• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

woensdag 29 maart 2017

Bas Heijne's Propaganda 7

Je bent opgegroeid in de rook van 9/11. Dat maakt dat je hoe dan ook geconfronteerd bent met het idee van wat een goede samenleving nou wel of niet is.
Bas Heijne. Powerduiden met Bas Heijne. 21 december 2011

Het is tijd voor een nieuw beschavingsideaal. Bas Heijne wijst de weg

In zijn NRC-column van 17 februari 2017 stelt Bas Heijne onder de kop ‘Nuttige Idioten’

Het schandaal dat nu achter Trump oprijst, stelt dat patriottisme bovendien in een schel licht: ultrarechts heeft Vladimir Poetin omarmd als gedroomde sterke man, maar steeds meer blijkt Poetin de westerse patriotten in een houdgreep te hebben. De Amerikaanse veiligheidsdiensten meldden deze week dat het rapport van de gewezen Britse inlichtingenofficier die de dodelijke notitie over de Russische connecties van Trump opstelde, genoeg waarheid bevat om het onderzoek voort te zetten. Contacten van Trumps medewerkers met de Russen tijdens de verkiezingsstrijd, onder wie de afgetreden Flynn, worden nu onderzocht. Als het allemaal waar is, dan lijkt Trumps patriottisme verdacht veel op landverraad.

Wat beweert Bas Heijne nu in feite? Wel, dat Trumps patriottisme verdacht veel op landverraad [lijkt],’ omdat volgens ‘Amerikaanse veiligheidsdiensten’ president ‘Trumps medewerkers’ tijdens ‘de verkiezingsstrijd,’ let op, ‘contacten’ hadden ‘met de Russen.’ Waarom is dit in de ogen van Heijne ‘landverraad,’ een misdaad waar in sommige gevallen zelfs de doodstraf op staat? En waar bestaat het door Heijne gesignaleerde ‘landverraad’ uit? Opnieuw, uit het feit dat volgens ‘Amerikaanse veiligheidsdiensten’ president ‘Trumps medewerkers’ tijdens ‘de verkiezingsstrijd,’ let op, ‘contacten’ hadden ‘met de Russen.’  Hier is opnieuw sprake van een ‘petitio principii’ oftewel een klassieke ‘drogreden die volgt uit een manier van redeneren waarbij al als juist wordt aangenomen wat nog bewezen moet worden, of waarbij feiten gebruikt of aangehaald worden waarvan de spreker/schrijver verkeerdelijk veronderstelt dat ze al bestaan of verwezenlijkt zijn,’ aldus Wikipedia. 

Hoe hebben ‘Trumps medewerkers’ de VS ‘verraden?’ Geen overbodige vraag gezien de mogelijke consequenties van de beschuldiging. Laten we daarom Heijne’s aantijging tegen het licht houden. Dit is bovendien van belang omdat de NRC-opiniemaker door zijn fans in de polder wordt gezien als 'een powerduider pur sang,' die '[a]ls hij onderwerpen duidt’ dit ‘meestal het begin van het einde van het onbegrip [is].’ Daar gaan we. Wie zijn Heijne’s bronnen? Dat zijn de ‘Amerikaanse veiligheidsdiensten’ die verklaren dat een ‘rapport’ van een ‘gewezen Britse inlichtingenofficier’ voor hen ‘genoeg waarheid bevat om het onderzoek voort te zetten.’ Laten we voor het gemak even uitgaan dat die informatie klopt, dan nog verkeren de ‘Amerikaanse veiligheidsdiensten’ in de fase van ‘onderzoek,’ terwijl daarentegen onze ‘powerduider’ inmiddels al het begrip ‘landverraad’ in de mond neemt. Wat Heijne hier doet is de oude en beproefde techniek toepassen van iedere propagandist die bij gebrek aan feitelijke argumenten van alles en nog wat suggereert, tot aan ‘landverraad’ toe. Van deze truc — meer is het niet — wordt in de mainstream-journalistiek al een eeuw lang op grote schaal gebruik gemaakt om op die manier de massa in het gareel te houden, én te mobiliseren. 

Voordat we in een typisch Nederlands oeverloos gezever belanden, wil ik meteen duidelijk maken dat dit geen absurd complotdenken is, maar wel degelijk voortkomt uit een samenzwering van de elite. Over dit laatste publiceerde Walter Lippmann, één van de grootste media-ideologen van de twintigste eeuw en adviseur van diverse Amerikaanse presidenten, al tijdens de jaren twintig:

two of the most penetrating indictments of democracy ever written, Public Opinion and The Phantom Public, valedictories (afscheid. svh) to Progressive hopes for the application of 'intelligence' to social problems via mass democracy. Instead of acting out of careful consideration of the issues or even individual or collective self-interest, the American voter, Lippmann claimed, was ill-informed, myopic, and prone to fits of enthusiasm.

The government, like advertising copywriters and journalists, had perfected the art of creating and manipulating public opinion — a process Lippmann called the 'manufacture of consent’ — while at the same time consumerism was sapping Americans’ concern for public issues. (Eric Foner, The Story of American Freedom, p. 181.) 

Centraal in Lippmann's denken was de overtuiging dat een ware democratie niet mogelijk is, omdat de massa te stupide en te ongeïnteresseerd blijft, en dus ongeïnformeerd is, met als gevolg dat de parlementaire democratie onvermijdelijk in chaos en geweld zal eindigen. In zijn tweede boek Drift and Mastery: An Attempt to Diagnose the Current Unrest stelde hij in 1914 ondermeer:

1. There is a consensus that business methods need to change. The leading thought of our world has ceased to regard commercialism either as permanent or desirable, and the only real question among intelligent people is how business methods are to be alerted, not whether they are to be altered.

2. The chaos of too much freedom and the weaknesses of democracy are our real problem. The battle for us, in short, does not lie against crusted prejudice, but against the chaos of a new freedom. This chaos is our real problem. So if the younger critics are to meet the issues of their generation they must give their attention, not so much to the evils of authority, as to the weaknesses of democracy.

Niet alleen de Amerikaan Lippmann dacht zo, maar zijn opvattingen zijn nog steeds gangbaar onder de economische en politieke elite in het Westen. In Mein Kampf (1925) stelde Hitler het zo:

De intelligentie van de massa is beperkt, hun begripsvermogen is zwak.

Er bestaat wat betreft de opvattingen over de moderne massamens geen wezenlijk verschil tussen de Hitler  en Walter Lippmann en andere Europese en Amerikaanse ideologen van het establishment. In 1922 stelde Lippmann in zijn standaardwerk Public Opinion dat

public opinions must be organized for the press if they are to be sound, not by the press... Without some form of censorship, propaganda in the strict sense of the word is impossible. In order to conduct propaganda there must be some barrier between the public and the event. Access to the real environment must be limited, before anyone can create a pseudo-environment that he thinks is wise or desirable... Though it is itself an irrational force the power of public opinion might be placed at the disposal of those who stood for workable law against brute assertion.

De Amerikaanse hoogleraar Stuart Ewen, gespecialiseerd in Media Studies schrijft in zijn boek PR! A Social History of Spin (1996) :

Throughout the pages of Public Opinion, Lippmann had asserted that human beings were, for the most part, inherently incapable of responding rationally to their world... For Lippmann, it was not so much people's incapacity to deliberate on issues rationally that was the problem; it was that the time necessary to pursue rational deliberations would only interfere with the smooth exercise of executive power... For Lippmann, the appeal of symbols was that they provided a device for short-circuiting the inconvenience posed by critical reason and public discussion. To Lippmann, symbols were powerful instruments for forging mental agreement among people who — if engaged in critical dialogue — would probably disagree. 'When political parties or newspapers declare for Americanism, Progressivism, Law and Order, Justice, Humanity,' he explained, they expect to merge 'conflicting factions which would surely divide if, instead of these symbols, they were invited to discuss a specific program.’

Als adviseur van de Amerikaanse aristocratie richtte Lippmann zich niet tot de bevolking, die hij wantrouwde, maar tot de elite die de bevolking in toom moest houden. Professor Ewen:

Lippmann added that serious public discussion of issues would only yield a 'vague and confusing medley,' a discord that would make executive decision making difficult. 'Action cannot be taken until these opinions have been factored down, canalized, compressed and made uniform.' [...] The symbol, he wrote, 'is like a strategic railroad center where many roads converge regardless of their ultimate origin or their ultimate destination.' Because of this, 'when a coalition around the symbol has been effected, feeling flows toward conformity under the symbol rather than toward critical scrutiny of the measures under consideration.' In its adamant argument that human beings are essentially irrational, social psychology had provided Lippmann — and many others — with a handy rationale for a small, intellectual elite to rule over society. Yet a close reading of Lippmann's argument suggests that he was concerned less with the irrational core of human behavior than he was with the problem of making rule by elites, in a democratic age, less difficult. Educated by the lessons of the image culture taking shape around him, Lippmann saw the strategic employment of media images as the secret to modern power; the means by which leaders and special interests might cloak themselves in the 'fiction' that they stand as delegates of the common good.


Met de komst van de massamaatschappij, de massaproductie en massaconsumptie  werd de beheersing van de bevolking een steeds grotere prioriteit voor de machthebbers, een probleem waar zowel de nationaal-socialisten als de communisten en de zogeheten democratische kapitalisten zich uiterst bewust van waren. Hoe houdt men een massa in bedwang? De Amerikaanse geleerde Noam Chomsky wees op het volgende opvallende feit toen hij over de Verlichtingsfilosoof David Hume schreef:

In considering his First Principles of Government, he expressed his puzzlement over 'the easiness with which the many are governed by the few' and 'the implicit submission with which the men resign their own sentiments and passions to those of their rulers.' 'When we enquire by what means this wonder is brought about,' Hume concluded, 'we shall find, that as Force is always on the side of the governed, the governors have nothing to support them but opinion. It is therefore, on opinion only that government is founded; and this maxim extends to the most despotic and most military governments, as well as to the most free and most popular.'

Vandaar het doorslaggevende belang van de elite te kunnen beschikken over gezagsgetrouwe woordvoerders, zoals journalisten en politici, om een voor de oligarchie zo gunstig mogelijk beeld van de wereld te scheppen. Stuart Ewen over Walter Lippmann:

The most compelling attribute of symbols, he asserted, was the capacity to magnify emotion while undermining critical thought, to emphasize sensations while subverting ideas. 'In the symbol,' he rhapsodized, 'emotion is discharged at a common target and the idiosyncrasy of real ideas is blotted out.' [...] This general understanding infused Lippmann's formula for leadership [...] 'The process, therefore, by which general opinions are brought to cooperation consists of an intensification of feeling and a degradation of significance.' Before a mass of general opinions can eventuate in executive action, the choice is narrowed down to a few alternatives. The victorious alternative is executed not by a mass but by individuals in control of its energy.

Lippmann's mens- en wereldbeeld wijkt ook in dit opzicht niet fundamenteel af van die van Adolf Hitler. De nazileider zette met betrekking tot propaganda uiteen dat

The receptivity of the great masses is very limited, their intelligence small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands… [Propaganda] must be aimed at the emotions and only to a very limited degree at the so-called intellect… The art of propaganda lies in understanding the emotional ideas of the great masses and finding, through a psychologically correct form, the way to the attention and thence to the heart of the broad masses… [Propaganda] does not have multiple shadings; it has a positive and a negative; love or hate, right or wrong, truth or lie, never half this way and half that way… But the most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly and with unflagging attention. It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over… The purpose of propaganda is not to provide interesting distraction for blasé young gentlemen, but to convince… the masses. But the masses are slow moving, and they always require a certain time before they are ready even to notice a thing, and only after the simplest ideas are repeated thousands of times will the masses finally remember them.

Op zijn beurt benadrukte de joods-Amerikaanse Lippmann dat bij de verspreiding van de 'juiste' denkbeelden alleen de machthebbers de grenzen van de werkelijkheid moesten bepalen. De taak van journalisten was die grenzen keurig te gehoorzamen, terwijl de opiniemakers erop moesten toezien dat de werkelijkheid in de gewenste vorm werd gepresenteerd. In dat proces waren, volgens Lippmann, beelden van eminent belang omdat 'pictures have always been the surest way of conveying an idea, and next in order, words that call up pictures in memory.' De commerciële massamedia waren het perfecte medium om complexe gedachten terug te brengen tot simplistische beelden die de consument dwingen partij te kiezen voor de gevestigde orde. Lippmann hamerde er dan ook keer op keer op dat de massa’s:

have to take sides. We have to be able to take sides. In the recesses of our being we must step out of the audience on to the stage, and wrestle as the hero for the victory of good over evil. We must breathe into the allegory the breath of life.

Het resultaat is natuurlijk geen vrije wereld, maar een gemanipuleerde schijnwereld, die een kadaverdiscipline tot doel heeft. Professor Ewen:

Raised in a world that looked toward fact-based journalism as the most efficient lubricant of persuasion, Lippmann turned toward Hollywood, America's 'dream factory,' for inspiration. Never before had an American thinker articulated in such detail the ways that images could be used to sway public consciousness. Appeals to reason were not merely being discarded as futile, they were being consciously undermined to serve the interests of power. It is here, at the turning point where Lippmann unqualifiedly abandoned the idea of meaningful public dialogue, that the dark side of his ruminations (overpeinzingen. svh) on the power of the image was most dramatically revealed.

Ik ga ervan uit dat deze summiere aanloop duidelijk heeft gemaakt welke rol journalisten/opiniemakers in een massamaatschappij spelen bij het bespelen van de opvattingen en sentimenten van de bevolking, en dat de massamedia daarbij geen beroep doen op ‘reason.’ Integendeel, ‘het rationalisme’  wordt bewust ondermijnd ‘to serve the interests of power.’ En zo zijn we terug bij de ‘powerduider pur sang’ en zijn, vooralsnog op niets gebaseerde, beschuldiging van ‘landverraad.’ Bas Heijne’s journalistieke werk voltrekt zich binnen de hier bovenstaande propagandistische context. Vanuit dit perspectief dient bijvoorbeeld ook de volgende suggestieve bewering van 17 februari 2017 worden beoordeeld: 

de Amerikaanse veiligheidsdiensten meldden deze week dat het rapport van de gewezen Britse inlichtingenofficier die de dodelijke notitie over de Russische connecties van Trump opstelde, genoeg waarheid bevat om het onderzoek voort te zetten.

Een maand eerder nog, 13 januari 2017, stelde dezelfde Heijne onder de kop ‘Nepnieuws’ over ‘het rapport van de gewezen Britse inlichtingenofficier’ dat ‘Geen van de aantijgingen in de notitie die de veiligheidsdiensten hadden opgesteld, tot nu toe hard gemaakt [kon] worden.’ Hoewel het onderzoek nog steeds loopt was de ‘notitie’ inmiddels door hem opgewaardeerd tot ‘rapport.’ 

Over Heijne’s ‘rapport’ berichtte de free-lance journalist Jorg Leijten op de NRC-website van 11 januari 2017:

Het is nog onzeker of de informatie authentiek is: een voormalig medewerker van de Britse inlichtingendienst MI6 zou zich baseren op Russische bronnen en op basis daarvan een aantal memo’s hebben opgesteld. De Brit is nu consultant en stelde de documenten in eerste instantie samen op verzoek van tegenstanders van Trump bij de Republikeinse voorverkiezingen… De Britse krant The Guardian stelt de documenten eveneens te hebben ingezien en schrijft dat Moskou Trump een aantal vastgoeddeals heeft aangeboden. De Republikein zou deze hebben geweigerd, maar zou wel een ‘constante stroom aan informatie vanuit het Kremlin’ hebben geaccepteerd, onder meer over zijn politieke rivalen.


De door Trump geweigerde ‘vastgoeddeals’ kunnen onmogelijk als ‘landverraad’ worden aangemerkt. Immers, de toen nog toekomstige Amerikaanse president hield zijn privé-belangen gescheiden van het collectief belang. Toch suggereert ‘journalist en tekstschrijver’ Jorg Leijten, die volgens eigen zeggen ‘Mediaproducties op maat’ maakt,  dat Trump niet te goeder trouw is. Onder de  suggestieve kop ‘Rusland bezit belastende informatie over Trump,’ meldt hij dat de huidige president ‘wel een “constante stroom aan informatie vanuit het Kremlin” [zou] hebben geaccepteerd, onder meer over zijn politieke rivalen.’ Maar ook dit is geen ‘landverraad,’ tot het tegendeel juridisch kan worden bewezen. En dat wordt nu juist onderzocht. Opmerkelijk is dat Heijne in zijn column van 13 januari 2017 zelfs zover ging om te stellen dat:

Al het leedvermaak, alle speculatie over oneigenlijke invloed van Poetin op Trump onttrekt de kern van dit schandaal aan het zicht: zelfs als het allemaal niet waar is, is het toch waar.

Desondanks schreef Heijne een maand later met evenveel stelligheid over ‘[h]et schandaal dat nu achter Trump oprijst,’ en ‘onttrekt’ ook hij zich ineens aan ‘de kern van dit schandaal,’ namelijk dat ‘zelfs als het allemaal niet waar is, het toch waar [is].’ Desondanks beschikt de NRC-duider nog steeds niet over enig concreet bewijs om Trump van ‘landverraad’ te kunnen verdenken. Ondertussen is onze Bas wel de speelbal van vooral de belangen van de Amerikaanse ‘veiligheidsdiensten,’ dezelfde inlichtingendiensten die in 2003 het ‘bewijsmateriaal’ aandroegen voor de illegale inval in Irak, te weten de leugen dat het regime van Saddam Hoessein beschikte over massavernietigingswapens die in 45 minuten operationeel konden zijn, en daardoor een levensgevaarlijke bedreiging vormden voor het ‘vredelievende’ Westen. Dat Heijne zich afhankelijk maakt van informatie afkomstig van één of meerdere van de zeventien Amerikaanse inlichtingendiensten, met de CIA voorop, maakt hem als opiniemaker alles behalve betrouwbaar, en zelfs verdacht. Onder de kop ‘U.S. Government Has Long Used Propaganda Against the American People’ gaf de Amerikaanse WashingtonsBlog.com op 18 januari 2016 het volgende overzicht over hoe de Amerikaanse regering ‘has Been deploying propaganda on U.S. soil for many years’The United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities found in 1975 that the CIA submitted stories to the American press.' Ik citeer:

CIA Admits Using News To Manipulate the USA (1975)


Wikipedia adds details:

After 1953, the network was overseen by Allen W. Dulles, director of the CIA. By this time, Operation Mockingbird had a major influence over 25 newspapers and wire agencies. The usual methodology was placing reports developed from intelligence provided by the CIA to witting or unwitting reporters. Those reports would then be repeated or cited by the preceding reporters which in turn would then be cited throughout the media wire services.

The Office of Policy Coordination (OPC) was funded by siphoning off funds intended for the Marshall Plan [i.e. the rebuilding of Europe by the U.S. after WWII]. Some of this money was used to bribe journalists and publishers.

In 2008, the New York Times wrote:

During the early years of the cold war, [prominent writers and artists, from Arthur Schlesinger Jr. to Jackson Pollock] were supported, sometimes lavishly, always secretly, by the C.I.A. as part of its propaganda war against the Soviet Union. It was perhaps the most successful use of “soft power” in American history.

A CIA operative told Washington Post owner Philip Graham… in a conversation about the willingness of journalists to peddle CIA propaganda and cover stories:
You could get a journalist cheaper than a good call girl, for a couple hundred dollars a month.


Famed Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein wrote in 1977:

More than 400 American journalists … in the past twenty‑five years have secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency, according to documents on file at CIA headquarters.
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In many instances, CIA documents show, journalists were engaged to perform tasks for the CIA with the consent of the managements of America’s leading news organizations.
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Among the executives who lent their cooperation to the Agency were [the heads of CBS, Time, the New York Times, the Louisville Courier‑Journal, and Copley News Service. Other organizations which cooperated with the CIA include [ABC, NBC, AP, UPI, Reuters], Hearst Newspapers, Scripps‑Howard, Newsweek magazine, the Mutual Broadcasting System, the Miami Herald and the old Saturday Evening Post and New York Herald‑Tribune.
***
There is ample evidence that America’s leading publishers and news executives allowed themselves and their organizations to become handmaidens to the intelligence services. ‘Let’s not pick on some poor reporters, for God’s sake,’ William Colby exclaimed at one point to the Church committee’s investigators. “Let’s go to the managements.
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The CIA even ran a formal training program in the 1950s to teach its agents to be journalists. 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.
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Once a year during the 1950s and early 1960s, CBS correspondents joined the CIA hierarchy for private dinners and briefings.
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Allen Dulles often interceded with his good friend, the late Henry Luce, founder of Time and Life magazines, who readily allowed certain members of his staff to work for the Agency and agreed to provide jobs and credentials for other CIA operatives who lacked journalistic experience.
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In the 1950s and early 1960s, Time magazine’s foreign correspondents attended CIA ‘briefing’ dinners similar to those the CIA held for CBS.
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When Newsweek was purchased by the Washington Post Company, publisher Philip L. Graham was informed by Agency officials that the CIA occasionally used the magazine for cover purposes, according to CIA sources. ‘It was widely known that Phil Graham was somebody you could get help from,’ said a former deputy director of the Agency. ‘Frank Wisner dealt with him.’ Wisner, deputy director of the CIA from 1950 until shortly before his suicide in 1965, was the Agency’s premier orchestrator of ‘black’ operations, including many in which journalists were involved. Wisner liked to boast of his ‘mighty Wurlitzer,’ a wondrous propaganda instrument he built, and played, with help from the press.)
***
In November 1973, after [the CIA claimed to have ended the program], Colby told reporters and editors from the New York Times and the Washington Star that the Agency had ‘some three dozen’ American newsmen ‘on the CIA payroll,’ including five who worked for ‘general‑circulation news organizations.’ Yet even while the Senate Intelligence Committee was holding its hearings in 1976, according to high‑level CIA sources, the CIA continued to maintain ties with seventy ‑ five to ninety journalists of every description — executives, reporters, stringers, photographers, columnists, bureau clerks and members of broadcast technical crews. More than half of these had been moved off CIA contracts and payrolls but they were still bound by other secret agreements with the Agency. According to an unpublished report by the House Select Committee on Intelligence, chaired by Representative Otis Pike, at least fifteen news organizations were still providing cover for CIA operatives as of 1976.
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Those officials most knowledgeable about the subject say that a figure of 400 American journalists is on the low side…

‘There were a lot of representations that if this stuff got out some of the biggest names in journalism would get smeared’ […]

Former Newsweek and Associated Press reporter Robert Parry notes that Ronald Reagan and the CIA unleashed a propaganda campaign in the 1980’s to sell the American public on supporting the Contra rebels, utilizing private players such as Rupert Murdoch to spread disinformation:

President Ronald Reagan meeting with media magnate Rupert Murdoch in the Oval Office on Jan. 18, 1983, with Charles Wick, director of the U.S. Information Agency, in the background. (Photo credit: Reagan presidential library)

In the 1980s, the Reagan administration was determined to ‘kick the Vietnam Syndrome,’ the revulsion that many Americans felt for warfare after all those years in the blood-soaked jungles of Vietnam and all the lies that clumsily justified the war.

So, the challenge for the U.S. government became: how to present the actions of ‘enemies’ always in the darkest light while bathing the behavior of the U.S. ‘side’ in a rosy glow. You also had to stage this propaganda theater in an ostensibly ‘free country’ with a supposedly ‘independent press.’

From documents declassified or leaked over the past several decades, including an unpublished draft chapter of the congressional Iran-Contra investigation, we now know a great deal about how this remarkable project was undertaken and who the key players were.

Perhaps not surprisingly much of the initiative came from the Central Intelligence Agency, which housed the expertise for manipulating target populations through propaganda and disinformation. The only difference this time would be that the American people would be the target population.

For this project, Ronald Reagan’s CIA Director William J. Casey sent his top propaganda specialist Walter Raymond Jr. to the National Security Council staff to manage the inter-agency task forces that would brainstorm and coordinate this “public diplomacy” strategy.

Many of the old intelligence operatives, including Casey and Raymond, are now dead, but other influential Washington figures who were deeply involved by these strategies remain, such as neocon stalwart Robert Kagan, whose first major job in Washington was as chief of Reagan’s State Department Office of Public Diplomacy for Latin America.
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Declassified documents now reveal how extensive Reagan’s propaganda project became with inter-agency task forces assigned to develop ‘themes’ that would push American ‘hot buttons.’ Scores of documents came out during the Iran-Contra scandal in 1987 and hundreds more are now available at the Reagan presidential library in Simi Valley, California.

What the documents reveal is that at the start of the Reagan administration, CIA Director Casey faced a daunting challenge in trying to rally public opinion behind aggressive U.S. interventions, especially in Central America. Bitter memories of the Vietnam War were still fresh and many Americans were horrified at the brutality of right-wing regimes in Guatemala and El Salvador, where Salvadoran soldiers raped and murdered four American churchwomen in December 1980.

The new leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua also was not viewed with much alarm. After all, Nicaragua was an impoverished country of only about three million people who had just cast off the brutal dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza.

So, Reagan’s initial strategy of bolstering the Salvadoran and Guatemalan armies required defusing the negative publicity about them and somehow rallying the American people into supporting a covert CIA intervention inside Nicaragua via a counterrevolutionary force known as the Contras led by Somoza’s ex-National Guard officers.

Reagan’s task was made tougher by the fact that the Cold War’s anti-communist arguments had so recently been discredited in Vietnam. As deputy assistant secretary to the Air Force, J. Michael Kelly, put it, ‘the most critical special operations mission we have … is to persuade the American people that the communists are out to get us.’
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According to the draft report, the CIA officer who was recruited for the NSC job had served as Director of the Covert Action Staff at the CIA from 1978 to 1982 and was a ‘specialist in propaganda and disinformation.’
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federal law forbade taxpayers’ money from being spent on domestic propaganda or grassroots lobbying to pressure congressional representatives. Of course, every president and his team had vast resources to make their case in public, but by tradition and law, they were restricted to speeches, testimony and one-on-one persuasion of lawmakers.

But things were about to change. In a Jan. 13, 1983, memo, NSC Advisor Clark foresaw the need for non-governmental money to advance this cause. ‘We will develop a scenario for obtaining private funding,’ Clark wrote. (Just five days later, President Reagan personally welcomed media magnate Rupert Murdoch into the Oval Office for a private meeting, according to records on file at the Reagan library.)

As administration officials reached out to wealthy supporters, lines against domestic propaganda soon were crossed as the operation took aim not only at foreign audiences but at U.S. public opinion, the press and congressional Democrats who opposed funding the Nicaraguan Contras.

At the time, the Contras were earning a gruesome reputation as human rights violators and terrorists. To change this negative perception of the Contras as well as of the U.S.-backed regimes in El Salvador and Guatemala, the Reagan administration created a full-blown, clandestine propaganda network.

In January 1983, President Reagan took the first formal step to create this unprecedented peacetime propaganda bureaucracy by signing National Security Decision Directive 77, entitled ‘Management of Public Diplomacy Relative to National Security.’ Reagan deemed it ‘necessary to strengthen the organization, planning and coordination of the various aspects of public diplomacy of the United States Government.’

Reagan ordered the creation of a special planning group within the National Security Council to direct these ‘public diplomacy’ campaigns. The planning group would be headed by the CIA’s Walter Raymond Jr. and one of its principal arms would be a new Office of Public Diplomacy for Latin America, housed at the State Department but under the control of the NSC.
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In the memo to then-U.S. Information Agency director Charles Wick, Raymond also noted that “via Murdock [sic] may be able to draw down added funds” to support pro-Reagan initiatives. Raymond’s reference to Rupert Murdoch possibly drawing down ‘added funds’ suggests that the right-wing media mogul had been recruited to be part of the covert propaganda operation. During this period, Wick arranged at least two face-to-face meetings between Murdoch and Reagan.
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Alarmed at a CIA director participating so brazenly in domestic propaganda, Raymond wrote that ‘I philosophized a bit with Bill Casey (in an effort to get him out of the loop)’ but with little success.
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Another part of the office’s job was to plant ‘white propaganda’ in the news media through op-eds secretly financed by the government. In one memo, Jonathan Miller, a senior public diplomacy official, informed White House aide Patrick Buchanan about success placing an anti-Sandinista piece in The Wall Street Journal’s friendly pages. ‘Officially, this office had no role in its preparation,’ Miller wrote.

Other times, the administration put out ‘black propaganda,’ outright falsehoods. In 1983, one such theme was designed to anger American Jews by portraying the Sandinistas as anti-Semitic because much of Nicaragua’s small Jewish community fled after the revolution in 1979.

However, the U.S. embassy in Managua investigated the charges and ‘found no verifiable ground on which to accuse the GRN [the Sandinista government] of anti-Semitism,’ according to a July 28, 1983, cable. But the administration kept the cable secret and pushed the ‘hot button’ anyway.
***
As one NSC official told me, the campaign was modeled after CIA covert operations abroad where a political goal is more important than the truth. ‘They were trying to manipulate [U.S.] public opinion… using the tools of Walt Raymond’s trade craft which he learned from his career in the CIA covert operation shop,’ the official admitted.

Another administration official gave a similar description to The Miami Herald’s Alfonso Chardy. ‘If you look at it as a whole, the Office of Public Diplomacy was carrying out a huge psychological operation, the kind the military conduct to influence the population in denied or enemy territory,’ that official explained. [For more details, see Parry’s Lost History.]

Parry notes that many of the same people that led Reagan’s domestic propaganda effort in the 1980’s are in power today:

While the older generation that pioneered these domestic propaganda techniques has passed from the scene, many of their protégés are still around along with some of the same organizations. The National Endowment for Democracy, which was formed in 1983 at the urging of CIA Director Casey and under the supervision of Walter Raymond’s NSC operation, is still run by the same neocon, Carl Gershman, and has an even bigger budget, now exceeding $100 million a year.

Gershman and his NED played important behind-the-scenes roles in instigating the Ukraine crisis by financing activists, journalists and other operatives who supported the coup against elected President Yanukovych. The NED-backed Freedom House also beat the propaganda drums. [See Consortiumnews.com’s ‘A Shadow Foreign Policy.’]

Two other Reagan-era veterans, Elliott Abrams and Robert Kagan, have both provided important intellectual support for continuing U.S. interventionism around the world. Earlier this year, Kagan’s article for The New Republic, entitled ‘Superpowers Don’t Get to Retire,’ touched such a raw nerve with President Obama that he hosted Kagan at a White House lunch and crafted the presidential commencement speech at West Point to deflect some of Kagan’s criticism of Obama’s hesitancy to use military force.
***
Rupert Murdoch’s media empire is bigger than ever ….


An expert on propaganda testified under oath during trial that the CIA now employs THOUSANDS of reporters and OWNS its own media organizations. Whether or not his estimate is accurate, it is clear that many prominent reporters still report to the CIA.

John Pilger is a highly-regarded journalist (the BBC’s world affairs editor John Simpson remarked, ‘A country that does not have a John Pilger in its journalism is a very feeble place indeed’). Pilger said in 2007:

We now know that the BBC and other British media were used by the British secret intelligence service MI-6. In what they called Operation Mass Appeal, MI-6 agents planted stories about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, such as weapons hidden in his palaces and in secret underground bunkers. All of these stories were fake.
***
One of my favorite stories about the Cold War concerns a group of Russian journalists who were touring the United States. On the final day of their visit, they were asked by the host for their impressions. ‘I have to tell you,’ said the spokesman, ‘that we were astonished to find after reading all the newspapers and watching TV day after day that all the opinions on all the vital issues are the same. To get that result in our country we send journalists to the gulag. We even tear out their fingernails. Here you don’t have to do any of that. What is the secret?’

Nick Davies wrote in the Independent in 2008:

For the first time in human history, there is a concerted strategy to manipulate global perception. And the mass media are operating as its compliant assistants, failing both to resist it and to expose it.

The sheer ease with which this machinery has been able to do its work reflects a creeping structural weakness which now afflicts the production of our news. I’ve spent the last two years researching a book about falsehood, distortion and propaganda in the global media.

The ‘Zarqawi letter’ which made it on to the front page of The New York Times in February 2004 was one of a sequence of highly suspect documents which were said to have been written either by or to Zarqawi and which were fed into news media.

This material is being generated, in part, by intelligence agencies who continue to work without effective oversight; and also by a new and essentially benign structure of ‘strategic communications’ which was originally designed by doves in the Pentagon and Nato who wanted to use subtle and non-violent tactics to deal with Islamist terrorism but whose efforts are poorly regulated and badly supervised with the result that some of its practitioners are breaking loose and engaging in the black arts of propaganda.
***
The Pentagon has now designated ‘information operations’ as its fifth ‘core competency’ alongside land, sea, air and special forces. Since October 2006, every brigade, division and corps in the US military has had its own ‘psyop’ element producing output for local media. This military activity is linked to the State Department’s campaign of ‘public diplomacy’ which includes funding radio stations and news websites. In Britain, the Directorate of Targeting and Information Operations in the Ministry of Defence works with specialists from 15 UK psyops, based at the Defence Intelligence and Security School at Chicksands in Bedfordshire.

In the case of British intelligence, you can see this combination of reckless propaganda and failure of oversight at work in the case of Operation Mass Appeal. This was exposed by the former UN arms inspector Scott Ritter, who describes in his book, Iraq Confidential, how, in London in June 1998, he was introduced to two ‘black propaganda specialists’ from MI6 who wanted him to give them material which they could spread through ‘editors and writers who work with us from time to time.’

The government is still paying off reporters to spread disinformation. And the corporate media are acting like virtual ‘escort services’ for the moneyed elites, selling access — for a price — to powerful government officials, instead of actually investigating and reporting on what those officials are doing.

One of the ways that the U.S. government spreads propaganda is by making sure that it gets its version out first.   For example, the head of the U.S. Information Agency’s television and film division – Alvin A. Snyder – wrote in his book Warriors of Disinformation: How Lies, Videotape, and the USIA Won the Cold War:

All governments, including our own, lie when it suits their purposes. The key is to lie first.
***
Another casualty, always war’s first, was the truth. The story of [the accidental Russian shootdown of a Korean airliner] will be remembered pretty much the way we told it in 1983, not the way it really happened.
In 2013, the American Congress repealed the formal ban against the deployment of propaganda against U.S. citizens living on American soil.  So there’s even less to constrain propaganda than before.

Another key to American propaganda is the constant repetition of propaganda.  As Business Insider reported in 2013:

Lt. Col. Daniel Davis, a highly-respected officer who released a critical report regarding the distortion of truth by senior military officials in Iraq and Afghanistan…

From Lt. Col. Davis:

In context, Colonel Leap is implying we ought to change the law to enable Public Affairs officers to influence American public opinion when they deem it necessary to ‘protect a key friendly center of gravity, to wit US national will.’

The Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012 appears to serve this purpose by allowing for the American public to be a target audience of U.S. government-funded information campaigns.

Davis also quotes Brigadier General Ralph O. Baker — the Pentagon officer responsible for the Department of Defense’s Joint Force Development — who defines Information Operations (IO) as activities undertaken to ‘shape the essential narrative of a conflict or situation and thus affect the attitudes and behaviors of the targeted audience.’

Brig. Gen. Baker goes on to equate descriptions of combat operations with the standard marketing strategy of repeating something until it is accepted:

For years, commercial advertisers have based their advertisement strategies on the premise that there is a positive correlation between the number of times a consumer is exposed to product advertisement and that consumer’s inclination to sample the new product. The very same principle applies to how we influence our target audiences when we conduct COIN.

And those ‘thousands of hours per week of government-funded radio and TV programs’ appear to serve Baker’s strategy, which states: ‘Repetition is a key tenet of IO execution, and the failure to constantly drive home a consistent message dilutes the impact on the target audiences.’

Of course, the Web has become a huge media platform, and the Pentagon and other government agencies are influencing news on the web as well. Documents released by Snowden show that spies manipulate polls, website popularity and pageview counts, censor videos they don’t like and amplify messages they do.

The CIA and other government agencies also put enormous energy into pushing propaganda through movies, television and video games.

In 2012, the Pentagon launched a massive smear campaign against USA Today reporters investigating unlawful domestic propaganda by the Pentagon.

End Notes:

  1. One of the most common uses of propaganda is to sell unnecessary and counter-productive wars. Given that the American media is always pro-war, mainstream publishers, producers, editors, and reporters are willing participants.
(2) A 4-part BBC documentary called the ‘Century of the Self’ shows that an American —  Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays — created the modern field of manipulation of public perceptions, and the U.S. government has extensively used his techniques.

(3) Sometimes, the government plants disinformation in American media in order to mislead foreigners. For example, an official government summary of America’s overthrow of the democratically-elected president of Iran in the 1950′s states, ‘In cooperation with the Department of State, CIA had several articles planted in major American newspapers and magazines which, when reproduced in Iran, had the desired psychological effect in Iran and contributed to the war of nerves against Mossadeq’ (page x).

Welnu, Bas Heijne gebruikt ondermeer deze CIA als betrouwbare journalistieke bron om te bepalen of ‘het allemaal waar is,’ dat ‘[c]onctacten van Trumps medewerkers met de Russen tijdens de verkiezingstijd,’ volgens hem, landverraad’ heeft gepleegd. Op grond waarvan Heijne tot deze beschuldiging komt, vertelt hij niet. Toch is de vraag waarom een Amerikaanse presidentskandidaat, of president in spe geen contacten zou mogen onderhouden met een grootmacht als Rusland uiterst relevant. Bas Heijne zwijgt hierover, hetgeen niet verwonderlijk is aangezien de NRC-opiniemaker al geruime tijd Koude Oorlogspropaganda verspreidt, en de geesten rijp maakt voor een gewapend conflict met de Russische Federatie. Als toegewijd Atlanticus is de ‘powerduider' van de Hollandse mainstream-pers niet geïnteresseerd in de betrouwbaarheid van zijn voornaamste bronnen. Het feit alleen al dat hij en zijn collega’s de oncontroleerbare CIA-beweringen serieus nemen demonstreert hoe weinig zij op de hoogte zijn van hoe de deep state al decennialang te werk gaat. Eén van de mensen die dit wel weet is de veel geprezen Amerikaanse journalist/auteur Douglas Valentine, die van de voormalige CIA-directeur William Colby toestemming kreeg om beleidsbepalers van de CIA te interviewen over wat de dienst werkelijk uitspookt. Zo ontdekte hij dat

[t]he Bureau of Narcotics was removed from Treasury and recreated as the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs in the Justice Department in 1968, because it had gathered indisputable evidence that the CIA was running the Golden Triangle narcotics business. The heroin being sold to American soldiers in Vietnam was coming from the CIA's clients in Laos. Al McCoy wrote about this back in 1972. The CIA was protecting the major opium producers in the Golden Triangle, just like they've been protecting the major drug dealers in Afghanistan for the last fifteen years. They were funneling heroin and opium to their warlords in South Vietnam as a payoff for advancing the US policies that were detrimental to their own country. The CIA bought their services by allowing them to deal narcotics, and a lot of the dope made its way back to the homeland through enterprising soldiers and various criminal organizations. It was a criminal conspiracy of the highest order. 

The National Security Establishment realized the conspiracy was on the verge of being exposed in 1968, so it pulled various executive management, enforcement and intelligence functions out of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs and gave them to the CIA, so the CIA could protect its drug smuggling assets around the world. At that point federal drug law enforcement became an adjunct of national security,

aldus Valentine in zijn boek The CIA As Organized Crime. How Illegal Operations Corrupt American and the World (2017), waarin hij 416 pagina’s lang gedocumenteerd en geloofwaardig onder andere uiteenzet dat

by studying the relationship between the CIA and federal drug law enforcement, you can see why I refer to the CIA as the organized crime branch of the US government. Nowhere is that more evident than in how it controls international drug networks. If you're a general in Bolivia and you're assassinating leftists, the CIA will allow you to deal drugs. If you're Manuel Noriega and you're providing intelligence on revolutionaries in Central America, you're allowed to deal drugs. If you're a South Vietnamese general or an Afghan warlord, you're allowed to deal drugs because you're furthering the national security interests of the United States, which means its corporate, as well as political and social interests. In order for this to happen, two things are important: the CIA has to control certain branches of the DEA, and it has to control the media. And it has systematized its control over these institutions. 

Datgene wat in de polder opgegroeide journalisten en opiniemakers niet willen begrijpen is dat achter de façade van de dagelijkse politiek de belangen van de financiële en economische macht op de meest doortrapte, meest misdadige wijze worden veilig gesteld. Dit gebeurt in feite al duizenden jaren. De veronderstelling dat deze terreur dankzij de neoliberale parlementaire democratie tot het verleden behoort, is naïef en leidt tevens tot de collaboratie  van de mainstream-media met de georganiseerde misdaad, waarvan de CIA slechts één van de vertakkingen is, zoals een ieder die zich werkelijk verdiept in de realiteit al snel beseft. De belangen van het militair-industrieel complex noodzaken oorlogen, een gewapend conflict met Rusland en straks met China. Omdat Trump en de financiële belangen die hem naar voren hebben geschoven dit niet willen en liever zaken doen met Rusland, worden Trump en zijn regering onder druk gezet. Hoewel niemand de toekomst kan voorspellen is nu al duidelijk dat de 'deep state' er alles aan zal doen om Trump af te zetten via een impeachment-procedure of via een moordaanslag. En het zijn de Bas Heijne van de westerse mainstream-media die al dan niet bewust het geestelijk klimaat daarvoor voorbereiden. Zo doen de commerciële media dit al tenminste een eeuw lang. 


Bas Heijne: Je bent opgegroeid in de rook van 9/11. Dat maakt dat je hoe dan ook geconfronteerd bent met het idee van wat een goede samenleving nou wel of niet is.





2 opmerkingen:

  1. Dat is toevallig,Lukte me niet dit bij het stuk over de Balie te plaatsen :
    Duidelijk: Boekestijn, totaal geen normen en waarden-besef, werkt als zovele Nederlandse (Europese) opinieleiders voor de CIA.......zoals de onlangs aan een hartaanval (.....CIA.....) overleden Duitse journalist openbaarde ........

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  2. Wethouder presenteert opsteker voor de economie 020(feestelijk): Wifi, op de markt, voor jou! (toerist). Amsterdammer blij! Dat belooft nog wat, temeer daar enige grootvizieren van het NRC onlangs de mening peilde van deskundige mensen die er wat hen betreft toe doen en het kunnen weten, logisch en vrij normaal die vraag: Is Kajsa Ollongren straks minister-president?

    ' „Absoluut”, zegt Annelien Jonkman. Dat gevoel hebben wij als vriendinnen al heel lang.” Ook de locoburgemeester van Tel Aviv, Mehereta Baruch-Ron, zou het „heel logisch vinden” als Ollongren „een belangrijk politica wordt”. Afgelopen najaar spraken de twee elkaar over mogelijke samenwerking tussen hun steden.'

    Gaan we dan ook Apartheid invoeren, de Palestijnen hierheen halen om ze te kunnen segregeren, de toegang tot zorg te ontzeggen, van hun land te beroven, hun huizen en landgoederen te onteigenen, ze te vermoorden en hun kinderen te misbruiken of... laten we dat doen?

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