Sunday, September 29, 2013

Operation Mockingbird and the past, present, and future of media manipulation

The National Security Act of 1947 is one of the most important documents in American history, but it is one with which few people are familiar.  In addition to establishing the US Military in the form we know it today, it established the National Security Council, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Central Intelligence Agency.  It did more than simply found the CIA, it established the guidelines for the agency; what they could and could not do.  As revealed during the Church committee hearings, the CIA paid little attention to the "could nots," taking whatever actions they saw fit in the name of national security.  This included but was not limited to political assassinations abroad, spying on American citizens, and running operations inside the US -- all of which were expressly forbidden.

Today we will focus on the latter two: operations within the United States.  The most infamous of these is the MK-ULTRA program, which was dedicated to experiments involving mind control in an attempt to create a "Manchurian candidate."  Much has been written about MK-ULTRA both in conspiracy circles and the mainstream media, so I would like to focus on a project less well-known but perhaps even more insidious, Operation Mockingbird

Mockingbird and MK-ULTRA had the same goal -- the control of the mind -- but, rumors aside, there can be no argument on the fact that Mockingbird was the more successful of the two.  Mockingbird was the CIA's media influence program or, more aptly put, their American propaganda strategy.  Frank Wisner, director of Special Projects/Policy Coordination, referred to the American media as "the mighty Wurlitzer" in reference to the fact that he could make it play any tune he wanted.  Hugh Wilford's 2009 book The Might Wurlitzer: How the CIA played America is a wonderful resource outlining Operation Mockingbird.  Wilford, however, comes to the naive conclusion that the CIA stopped this sort of thing once they were caught with their hands in the cookie jar as a result of the Church committee.  Wilford ignores the fact that Reagan and George W Bush essentially removed all restraints placed on the CIA as a result of the Church committee in EO12333 and EO 13355 and EO13470, respectively, even returning to the agency their ability to use assassinations. Furthermore, in a story reported only in Europe, the government embedded "psy-ops" -- psychological operations -- teams inside CNN during the Kosovo conflict in an effort to "manage" the news agency's reporting.  And, while we're on the subject, CNN poster boy Anderson Cooper used to work for the CIA

In addition to spin, intelligence agencies aren't above making their own news when it suits them. Remember Desert Storm? A tipping point for support for US intervention was the testimony of Nayirah, who told a Congressional panel that Iraqi soldiers were murdering babies in Kuwaiti hospitals.  She was lying.  She was actually the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador and was working with PR firm Hill & Knowlton, whose client list has included the tobacco industry, Scientology, Prozac, and, currently, the oil fracking industry.  They also represented BCCI, meaning that if they aren't a CIA front company, they aren't too far removed.  Also: Remember when the liberated Iraqis tore down the statue of Saddam Hussein?  That was faked too

Suffice it to say, there is a good deal of evidence that American intelligence agencies take an active role in "perception management" within the United States in regards to how news is presented, and even if it is presented at all.  After all, once you've had your hands on the Mighty Wurlitzer, why would you ever stop playing?  Let's look for examples of manipulation in our current news -- or lack thereof.

The American news media has been completely silent about Islamic extremist violence in Africa, particularly the Kenyan mall attack.  Granted, there's never been a shortage of racism in the American media when it comes to ignoring African issues, but al-Shabaab's attack on the West Gate mall is the type of thing that should be a lead story.  History has shown us that Africa is used as a "testing ground" for Islamic extremist attacks.  The 1998 bombing of the US Embassy in Kenya was the first act in a campaign of terror directed against the US that culminated in 9/11.  Al-Shabaab isn't done according to reports, and a college in Nigeria was attacked this morning by a related group.  Clearly, the attacks in Africa represent a more concrete threat to America than whether or not Syrians used chemical weapons on one another, but, then again, Kenya produces less oil than Puerto Rico or Ireland, so there's less of a financial motive.

Perhaps the silence regarding the West Gate mall attack is for an altogether different reason.  The Kenyan Foreign Minister has stated that at least three of the terrorists were from Minnesota.  So rather than rabid fundamentalists from the Middle East, this violence was carried out by American teens.  That's not all, Great Britain is in on the action as well.  "White Widow" Samantha Lewthwaite is believed to have been involved.  Lewthwaite earned her nickname by being the widow of 7/7 bomber Germaine Lindsay.  I'll take this opportunity to remind you of the theories presented by the film 7/7 Ripple Effect  that claimed that the 7/7 bombing suspects believed they were working for British secret services on a drill.  Is the lack of western reporting on the West Gate attack because it is a special ops? We will hopefully learn more in the coming days as the Kenyan authorities seem to be more willing to discuss the matter than ours are.

File this under Bizarre: The Kenyan Daily Post is reporting that al-Shabaab's code words for their potential targets are based on Freemason lodges in Charlotte, North Carolina.  If this is true, that's pretty incredible.  For what it's worth, the information in the post is correct: Lodge 738 is the West Gate lodge in Charlotte.   Even more bizarre is the fact that Ft. Bragg, North Carolina is headquarters of America's Special Forces.  To be even more specific, it's the home of the 3rd Division of the Special Forces which is.....(drum roll, please)....in charge of Sub-Saharan Africa.  I'll admit that no one else is reporting this so I couldn't get secondary confirmation of the code words.  However, it would have been a lot of research for a hoax, and the Kenyan Daily Post didn't make the connections to US Special Forces in their article.

The FBI has released their file on Michael Hastings on their FOIA site. It's heavily redacted of course and doesn't feature any new information, but it is proof that journalists that don't play ball are heavily scrutinized.   

In regards to perception management, Seymour Hersh has reemerged stating that the Bin Laden narrative is "bullshit."  Those of you unfamiliar with Hersh's work are advised to familiarize yourself with him ASAP because, now 76 years old, Hersh is back and turning his attention to the current administration.  He's got a book coming out soon that will undoubtedly be worth a read, and it is notable that he's stating that the press is less free under Obama than they were under Bush.

Navy Yard Shooting: I mentioned last post that the BBC was the only outlet to report the "stand down" order.  There's no update except that the SWAT team is still waiting for an answer.  The two most important things about this story is that the BBC isn't back tracking and that there still hasn't been a word about this in America.  In fact, there hasn't been much reporting at all on the Navy Yard shooting since it occurred.  We'll hit the two week anniversary tomorrow, and the story has completely fallen off the radar.  That is, except for this one story, which is the epitome of the Might Wurlitzer playing the government's tune:

Same company did background checks on Alexis, Snowden

See what they did there?  Whistleblower Edward Snowden is mentioned in the same breath as Navy Yard killer Aaron Alexis.  Since the average person only skims headlines, this effectively makes the two one and the same.  Exposing the NSA's spying on US citizens is equated to gunning people down at their job.  Don't think for a second that this is accidental.  Eight words is sometimes all it takes to change someone's mind, and whoever wrote this headline -- which was duplicated verbatim across multiple outlets -- probably got a raise.  The Mighty Wurlitzer plays on...