, alleged that Guillot met with Rene Rodriguez, a member of the Central Committee of Cuba and the president of the Cuban Friendship Institute, and that Rodriguez "was in charge of coordinating the smuggling." It further claimed that Guillot traveled from Colombia to Cuba to Nicaragua, meeting with Raul Castro and receiving huge sums of money: that he was given $700,000 in Mexico for a flight to France. but that he was arrested by the Mexicans, whereupon he began "talking his head off," providing all the details for the article. What happened to the money -- rather a large sum for a trip to France -- and why Guillot was never extradited to the U.S. are not explained. Later reports suggest that Guillot was released by the Mexicans and went to Europe.

In August the drug story gained further dubious currency as the Washington Times, Reverend Moon's paper, reprinted the original Post series. By November VOA was picking up the theme again, and just before the U.S. congressional elections, Vice-President Bush made a Republican campaign speech in Miami which reiterated the charges. Hot on his heels, on November 5, 1982, a Miami federal grand jury issued an indictment against Guillot, nine other drug smugglers, mostly Cuban exiles, and -- in an unprecedented move -- four Cuban officials: Rodriguez, an admiral of the Cuban Navy, and two former officials of the Cuban Embassy in Bogota, one of them the Ambassador.

The Ultimate Media Hype

In a carefully staged command performance, designed to keep the network cameras rolling, Sen. D'Amato (R-N.Y.) and the FBI, CIA, DEA, and other federal state and local narcotics and investigative agents introduced a self-confessed Cuban "spy" to an audience of credulous New York journalists in early April -- but this time Mario Estevez Gonzalez, who had testified in open court in Miami only two months before, was melodramatically hidden behind a guarded screen "for his own protection." The same federal informer who was described by the Miami Herald as a "short, stocky Mariel refugee" and a "chubby, balding witness" who stuttered, who was seen by millions, including those in Cuba who wished to watch Miami TV, was now tantalizingly secreted from New York cameras in a downtown Federal building, thus exciting the unwarranted interest of the media and moving the "Cuba Drug Connection" to a new low in disinformation.

Few of the journalists knew or cared that this was old news. Apparently unaware of the Miami trial and Estevez's previous charade, they stood at hushed attention filming a screen as the Spanish and then English translation wafted across. That night TV audiences across America were treated to clips of D'Amato questioning the screen. The following exchange took place, but was not telecast:

Q. How much money did you make for Cuba by selling cocaine?

A. Approximately $7 million in one year.

Q. How did the process work?

A. I got the cocaine from Cuba or from Colombian ships in Cuban waters, took it by "cigarette boat" (a long, narrow speed boat which goes 70 mph) from Cuba to Miami and then sold it and took the money back to Cuba by cigarette boat.

Q. How long did the whole process take?

A. 30 days.

Q, How many trips did you make?

A. I went 2-3 times a month.

No wonder D'Amato and the Feds are hiding Estevez from enquiring eyes. Anyone who can make a 30-day trip three times a month is really worth questioning a bit more closely. Though similar contradictions in his testimony were pointed out by defense lawyers in Miami to no avail, the press still failed to pick up the grossest of inconsistencies. But at one point in the New York sideshow even the gullible had to chuckle. Estevez claimed that although most of his cocaine was bound for New York, he had made only one delivery there personally: to Studio 54. (The specter of a dumpy little drug dealer slipping into a New York disco with his baggies wouldn't have cut ice with the journalists, but then they couldn't see him anyway.)

Another major flaw in the federal scenario is that Estevez was arrested with marijuana, and not even in the same case as those he was paid to testify against. In addition, cocaine was never mentioned in the Miami trial.

The charge of Estevez that among the 125,000 Marielitos invited into the U.S. by then-President Carter were 3,000 Cuban undercover agents, at least 400 of whom were dealing drugs like himself, practically brought D'Amato to his feet. "These 300-400 Cuban agents show there is a pervasive, systematic movement by Cuba to destabilize our cities," he said. Furthermore, the Senator mused, if Estevez was delivering $7 million a year to Cuba, then "Cuba is making $2 billion, 800 million on these agents." News to Cuba, of course.

As the stories get wilder and wilder, and "investigative" journalists get increasingly docile, the U.S. government has unfortunately learned that the press will believe anything told them as long as it comes with the protective coloration of "national security."

Eight of the nine smugglers were arrested in Miami, and one of them, David Lorenzo Perez, testified against the others. His statements, similar to those attributed to Guillot in the earlier articles, and those of another unindicted dealer, a self-described reformed Cuban spy, Mario Estevez Gonzalez (see sidebar) were the only evidence against the Cuban officials.

In fact, no drugs were actually introduced at the subsequent trial. It was said the drugs were all thrown overboard when the smugglers panicked. The Estevez confession, according to his own testimony, was given in exchange for "an unspecified amount of money and a short jail sentence" in another drug case.

The payment is extraordinary, almost unheard of. Four Cuban officials were indicted on the statement of a man who was paid to make the statement! What, if anything, happened to Guillot is not known; but it was reported that his drug dealing partner, who also "cooperated" with the U. S. Justice Department, got a twenty-five-year jail sentence all of which was suspended.

Although the indictment describes in great detail the movements and travels of the exiled drug dealer, the references to the four Cuban officials are extremely vague. It alleges that they agreed to let Cuba be used as a "loading station and source of supplies for ships" transporting drugs. The indictment, eight counts and nineteen pages, says nothing else about the Cuban officials. It does not say when this "agreement" was made, where it was made, who met with whom nor who said what to whom.

In the February 1983 trial, five of the seven hapless defendants were found guilty, on the testimony of the alleged former spy and the indicted smuggler who turned state's evidence. The two told similar tales, of backslapping jovial meetings with the Cuban officials who, they claimed, said things like, "Now we are going to fill Miami with drugs," and, "It is important to fill the United States with drugs." (As if Miami were not already filled with drugs.) The "spy" said that he replied, "Well, if it has to be filled, let's do it."

Evidently this B-movie dialogue was sufficient to convict five of the defendants, who presumably were involved in some kind of drug trafficking.

The use of this trial by the U. S. government was blatant; there was no concern about Miami's drug problem, only about Cuba. When Lorenzo Perez agreed to plead guilty and testify against the others, the spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration announced that "when you have people pleading guilty, it just disproves" the denials of the Cuban government. And when the five were convicted, the Assistant U.S. Attorney said that the outcome "demonstrates" the involvement of Cuba.

The Cuban government indignantly denied the charges, pointing out in government statements and broadcasts and in an editorial in Granma the idiocy of the charges. The Cubans also stressed a point which had been virtually ignored in the U.S. press -- that for more than ten years, despite all sorts of ideological disputes, Cuban authorities had been cooperating with U.S. officials in tracking and capturing drug smugglers in the Caribbean. At least 36 ships and 21 planes had been taken in this endeavor and more than 230 drug smugglers prosecuted. Because of the insulting and specious indictment the Cuban government announced that it was discontinuing its cooperation with the U.S. Coast Guard.

Even Michael Ledeen, another disinformationist, pretended to be puzzed in his rehash of the Guillot story in the February 28, 1983 New Republic. He conceded that "Fidel Castro used to boast of his hatred of drug traffickers: he even cooperated with the United States by arresting some smugglers and turning them over to American authorities." But, consistent with this season's disinformation theme, Ledeen refers to the current situation as a "turnabout," designed to provide hard currency for the Soviet Union.

There are countless other indications that it is the U.S. which is more interested in propaganda than in actually stopping drug traffic. During the aftermath of the Pope's shooting it was learned that Bulgaria had been cooperating with U.S. narcotics control officials for twelve years, but that the program had been terminated by President Reagan shortly after he took office.
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Re: Disinformation, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Sep 16, 2020 10:09 am

Part 2 of 4

"Project Democracy" and Public Diplomacy: Conclusion

On June 8, 1982 in an address to the British Parliament, President Reagan announced a new ideological offensive to turn the tide against Communism in the battle for the mind of the world's population. Designed to "foster the infrastructure of democracy" in a dozen ways, it clearly enlisted information as its top recruit. Charles Wick said there would be "a new assertive propagandistic role" to "win the war of ideas."

Spy Budget Increase

The raison d'etre for the Cuban drug disinformation story becomes appallingly clear if one reads the newspapers in which the spy agencies selectively display their dirty linen. According to the New York Post of April 5, 1983 -- the same day as D'Amato's coordinated sideshow -- the tawdry daily reported that "President Reagan is planning to give U.S. intelligence agencies millions in new funds to crack Cuban spy and drug rings operating in the U.S." The Post went on to say that Reagan made the request in the Administration's secret 1984 budget for intelligence agencies, and that Sen. Daniel Moynihan (D-N.Y.) said that news of Reagan's request "comes as a former Cuban intelligence agent testifies today in Manhattan about how he raised $3 million [sic -- the testimony was $7 million] for Cuba by smuggling drugs into the U.S."

Now how, we ask, is a request for more funds for the CIA, FBI, etc. made in a secret budget? Secondly, unless we're missing something, the CIA is still forbidden by the National Security Act to work against Cuba or any other country, inside the U.S. Perhaps Reagan believes his Executive Order 12333 unilaterally repeals the Act. And finally, how come Reagan is already leaking 1984 Orwellian plans. Isn't 1983 bad enough?

The Wicked Wick of the West.

Elsewhere, as the democracy project unfolded, there were references to information as "a vital part of the strategic and tactical arsenal of the United States." Wick again pictured ideas as the only useful weapons that could be shot at an enemy in the absence of hostilities -- such as the Radio Marti venture aimed at Cuba. Other government officials elevated public diplomacy to the status of diplomatic and military policy in serving the needs of national security. But all spokesmen insisted that the United States at all times "must speak the truth, clearly, vigorously and persuasively."

Since truth is the first casualty in war, whether total, limited, or ideological, as Woodrow Wilson put it, how is the Reagan Administration planning to pull off this miracle? They are not planning to, in all probability. What they are doing is building a new Trojan Horse so that the covert programs of deception, fake propaganda, slanted information, and disinformation can move forward without being under the suspect auspices of the CIA, DIA, and others of that ilk. "Project Democracy" and public diplomacy are clearly a rehabilitation process for government propaganda, an attempt to restore information manipulation under new sponsorship. Will it work? Will you believe it? Or are you ready to be fooled?

First of all, the proposal was born with original sin. Conceived in secrecy as a classified executive order, Project Democracy can hardly live up to its claim of democratic openness. A CIA covert feature initially existed in the plan, but was withdrawn, or so we and the Congress are told. Still, National Security Council Decision Directive 77 placed the program under the National Security Assistant's control where it is "to support U.S. policies and interests." Those chairing the top four committees come from agencies with long-time commitments to secrecy and the protective cover of classification. But there are more serious problems with this deformed Reagan progeny besides the wartime psychology that gave it birth and the secrecy with which it was raised.

On its face the idea is implausible because American foreign policies and CIA operations have not evidenced any connection with an infrastructure of democratic principles, except as they are manipulated to suit the purposes of the U.S. Democracies have had empires before, from Athens on. Whatever the U.S. may call its overseas political, economic, and cultural mission, its support of client regimes, its overthrow of leftist democratic governments, its active support of "moderately authoritarian" right-wing allies, its backing of powerful multinational corporations -- none of that has ever been analyzed internally for its democratic fallout. The credibility of any government information must inevitably be tested against the deeds as well as the rhetoric of a nation.

What chance would the Democracy Institute have to gain access to the truth it insists it will disseminate? How will it know it is not part of the cover story, the way Adlai Stevenson was used at the U.N. during the Bay of Pigs? The very Administration that is increasing classification, unleashing the spy agencies, and restricting freedom of information now says it will spread the truth to the world to enhance democratic values out there. Tell that to the people of Chile.

Since the new proposals (budgeted at $85 million this year) call for a heavy reliance on non-governmental institutions, it is interesting to examine what has already been funded. One grant helped "media officials" from rightwing governments -- including El Salvador -- learn how to handle the U.S. press. Ian MacKenzie, a slick ideologue who was a registered agent for Anastasio Somoza is directing the program, at a cost of $170,000 to the tax payers. (See CAIB Number 12.) Another grant gave Ernest Lefever's Ethics and Public Policy Center almost $200,000 to run four seminars pushing the "ethics of nuclear arms."

As these "democratic" projects went up to Congress, many of them smacked of the CIA's old bag of dirty tricks finally getting laundered. A world-wide book publishing venture, a center for free enterprise (is business a democratic institution?), a foundation and organizations to promote Latin American "democracy," and academic programs at two foreign universities. The announced objectives such as "leadership training," sound like recruitment for covert futures, as the CIA does routinely with foreign students on American campuses. Project Democracy is the soft core version of hard core deception.

It is time the American people took a good dose of their own history to begin to understand what ails this society. One benefit might be a revival of old-fashioned American skepticism toward authoritative pronouncements. History has rebutted the argument of disinformation's origin as a KGB plot, and traced its twentieth century development as a hidden partner of the imperial process and national security apparatus. We have learned that propaganda intruded itself into the democratic process long ago.

The most important lesson of history's warnings, however, would be an understanding of what went wrong with information in the past to help people resist the inroads of further deception. The next time the government floats a story, demand in each instance to know why it is propagating this information, whose interests it is serving, and what is being concealed. Then perhaps this country can abandon the process of government by the misinformed.


The KGB Plot to Assassinate the Pope: A Case Study in Free World Disinformation

By Frank Brodhead and Edward S. Herman [Frank Brodhead, a historian and journalist, is a former editor of Resist: Edward S. Herman, a Professor of Finance, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, is the author of The Real Terror Network, Terrorism in Fact and Propaganda (South End Press, 1982),]

Important sources of western power are the strength and reach of its mass media and the widespread belief that, in contrast with the Soviet bloc, the media are not instruments of propaganda. The belief rests on a partial truth, as the media do represent somewhat divergent interests and often disclose facts unpalatable to important power factions. But the mass media are an integral part of western power structures and, as such, they not only accept certain national western elite premises as self-evident truths, they serve as important cogs in periodic campaigns of "mobilization of bias." During such campaigns, useful half-truths or complete fabrications and myths are pressed home relentlessly and transformed into presumptive fact for the general public.

The mobilization of bias is made possible not only by a certain collective interest among western elites, but also by their domination of a centralized mass media which, in an age of national TV and improving techniques in advertising and mind control, enhances government and media power to "manage" the public. Particularly important in this process, now as in the past, is the exploiting of love of country, the will to believe one's own leaders, and the ready credence given to claims of enemy evil. In the 17th century, according to Daniel Defoe, "there were a hundred thousand stout countryfellows ... ready to fight to the death against popery, without knowing whether popery was a man or a horse." In our day, there are millions of stouthearted fellows ready to fight to the death against terrorism, without knowing whether terrorism is a man or a horse.


Many readers are by now spluttering with indignation. We can hear them expostulating: “The official version of 9/11 is a myth and a lie!” – followed by a string of obscenities worthy of Dick Cheney. But think for a minute: if you think you know all about 9/11, how do you know what you think you know?

The first identification of Osama Bin Laden and al Qaeda as the perpetrators came during the day on September 11, as various commentators and announcers for cable, broadcast, and public television began floating the charge that Bin Laden and al Qaeda were behind the attacks. Apparently CNN was the first to mention Bin Laden, and the other myth- mongers immediately followed its lead. In retrospect, we know that many of these leaks came from two important functionaries in the Washington bureaucracy. These were George Tenet, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, who should have been fired that same day, but who was allowed to resign in disgrace in June 2004, on the eve of the publication of a Senate Intelligence Committee report which pilloried him and his agency for gross incompetence. This was the same Tenet who later assured Bush that the case for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq as a pretext for a US invasion was a “slam dunk.” The other prime myth-monger was Richard A. Clarke, the former terror czar of the Clinton administration who had been kept on by Bush. Clarke had a long history, of which many of his gulled victims at those hearings were unaware. He had been dropped from the State Department by James Baker III because he was accused of concealing Israeli exports of US military technology to the People’s Republic of China which were banned under US law, and which the Israelis had agreed in advance not to carry out. In some quarters, Richard Clarke’s name was mentioned at the time of the hunt for MEGA, the Israeli mole thought to be operating in the White House. Clarke is a close friend of Israeli defense officials, among them David Ivry of the Israeli Defense Ministry.

As Clarke recounts in his recently published memoir: “At the outset of the first Gulf War, Ivry and I conspired to get our governments to agree to deploy a US Army Patriot unit in Israel. No foreign troops had ever been stationed before in Israel. We also worked together to sell Patriots to Israel, and to tie in the Kiriat [the Israeli Pentagon] with American satellites that detected Iraqi Scud missile launches towards Israel. After the war, the CIA circulated unfounded rumors that Israel had sold some of the Patriots to China. Many in the State Department who thought I was ‘too close to Israel’ sought to blame me.” (Clarke 46) Clarke was a protégé of Arnold L. Raphael (killed in the same plane crash with Gen. Zia of Pakistan), and worked closely with Morton Abramowitz.

On the morning of Sept. 11, as the White House was being evacuated for fear that it could be hit after the strikes against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the first top official to say “This is Al Qaeda!” had been Richard Clarke. (New York Times, December 30, 2001). When Clarke arrived at the White House a little after 9 AM on 9/11, he found Cheney and Condoleezza Rice alone in Cheney’s office. “What do you think,” asked the horrified Cheney. Clarke’s immediate reply: “It’s an al Qaeda attack and they like simultaneous attacks. This may not be over.” (Clarke 2) This is the moment of conception of the 9/11 myth. At this moment Clarke, as a New Yorker would say, didn’t know from nothing. Had he ever heard of strategic deception? Had he ever heard of diversionary tactics? Had he ever heard of feints?

Clarke tells us in his memoir that he attempted to collect his thoughts about the events going on around him as he walked from the White House Secure Videoconferencing Center just off the Situation Room across the White House to the Presidential Emergency Operations Center, which was Cheney’s underground bunker:

In the quiet of the walk, I caught my breath for the first time that day: This was the “Big al Qaeda Attack” we had warned was coming and it was bigger than almost anything we had imagined, short of a nuclear weapon. (Clarke 17)

This is already one of the most fateful snap judgments in world history. Had Clarke utterly forgotten the lessons of Oklahoma City, when leakers had inspired the report that the explosion was the work of Moslems? Clarke had no proof then, and has come forward with none since.

Rushing to overtake Clarke as the leading hipshot in snap strategic diagnosis was CIA Director Tenet. While Bush was cowering in his spider hole at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, he conducted a National Security Council meeting by means of teleconference screens. “Who do you think did this to us?” Bush asked Tenet. Tenet was emphatic: “Sir, I believe it’s al Qaeda. We’re doing the assessment, but it looks like, it feels like, it smells like Al Qaeda.” (Bamford 2004 91) In other words, Tenet also had no proof, no evidence, no case – just his crude Lockean sense certainty.

Later, after World Trade Center 7 had gone through its inexplicable and embarrassing collapse at about 5:20 PM, Clarke addressed a high-level interagency meeting from the Situation Room. Present by video link were Armitage of State, General Meyers of the JCS, and other important officials. Clarke stated: “Okay, we all know this was al Qaeda. FBI and CIA will develop the case and see if I’m right. We want the truth but, in the meantime, let’s go with the assumption it’s al Qaeda. What’s next?” (Clarke 23) Before he went to bed in the White House, Bush jotted a note to himself: “The Pearl Harbor of the 21st century took place today. We think it’s Osama Bin Laden.” (Bamford 2004 92)

Given the fecklessness of Bush, Cheney, and Rice, Richard Clarke was running the US government on 9/11, and it was he who made the myth of the exclusive responsibility of al Qaeda/Bin Laden into the official policy of the US. Clarke can thus claim pride of place as the originator of the 9/11 myth. And Clarke was more than a mythograph. Clarke also shared in the responsibility for the bungling and stupid attack on an aspirin factory in Khartoum, Sudan, after the bombing of US embassies in east Africa in the summer of 1998. If there were an Oscar for deception, Clarke’s performance at the Kean-Hamilton Commission hearings in April 2004 would have won it. It was that virtuoso performance which launched Clarke on his current career as a television commentator predicting imminent WMD terrorist attacks on this country and advocating the speedy imposition of martial law. We will hear more about this gentleman later. All we need to note right now is that anyone would be foolish to buy a used car from Clarke or Tenet.
-- 9/11 Synthetic Terror Made in USA, by Webster Griffin Tarpley

The point is confirmed by recent historical experience, including the Red Scare of 1919-1920, the hysteria of the Truman-McCarthy era, and the successful government claim of "aggression" by North Vietnam in 1964-1965. The Libyan assassination plot against President Reagan in 1982, given huge press coverage despite the absence of evidence, extreme implausibility, and the propagandistic convenience of this ploy, and then suddenly dropped without explanation or any follow-up assessment and reflection on what had transpired, is a very contemporaneous illustration of propaganda dissemination on a "print-and-run" basis. So is the recent claim of Soviet military superiority over the United States, a "follow-on" to a long series of fraudulent weapons "gaps" that are sustained in each case by the mass media just long enough for defense budgets to be passed and contracts to be let.

The institutionalization of outright lies occurs most readily in periods of conservative reaction, when liberals and radicals are on the defensive and without media access (or obliged to prove their patriotic credentials), and when the government and the business community tacitly agree on the need to work the public into a patriotic fervor. In such times, patriotic lies can be imposed by the sheer volume of the mass media's dissemination of unverified claims, and the simultaneous exclusion of inconvenient facts and opinions from public view.

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, the US media were gripped by chauvinist hysteria and war psychosis. Two courageous editors, Ron Gutting of the Texas City, Texas City Sun and Dan Guthrie of the Grants Pass, Oregon, Daily Courier, where fired for lèse majesté (or was it Wehrkraftzersetzung?) when they dared to criticize Bush, including for his cowardice on 9/11. Edward Herman, professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania, pointed out that “Pravda and Izvestia in the former Soviet Union would have been hard-pressed to surpass the American media in their subservience to the official agenda….They have abandoned the notion of objectivity or even the idea of providing a public space where problems are discussed and debated…. It’s a scandal that reveals the existence of a system of propaganda, not of serious media so essential in a Democratic society.” (Meyssan 2002 87)

-- 9/11 Synthetic Terror Made in USA, by Webster Griffin Tarpley

The Bulgarian-KGB Connection -- the alleged link of Mehmet Ali Agca and his attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II on May 13, 1981, to the Bulgarian government, the KGB, and thus the leaders of the Soviet Union represents an almost perfect illustration of the mobilization of bias by means of a concocted Red Conspiracy. In this article. we analyze the alleged plot in its political and media context. In general. we will show that there are really two plots, but that neither of them involves the Soviet Union (except as the "fall guy"), The first plot is that of Mehmet Ali Agca and his fellow members of the Turkish Grey Wolves and National Action Party, who intended to kill the Pope for reasons of their own, quite explicable in terms of their ideology, traditions and record. [While we assert this as a fact, it really represents our judgment that this is far and away the most probable scenario. A substantially lower but not negligible probability we would give to Agca's having been recruited by another rightwing faction in western Europe, a number of which had ties to the Grey Wolves. In fact, one of the first investigations by the Italian police following the assassination attempt was into the possible involvement of the Armed Revolutionary Nuclei, the Italian rightist group that had carried out the Bologna railway station bombing.] The second plot, which is in the nature of a tacit conspiracy, is that which has evolved among political factions, intelligence agencies, governments, and important constituents of the mass media of the west, who have taken advantage of an opportunity to make a speculative (but fraudulent) case against the Soviets in order to create a moral environment in the west which serves their ends.

The alleged Bulgarian-KGB Connection has become a focus of concentrated mass media attention in close parallel with two important political developments -- namely, an intensified U.S.-Soviet propaganda conflict over the placement of new missiles in Europe, and the more critical stance being taken by the U.S. Roman Catholic Church as regards U.S. nuclear weapons policy. There has also been an additional remarkable correlation between the rising star of Yuri Andropov and an increasingly explicit "Andropov Connection" to the assassination attempt. Agca's late 1982 confession implicating three Bulgarian officials was extracted as Brezhnev neared death, and one Bulgarian official was arrested within three weeks of Andropov's assuming power. A Polish defector quickly assured the west that Andropov himself was personally the key to the plot, and Bulgarian defectors began to come on-stream in March 1983. Their testimony was treated by the press as objective news and to be taken at face value (Nicholas Gage. "The Attack on the Pope: New Link to Bulgarians," New York Times, March 23. 1983), just as it did the findings of A. Mitchell Palmer in 1920 that (in the words of the New York Times) his raid "had blasted the most menacing revolutionary ploy yet unearthed" (Jan. 4, 1920) and the claims of Soviet invasion plans and intent to conquer the world by the numerous ex-Communists and defectors during the McCarthy era. [See especially David Caute, The Great Fear, Simon and Schuster, 1978, pp. 114-138, for details on the rise of the lying informer. ]

Pope John Paul II 

We thus observe an impressive degree of fine-tuning of western "news" to the immediate propaganda needs of the more martial power factions of the west. It is now apparent that further revelations will inevitably appear around the time of major developments in the Geneva talks or in response to growing pressures for a U.S.-Soviet summit meeting. The political serviceability of the Bulgarian-KGB Connection to powerful forces in the west guarantees that the story will continue to be with us.

We give special attention here to the NBC TV programs on "The Man Who Shot the Pope -- A Study in Terrorism," presented first in September 1982 and then repeated in sharply revised form in January 1983. These programs were not only influential, but they also typified much of the mass media's coverage of this issue in both style and substance. That style and the underlying methodology has strongly propagandistic qualities and conforms closely to what has been termed the "pseudoscience of terrorism."

Methodology: The Pseudoscience of Terrorism

In his Political Hysteria in America, a study of the Red Scare of 1919-1920, Murray B. Levin describes the methodology of the Lusk Report, a famous classic in the pseudoscience of terrorism. as follows:

The data is presented without any effort -- serious or otherwise -- to evaluate its validity or relevance. Generalizations and conclusions, unsupported by data, are sprinkled throughout. ... The pseudoscholar proceeds to laboriously accumulate vast numbers of "details" and documents ... Some of the details and documents refer to facts. Some of the details are fiction. Nothing remains unexplained ... Simultaneity is taken as proof of cause and effect ... [V]ast historical forces [are assumed to be] set in motion by the mere will of a few monstrously evil but brilliant men. They pull puppet strings and duped and compliant millions act out their will.

This is a fair description of the essential qualities of the two NBC programs and of the writings of Claire Sterling, whose article in the Reader's Digest got the Bulgarian Connection rolling and who served as a consultant to NBC in the preparation of its programs. By our count, which considered only the more egregious statements, the NBC program of September 21, 1982 included the following forms of manipulation: [A listing of these propaganda ploys and violations of the rules of scientific evidence will be provided by the authors upon request. Send $1 to cover expenses to: Dr. E. S. Herman. 2328 Dietrich Hall, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104.]

Type / Number of Cases
Pure innuendo: 10
Pure opinion or speculation: 13
Inference based on no known evidence: 11
Deceptive statement based on suppression of fact: 19
Fact which NBC ignores in drawing its conclusions: 16
Direct misstatements of fact: 6

Innuendo and speculation.

A prime technique of Sterling and NBC, following the Lusk Report tradition, is the creation of atmosphere by the accumulation of details (often irrelevant), hints of "links," suppositions, and possibilities, and the expression or eliciting of opinion. For example, NBC noted that "The left also had a strong power base in Malatya [Agca's home town]. One of its leaders was Teslim Tore. His name is worth remembering" (Transcript I. [Tr.]-28). The only other reference to Tore in the NBC program occurs when Agca, in one of his late "confessions," dredges up the name of this home town leftist. Is the extreme rightist Agca, known in Turkey as a "notorious liar" (Marvine Howe), under interrogation in an Italian prison, a credible witness on this point? Or does this allegation that a name is "worth remembering" allow NBC to create the impression that a "leftist" is important without the listener being able to assess the value of the source?

As another illustration of this method of argument, NBC says that the Pope's "nationalism has become indistinguishable from his Catholicism. During his time of trouble they have, for John Paul, become one. It is a dangerous combination" (Tr.-5-6). The first two sentences are mystification and unprovable; the last sentence creates atmosphere by asserting as a fact something still to be proved. Again, Agca's escape from prison "is still a mystery with an intriguing question mark -- could it have been related to the plot to kill the Pope?" (Tr.-37). Which plot? There was an Agca threat to kill the Pope in 1979 and a plot in 1981. As we will see, NBC never copes with a two plot sequence. But it keeps building atmosphere by a steady flow of rhetorical questions for which NBC has no answers based on evidence. Again, "Brezhnev, exasperated by the Pope, might have uttered the Russian equivalent of 'Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?'" (Tr.-15). Such musings on what might have been in the mind of Brezhnev provide a continuous stream of implied conclusions without supportive fact. The same is achieved by asking selected Italian and Vatican witnesses to speculate on the plot. Most of them hint ominously that there was an international plot, but not only do they give no evidence whatsoever, most of them don't even assert a KGB connection. But NBC uses this mass of nebulosity as manipulative background for its preferred scenario.

Uncritical use of disinformation sources.

One of the main weapons of terrorism pseudoscience is the use of convenient facts from usually unreliable sources -- most notably, intelligence agencies. Sometimes this is done knowingly -- "planned gullibility" -- but it is often a reflection of the loss of critical capacity in the search for proof of that which we know by instinct. It is well established that all intelligence agencies will forge and plant documents and lie where practicable, so that from at least one of them it is possible to obtain virtually any desired "fact." Former CIA officer Ralph W. McGehee, for example, states that the CIA has "lied continually" and that "Disinformation is a large part of its covert action responsibility, and the American people are the primary target audience of its lies" (Deadly Deceits, p. 192). This is commonplace. E. Howard Hunt, a long time CIA agent working for the Nixon "plumbers," with CIA knowledge and logistical support, [Frank Donner, The Age of Surveillance, Vintage, 1981, pp. 268-275.] even forged a document to implicate a former President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, in the assassination of Ngo Diem of South Vietnam. If CIA operatives will lie to discredit a U.S. president, of what would they be capable as regards foreign enemies?

Claire Sterling has been long noted for using, and serving as a conduit for, the Free World's intelligence services. Conor Cruise O'Brien observes in a review of her Terror Network that Sterling "consistently assumes that anything she is told by her western intelligence sources must be true. Her copious but naive footnotes often refer to unnamed intelligence sources, whose veracity she simply takes for granted." When it fits, her gullibility shows no limits. In that book she swallowed without blinking the "Tucuman Plan," supposedly prepared "under KGB supervision" in Argentina's Tucuman Province in May 1975, and calling for the mobilization of 1,500 Latin American "terrorists" to be sent to Europe for an orchestrated destabilization effort. This plan was uncovered by the Argentinian "security forces" just at the moment when the fascist junta was being subjected to worldwide criticism for its daily murders of trade unionists, journalists, priests, etc .. and it conveniently suggested a Red Plot that demanded the solidarity of the Free World.

New York, February 1, 1980

Mr. Georges Suffert,
140 Rue de Rennes
Paris 75006

Dear Georges:

As you probably know, I am on the road most of the time in various parts of the world and I did not realize until quite recently that you were involved in a law suit over the Curiel affair.

What I find curious about the Curiel affair is that what has been regarded as an open secret in the Western intelligence community for the last few years should be challenged in a court of law. In all the contacts I have had as a foreign correspondent with Western intelligence services, there has never been any doubt in my mind that Mr. Curiel was not what he purported to be, but a key operative for eastern intelligence.

Since I know that Western intelligence agencies are not in the habit of confirming accurate but sensitive information, especially when it concerns such delicate matters as the names of agents, I thought that what I had heard, first-hand, from high-ranking intelligence contacts in several Western countries might be pertinent to your case. I certainly authorise you to show this letter to the Presiding Magistrate.

With warmest best wishes for continued success.


Arnaud de Borchgrae, Chief Foreign Correspondent

Newsweek, Inc.
444 Madison Avenue
New York, N.Y. 10022

De Borchgrave's Disinformation on Curiel

In the Terror Network Sterling also passed on the claims of unidentified "intelligence sources" that Henri Curiel, a Paris-based political activist, was a KGB agent. Sterling's comrade-in-disinformation, Arnaud de Borchgrave, asserted that "all" western intelligence agencies agreed on Curiel's KGB role. Curiel having already been murdered by unknown assailants, his family and other associates brought lawsuits in Paris against Sterling for slander. The documents of the French secret police provided to the court in these and in earlier cases produced no evidence whatever of Curiel's having a KGB connection. Thus, in this rare event where the cover of "confidential intelligence sources" was lifted by legal process, the western intelligence service closest to Curiel's activities showed de Borchgrave and Sterling to be playing a disinformation role, perhaps serving as a conduit for the same "intelligence service" that murdered Curiel. Sterling lost one of the slander suits and was assessed a fine; others she slipped out of on legal technicalities and by the court's accepting her claims that she had not accused Curiel of being a KGB agent, but was merely presenting a "hypothesis." [See Jonathan C. Randal, "French Socialists Seek to Solve Slaying of Alleged Master Spy," Washington Post, August 19, 1981, and "Court In Paris Fines Author of Terrorism Book," Washington Post, March 30, 1982. Sterling made no effort to prove the truth of her case by innuendo -- she and her publisher used her reliance on the methodology of terrorism pseudoscience to disclaim having said anything definite. It is noteworthy that the Moss-de Borchgrave novel The Spike, which makes quite analogous cases by fictional constructions attached to partially veiled real world figures, is hardly distinguishable in method and scholarly quality from the Terror Network and other works of the same genre. It is therefore entirely plausible that Accuracy In Media, an organization devoted to the "truth" as seen by Sterling and Moss, should pursue alleged error in the media and simultaneously press enthusiastically upon its members an openly fictional construction, The Spike.] The Curiel trials, which bear so clearly on Sterling's credibility, were reported upon only in the back pages of the Washington Post, but were unmentioned in the New York Times, Time, Newsweek, or on the TV networks.

Henri Curiel

The fact that in the United States and Western Europe, Claire Sterling is a terrorism "expert," and that NBC takes her on as a consultant, tells us a great deal about western standards of journalistic quality and integrity. In her article on the Bulgarian Connection in the Reader's Digest, she asserts that the Soviet Union has been striving to destabilize Turkey, using terrorists of both the right and left, and spending upwards of $1 billion. This same set of bald assertions appears in the NBC program. We are also told there that Agca's claim that he was trained in a PLO camp is "confirmed by Turkish intelligence" (Tr.-31). One would like to get Marvin Kalb on a witness stand to ask him about the basis for his faith in Turkish, Italian and U.S. intelligence sources. Marvin, do these services ever lie? How do you establish the truth or falsity of their claims? Is it possible that they might use you as a disinformation conduit? How do you know that the Soviets spent $1 billion to destabilize Turkey? If from an intelligence source, how were you able to confirm its accuracy? Marvin, like Sterling you accuse the CIA of dragging its feet on the KGB connection for ulterior motives. On what basis do you determine that they have no ulterior motives when they agree with you?

Mehmet Ali Agca

The key witness for NBC is Agca himself. In the latter part of 1982 Agca finally "confessed" satisfactorily -- he had been aided by Bulgarians. This confession, allegedly "confirmed" by his identification of the photographs of several Bulgarians in Rome, along with his ability to describe the interior of the imprisoned Bulgarian's apartment, is the new underpinning of the Bulgarian Connection. [Earlier, exclusive attention was given to Soviet motives plus Agca's stay in Sofia, Bulgaria, as we discuss below.] If Agca had been captured in Moscow and, after spending six months in solitary confinement, had implicated officials of the U.S. Embassy, with his new confession "confirmed" by photographic identification, we would not take the confession seriously. But of course the Soviets do not share our value system, and might coax, threaten and pre-identify the conspirators -- whereas Italian intelligence shares our sense of right and wrong and would never do any such thing.

Agca actually made a number of confessions. NBC acknowledges that his first effort was false, as he allegedly tried to cover for his fellow conspirators. But NBC then proceeds to use Agca's several confessions according to the convenience of the moment, failing to note the following problems: (1) In his first confession Agca mentioned both the Bulgarians and (more prominently) George Habash of the PLO, incompatible with covering for his Red masters. (2) Agca has consistently denied any involvement of the fascist National Action Party, the one group with whom he has been ideologically and personally closely associated since his high school days. (3) His bringing in of the Bulgarians followed numerous interrogations by the Italian security police in late December 1981 and through 1982. Italian newspapers reported that Agca had been threatened with release into the general prison population (largely Catholic, and not likely to look with favor on this Turkish murderer and assailant of the Pope). Moreover, a new "Penitent's Law" now allows magistrates to shorten the prison sentence of terrorists who cooperate with the police. (4) The whole case against the Bulgarians is built on Agca's photo identification and related detail, but there is only the word of Agca and the Italian secret police that Agca was not coached. (5) The Italian rightwing, well represented in the police, courts, and legislature (and on this issue including Craxi's "Socialist" party) has a powerful ideological stake and vested interest in pinning the assassination attempt on the Reds. They have been the key actors in discovering this new evidence. The fascist Agca should be amenable to cooperation in identifying his sponsors as Bulgarians.

None of these matters appear in any way in NBC's account, and in the mass media in general each of the above items is mentioned at best briefly and in passing. The consensus is that Agca, angry at an alleged betrayal by his Bulgarian employers, has finally been persuaded to disclose the truth.

But How Does Agca "Know" All That?

Commentators in the U.S. media maintain that the most persuasive evidence for a "Bulgarian Connection" lies in the fact that investigating magistrate Martella continues to hold the Bulgarian Antonov in prison. According to the Italian press, Antonov's imprisonment rests exclusively on Agca's identification of Antonov from a set of photographs, his knowledge of several phone numbers including those of the alleged conspirators and the Bulgarian Embassy, his ability to describe the interior of Antonov's and Ayvazov's apartments, and his description of meetings including one at which Antonov's wife and daughter were present.

In late March Antonov's lawyer presented evidence to a "Tribunal of Freedom" in Italy that Antonov's wife and daughter were out of the country on the date Agca claimed the meeting took place. The evidence included passport and visa stamps, and a motel registration in Yugoslavia authenticated by the Yugoslavian government. This evidence has not yet been ruled on by the tribunal.

Sergei Antonov

Todor Ayvazov

Could Agca have been coached? This is suggested not only by his apparent lie about meeting Antonov's family, but also by the Bulgarian claim that the apartment of one of the implicated Bulgarians, Ayvazov, had been broken into four times since September 1982, the same month in which Agca supposedly picked Ayvazov's picture out of a photo album. Vassilli Dimitrov, First Secretary of the Bulgarian Embassy in Rome, noted in an interview with the Washington Post (Jan. 5, 1983) that Ayvazov's apartment was in a building owned by the Embassy and thus had extraterritorial status. "Italy would need permission to examine it." he said, "and has not requested it." Thus the Italian investigators do not even have legitimately acquired proof that Agca's description of Ayvazov's apartment is accurate. Nor does it seem credible, as Agca claims, that the assassination plot was hatched in this apartment or that a last minute stop was made there to pick up guns and a bomb before proceeding to St. Peter's Square, if the Bulgarian assertion that the property was under continuous surveillance by the Italian authorities is true.

Agca, moreover, mistakenly described Antonov as having a beard and (as he does now) a mustache. Antonov's lawyer presented witnesses and photographic evidence that Antonov was clean shaven in May 1981. If true, this would provide additional support for the coaching hypothesis.

Finally, what are we to make of Agca's stupendous feat of memory in being able to repeat some half dozen telephone numbers after a year and a half in solitary confinement? (For we must reject out of hand the claim appearing in some Italian papers that the numbers were found in his pocket at the time of his arrest.) Bulgarian defense lawyers have pointed out that as Agca claimed to know the Bulgarians only by code names, his knowledge of the Embassy or consulate switchboard numbers was useless. The Bulgarians have also stated, in response to Agca's alleged knowledge of Ayvazov's "unlisted phone number," that Ayvazov never had a phone at all.

Suppression and distortion of inconvenient facts.

This is most notable in NBC's handling of Agca's fascist background and his link to the Grey Wolves or "Idealist Youth Association," a paramilitary arm of the fascist National Action Party (hereafter, NAP). As this fascist link is an alternative -- and in our view, plausible -- explanation of the basis of the assassination attempt, NBC suppresses and distorts this linkage without scruple.

The Turkish Fascist Connection

Within days of Agca's arrest on May 13, 1981, a fairly comprehensive picture of his short life was put together by the Italian police and press. It was quickly learned that Agca was Turkey's most notorious terrorist, and a lifelong associate of Turkey's mass fascist party, the NAP, and its affiliate, the Grey Wolves. Agca had been arrested and convicted for the assassination of Abdi Ipecki, one of Turkeys most influential newspaper editors in 1979, and a thorough investigation had then been conducted into his life and political connections. This evidence left no doubt that Agca had been closely involved with the Grey Wolves while still in high school, that he had been involved in a number of Grey Wolf armed actions while at the university in Istanbul, and that he had murdered the editor in a conspiracy involving at least two other members of the Grey Wolves. Finally, while in Turkey's maximum security prison during his trial, Agca escaped with the assistance of many soldiers and prison guards, also members of the Grey Wolves.

Much was also known about the NAP and the Grey Wolves. By coincidence a 945-page indictment of them was handed down in Turkey within two weeks of Agca's arrest in Rome. This indictment, immediately made public, contained extensive information on Turkish fascism and its elaborate network of supporting organizations in Western Europe. NBC makes no reference to this event or to this source of information, and fails to note that all of the people who apparently aided Agca between the time he left Turkey and the day he shot the Pope were associated with the Turkish fascist movement. Consider the following:

(1) The person most frequently placed with Agca at the scene of the crime is Omar Ay, a longtime friend and a member of the Grey Wolves. NBC does not mention the Grey Wolf connection.

(2) The supplier of the gun used by Agca, according to Italian police, was Omar Bagci, a member of the Grey Wolves. NBC attempts to divert attention to Horst Grillmeier, an Austrian gun dealer who was one of a half dozen people to buy and sell the gun through shops and between dealers before it reached Agca. Grillmeier is an attractive target because he obtained supplies from Eastern Europe. There is no evidence that Grillmeier had any connection whatsoever with Agca. Yet Sterling-NBC use his name as if relevant, as it provides Red Plot atmosphere ("The pseudoscholar proceeds to laboriously accumulate vast numbers of 'details' ... without any effort ... to evaluate their validity or relevance.") At the same time, NBC fails to mention the fact that the man literally passing the gun to Agca was another Grey Wolf.

(3) Agca's false passport was made out in the name of a Grey Wolf member, bore the picture of another Grey Wolf who closely resembled Agca, and was signed by a police official who was also a member of the Grey Wolves. [New York Times, May 25, 1981.] NBC asserts that the passport was supplied to Agca by "Turkish gunrunners," a falsehood based on one of Agca's confessions (and which protects his Grey Wolf comrades).

(4) The only known transfers of money to Agca during his travels came from members of the Grey Wolves, whose organizations extend throughout Europe and are well funded from their participation in smuggling and the drug trade. During his final period before the assassination attempt, Italian police intercepted a phone call in which Agca acknowledges receipt of money from Musar Cedar Celebi. NBC's updated version mentions this link, but fails to point out that Celebi was a high official of the Grey Wolves in Frankfurt, West Germany, and had previously been a leader of the NAP in Turkey. Besides this act of suppression, NBC frequently mentions sums of money readily available to Agca, as if this requires a mysterious (i.e., KGB) presence -- failing to point out the large resources of the Grey Wolves and NAP, and the possibility that Agca, who shot two other persons during his Western European stay, was working in the smuggling network of the NAP, as simple explanations of the ready availability of funds.[/b]

by Claire Sterling
On Wednesday, May 13, 1981, a young man in St. Peter's Square shot and nearly killed Pope John Paul II. The gunman, captured at the scene, was soon identified as Mehmet Ali Agca (pronounced Ahja), a 23-year-old ...

Claire Sterling. Credit: Washington Star Collection. D.C. Public Library.

(5) NBC claims that Agca's escape from a Turkish prison in 1979 is "still a mystery." But one of NBC's more credible witnesses, a defector from the Grey Wolves, Ali Yurturslan, is quoted by NBC as saying that "I know this fact beyond any doubt -- the Grey Wolves arranged Mehmet Ali Agca's escape from prison in Turkey, and his subsequent safe passage to Europe and Germany" (Tr.-46). At least three Turks are now in prison for aiding Agca's escape and many more were originally implicated. There is no mystery to Agca's prison escape -- it fits a pattern that NBC evades by wearing blinders. Earlier, Claire Sterling's Reader's Digest article had stressed Agca's escape so as to connect him with an allegedly "radical" Minister of the Interior. Perhaps it was the belated discovery that the minister in question had been out of office for several weeks before the escape that led to this key link in Sterling's argument being quietly dropped in the NBC version.

(6) NBC assumes that the only reason why Agca would want to murder the Pope, other than as a hireling of the Kremlin, would be as an Islamic fanatic. Quickly establishing that Agca was not religious in this sense, NBC turns to its only alternative, the Soviets. Again, this is to ignore or misuse widely known evidence about Agca and the NAP. Agca, for example, had previously threatened to kill the Pope, shortly after his escape from prison in 1979. In a letter to a Turkish newspaper a few days after his prison escape, Agca wrote that "fearing the creation of a new political and military power in the Middle East by Turkey along with its brother Arab states, western imperialism has ... dispatched to Turkey in the guise of a religious leader, the crusader commander John Paul." Without knowing Agca's precise motivation in first threatening and later actually shooting the Pope, his letter illustrates the connection between this act and the philosophical views of the NAP. Recall that Agca had been closely associated with the Turkish fascist movement since adolescence. What would he have learned in this milieu? [For many details, see Jacob Landau, Radical Politics in Turkey, The Hague, 1973.] He would have come to believe that the Turks are a master race, and that much of their true nation, stretching from Salonica to parts of China, was held in captivity. According to the indictment brought against the NAP by the military government in 1981, the party aimed at establishing "a fascist system on the basis of racism and chauvinism, behind the mask of 'nationalist-populism,'" and it quoted from one of NAP leader Alparsan Turkes' books a passage saying that "the Turkish nation is a nation that is created with superior characteristics by God."

Ultranationalist and chauvinist, the NAP held Islam to be insufficiently Turkish. According to historian Feroz Ahmad, the ideological training of the Grey Wolves included an element of "hostility to Islam, described as the religion of the Arabs, and therefore alien to the Turkish character. If the Turks retained Islam, argued the ultranationalists, it must he Turkified" ("Agca: The Making of a Terrorist." Boston Globe, June 7, 1981). In training camps provided by well-to-do followers, thousands of young men like Agca were inculcated with the views of the Grey Wolves, who also came to dominate much of the school system in Turkey, particularly in the region where Agca grew up. There is every reason to believe that the Turkish fascists would regard Agca's act as did his brother, whom NBC quotes as saying: "I do not see my brother as a terrorist, he's a crusader" (Tr.-26). This clearly suggests sympathy with a political act -- but NBC fails to explain or digest Agca's brother's view. It is incompatible with the fairy tale requirement that Agca had no politics or religion, and could therefore be easily recruited by an evil force as a hired mercenary.

In sum, Agca's affiliations and role were consistently and exclusively rightwing and centered in the Grey Wolves and NAP. And, as noted earlier, in his escape and travels through Europe, in his funding and in his contacts, Agca's links were to the same Grey Wolves-NAP network with which he had been associated from high school days. In conjunction with an understanding of the ideology of Turkish fascism, this provides us with a coherent explanation of Agca's links and motivation -- one that NBC evades only by massive distortion and suppression of evidence.
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Re: Disinformation, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Thu Sep 17, 2020 10:20 am

Part 3 of 4

The NBC Model (1): Soviet Motives

The initial NBC program rested its case heavily on Soviet motives. According to NBC, the Pope posed a threat to the Soviets because of his support of Solidarity and Polish nationalism, and more particularly from his alleged warning to the Soviet leadership that an invasion of Poland would cause him to lay down his crown and join the Polish resistance. The claim that an explicit message of that content was delivered is neither plausible [Implausible in the light of the Pope's vigorous campaign against "temporal" involvements by Catholic Church representatives in all parts of the world, among other reasons.] nor proven, but even assuming that it is valid, the strength of the resulting motive entails an assessment of benefits versus risks and costs. NBC ignores the latter issues entirely, and therefore begs the question.

On the advantage to the Kremlin of a murdered Pope, the NBC case is extremely thin. NBC claims that as far back as "early August," 1980, the Pope feared a Soviet invasion and made this threat or promise to return to Poland if such an event transpired. According to NBC, the plot to murder the Pope was hatched in the late summer of 1980. Leaving aside the unlikelihood that the Pope would fear a Soviet invasion of Poland in early August, before the Gdansk shipyard strike had even started, it should be noted that Poland's Catholic Church on the whole played a conservative role at that time in Poland, appealing to the strikers to return to work. Moreover, while the Soviet Union mobilized troops on the Polish border, "suggesting an invasion was imminent" (Tr.-15), there is no reason to suppose that this was more than bluster and a threat designed to support an internal resolution satisfactory to the Kremlin. An invasion would have been a disaster for Soviet foreign policy, given the fact that improving relations with Western Europe -- to support the pipeline and to discourage the placement of Cruise and Pershing missiles -- was of urgent importance to the Kremlin at that time. An invasion of Poland would have been a last resort contingency. The Pope's threat would have been relatively insignificant in the entire spectrum of costs associated with an invasion.

On the risk side, if the Soviet Union had been caught and implicated in a Papal assassination attempt, the costs of such an act would be high. Would the second order benefits associated with a contingency plan -- which was never in fact implemented -- justify the risks of an attempted murder of a major western religious leader? NBC never details the benefits, never mentions their contingent character, and never assesses the costs. NBC also fails to consider the nature of the Soviet leadership, which serious studies suggest to be cautious, conservative, collective-bureaucratized in its decision-making, and not prone to adventurism. [See. e.g., George Kennan, The Nuclear Delusion: Soviet-American Relations in the Atomic Age, Pantheon, 1982; John Lowenhardt, Decision-Making in Soviet Politics, St. Martins Press 1981; and Jerry Hough and Merle Fainsud, How the Soviet Union is Governed, Harvard University Press, 1979.] The NBC premise, as with Sterling and the Lusk Report, is of "a few monstrously evil men" pulling the strings of their distant puppets in a very simple world.


Just as NBC fails to weigh in the facts that the hypothetical plot turned out to be unneeded, failed, and was made public, so it also neglects raising any questions about western motives. An alternative model might start with a look at who benefited from the plot as it worked out in the real world, assuming that the real beneficiaries had a motive. This would include the Reagan administration and CIA, Italian rightist politicians, and assorted other western factions and interest groups. Western militarism benefits greatly from this disclosure of Soviet evil. The Pope and the Catholic Church have become more and more threatening to the western arms faction. An assassination, especially if it could he pinned on the Kremlin, would be a windfall. Here is solid motive with observably realized benefits. Has the CIA shown a willingness to 'engage in political murder'? Were there any links of the CIA to rightist paramilitary groups in Turkey like the Grey Wolves? [S. Benhabib, "Right-wing Groups Behind Political Violence in Turkey." MERIP Reports, No. 77, May 1979, p. 17. ] We think a superb case could be spun on the principles of terrorism pseudoscience, encompassing motive, actual payoff, and "links" -- untrue perhaps, but more solid than the case put up by NBC. The point is that NBC never so much as hints at alternative political scenarios, and it naturally raises no question about its own political bias, the meaning of its gullible acceptance of statements of western intelligence services, and the systematic character of media bias, of which it is merely a blatant illustration.

The NBC Model (2): Agca As a KGB Agent

NBC states that "some" of its case is "circumstantial." In truth, the only hard fact on which its argument rests is that during the year and a half between escaping from a Turkish prison and shooting the Pope, Agca stayed in Sofia, Bulgaria for seven weeks! On this evidential base alone NBC builds its case, which means that innuendo plus inferences from the necessities of totalitarian evil provided the original leap to "proof" of Agca's being a KGB agent. By the time of NBC's second run, Agca had "confessed" again, more in tune with western demands and preconceptions. But his confession produced no hard facts, only assertions by a long-time fascist, murderer, and "notorious liar" held by the Italian police.

In the NBC analysis it is argued that Agca was "recruited" by the KGB in Turkey at some unspecified date, but prior to his imprisonment for the murder of Ipecki and long before his arrival in Sofia. But there is not a single fact put forward to show any kind of contact or political link of Agca to the Bulgarians or KGB during this period of alleged recruitment. NBC therefore relies solely on innuendo (unexplained large sums of money, Agca's passing a difficult exam) and the theoretically possible (the KGB could have recruited him, secretly). The mystification here is extreme, as NBC requires that the large number of Grey Wolves who helped Agca escape prison, protected him, and supplied him with money in Europe, all must either be rootless mercenaries or unwitting victims manipulated by the evil masters who "pull puppet strings" upon which the "duped and compliant" act out their master's will.

Marvin Kalb

How does NBC explain Agca's continued zeal for rightwing causes and unchanging affiliations following his "recruitment?" The answer is that he was "creating the cover of a student interested in rightwing politics" (Tr.-33). This is another NBC use of inference from the hypothesis still to be proved -- and it is of precisely the same value as the proposition that Marvin Kalb is "creating the cover of a rightwing journalistic hack" in pursuit of some leftwing purpose.

In the NBC analysis, it was the Pope's letter to Brezhnev that precipitated the Kremlin plot. But Agca threatened to kill the Pope at the time of the Papal visit to Turkey in 1979, before the Pope's letter [to] Brezhnev. Is it not an amazing coincidence that Agca, already secretly recruited by the KGB for possible future use, could interpret his unknown master's will before the master's thoughts had yet jelled! In dealing with this "too early" threat to kill the Pope, NBC suggests that "perhaps Agca had established a new cover-as the religious zealot who wanted to kill a Pope" (Tr.-39). In the world of terrorism pseudoscience "nothing remains unexplained," especially where the analyst of the forces of evil adjusts the "cover" to fit any awkward fact. The simple explanation, that the Pope was a genuine political target of particular elements of Turkish fascism, will not do. NBC needs not only "covers" but it must swallow the incredible coincidence that Agca, who wanted to kill the Pope in 1979, had already been secretly and unwittingly recruited by somebody else, who later desired the assassination of the very same person!

As noted, the only solid fact "linking" Agca to the KGB is that Agca stayed in Sofia, Bulgaria. He also traveled through and stayed in 11 other countries after leaving Turkey. The NBC "proof" that Agca must have been under KGB "discipline" by virtue of the evidence of his stay in Sofia, is as follows: (1) As totalitarian secret police know everything, they must have known of Agca's presence. (2) They must therefore also have been "protecting" him ("Agca depended on the Turkish gunrunners for a passport and for protection in a communist satellite" [Tr.-43-441.). (3) The Bulgarian secret police are under the discipline of the KGB. ("Could the Bulgarian security service have provided that [protection1 and operated without the knowledge of the KGB?)" [Tr.-43-44].) (4) Therefore "it seems safe to conclude that he had been drawn into the clandestine network of the Bulgarian Secret Police and, by extension, the Soviet KGB perhaps without his even being aware of their possible plans for him" (Tr.44-45).

Let us note first that NBC forgets that in its fairy tale, Agca had already been "recruited" in Turkey, so that there was no need for his re-recruitment in Sofia. Having already been placed on the KGB payroll, would it be wise for the KGB to bring him to a prominent hotel in Sofia and display him for several weeks to other intelligence agencies, or would they have carefully avoided this foolish loss of their "cover?" NBC and the Free Press never raise this issue.

Second, did the Bulgarian secret police know of Agca's presence? In the quotes above from NBC it is stated that Agca depended on "Turkish gunrunners" for his passport -- but, as we pointed out earlier, this is based on NBC's accepting a fabrication by Agca. He got his passport through the Grey Wolves, and it was signed in Turkey by a Grey Wolf police officer who was later arrested. As Agca came into Turkey on a false passport -- as do many other Turks in the voluminous traffic through Bulgaria by migrant workers and smugglers -- there is no evidence that has yet been put forward that the Bulgarian secret police knew the individual in the Vitosha Hotel as Agca. (An ironical fact is that the West German, Swiss and Italian police clearly did know that Agca was in their countries, tapped his phone -- and failed to pick up this wanted criminal. In the Sterling-NBC world, of course, only "totalitarians" "protect" for insidious purposes.)

If Agca was in a Sofia hotel, known as Agca or not, consider the NBC sequence: that he was therefore being "protected," and that we may then conclude that he was "recruited." All NBC knows is that he stayed in a hotel. Even in their own statement quoted above, vague as it is, it appears that the Bulgarians might have been "protecting" Turkish smugglers and their friends, so that even if they knew he was Agca, protection could have been a favor for their smuggler allies, some maybe under obligation to (or threatened by) the Grey Wolves. The NBC hotel sequence, with deduction from residence to KGB agent, is not merely blarney, it allows us to observe the pseudoscience of terrorism in full flight with its greatest imaginative leaps. This is the heart of the case, worthy of Claire Sterling, Reader's Digest, Modern Horror Comics -- and NBC.

If the evidence is not so good, terrorism pseudoscience and NBC have one more fall-back position. That is, the KGB is a "highly professional operation" (Tr.-55) which uses remote proxies, so that "there is never any evidence" (Tr.-55), the crime is always "deniable" (Tr.-3), and the instrument may not even know his own master. (This theory is obviously also compatible with mystification and the pinning of crimes on the enemy by concocted plots.) But there are a number of problems that NBC and the Free Press have failed to address. First, as noted, bringing Agca to Sofia for a long and conspicuous stay was not professional. Second, the murder attempt itself was unprofessional -- very ad hoc in implementation, and Agca himself neither escorted into a safe retreat nor competently murdered, as a truly professional operation would require. Third, recruiting Agca was itself dubious, given his erratic qualities, antagonistic political sympathies, and the consequent great likelihood that he could be persuaded by his captors to "talk." Fourth, allowing several Bulgarians to deal with Agca in Rome was unprofessional and inconsistent with the pursuit of "deniability." In the latest development, based solely on Agca's most recent confession, Bulgarian airline official Sergei Antonov even had Agca visit his apartment and meet his wife, which may be said to reach the ultimate in unprofessionalism -- or, alternatively, and rather more plausibly, it happens to be the most obvious way in which coached lying could implicate Bulgarians without having to produce one piece of hard evidence.

NBC fails to mention any of these points, as befits a program and analysis that distorts, suppresses and concocts according to classic principles of terrorism pseudoscience. When one juxtaposes NBC's pompous references to "professionalism" and "deniability" with the crudities of the KGB performance upon which it relies for validation of the fairy tale, we have gone beyond mere demagoguery and intellectual opportunism -- we are in the realm of the ludicrous.

Media Processes in a Propaganda Campaign

Propaganda takes its effect, first, by repetition -- by day-in- day-out coverage that drives home the fact that something is important. It is significant that the U.S. mass media do not provide day-in-day-out coverage of the victims of apartheid in South Africa, death squads in Latin America, or assaults by South Africa on its neighbors or by Indonesia in East Timor. These are "friendly" powers, who provide an excellent investment climate and various degrees of solidarity against popular forces within and radicalism everywhere. With them we therefore enter into "constructive engagement" and eschew boycotts and threats no matter how violent and unconscionable their behavior. [The Carter human rights policy did constitute something of a deviation from this pattern, but it was a deviation. Furthermore, it was loaded with exceptions, weak in implementation against client states, and was subject to intense and ultimately effective opposition by the business community. See Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman, The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, South End Press, 1979, pp. 33-37. ] On the other hand, victims of enemy powers -- Cuban and Vietnamese refugees, the victims of Pol Pot, Lech Walesa and Soviet dissidents -- are frequent subjects of day-in-day-out coverage. A tabulation in The Real Terror Network shows that between January 1, 1976 and March 30, 1982, the New York Times had more than twice as many articles on the single individual, Anatoly Shcharansky, than it ran on an aggregate of 14 notable Free World victims of state terror. Shcharansky by himself generated five different spurts of intensive coverage during that period.

This selectivity, confining massive coverage to enemies and victims of enemies, and providing at best episodic mention of the victims of friends, serves an important ideological and political function by its denigration of competing institutional arrangement and ideologies, its mobilization of patriotic sentiments, and by diverting public attention from official support of a Third World mafia. This dichotomous treatment can only be explained rationally by mass media integration with and responsiveness to powerful business and governmental interests. Anthony Lewis, in a rare mention of the seemingly biased preoccupation of the press with Soviet victims, explained it by the fact that they are both "badly treated" and "more like us" than the Third World victims of state terror. But was Neil Aggett, tortured into another "suicide" at the hands of the South African secret police, better treated than Shcharansky, or was he less like Anthony Lewis? And the thousands of journalists and other professionals (ignoring here the more numerous peasant victims) tortured and murdered in Latin America? Is the fondness of U.S. business for South Africa and post-Allende Chile, and the episodic coverage of human rights abuses in those countries, only coincidental? We give Anthony Lewis credit for asking an important question; his answer reflects the inability of many decent people to face elementary facts about their own society.

The process of mobilization of bias depends heavily on the initiatives and power of the mass media, with perhaps a dozen entities capable of getting the ball rolling and sustaining interest. If several of these, like Reader's Digest, NBC and the New York Times decide to push a story, it quickly becomes newsworthy. Many people hear of it by mass media outreach, and thus other members of the fraternity feel obliged to get on the bandwagon because this is the news. When one of the authors (Herman) wanted to write on both Cambodia and East Timor in 1980, not Cambodia alone, the editor of a liberal magazine objected on the ground that "nobody had heard of" East Timor. The Reader's Digest had no article on the subject; William Safire, Hugh Sidey, and William Buckley had not discussed the matter; and the coverage of East Timor by the New York Times was inversely related to Indonesian state violence (starting from a modest level and a pro-Indonesia bias to begin with). [See ibid., pp. 145-151.] With this silence at the top of the media power structure, and thus nobody's "having heard of" East Timor, only eccentricity could cause the lesser media to bring up a subject so obviously unnewsworthy. For news that is more acceptable to major power groups, if circumstances are ripe a propaganda campaign can be mobilized. Especially during periods when the business community is in an aggressive mood, eager to discredit unionism, regulation, and the welfare state, and has succeeded in bringing a conservative government into power and frightening liberals into a state of better than average quiescence, Red Scares and even repressive violence can occur (1919-1920, 1949-1953). The press will then provide daily coverage of the latest revelations of Red linkages, confessions, and newly found documents, and of speculation by notables on the intent of the conspirators. The mobilization of bias is helped along by the large number of rightwing syndicated and in-house columnists who come into prominence in conservative eras. It is the function of people like William Safire, George Will and Ben Wattenberg to take advantage of any opportunity that presents itself to shift the political spectrum farther to the right, and they leap into the fray without any encumbrance by intellectual scruple. They are quickly joined by right wing academics and think-tank operatives (Walter Laqueur, Michael Ledeen, Ernest Lefever), who bring their "expertise" to the proof of Red Evil and to the important task of keeping the issue alive. In such an environment, with critical judgment by the mass media suspended, rightwing propagandists given free rein, and dissident opinion effectively excluded, lies can be institutionalized. As Levin concluded as regards the Red Scare of 1919-1920, millions of people were led to believe in the existence of a Red Conspiracy "when no such threat existed."

The mass media buildup of the Bulgarian-KGB Connection is a model illustration of the principles and processes just outlined. Once again, it is an alleged enemy act of villainy that is shown to be capable of generating day-in-day- out coverage. The process started with several key media entities pressing the connection. Claire Sterling's Reader's Digest article of September 1982 gave the new campaign an important opening push, and the NBC program of September 21, 1982 added greatly to the newsworthiness of the new Red Plot theme. The fact that both the article and TV program were a blend of demagoguery and nonsense led to no audible criticism or negative repercussions -- there are no "accuracy in media" constraints on real mass media fraud in cases of system-supportive mobilization of bias.

The real media buildup followed the new Agca confession made during the fall of 1982, which led to the arrest of Antonov in late November. The New York Times, for example, had only two articles on the Bulgarian connection in September 1982, none in October, two in November, then 20 in December, 15 in January 1983, and a modest fall-off to 8 in February. All the other major media enterprises -- Time, Newsweek, the Washington Post, Wall Street journal and the TV networks. had a comparable escalation of coverage in December 1982 and January 1983. The second layer of media followed in close order with a spate of articles; and commentators, humorists, and cartoonists attended to the Bulgarian connection frequently during the high intensity period.

Besides the intense coverage generated, another indicator of the propagandistic role of the Bulgarian-KGB connection is that the news content of this coverage was minimal, the proportion accounted for by speculation and the expression of opinion was high. Of the 32 news articles in the New York Times on, or closely related to, the Plot which appeared between Nov. 1, 1982 and Jan.31, 1983, 12 had no news content whatever, but were reports of somebody's opinion or speculation about the case -- or refusal to speculate about the issue! (The Times carried one news article whose sole content was that President Reagan had "no comment" on the case.) More typical was the front page article by Henry Kamm "Bonn Is Fearful Of Bulgaria Tie With Terrorists" (Dec. 12, 1982), or Bernard Gwerzman's "U.S. Intrigued But Uncertain On a Bulgarian Tie" (Dec. 26. 1982). In "news report" after news report unnamed officials are "intrigued," their interest is "piqued," evidence is said to be "not wholly convincing," or "final proof is still lacking. "Four of the news articles in the Times were on peripheral subjects such as smuggling in Bulgaria or Papal-Soviet relations. Of the 16 more direct news items, only one covered a really solid news fact -- namely, the arrest of Antonov in Rome. The other 15 news items were trivia, such as Kamm's "Bulgarians Regret Tarnished Image" (Jan. 27, 1983) or another Kamm piece entitled "Italian Judge Inspects Apartment of Suspect in Bulgarian Case" (Jan. 12, 1983). All of these expressions of opinion. doubts, interest, suppositions and minor detail served to produce a lot of smoke -- to keep the issue of possible Soviet involvement before the public. The New York Times was so aggressive in smoke creation that its article on smuggling in Bulgaria was placed on the front page, with the heading "Plot on Pope Aside, Bulgaria's Notoriety Rests on Smuggling" (Jan. 28, 1983) a little editorial reminder of the Plot for the benefit of the reader, plus a further editorial judgment on "notoriety," all in a single headline!

Smoke was also generated by the large stable of rightwing journalists and scholars -- Safire, Henze, Pipes, Ledeen, Sterling -- taking advantage of the newsworthiness of the Plot, adding to it, and keeping the pot boiling. Another of their functions is to make it appear that not only is the proof clear, but that there is also a sinister coverup in high places of the true extent and horribleness of Soviet guilt. In a charming little game, the CIA, reported to be "not sure," although believing that the Soviets "at a minimum" knew about the plot, is made to appear the epitome of caution and judiciousness, not as a long-standing participant in right wing disinformation (Tr.-61-62. Robert C. Toth, "Bulgaria Knew of Plot on Pope, CIA Concludes," Los Angeles, Jan. 30, 1983). Time magazine played this game with considerable flair, suggesting Washington foot-dragging because of the fear that the true story "might scuttle any arms-control talks" (Feb. 7, 1983). This delightful gambit, which patriotically assumes Reagan's deep devotion to arms control, in the face of obvious facts, thereby converts a factor that might arouse suspicion as to the source of the plot into a basis of administration regrets and coy protection of the Soviets!

Now A French Connection

The "Bulgarian Connection" acquired a French connection at the end of March 1983. In a long article in the New York Times (March 23, 1983), reporter Nicholas Gage passed on claims made by French counterintelligence that a Bulgarian defector had implicated both the Bulgarian state security agency and the Soviet KGB in the papal assassination plot. The defector was Iordan Mantarov, supposedly a former commercial attache at the Bulgarian Embassy in Paris, who repeated information he had allegedly received from one Dimiter Savov before defecting in July 1981. Mantarov identified Savov as a high-ranking Bulgarian counterintelligence official.

The Bulgarian government responded that Mantarov had actually been an employee at a Bulgarian owned company called Agromachinaimpeks, which exports farm equipment, and that he worked as a maintenance mechanic in Paris. In an article reporting the Bulgarian government's response (April 8, 1983), Craig R. Whitney, foreign editor of the New York Times, admitted that Mantarov was not even listed on the Bulgarian Embassy roster, which as a commercial attache he certainly would have been. The Bulgarians also denied that any "Savov" worked for the state security agency, and noted that this was a common Bulgarian surname.

Gage's story, on which he supposedly spent two months while traveling to seven countries, appeared only days before his cover story in the New York Times Sunday Magazine describing his search, while working as a Times reporter, for the Greek Communist who reportedly murdered his mother during the civil war in the 1940s. In the article Gage described himself as armed and seeking vengeance, though he ultimately could not bring himself to act when he found the alleged murderer. In assigning Gage to investigate the "Bulgarian Connection," the Times undoubtedly considered him "objective" in reporting on a matter of potentially great East-West tension.

The primary smoke produced a large volume of induced smoke, as other commentators, editorialists, and cartoonists were obliged to say something about that which had now been made news. Thus, James McCartney, normally a cautious but rational news commentator, put up a long and vacuous article on the Bulgarian Connection that contained neither fact nor discussion of the substance of the claims, but merely related worries among various Italian politicians of the effects of the connection if true ('''Bulgarian Connection' to Pope's Shooting Worries Italy," Philadelphia Inquirer, Feb. 6, 1983). Cartoonists trying to keep current drew cartoons that assumed that the KGB connection is valid. Liberals took the position that while there is a case, more evidence is required. Smoke was effectively proving the existence of the fire.

A further characteristic of mass media coverage of the Bulgarian-KGB connection has been the virtually complete exclusion of dissenting opinion. The "debate" is confined to assertions and speculations by western terrorism experts, intelligence sources, and politicians, on the one hand, and Soviet and Bulgarian denials on the other. Communist denials are obviously to be expected, and come from a source that the public will not find believable. Non-establishment western critics of the story, who might have greater credibility, are not admitted to the debate.

Time does a masterful job of building up its favored sources of evidence -- "normally cautious Italian politicians" who "exuded confidence," "circumstantial evidence" which "seems overwhelming" to U.S. intelligence, the British alone remaining skeptical -- on the other hand, the Soviet reply "emotional," with attacks on western journalists, but not Marvin Kalb, "which tends to add credibility to the facts as well as to the tone [sic] of his reporting" (Feb. 22, 1983). There is the necessary playing down of the problem of the credibility of Agca, his confession, his photo identification, in the Italian police-prison-political context, but Time throws in just enough in the way of intelligence doubts and admissions of lack of final proof so that their completely uncritical use of sources and packaged sell of the connection is not obvious.

In the New York Times, Henry Kamm, continuing a long tradition, confines his questions to western intelligence sources, propagandists, and politicians who will tell him what he wants to hear; and in the entire set of news articles and opinion pieces in the New York Times from Nov. 1, 1982-Jan. 31, 1973 not one serious opposition voice is to be found. The Times, like Time, conveys the views of the CIA, Italian politicians, the "terrorism" experts, other intelligence services, and of course Zbigniew Brzezinski. Brzezinski's belief in Soviet involvement is put forth in a "news" article devoted solely to this enlightening fact; and the Times then gives Brzezinski Op. Ed. column space to repeat his opinion. This is a good illustration of the main form of editorial writing in the mass media -- confining questions and answers in purported "news" articles to those whose conclusions preclude the necessity of your own expressions of personal judgment.

Along with the exclusion of any dissenting view, another feature of mass media reporting is the dropping out of inconvenient facts that would disturb the preferred line. Thus, immediately after the assassination attempt, the New York Times ran articles by Marvine Howe (May 16, 1981) and R. W. Apple (May 25, 1981) that gave long and detailed accounts of Agca 's neo-fascist connections and the Turkish fascist background. As the story developed in the period August 1982-March 1983, with the stress on a KGB plot, the Turkish background -- which we believe contains the heart of the story -- has dropped out of sight entirely.

A further characteristic of mass media performance, implicit in some of the preceding, is the mass media's suppression of the fact of its own suppressions, its reliance on biased sources, and the existence of vested interests in the west that have a huge stake in Red Scares. It casts itself in the role of non-partisan searcher for the truth, not as a biased instrument of western power interests. Few will know, for example, that both the New York Times and (more surprisingly) the Philadelphia Inquirer rejected a proposed Op. Ed. column by Diana Johnstone, the European Editor of In These Times, which offered an alternative structure of facts and conclusions. Readers of the press and listeners to national TV will never know that Claire Sterling lost a slander suit in Paris, or that Michael Ledeen has ties to key members of the extreme right wing P-2 Masonic Lodge of Italy, including its head, Gelli, wanted for questioning in Italy, living now in Uruguay. Carefully kept under the rug is the historic role of Red Scares, and the extensive record of forged documents and defector and informer mobilization and coached lying in sustaining these Scares. The public will not know that in each Scare the mass media has passed along the assertions of the likes of A. Mitchell Palmer, Joe McCarthy ("205 card-carrying members of the Communist Party in the State Department"), Paul Crouch, Alexander Barmine, etc. as straight news, "objectively" transmitted, exactly as Nicholas Gage, Henry Kamm and Marvin Kalb now do for the Bulgarian Connection. The great serviceability of the Bulgarian-KGB Connection to Ronald Reagan and Caspar Weinberger, McDonnell-Douglas and General Electric, Craxi, Lagorio, and the Italian right wing is neither mentioned nor examined as a possible source of the new disclosures and their unprocessed dissemination as "news."

Finally, we have seen how the "factual" basis of the argument gradually changes during propaganda campaigns, as new confessions, defectors, documents, and "links" come and go. This allows the pot to continue boiling, and the refutations of earlier allegations to be ignored by the inundation of fresh unverified claims.
We have suggested that the usefulness of the Bulgarian Connection will cause it to remain with us for a while. We also venture this dual forecast as of March, 1983: first, that Antonov will be freed in the near future, without fanfare; and, second, that although his arrest was the central fact producing massive attention, his release will lead to no overall reassessment of the substance of the case or of the media's role in giving it life and propaganda value.

The illusion of objectivity is a powerful weapon in the hands of the biased. We see in the case of the Bulgarian-KGB Connection that it has helped a de facto propaganda system institutionalize a genuine Big Lie.


Uncle Sam's Georgie Girl
by Fred Landis [Fred Landis, a Chilean-born American psychologist, received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, based on his thesis, "Psychological Warfare and Media Operations in Chile, 1970-1973." He served as a consultant for the Subcommittee on CIA Covert Action in Chile of the Church Committee. He is the co-author, with Donald Freed, of Death in Washington: The Assassination of' Orlando Letelier (Lawrence Hill: 1980). A new video. "The Pope and the C.I.A. in Nicaragua," 20 minutes, color, is available from Dr. Landis in English or Spanish: rental $25. Write to him at: Box 886. La Jolla. CA 92038.]

Georgie Anne Geyer

Buying the Night Flight, by Georgie Anne Geyer, Delacorte Press, New York, 1983, 338 + xiv pp., $16.95.

" ... I have never compromised seriously on any ethical or moral principle, and I truly believe that the women of my generation can bring a new and cleansing element to American public life. Whatever I have accomplished I could not have done it without profoundly analyzing myself -- but I also find that in professional life the old injunction to 'Know Thyself' reaches women more than men. It has been a constant struggle, often with little personal approval or backing, which I feel also adds to a woman's inner strength."

-- From Who's Who, entry under Georgie Anne Geyer

Georgie Anne Geyer's credentials as a journalist might not be an issue if she did not tour Europe at United States Information Agency expense as an official apologist of U.S. policy in El Salvador, while arguing that this in no way compromised her objectivity as a journalist. The hostility she encountered from fellow-journalists during this tour, she bitterly reported in her syndicated column, was the most painful experience in her life. This didn't stop her, however, from making a similar USIA tour of Africa to attack UNESCO support for independent media in the developing world. Geyer simply cannot understand why people in the Third World should object to the current arrangement: Western news syndicates hiring people like Geyer to interpret events in their own "backyard."

Take an area Geyer claims to be an expert on, Allende's Chile. Says Geyer, "I was meticulous in writing fairly about Allende." Herewith a sampler of Geyer's idea of fairness: "Salvador Allende always reminded me a bit of a penguin. He was short and square and waddled slightly when he walked. He wore funny little hats that his vanity told him made him attractive to women ... he committed suicide ... a few days later the military exhibited all the bizarre sexual aids they found in the two grotesquely ostentatious mansions where Allende had lived with his mistress and his Cuban mercenary guards ... I somehow felt sorry for the fallen Marxist, in his funny little hats ... he was much like a meddlesome old lady."

Not coincidentally the single best documented USIA and CIA propaganda activity concerns Allende and Chile. The themes selected to use against Allende are the themes used by Geyer.

In the December 1982 Atlantic Monthly a staff member of the National Security Council admits having seen a proposal to assassinate Allende. Then Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugene Propper, in his book Labyrinth, identified Allende's assassin as Captain Rene Riveros. But back in 1973 the CIA had a very specific line on this matter: Allende committed suicide, using a machine gun given to him by Fidel Castro. Says Geyer, "He shot himself with a machine gun given him by Fidel Castro."

Fidel Castro

Another CIA theme was that Allende lived in a mansion. If you read the fine print of El Mercurio or other identified CIA media outlets, this turned out to be either the Presidential Palace of La Moneda or the official residence of Thomas Moro. Geyer makes this two mansions.

View of La Moneda from the Plaza de la Constitución

CASA PRESIDENCIAL DE TOMÁS MORO, by Consejo de Monumentos Nacionales De Chile

Of great concern to the CIA was Allende's obstinate refusal to allow himself to be easily assassinated, surrounding himself with a group of personal friends, longtime Chilean Socialist colleagues, who protected him. In Geyer's "Bodyguard of Lies" they become Cuban mercenaries.

When members of the Senate Intelligence Committee asked how I first became aware of CIA fabrications in El Mercurio, I explained that it was hard to accept that Allende was simultaneously impotent, unfaithful to his wife, and having a homosexual relationship with Fidel Castro. Geyer is the only foreign correspondent to report this as fact.

Further comments by Geyer on Fidel: "My first impression of Fidel Castro ... a strange mixture of almost abnormal sweetness ... It was also strange to me that I felt virtually no normal sexual attraction for him at all." Lest la Geyer be misunderstood (a constant problem) she hastens to add that she is no sexist: "Men are equal -- they shouldn't be sex objects, either."

What about Che? Alas, this world is so monstrously unfair that Geyer was not provided a ringside seat to watch Che's capture in Bolivia. She consoles herself by spending a whole page citing other historical examples of world-class journalists like herself who simply did not get there in time. She writes with the tone of a prima donna who missed the social event of the season. What she can't understand is how others were not embittered by the experience: "I did not have the same gracious feelings about missing Che's denouement. Besides, all my friends were there for it."

Who exactly are Geyer's friends? She mentions two scavengers who, having failed to bribe or steal their way into possessing Che's diary, console themselves in a striptease joint. Other friends are American Special Forces (Green Berets) officers, who arrange for Geyer to have an exclusive interview with the remnants of Che's guerrilla group.
These same Green Berets were kind enough to act as her bodyguards and interpreters during the interviews.

Now given Che's legendary reputation one might suppose that for every person in Che's band there would have been a thousand leftists who would have given their eye teeth to have been allowed to join. Not so: "All were lured from La Pal with a week's advance salary and promises of high adventure .... Belatedly they discovered they were "guerrillas" fighting under autocratic Cuban leaders." Having recruited his men under false pretenses, Che picked the wrong spot in the jungle to set up camp. "It was a miserably difficult place, infested with strange bugs." Nor did Che provide leadership. "While 'El Che' sat reading books in the camp, the disgruntled Bolivians began to desert." So what was Che doing in Bolivia? He was looking for a place to die. "It was a suicidal state which I sensed from the moment I read about his death."

Che Guevara Credit: Paulo Gasperini

One would have thought that if Che were suicidal, the CIA would not have had to go to such trouble to track him down. According to Time magazine, they utilized spy satellites with infra-red detectors to follow his movements by picking up the heat from his campfire; 600 U.S.-trained Bolivian Rangers; helicopters; napalm; and Green Berets.

Maybe 100 times as much CIA effort went into assassinating the character of Che as went into his physical assassination. The original plan was to seize his diary, make a tendentious translation of selected parts, dress it up with CIA-authored prologue, introduction, footnotes and appendix; dump an inexpensive, CIA-subsidized version on the market; and smear Che's memory. These plans having been thwarted by the unexpected appearance of an honest Bolivian General who gave the intact original to Cuba, the CIA's media assets on the scene had to muddle through as best they could.

For Geyer to say that Che was suicidal accomplishes the same thing as in the case of Allende, to suggest the U.S. had nothing to do with their death, that they really killed themselves. How does she know this'? She "sensed" it.
Here as throughout the book, Geyer wants to have it both ways. She claims practically to have discovered women's liberation, but at the same time lays claim to feminine intuition. Her feminine intuition told her Allende was sexually envious. In the book he was envious of Geyer's boyfriend. In her Chicago Daily New's story (back in September 1973) Geyer states that she observed Allende looking with sexual envy at a Cuban couple walking along the beach. It is not everyday that one sees a newspaper story describing a national leader as being "sexually envious," especially the day after he has been killed in a bloody military coup.

In 1978 Mark Felt and other FBI officials were being prosecuted for black bagjobs against student radicals. The defense lawyers sought a justification by claiming a foreign intelligence link to the radicals. Both the FBI and the CIA had been ordered by Nixon to find such a link, but gave up after five fruitless years. Now comes Georgie Anne Geyer with a series of columns in which she claims to have discovered the missing link. Felt's lawyer went into court and used Geyer's columns as a defense.

Constantine Menges is currently the CIA's National Security Officer for Latin America. One of Menges's contributions was to identify a psychological weak spot in Chile, the fear by landowners that they would lose their land, either through expropriation by the government or guerrilla "expropriation." The intelligence gathering necessary to identify this "psychological opportunity" was conducted by Menges under cover of a RAND study of the Chilean Agrarian Reform. The CIA now knew how to spark a rebellion of landowners against the Allende government: by planting the story that some Chilean Che Guevara was running amok in the heart of farm country, plotting to seize your farm. They even invented a name, "Commander Pepe." The first U.S. appearance of this story was in William Buckley's National Review, followed by Georgie Anne. "Commander Pepe" became an inside joke among U.S. intelligence operatives in Chile in the same way that "The Man Who Never Was" became part of British intelligence lore during World War II.

On May 5, 1977 Buckley hosted an hour long discussion of Allende's Chile on "Firing Line." On the TV show were Buckley's Chilean correspondent and Georgie Anne, who sat around trading little digs at "Commander Pepe."

This CIA obsession with going into target countries and seeking out psychological weak points goes back to Edward Lansdale. Lansdale, the CIA officer immortalized in The Ugly American, operated on the philosophy that in each foreign culture there was some hidden psychological key which, if discovered, would permit the minds of the people to be easily manipulated.

Says Geyer: "As I watched Chile I was learning how to psych out a society, to find out where the weak points were."

As recently as the outbreak of the Iraq-Iran war, our Mata Hari from Chicago was taking the night flight to Baghdad to get some critical questions answered. Why? "The answers to these questions were critical to the United States -- and yet, having no direct diplomatic representation in Baghdad, we had no answers." This self-conscious, self-appointed role as Uncle Sam's little spy goes back to her first assignment, getting the dope on the Guatemalan guerrillas: "One must psych out the society and judge where are the weak points, the soft spots, the places where one can probe." Geyer gets her man, the Guatemalan guerrilla leader Turcios. In passing she mentions that shortly after her interview with Turcios, he died. She interviewed Camilo Torres. Shortly afterwards, he died. She interviewed Chilean journalist Agusto Olivares. Shortly after, he died. (Olivares is perhaps a different case, as Geyer claims him as a friend.)

On October 5, 1973 Captain Ponce and Naval Intelligence officer Miliroy Strike gave me a tour of the bombed Presidential Palace of La Moneda. After leaving the Chancery area we passed through a kitchen on the first or ground floor level into an adjoining room where Ponce pointed to a blood-splattered wall. Ponce stated that on September 11 Agusto Olivares was executed by machine gun fire on that spot. Geyer says in her book that her "friend" committed suicide, just like Allende.

Salvador Allende

Not that Geyer found no men in Chile to admire. Down in the southern town of Punta Arenas she finds a Walter Rauff, whom she found to be "a charming and cultured man." In the ranks of Nazi war criminals, Rauff is up there with Eichmann and Mengele. She even found her guru in Chile, one Roger Veekemans. Not less than five books have been written about Veckemans's work for the CIA in Chile.

It is the section on the Soviet Union that led the book reviewer for Geyer's own newspaper to exclaim that she writes "as if she was working for the ladies' auxiliary of the CIA." The manner in which certain images and themes arr developed in her three chapters on the U.S.S.R. is fascinating. First we are introduced to Russia, which becomes Stalin, who is resurrected to guide Geyer around Georgia. Russia is cold, huge, grey, looming, threatening. So is Stalin. So is her Georgian guide. Now this is very curious. Even more curious are the titles to these three chapters: "U.S.S.R.: The Well Fed Wolf," "Man of Steel," and "Men of Iron." Now let us free associate with these titles; what do the words "Wolf," "Steel," and "Iron" bring to mind? Cold, grey, threatening -- exactly the image she sought to create of Russia, and her Georgian guide.

One would be hard put to find countries more geographically, culturally, ethnically, and temperamentally different than Russia, Chile, and Cuba. In Geyer's view, they are the same place, because she has no interest in these places or their people except as an excuse for launching into a political diatribe about the evils of some abstraction called Socialism.

The country Russia, the historical figure Stalin, and some Georgian who had the misfortune of running into Geyer, have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with each other. In Geyer's descriptions they are one and the same. Which makes her either crazy or crafty. The logic behind all this is that most people do not have strong feelings about abstractions such as Socialism, or a particular Socialist country. So Geyer selects some prominent citizen of that country to whom she attributes all the negative characteristics the CIA would like the reader to associate with Socialism.

Is it really fair to say this sort of thing about Geyer? Absolutely! Because she literally asks for it. Geyer's book is explicitly offered to the public so that her career may serve as a model. Geyer has no time for the New Journalism. She lays claim to being more objective, more honest, straighter than journalists today: "Journalism was quite unlike journalism today. We quite simply 'reported' what was going on. We did not write columns or our own personal interpretations on the news pages. It was a much straighter and more honest job ... But now the next generation of journalists came to feel that they had the duty and the right to make ever more astonishing judgements ... They became very dangerous -- and I am barely exaggerating when I say that they nearly destroyed the truth in journalism in the United States."

By these standards, Geyer is a public joke. Her insistence on forcing a grossly inflated self-image on the public makes her a joke. It isn't enough that Geyer thinks she is a world-class journalist; she wants to instruct us on what is journalism. Among those who do not measure up to her standards are Seymour Hersh and the Washington Post. It seems that they engage in something nasty called investigative journalism. It seems they make judgments. But Geyer is not shy about making judgments. What bothers her is what is being investigated. My Lai, Watergate, CIA assassination plots, etc., are not legitimate journalistic targets.

Geyer has never outgrown her childhood self-image as little Ge-Ge, growing up on the South Side of Chicago, in a family of BIG MEN, who protect her. "The Press must establish friends who become protectors." She went to the Chicago Daily News where big gruff men like Howard Ziff protected her. Then she went to work for Uncle Sam, who protected her. She cannot understand anyone criticizing Uncle Sam.

All this is perfectly illustrated by an incident at the Naval War College, where both she and Seymour Hersh shared the platform. "Hersh, the hotshot investigative reporter," went first. What he had to say so upset Geyer that she departed from her prepared text to attack Hersh. "I was horrified by Hersh's speech. 'What Mr. Hersh is doing,' I said, 'is doing exactly what he criticized the U.S. military for doing during Vietnam.'" Poor Georgie says that at a party later at the admiral's house she was "further stunned. The military were not at all angry with Hersh, but they were completely miffed at ME."

Hersh is a real reporter, he does his job, reports the facts and lets the chips fall where they may. That was the first thing that stunned little Ge-Ge. Hersh had further won the respect of his audience as a serious professional. Geyer was stunned to learn that she had not. The military can handle criticism; they don't need Uncle Sam's little helper.

Geyer wants us to know how tough it is up there at the top: "All you need to do is make one mistake -- or give one really far out interpretation -- and you're finished." But look at some selected Geyerisms that should have finished her off long ago:

On the Cuban Revolution: "The Cubans did not understand their own revolution."

On Russians at the Hotel Astra bar: "Buxom and braless girls shook frenetically on the dance floor, and at the bar men pawed women like untethered wild animals ... behaving as though they were in the Berlin bunker the night Hitler's Reich was falling."

On being a CIA agent: "Only once was I ever accused, anywhere, at any time, of being a CIA agent, and that was for a reason."

On the secret Sandinista master plan for Latin America: "Anyway, one evening I was returning from the pool about 10:00 P.M. and walking, very wet indeed, through the lobby [of the Intercontinental Hotel, Managua, Nicaragua] when I saw Tomas Borge. As I stood there dripping, unnoticed by the group, Borge actually outlined their entire plans for Latin America."

Geyer is like the National Enquirer, almost impossible to parody. Now for the facts. The Intercontinental pool closes at 9:00 P.M. Everybody else walks up the stairs outside to the second floor and takes the elevator. They do not walk through the lobby in their bathing suits. A blonde American woman in a bathing suit could not pass through the lobby without being noticed, especially if she stopped to gape at Tomas Borge. According to Geyer, Borge was speaking in a "low, conspiratorial voice." That is not exactly Borge's style. Conspiracies are not conducted in public, in the lobby of the largest hotel in the country, with a crowd of foreign diplomats, journalists, and spies standing in attendance.

On the near martyrdom of St. Geyer: In the first chapter, Geyer is in a hotel in Guatemala when a German businessman tries to enter her room. She interprets this as an assassination attempt. By the last chapter we are now 20 years later, in El Salvador, when the assassination of Archbishop Romero recalls to Geyer her own near martyrdom: "he was assassinated -- as he said mass in his chapel -- by the same sort that had tried to kill me in Guatemala."

Buying The Night Flight is the most embarrassingly self-revelatory autobiography since Norman Podhoretz's Making It. The Los Angeles Times said, "In all Geyer's writing, there's a touch of the malicious high school girl." One has the awful feeling that her editors deliberately let her puff herself up into a gaseous ball of hot air.
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Re: Disinformation, by Wikipedia

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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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New York, NY 10013

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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.

Bound Volume

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Bound Volume: The new cloth covered, library quality hardbound volume of Covert Action Information Bulletin is now available. This contains original copies of Numbers 1 through 12, plus the complete index, all bound together in a handy reference copy. The price, postpaid in the U.S., is: $45 for CAIB individual subscribers: $55 for CAIB institutional subscribers; and $65 for libraries and other institutions.

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All back issues are available from CAIB (although Number 1 and Number 6 are available only in photocopy). (Microform versions are available from University Microfilms. 300 N. Zeeb Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48106.) Highlights of issues are noted below. Please note extra charges for institutions and for foreign orders.

Number 1 (July 1975): Agee on CIA: Cuban Exile Trial: Consumer Research in Jamaica.

Number 2 (October 1978): CIA Recruiting Diplomats: Researching Undercover Officers: Double Agent in CIA

Number 3 (January 1979): CIA Attacks Bulletin: Supplement B to Army Field Manual: Spring on Host Countries

Number 4 (April-May 1979): U.S. Spies in Italian Services: CIA in Spain: Recruiting for Africa: Subversive Academics: Angola

Number 5 (July-August 1970): U.S. Intelligence in Southeast Asia: CIA in Denmark. Sweden. Grenada.

Number 6 (October 1979): U.S. in Caribbean: Cuban Exile Terrorists: CIA Plans for Nicaragua: CIA's secret "Perspectives for Intelligence."

Number 7 (December 1979-January 1980): Media Destabilization in Jamaica: Robert Moss: CIA Budget: Media Operations: UNIIA: Iran.

Number 8 (March-April 1980): Attacks on Agee: U.S. Intelligence Legislation: CAIB Statement: Zimbabwe: Northern Ireland.

Number 9 (June 1980): NSA in Norway: Glomar Explorer: Mind Control: Notes on NSA.

Number 10 (August-September 1980): Caribbean: Destabilization in Jamaica: Guyana: Grenada Bombing: Antigua and Dominica: The Spike: Deep Cover Manual.

Number 11 (December 1980): Right-Wing Terrorism: South Korea: KCIA: Portugal: Guyana: Caribbean: AFIO: NSA Interview.

Number 12 (April 1981): U.S. in El Salvador and Guatemala: New Right: William Casey: Mozambique Spy Ring: Mail Surveillance

Number 13 (July-August 1981): South Africa Documents; Namibia "Solution;" Mercenaries and Gunrunning; The Klan; Globe Acro; Angola: Mozambique; BOSS: Central America: Max Hugel: Mail Surveillance.

Number 14-15 (October 1981): Complete Index to Numbers 1-12: Review of Intelligence Legislation. CAIB Plans: Extended Naming Names

Number 16 (March 1982): Green Beret Torture in El Salvador: Argentine Death Squads: CIA Media Operations: Seychelles: Angola: Mozambique: Klan Karibbean Koup Attempt: Nugan Hand.

Number 17 (Summer 1982): History of Biochemical Warfare: Current CBW Plans: Cuban Dengue Epidemic: Scott Barnes and the Yellow Rain Fabrications: Mystery Death in Bangkok.

Number 18 (Winter 1983): The CIA and Religion: "Secret" War in Nicaragua: Opus Dei: The Miskitu Case: Evangelicals in Guatemala: The Summer Institute of Linguistics: World Medical Relief: The CIA and BOSS: Torture in South Africa: Vietnam Defoliation.

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Re: Disinformation, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Fri Sep 18, 2020 11:42 am

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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