the c.i.a. and the press

once upon a time, to be left was to distrust the c.i.a.

but we've gotten more stupid as the years go by and now we embrace them - like letting that lunatic ray mcgovern have a spot in leadership, for example.

james tracy, at ich, reminds us of the realities of the c.i.a.:

  • Since the early 1950s the CIA “has secretly bankrolled numerous foreign press services, periodicals and newspapers—both English and foreign language—which provided excellent cover for CIA operatives,” Carl Bernstein reported in 1977. “One such publication was the Rome Daily American, forty percent of which was owned by the CIA until the 1970s.” Carl Bernstein, “The CIA and the Media,” Rolling Stone, October 20, 1977.
  • The CIA exercised informal liaisons with news media executives, in contrast to its relationships with salaried reporters and stringers, “who were much more subject to direction from the Agency” according to Bernstein. “A few executives—Arthur Hays Sulzberger of the New York Times among them—signed secrecy agreements. But such formal understandings were rare: relationships between Agency officials and media executives were usually social—’The P and Q Street axis in Georgetown,’ said one source. ‘You don’t tell William Paley to sign a piece of paper saying he won’t fink.’” Director of CBS William Paley’s personal “friendship with CIA Director Dulles is now known to have been one of the most influential and significant in the communications industry,” author Debora Davis explains. “He provided cover for CIA agents, supplied out-takes of news film, permitted the debriefing of reporters, and in many ways set the standard for the cooperation between the CIA and major broadcast companies which lasted until the mid-1970s.” Deborah Davis, Katharine the Great: Katharine Graham and the Washington Post, Second Edition, Bethesda MD: National Press Inc, 1987, 175.
  • “The Agency’s relationship with the Times was by far its most valuable among newspapers, according to CIA officials,” Bernstein points out in his key 1977 article. “From 1950 to 1966, about ten CIA employees were provided Times cover under arrangements approved by the newspaper’s late publisher, Arthur Hays Sulzberger. The cover arrangements were part of a general Times policy—set by Sulzberger—to provide assistance to the CIA whenever possible.” In addition, Sulzberger was a close friend of CIA Director Allen Dulles. “’At that level of contact it was the mighty talking to the mighty,’ said a high‑level CIA official who was present at some of the discussions. ‘There was an agreement in principle that, yes indeed, we would help each other. The question of cover came up on several occasions. It was agreed that the actual arrangements would be handled by subordinates…. The mighty didn’t want to know the specifics; they wanted plausible deniability.'” Bernstein, “The CIA and the Media.”
  • CBS’s Paley worked reciprocally with the CIA, allowing the Agency to utilize network resources and personnel. “It was a form of assistance that a number of wealthy persons are now generally known to have rendered the CIA through their private interests,” veteran broadcast journalist Daniel Schorr wrote in 1977. “It suggested to me, however, that a relationship of confidence and trust had existed between him and the agency.” Schorr points to “clues indicating that CBS had been infiltrated.” For example, “A news editor remembered the CIA officer who used to come to the radio control room in New York in the early morning, and, with the permission of persons unknown, listened to CBS correspondents around the world recording their ‘spots’ for the ‘World News Roundup’ and discussing events with the editor on duty. Sam Jaffe claimed that when he applied in 1955 for a job with CBS, a CIA officer told him that he would be hired–which he subsequently was. He was told that he would be sent to Moscow–which he subsequently was; he was assigned in 1960 to cover the trial of U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers. [Richard] Salant told me,” Schorr continues, “that when he first became president of CBS News in 1961, a CIA case officer called saying he wanted to continue the ‘long standing relationship known to Paley and [CBS president Frank] Stanton, but Salant was told by Stanton there was no obligation that he knew of” (276). Schorr, Daniel. Clearing the Air, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1977, 277, 276.
  • National Enquirer publisher Gene Pope Jr. worked briefly on the CIA’s Italy desk in the early 1950s and maintained close ties with the Agency thereafter. Pope refrained from publishing dozens of stories with “details of CIA kidnappings and murders, enough stuff for a year’s worth of headlines” in order to “collect chits, IOUs,” Pope’s son writes. “He figured he’d never know when he might need them, and those IOUs would come in handy when he got to 20 million circulation. When that happened, he’d have the voice to be almost his own branch of government and would need the cover.” Paul David Pope, The Deeds of My Fathers: How My Grandfather and Father Built New York and Created the Tabloid World of Today, New York: Phillip Turner/Rowman & Littlefield, 2010, 309, 310.
  • One explosive story Pope’s National Enquirer‘s refrained from publishing in the late 1970s centered on excerpts from a long-sought after diary of President Kennedy’s lover, Mary Pinchot Meyer, who was murdered on October 12, 1964. “The reporters who wrote the story were even able to place James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s head of counterintelligence operations, at the scene.” Another potential story drew on “documents proving that [Howard] Hughes and the CIA had been connected for years and that the CIA was giving Hughes money to secretly fund, with campaign donations, twenty-seven congressmen and senators who sat on sub-committees critical to the agency. There are also fifty-three international companies named and sourced as CIA fronts .. and even a list of reporters for mainstream media organizations who were playing ball with the agency.” Pope, The Deeds of My Fathers, 309.
  • Angleton, who oversaw the Agency counterintelligence branch for 25 years, “ran a completely independent group entirely separate cadre of journalist‑operatives who performed sensitive and frequently dangerous assignments; little is known about this group for the simple reason that Angleton deliberately kept only the vaguest of files.” Bernstein, “The CIA and the Media.” 
  • The CIA conducted a “formal training program” during the 1950s for the sole purpose of instructing its agents to function as newsmen. “Intelligence officers were ‘taught to make noises like reporters,’ explained a high CIA official, and were then placed in major news organizations with help from management. These were the guys who went through the ranks and were told ‘You’re going to he a journalist,’” the CIA official said.” The Agency’s preference, however, was to engage journalists who were already established in the industry. Bernstein, “The CIA and the Media.” 

  • Newspaper columnists and broadcast journalists with household names have been known to maintain close ties with the Agency. “There are perhaps a dozen well known columnists and broadcast commentators whose relationships with the CIA go far beyond those normally maintained between reporters and their sources,” Bernstein maintains. “They are referred to at the Agency as ‘known assets’ and can be counted on to perform a variety of undercover tasks; they are considered receptive to the Agency’s point of view on various subjects.” Bernstein, “The CIA and the Media.” 

  • keep that in mind when ms. magazine and others today begin acting like we can hold hands with the c.i.a.

    let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

    Tuesday, September 1, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, some rush to cover crimes, some ignore War Crimes, Francis A. Boyle speaks out, and much more.

    As September starts, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq announces at least 1325 violent deaths for the month of August in Iraq:

    Baghdad, 1 September 2015 – According to casualty figures released today by UNAMI, a total of 1,325 Iraqis were killed and another 1,811 were injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in August 2015*.

    The number of civilians killed was 585 (including 20 civilian police and casualty figures in Anbar), and the number of civilians injured was 1,103 (including 44 civilian police and casualty figures in Anbar).
    A further 740 members of the Iraqi Security Forces (including Peshmerga, SWAT and militias fighting alongside the Iraqi Army / Not including casualties from Anbar Operations) were killed and 708 were injured.
    “With the steadily increasing number of casualties, internally displaced persons, and the alarming rate of Iraqis fleeing war, persecution and poverty to seek refuge abroad, the successful implementation of the government reform plan will be paramount to restore order, legality and social justice in the country and renew confidence in the fair participation of all in the society”, SRSG Kubis said, acknowledging the immense sacrifices Iraqi civilians and security forces continue to make in the ongoing war against terrorism.
    Baghdad was the worst affected Governorate with 1,069 civilian casualties (318 killed, 751 injured). Diyala suffered 108 killed and 162 injured; Ninewa 69 killed and 3 injured; Salah al-Din 23 killed and 13 injured and Kirkuk 17 killed and 15 injured.
    According to information obtained by UNAMI from the Health Directorate in Anbar, the Governorate suffered a total of 187 civilian casualties (39 killed and 148 injured).
    *CAVEATS: In general, UNAMI has been hindered in effectively verifying casualties in conflict areas. Figures for casualties from Anbar Governorate are provided by the Health Directorate and are noted below. Casualty figures obtained from the Anbar Health Directorate might not fully reflect the real number of casualties in those areas due to the increased volatility of the situation on the ground and the disruption of services. In some cases, UNAMI could only partially verify certain incidents. UNAMI has also received, without being able to verify, reports of large numbers of casualties along with unknown numbers of persons who have died from secondary effects of violence after having fled their homes due to exposure to the elements, lack of water, food, medicines and health care. For these reasons, the figures reported have to be considered as the absolute minimum.

    This is an undercount.  It's always been an undercount.

    In the past, we've noted Anitwar.com.

    Not interested anymore.

    Not because Justin Raimondo is the equivalent of wet-pantied, squealing little girl at a Beatles concert when it comes to Barack Obama.  (They call themselves Antiwar and 'libertarian' but any time Barack pulls a fake ass 'peace' move, Raimondo's hands go straight down his pants as he begins moaning.)

    This is because they're liars and I don't like liars.

    Back in 2014, we raised the issue of Margaret Griffis tossing "militants" onto any deaths because some official did.  We'd hoped that would change this year.

    Not only did it not change but when it turned out that so-called 'militants' were actually innocent civilians, Antiwar.com didn't go back and change the propaganda and lies they'd offered.

    This is no different than be outraged that the New York Times spread propaganda to sell and continue the illegal war in Iraq.

    This is no different than expressing dismay that its then-reporter Judith Miller took dictation from government sources instead of doing actual reporting.

    When civilians are killed by governments and governments try to wall paper over those deaths by pretending the dead were 'militants' or 'terrorists,'

    Those who help them reach that goal -- intentionally or due to their own blatant stupidity -- are no better than the government liars.

    I've tried to be nice about it, but I'm sick of it now.

    One of the worst War Crimes of the illegal war was the murder and gang-rape of Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi who was gang-raped while her parents and younger sister were murdered.  This was done by US soldiers who were sure they could get away with it because the violence would be blamed on, yes, 'militants' and 'terrorists' and, yes, they almost got away with it.

    We covered what happened here.  We covered the Article 32 hearing, the plea deals, the civilian prosecution of Steven D. Green, Abeer's family reacting to the verdict on Green and so much more.

    By contrast, I think Antiwar.com offered three pieces on this War Crime.

    They really weren't interested which goes to the hatred of women which you'll find at Antiwar.com -- one of those sites infamous for multitudes of men writing and blogging and the occasional token woman.

    They weren't interested in Abeer.

    And they're not interested in Iraqis.

    They really do reek of the isolationist slur or stereotype that so many War Hawks try to pin on them -- and they have no one to blame for that but themselves.

    As I've repeatedly noted over the years, I'm part of a peace movement, not an anti-war movement.  That crowd has trouble grasping what to hold on to but they can tell you in three seconds everything they're against.

    Those were ideological differences.

    I bit my tongue.

    When Antiwar.com knows that civilians were killed and that they reported those deaths as deaths of 'militants'?  When they know that and they don't correct it or follow up on it?

    Not only does Justin Raimondo have no high horse to ride but we have no use for them.

    Mistakes are one thing -- we all make them -- intentionally lying is another.

    Their embrace of Nouri al-Maliki?

    We largely looked the other way.

    But that's typical of the immaturity they've demonstrated repeatedly over the years while pretending to be the leading light of 'anti war' thinking.

    You'll notice that even now, especially now?, with Nouri a public disgrace, they don't address their ridiculous support of Nouri -- a position that seems as laughable as the pro-Stalin Americans of yesteryear.

    But thing is, it was always laughable.

    We called Nouri out in real time and we called him out repeatedly.

    The abuses he's now infamous for?

    We called them out while they were taking place.

    Antiwar.com wall papered over those in order to keep their pro-Nouri stance.

    We have no more use for Antiwar.com and the reason is that they don't respect Iraqis enough to stop repeating unverifiable claims that the dead are 'militants' or 'terrorists.'

    It's not a minor point.

    If they truly were antiwar, they would grasp that not only is it not a minor point but that what they are doing perpetuates war because it provides cover for the deaths of civilians.

    "Watch Donald Trump Completely Contradict Himself . . ."

    Oh, it's time to gas bag and pretend you reported, is it?

    Yes, a US presidential election is only 15 or so months away which means it's time for Mother Jones to start pretending they're covering real issues.

    And first stop:  Iraq.

    The little twerps spend forever trying to figure out how to shame the GOP and call it 'reporting' before arriving at useless crap like that Donald Trump nonsense we'll note but not link to.

    If they're truly worried about someone contradicting themselves on Iraq, they'd be noting Hillary Clinton as well.  They don't.

    Now in 2008, they slaughtered her -- especially David Corn.

    That's when they were pimping Barack.

    Since he can't run and Hillary's the desired candidate of big money, Mother Jones is pimping her now.

    They call it 'reporting' but they're really just thugs sent out to destroy for their corporate masters.

    Let's stay with the topic of stupidity for a bit more.

    Reuters identifies a writer as follows:

    Mohamad Bazzi is a journalism professor at New York University and former Middle East bureau chief at Newsday. A former fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, he is writing a book on the proxy wars between Saudi Arabia and Iran. He tweets @BazziNYU         

    They included everything but buffoon which, for the record, Mohamad Bazzi is.

    In a ridiculous piece of adult porn focusing on Haider al-Abadi (Prime Minister of Iraq), Mohamad raves:

    Since Abadi took office last September, Sunni political leaders have made several demands: amnesty for tens of thousands of Sunnis imprisoned — in many cases without judicial review — by Maliki’s regime in the name of fighting terrorism; greater power in the new government; an end to aerial bombardment of Sunni towns; and a more significant role in the Iraqi security forces, which Maliki cleansed of many senior Sunni officers.
    Abadi has responded to some of these demands, releasing prisoners and ordering an end to the Iraqi air force bombings of Sunni areas. 

    Haider ordered an end to the Iraqi air force bombings of Sunni areas?

    Mohamad Bazzi is a moron.

    First off, for the bulk of the time, it's not been the Iraqi air force.  It's been the Iraqi military launching mortar attacks.  They didn't have the planes to devote to bombings until recently.

    These bombings began in January 2014 under then-prime minister (and forever thug) Nouri al-Maliki.

    They continued under Haider.

    These bombings target residential areas in Falluja.

    This is a designated and defined War Crime (collective punishment) where civilians are punished, harmed or threatened because their may be rebels, fighters, militants, enemy combats in the area.

    The presence of those does not allow you to harm civilians -- international law and US law is quite clear on that.

    Mohamad is referring to September 13, 2014 when Haider declared that these illegal bombings were over.

    For reality, we'll drop back to what we wrote here on September 14, 2014, the day after Haider's big announcement:

    Third's "Editorial: The bombing of civilians continues in Iraq" notes Iraq's new prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, ordered an end to the military bombing civilian targets on Saturday -- or that al-Abadi said he gave that order -- yet Falluja General Hospital was bombed today.
    Iraqi Spring MC notes the bombings of residential neighborhoods in Falluja also continued today with 6 civilians left dead  and 22 more injured.

    Apparently, facts aren't a requirement at NYU. Mohamed should excel there.

    One of Haider's 'reforms' is ending the position of vice president.  Iraq has had three.

    The three Haider's 'reform' kicks out are thug Nouri, former Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi and Iraqiya leader Ayda Allawi.  (Allawi and Nouri are Shia, Osama is Sunni.)

    Hamza Mustafa (Asharq Al-Awsat) reports that Osama is stating the move is unconstitutional and that he can support any reform that is constitutional but not ones that are unconstitutional.  He maintains that he is still a Vice President.  Hamza Mustafa maintains Ayad Allawi has accepted the posts being cancelled but that Nouri al-Maliki has not:

    Meanwhile, Abbas Al-Mussawi, the official spokesman for Nuri Al-Maliki, told Asharq Al-Awsat the former PM also regarded the cancellation of the vice president posts as unconstitutional and believed only President Masoum could remove the incumbents or cancel the posts.
    “We support the reforms announced by Abadi and which he passed on to parliament, and Mr. Maliki supports them. But Iraq is a democratic country with a constitution and an elected parliament, and so the issue here is that even what is related to Abadi must be decided by parliament. In addition to this, parliament did approve the [reforms] but added a caveat that they should not clash with Iraq’s constitution,” he said.
    He added that like Nujaifi, Maliki was still “practicing his post as vice president until now, since there is nothing in this that contradicts the constitution.”
    Maliki is also facing the possibility of standing trial over his culpability in the fall of Iraq’s second city Mosul to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) last year. A parliamentary report issued last month, now referred to the judiciary, accuses Maliki and top military commanders of failing to take adequate measures to stop ISIS’s capture of the city despite having ample evidence of their approach.
    Reports suggesting the outgoing vice presidents’ return to parliament center on Maliki seeking to gain immunity from trial by standing as an MP. Mussawi said: “Why should he [Maliki] return to parliament when he is still, until now, a vice president?”

    Nouri will not be resigning from Parliament most likely.  As we've noted before, he's counting on the immunity he's granted as a sitting member of Parliament -- the same immunity he ignored when he attempted to persecute Tareq al-Hashemi and other Sunni politicians.

    Staying with politics, cretin John Podesta apparently got tired of standing at the urinals and emerged in the sunlight this month to hurl insults at others for the Iraq War -- a war he's suddenly against.

    In the August 20th snapshot, we noted how Podesta worked overtime to stop Democrats in Congress from bringing impeachment charges against Bully Boy Bush and allowed the Iraq War to start.  We were relying on the public statements of international law and human rights expert Francis A. Boyle.  Boyle issued another statement on the matter last week:

    On 13 March 2003, that is just before the outbreak of the war against
    Iraq, Congressman John Conyers, the ranking member of the House
    Judiciary Committee, convened an emergency meeting of 40 to 50 of his
    top advisors, most of whom were lawyers, to put in emergency bills of
    impeachment against Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and at that time Ashcroft,
    to head off the impending war.
    He invited me and former Attorney General Ramsey Clark in to debate the
    issue in favor of impeachment. The debate lasted two hours. We had my
    draft resolution on the table and Ramsey also had his draft resolution;
    we don’t disagree at all in how we see the issues. And to make a long
    story short the lawyers there did not disagree with me and Ramsey that
    Bush merited impeachment for what he had done and was threatening to do
    so far.
    The main objection was political expedience and in particular John
    Podesta was there. He had been Clinton’s White House chief of staff. He
    stated he was appearing on behalf of the Democratic National Committee
    and that as far as the DNC was concerned it was going to hurt their
    ability to get whoever their candidate was going to be in 2004 elected
    President if we put in these bills of impeachment. I found that argument
    completely disingenuous when the Democrats had no idea who their

    candidate was going to be in 2004 as of March 2003. We had no idea.

    Podesta is now serving on Hillary Clinton's campaign for the Democratic Party's 2016 presidential nomination.