Dissecting the US Mainstream Media

Part 1- The Agents of ... Influence?

I think the best place to start would be the breakthrough article by Carl Bernstein, THE CIA AND THE MEDIA , on how America’s most powerful news media worked hand in glove with the CIA, and why the Church Committee covered it up. The piece was originally published by Rolling Stone in 1977. I know it’s long; very long indeed, but I urge you to take the time and read the entire 16-page piece. It’s worth it. Bernstein revealed that over 400 US journalists, over a twenty-five year period, had been employed by the CIA, as both freelancers and actual under cover CIA officers. Almost every major US news organization had CIA agents on their payroll with the full knowledge and cooperation of top management.

From the twenty‑five files he got back, according to Senate sources and CIA officials, an unavoidable conclusion emerged: that to a degree never widely suspected, the CIA in the 1950s, ‘60s and even early ‘70s had concentrated its relationships with journalists in the most prominent sectors of the American press corps, including four or five of the largest newspapers in the country, the broadcast networks and the two major newsweekly magazines.

By far the most valuable of these associations, according to CIA officials, have been with the New York Times, CBS and Time Inc.

During the 1976 investigation of the CIA by the Senate Intelligence Committee, chaired by Senator Frank Church, the dimensions of the Agency’s involvement with the press became apparent to several members of the panel, as well as to two or three investigators on the staff. But top officials of the CIA, including former directors William Colby and George Bush, persuaded the committee to restrict its inquiry into the matter and to deliberately misrepresent the actual scope of the activities in its final report.

Those officials most knowledgeable about the subject say that a figure of 400 American journalists is on the low side of the actual number who maintained covert relationships and undertook clandestine tasks.

...

Today many are under the assumption that operations like Mockingbird were all part of Cold War history and have been long since ceased and deceased. This operation and J. Edgar Hoover style operations of influence via blackmail and installing fear are written off and preferred to be forgotten as ‘ended’ dark past stories of the Cold War era. But are they?

Aren’t we engaged in this endless ambiguous War on Terror? Haven’t they, the government, already carried out practices in this war that are far worse than in the Cold War? Whether it is the illegal wiretapping of American citizens on their own soil, or totally suspending habeas corpus, or extraordinary rendition, or torture, or usage of the draconian State Secrets Privilege to shield all criminal government deeds…who can argue against the extent of this made-up war far surpassing that of the Cold War? Really. So what makes people think that a government that goes this far with all these violations is not engaged in Mockingbird-like, or worse, operations to control the flow of information? In fact, many of these operations have been taking place, not only by the CIA but several other branches, and the worse part of it, some of them are not even secret - since they’ve either been doing it openly or they’ve been exposed periodically.

Let’s take a recent case: Reporter David Barstow, who won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize on his expose of the Pentagon propaganda campaign to recruit more than seventy-five retired military officers to appear on TV as military analysts before and during the Iraq war. These so-called analysts were given extensive classified Pentagon briefings, provided with talking points, and given free trips to Iraq and elsewhere courtesy of the Pentagon. The Pentagon has been crafting and disseminating biased analysis, tainted information, government propaganda…And here is the worst part: it ain’t even a secret any longer!

Here is another one: Remember Judith Miller? Here we had this’ reporter’, working for one of the most prestigious, and unfortunately, ‘trusted’ newspapers in the US, helping the government sell its war through lies and propaganda. But my focus here is going to be on the following:

Judith Miller was embedded in a military unit and she said the following in her piece: The Pentagon had given me clearance to see secret information as a part of my assignment ``embedded'' with a special military unit hunting for unconventional weapons [or weapons of mass destruction.]

We never got to the bottom of this controversy regarding Judith Miller on DOD granted Security Clearance, which later changed to ‘nondisclosure agreement’, with some added caveat which was supposedly signed by all other ‘embedded journalists’, maybe with less caveat… Can we get a copy of this nondisclosure and review its language to better appreciate the real implications? I don’t think so.
Think about it, first the Pentagon had to ‘pre- approve’ the ‘assigned reporters. These, ahemmm, journalists were then sent to cover the war on the front lines and report back to the public as, ahemmm, ‘reporters.’ The government tells them (and their editors, and their corporate owners, and…) ‘Hey, we’ll make it very easy for you. Just hop on the back of one of our hummers, we’ll act as your chauffeur, your guide, your bodyguard, and in fact, we’ll interpret for you what you are actually seeing, or think you may be seeing; in fact, we can have our army typists type and send your stories back to your editors… And, oh, we have a very business-like contract drawn up for this for you to sign. No big deal, basically you sign that what you write, what you report, has to meet our approval, whatever that may require…’ Selected, Embedded, in-bedded, whatever it was, every network channel and all the major publications jumped on this ‘opportunity.’ And we got their coverage of lots of ‘Shocking & Awing.’

Remember Mark Klein , the AT&T whistleblower on NSA warrantless wiretapping? Here is a relevant excerpt from his CBS appearance: “But after working for two months with LA Times reporter Joe Menn, Klein says he was told the story had been killed at the request of then-Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte and then-director of the NSA Gen. Michael Hayden. The Los Angeles Times' decision was made by the paper's editor at the time, Dean Baquet, now the Washington bureau chief of The New York Times.”

First, LA Times editor, Baquet, had to inform the heads of NSA and DNI, and then get the order, ‘request’, from them to kill it. What kind of relationship did Baquet have with those ‘heads’? Contractual? Courtesy? Mutually dependent? Whether contract or courtesy, it appears it was enough to get him promoted to the New York Times as their new Bureau Chief, ey! After all, it was the New York Times who had killed the main NSA story for over a year; the same New York Times that receives calls and ‘requests’ from the Harmans of congress calling for similar ‘killings.’

How about the recent Seymour Hirsh revelations on new alleged instances of domestic spying and operations by the CIA? Here is a direct quote:

“After 9/11, I haven’t written about this yet, but the Central Intelligence Agency was very deeply involved in domestic activities against people they thought to be enemies of the state. Without any legal authority for it. They haven’t been called on it yet. That does happen.”

So, who is going to ‘call on it,’ really? The Congress: with the likes of Pelosi and Harman, who are neck deep in this, and actually help carry out these abuses, whether via follow up calls to the media to request ‘black out’ of real stories, or canning any possibility of hearings dealing with these cases? Or will it be, aaaaaah, right, the mainstream media; after they run it by their ‘trusted’ current high-level government sources, then by their Pentagon-Paid- and- managed analysts, and then prepared and written by their reporters who have TS Clearance and or nondisclosure agreements? Answers please!

Do we still have readers who think that the possibility of Post Cold War Era government & spooks running, or greatly influencing, the media is a far fetched fantasy or a conspiracy? Again, I am not saying ‘The government agents and spooks are at work within the news agencies.’ What I am saying is:

They say the reason back then was the ‘Cold War.’ I say, now it is the ‘Great War on Terror’ with abstract evil enemies all over the globe, and with no end in sight, since there are no walls to come down, no nations to collapse, and no particular army to defeat. It is an indefinite ‘war.’

They say those extreme practices belonged to a dark era which has ended and preventive measures such as ‘CIA keeps up its dirty work anywhere but here’ have been put in place. I say, all deals are and have been off; if NSA illegal eavesdropping, torture, gag orders & State Secrets Privilege, suspension of habeas corpus…are all kosher now, who says having government agents and informants in major news agencies at work is not.

They say - what evidence is there to support this? And I say - take a look at the sorry state of our MSM today.

What say you?

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Comments

  1. Here seemed like a good place to make a plug for Project Censored, but I see that the explosives research on the WTC dust is not even covered. In fairness to them, they covered Dr. Jones work in the past, but that this new paper gets no press is itself quite a story considering that NIST’s shoddy research got so much press.

    “Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe” (Click the green “DOWNLOAD” button.)
    http://www.bentham-open.org/pages/content.php?TOCPJ/2009/00000002/00000001/7TOCPJ.SGM

  2. Is the Associated Press Good for America?
    http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/is-the-ap-good-for-america/

    Iran-Contra’s ‘Lost Chapter’ By Robert Parry (A Special Report) June 30, 2008 – http://www.consortiumnews.com/2008/062908.html

  3. Bill Bergman says:

    Re: Our MSM today — today is Thursday, May 14. I saw a nice article on a court decision in favor of Robert Wright, clearing the way for him to publish his book, in the Chicago Tribune this morning. But a search of Google News reveals little other coverage elsewhere. Maybe the book will get better coverage.

  4. Obviously something is wrong. Whether it be ownership or any operation of intertwined covert propaganda operations, or any threats passed on concerning what to cover, the mere fact human interest stories have trumped issues of deep and major importance to a free society just seems to parallel the break down of our checks and balances within the government. The fourth estate has turned into a gatekeeper from full disclosure of events.

  5. Bill Bergman says:

    And in some cases, not just a gatekeeper from full disclosure, but an active disinformation participant.

    But I’m still hopeful there are some diamonds in the rough out there, gaining credibility and a greater voice in light of recently developing events.

  6. Great post Sibel. Remember that scene in the Godfather where Sonny or someone talks about how they’ll take the heat off of Michael’s hit job on the police officer by feeding stories to journalists they have on their payroll? That’s what this kind of reminds me of.

    Unfortunately, when it comes to money, just about anyone can be bought off. Journalists, academics, government workers, Congressmen…it takes that rare individual to realize the strings attached to such money will capture one’s soul and render the money itself meaningless.

  7. Sibel Edmonds says:

    Miguel:I certainly do. I've watched that film at least 6 or 7 times. Actually you just gave me an idea! Movies related to the MSM and our topics here…Maybe we'll have a TGIF Lite Post?

    Bill: I read that last night (was sent by Dr. Weaver). He is one of our 'unofficial' members. I will chat with him & Vincent on this.

    MMonk: Right. Fourth Branch as an 'extension.'

    Shane: Thanks for the links. I do follow Bob Parry and that's a great piece.

  8. Hi Sibel,

    Just read the latest post and as usual you are right on! I am no insider with any special access to information – but just an ‘average citizen’. Since 9/11 it became crystal clear that it has been almost impossible to find any real news in the MSM. I’m always surprised that more people didn’t see all the inconsistencies about that day alone – not to mention everything that has happened since. Once you get into the mind set that most of what we see and hear and read are lies – it is fairly easy to spot. Or at least it becomes easier to question everything. (I’m old enough to remember something called “Common Sense” – which seems to be uncommon these days).

    This comment from your article in particular, stands out:

    They say the reason back then was the ‘Cold War.’ I say, now it is the ‘Great War on Terror’ with abstract evil enemies all over the globe, and with no end in sight, since there are no walls to come down, no nations to collapse, and no particular army to defeat. It is an indefinite ‘war.’

    I have seen this for a long time – and I go back to the Cold War period. It’s just the same old stuff dressed up new with a perfect endless need for a continuous war footing.

    You have a lot more going for you than your intelligence and questioning mind. I admire your spunk! Keep at it Sibel – and thank you for all that you are doing. You make a huge difference!

    Warmest regards,

    Dennis

  9. eric zaetsch says:

    In Minnesota after election day Norm Coleman was reported ahead by a few hundred votes. He declared a victory, thanked everyone and told Franken a gentleman would at that point tank it. There was a recount and Al Franken ends up ahead by a few hundred votes. That is reassuring because it shows how reliable things are with millions of votes, and an accuracy in the counting of fractions of a percent. How much more reliable can things be? No wonder voting fraud and voting machine reliability no longer make news. No wonder the entire thing was processed without Katherine Harris’ name coming up.

  10. eric zaetsch says:

    I forgot to say. Getting all that deep and incisive coverage on the change in command in Afghanistan, the new guy’s background, all that is also very reassuring that the mainstream press is at its best.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Dear Mrs. Edmonds,

    I sincerely believe you are wrong in what you are doing. What you expose, is nothing unusual, nor as dramatic as you suggest. The groups you identify are indeed serving US interests – and it is not for a translator from the FBI to judge on the national interest of the nation. We have no other ways of doing business in Eurasia – than the Eurasian way. When the region democratises, and concepts of transparancy take hold – then we’ll talk. In the meantime, while you reveal valuable information about our activity in Eurasia, our competitors intelligence agencies pounce on us. Do you sincerely believe that they are even remotely holding out the possibility of democracy for their countries/regions?

    You’ll say we’ve corrupted the area – but its always been corrupt. We are its only chance for change.

    You should consider the larger picture in what you do.

    As for the media – if they risk our national security – the government has legal means to deal with them. So they are careful. I’d suggest that rather than turning to outlandish theories on how our media doesn’t work – you recognize simple legal constraints – and what our legal system makes possible. No country in the world, is capable of undermining its own intelligence service on radio or tv. It is entirely wrongheaded to take the notion of ‘democracy’ and whack the media over the head.

    We have Democracy Now, and thousands of independent radio stations, and publications. Their circulation is limited, because they are unreliable, speculative, and often – particularly marginal.

    I sincerely wish youd think more profoundly, about your approach to the unique information you gleaned in your limited experince with the FBI.

  12. Sibel Edmonds says:

    Dennis: I know this is your first interactive deal in the blogosphere (just like this site), and knowing this makes this comment doubly meaningful for me. I hope we'll get to regularly benefit from your experience, and insight…

    Eric: Yesterday I read an excellent editorial on this topic (change in command in Afghanistan & the MSM coverage). I hope I saved it somewhere. I'll try to find and post the link…

  13. Anonymous says:

    Remember COINTELPRO run by Hoover’s boys the FBI. It’s still alive and well and ran by Rove and his paid assistant.

  14. eric zaetsch says:

    There is the Seymour Hersh thread running a few places, Angry Arab linked to this item, for example:

    http://archive.gulfnews.com/articles/09/05/13/10313137.html

    and here

    http://www.opednews.com/articles/Obama-Moves-To-Dark-Side-W-by-Allen-L-Roland-090514-952.html

    Also, Asia Times has something:

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/KE14Df01.html

    The Nation:

    http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090525/zirin2

    This:

    http://www.opednews.com/articles/Obama-Moves-To-Dark-Side-W-by-Allen-L-Roland-090514-952.html

    Then, compare, Time and NYT, the mainstream:

    http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1897542,00.html

    http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/stanley_a_mcchrystal/index.html?inline=nyt-per

    Interestingly, the name Hersh never showed up in the NYT item, regarding who the new guy was, who he used to be, before getting the new role.

    JSOC appears to be an entire story in itself – perhaps more would be out there reported on it but for Ashcroft silencing a few people — it’s been alleged to happen now and again — but whether that’s at play here, who’s to say.

    It seems you have to hunt a bit for detail.

  15. Hello Sibel, and welcome to the blogosphere!

    I’ve followed your story for a long time now, mostly at Luke’s various places, and I’ve got to say I admire what you are doing. I’m a Brit, posting from England, and I think that this allows for a slightly different perspective on all that goes on over there.

    Over here we have similar difficulties with our own MSM, but at least the whole system is somewhat smaller and therefore a bit easier to focus upon. As far as press freedom is concerned, the rules are openly defined and therefore rather more transparent than there in the US. We’ve got a system called the “Defence Advisory (DA) Notice system”, which has its own website here:

    http://www.dnotice.org.uk/

    Everything is pretty clear cut, there are currently 5 notices in force, and most of the issues you are currently addressing are covered by Notice No 5.

    Had you been British, or had you worked here in the area you found yourself to be in, then The Times would never have covered your story as they did. Being as yours is a ‘foreign’ story, as far as ‘we’ are concerned, then there was no prohibition on what could be published.

    Over there, as here, there are good journalists. Equally there are a fair number of poor ones on both sides of the Atlantic. If I was to add anything to your last-post list, I would suggest that there are a few good journalists quietly doing their thing whilst waiting for some sort of dam to break whereby they can let it all flood out. Up until that day they are holding back for fear of, shall I say, coming up and out with the goodies to soon.

    One of the main problems here is that there are only a few journalists who are sufficiently well versed in the specifics of quite a number of particular story-trains. Another is that many of these guys (mostly) have not inconsiderable reputations to maintain, and will not travel too far away from well-trodden pathways. Yet another is the degree of corroberation they require for tackling anything that hasn’t previously come to the attention of the Fleet Street (well – it used to be… more Canary Wharf now) radar screens.

    Other problems that aren’t so much to do with the media itself include the fly-like attention spans of much of the general public, and the fact that the stories themselves (in these times of instant gratification) therefore need to be short and sweet, he (she) did this or that, this or that happened, and this or that happened to them. End of story.

    Keep up the good work, as I am sure many others with similar and quite likely related tales to tell are doing, and one day we will have an ark of truth that will float above all else.

  16. eric zaetsch says:

    Three few more interrelated McChrystal links:

    http://stopwarblog.blogspot.com/2009/05/meet-new-boss-same-as-old-boss.html

    http://www.esquire.com/features/ESQ0806TERROR_102?click=main_sr

    http://politics.theatlantic.com/2009/05/top_secretgst_mcchrystal_torture_and_sy_hershs_book.php

    The Tillman story:

    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/05/tillmans_parents_accuse_new_afghanistan_commander.php

    Then HuffPo, with another thing MSM inadvertently overlooked:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeremy-scahill/us-soldiers-in-afghanista_b_195639.html

    While interesting on their own, these McChrystal and the HuffPo item are featured as an example of cause for skepticism over mainstream intensity of view and lust for detail.

  17. Sibel Edmonds says:

    Anon with comments on Eurasia and criticism:
    I welcome your criticism and disagreement, since it is articulated in a civil and respectful manner. However I strongly disagree with your reasoning and the thesis of your argument:

    Let’s start with this example based on your belief that our government’s agenda is to install democracies: What kind of democracy have we installed, put in place, advocated, let’s say, in Saudi Arabia, after decades of having them under our ‘wings’? Our record there establishes one thing: We want your oil, the control of your oil, and your theocracy, your monarchy, your human rights abuses, your treatment of women, your extremism…is no concern of ours. Or maybe, some of them are pluses: we’ll get to sell you billions of dollars worth of military equipment to help you remain in power, continue to torture and oppress, and maintain your corrupt kingdom.

    Why do all those nations of interest happen to be sitting on top of vast oil/natural resources, and or, sit on those resources transport routes? For some reason(s) our ‘democracy installation’ vision and projects bypass almost all those resource-poor countries in Africa, despite their dire need for ‘democracy.’

    Can you provide one example of ‘democracy’ we have had installed in our last century in those parts of the world?

    I can go on forever here. I may come back and add more, but the philosophy you put forth, your logic/reasoning,seems to have a lot in common with the Neoconservatives who have hijacked our nation. I am not stating this to simply ‘categorize’ and label your opinion, and write it off as ‘oh, another Neocon.’ Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    More on this later…

  18. Anonymous says:

    You are correct about the “neoconservative” aspect. I am indeed a neocon. But not all neocons are alike. Don’t underestimate our commitment to Democracy. Some of us are consistent in pressing for it – particularly in Saudi Arabia. Some of us – like myself – are ashamed that we sold out to the iliberals.

    That said , consider our position. When the likes of Chas Freeman are appointed to positions of power – all the Arabists and Oil Companies rejoice. The only force interested in intervening, happens to be pro-Israeli, and then we get the onus of the big bad Jewish lobby.

    I am sure you will agree, that Americas Arabists are the first and biggest friends of illiberal Arab regimes. People like myself have certainly compromised on Turkey and Iran (in the past). But we have no hand in Arab countries.

    That said, in Turkey, there was considerable progress towards Democracy. That we did not achieve it had little to do with our commitment to democracy – it had to do with limits that we could not go beyond. Would you then, in the name of some abstract universal ethic, have us abandon entirely our pursuit – knowing full well, that abandoning it entirely, would not only mean abandoning entirely Turkey’s democratic ambitions, but also opening the door to more Saudi Arabias?

    Let me ask you another question. We lobby for Turkish inclusion in the EU. Do you think this is bad? Do you not think that we realize there is corruption, but that the best way to beat it, is institutional and long-term?

    **

    On another note. I’d venture, that surrounding yourself with people from certain contingents has also had an effect on you. There is a lot of ‘dissent’ there, and they write confessions of a CIA hitman, and there is Hersch – but are you sure these folks really understand as much as they claim, and are in touch with the reality of foreign policy, that was really enriching for someone like you?

    I’d venture they mislead you – and provide no context. Its a bitter bunch of cheerleaders “leading” you astray.

  19. . . .And the “Corporate Hitmen” have done their job all over the third world nations – while floating that key word “Democracy” as to what they were trying to accomplish. This gives most Americans a good feeling about what was and is going on – the control of those nation’s natural resources. Soon as the Media throws that key word in we know it’s OK. We are still the good guys promoting democracy. In a very real way that logic reminds me of back during the height of the Cold War and the “Cuban Missle Crisis” – when we were much closer to nuclear war than most people realize. Those were the days when the Strategic Air Command aircraft were on station at their Failsafe points – waiting for the go. SAC’s motto at the time was: “Peace Is Our Profession”.

    The same old ways are not working any more – as people all over the world are waking up and connecting personally – becoming “real” to each other. They seem to understand the words of a wise old philosopher:

    “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” Albert Einstein

  20. Bill Bergman says:

    Here’s a link to a source about Operation Ajax, leading to the coup in Iran in 1953, and the covert use of the media on that score.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/history/document/document_20050822.shtml

    The book “All the Shah’s Men” is another good source.

  21. arealjeffersonian says:

    Great post to start your series with. My comments have to do both with the post, which I agree with in its entirety, and as a response to Anon who identified himself/herself as a neocon. In the interest of equal transparency, from my adopted name it is apparent that I am a follower of Jefferson, and use quotes from him extensively.

    There is so much meat in this post that one could write a book in response, so I’ll try to limit myself here to 2 points.

    1) Government influence of the media: For those of us who lived thru the Cold War the newspaper, Pravda, was well known as the official newspaper of the Soviet Union, and we assumed that what was reported by it was government sanctioned, and further assumed that the people of the Soviet Union therefore had no access to unbiased reporting of anything the government wished to suppress. Compare that now to our own media that is being “influenced” as is suggested in Sibel’s post. The techniques employed may be different, but the end result is the same. Just as the people of the Soviet Union were presented only with the government’s view, so are we only being presented with our government’s view. As to the consequences, let me quote Jefferson: “Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government. Whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights.”

    2) Interests of the nation: Sibel gave Iran as an example. Was our nation’s interest served when we interfered by helping remove their elected leader? The end result was the current regime – which surely doesn’t seem to serve our interests. Was our interest served when we interfered in Afghanistan’s struggle with the Soviet Union? The end result was the creation of Bin Laden and Al Qaeda. Did that serve our interests? Similar examples abound, but for now I’ll end with more quotes from Jefferson:
    “Every nation has a right to govern itself internally under what forms it pleases, and to change these forms at its own will; and externally to transact business with other nations through whatever organ it chooses, whether that be a King, Convention, Assembly, Committee, President, or whatever it be. The only thing essential is, the will of the nation.”

    “No one nation has a right to sit in judgment over another.”

    “We wish not to meddle with the internal affairs of any country”

  22. Anonymous says:

    Sibel, I love your “Great War on Terror” expression, and the associated comment is exactly on target.

    To Anon the neocon, not to worry, from what I see in what Sibel has done and how she acts, I don’t think anyone is going to “mislead” or “lead her astray”

    Markum

  23. Sibel Edmonds says:

    Anon. with Neocon Views:

    "That said, in Turkey, there was considerable progress towards Democracy."

    It depends on how you 'define' democracy. Does it include: military regime, jailing & torturing political activists and journalists, corruption, state sponsored terrorism against Kurdish minority…?

    Wasn't it our long-term objective to breed and foster 'false Islamic' extremism in many countries during the Cold War? For decades those madrasas and mosques and militants served our interest and kept the Soviet away; didn't they? We found them, funded them, and trained them. Didn't we? If as you say 'the end justifies the means,' then, you are saying the attack on 9/11 was totally justified?

  24. Sibel Edmonds says:

    Bill:"All the Shah's Men"-I am with you; great book. I'll check the BBC link.

    Jeffersonian: I too am a big fan of Jefferson quotes. Pravda: excellent analogy.

    Markum:Thanks. I am still waiting to hear your take on 'AIPAC v MSM.' Your draft was brilliant & hard-hitting.

  25. Anonymous says:

    hot discussion!

    Hugo

  26. Anonymous says:

    I’ll get myself a blogger identity so I don’t have to be “Anon the Neocon” – but for now that will do.

    Mrs. Edmonds,

    You didn’t take my question about Arabists.

    On Turkey, we cultivated, in a timely fashion, democratic elements within the country. If Turkey has elections, this was thanks to our pressure. Without our efforts, I believe they would look similar to Saudi Arabia – not even the shoots of democracy.

    Kurdistan is a thorny question, like Cyprus, like the Genocide, like Allawites, and women’s righs, and honor killings.

    I think you exaggerate our influence. We do what we can with the limited means that we have. We have traded something for something. We cannot resolve Turkey’s historic issues without serious costs for oureselves. Turkey joined NATO, without any neocon participation – it has joined an anti-Soviet alliance, of its own geostrategic needs. We can not change those needs, nor significantly contribute to them. The relationship between Turkey and America, is dictated by this alliance – and it is within the millitary establishemtn and DoS that you’ll find a policy of turning a blind eye to Kurds – because we simply do not imagine how to deal with Turkey otherwise.

    Mrs. Edmonds, I think you would enjoy reading a little on the website: http://www.neoconeurope.eu/.

    I believe not one of your readers knows anything about this subject – and you’ll find it enriching. You’ll see that alliances cannot be made and broken on the basis of one particular “ethical universalism” and that all alliances involve costs – which translates into ethical compromises.

    On that note – what do you want us to do Mrs. Edmonds – support Kurdish state aspirations? The Turks, in all due honesty – trust absolutely no one with their foreign security – we have a toe-hold there – and it is ludicrous to place responsibility for Turkey’s problems, on our sholders.

    In the end Dear Mrs. Edmonds, you may be more a neocon than you raelise – if you trully want us to pursue a robust policy of democracy promotion. It is preciselyt the kind of radicalism people such as myself, are routinelly guilty of. But I personally, accept the radicalism of the Democratic Imperative.

  27. A respectful reply to Neocon Anon:

    You wrote: “What you expose, is nothing unusual, nor as dramatic as you suggest.”

    I don’t think Ms. Edmonds has said it is ‘unusual’. On the contrary, I think she has suggested it is ‘business as usual’. I guess whether one considers espionage, bribery and corruption of public officials ‘dramatic’ is a matter of personal opinion.

    I think most Americans would find the idea that the Speaker of the House of Representatives potentially acted as the agent of a foreign power a dramatic revelation. Or someone so highly placed as to be the third highest official in the State Department

    It may be that Sibel and most of us who have followed her case are naive. It could be that this is the way the world works, and that we simply have to accept the rich, the powerful and connected live by different rules than the rest of us. That in pursuit of foreign policy goals and personal enrichment, anything goes.

    But if so, let’s put all the cards on the table and let the people decide. Let’s declassify everything we can in the Edmonds’ case. And by ‘everything we can’, I mean everything short of the plans for a nuclear bomb.

    As far as judging the national interest, you imply that we can’t trust Sibel to be that judge. But can we trust any one person to be that judge? Can we trust the President? Or do politicians and public officials sometimes use ‘national interest’ as a fig leaf to cover their own malfeasance?

  28. arealjeffersonian says:

    Miguel: Very well presented post, especially your closing paragraph on “national interest”. And please count me as one of the naive – and proud to be so.

    To Neocon Anon: In your second post you write ” if you trully want us to pursue a robust policy of democracy promotion…” My purpose in quoting Jefferson was to emphasize the point that we should absolutely NOT be in the business of trying to impose democracy or any other form of government (Shah, for example) on anyone. Let us lead by example and if the people of other nations find that example to their liking and wish to emulate it, so be it – but it must be their decision, arrived at however they choose, not by us – by revolution if necessary, but their own revolution – just as we did. Unfortunately right now we are definitely NOT setting that good example.

    You used the term “geostrategic needs” in reference to Turkey. And while your statement was aimed at Turkey, I have to believe that you and other neocons would use the same term in reference to US “geostrategic needs”. This is a term of empires, not of democracies, and explains much of what has driven the US in the wrong direction. Empires by definition attempt to exercise control by might- wherever they can, and to gain control will interfere wherever they feel its to their advantage – topple governments if need be; make war if need be. A country can be a free democracy, or it can be an empire, but it cannot be both.

  29. The leanings of the MSM are obvious when you look at the coverage of two historical events. The first is Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky. We were treated with 24/7, wall to wall coverage of that event for two years. It was never considered old news by the MSM. The second is the release of the Downing Street Memos. It took nearly two months of emails sent by many, many people to the MSM to get them to report it. I sent an email to the news director of one of my local TV stations after they ran Saddam Hussein being paraded around in his underwear as a lead story on their late news. He did admit that this was a poor choice for a lead story but tried to excuse away lack of reporting on the Downing Street Memos because their contents was “old news” that had previously been covered by MSM outlets. It is true that some of the info in the memos had been covered but only for a day or two.

    Just goes to show you that, in the eyes of the MSM, Lewinsky and Clinton having sex is much more important than an administration lying us into a war.

  30. Sibel Edmonds says:

    Jeffersonian:
    "A country can be a free democracy, or it can be an empire, but it cannot be both." I concur with that statement.

    Miguel:Good to have you, as always. A few weeks ago I read a report on 'how many millions of classified documents we have piled up & the cost of maintaining…I think it was by FAS.Org. I'll try to find it and send it to you. Basically, the government thinks: the less and lesser the people know, the better off we 'n power will be…

    GEM21: Welcome! I do agree. Also, The Downing Street Memo-Excellent example. Unfortunately, more and more, we see similar trend within the blogosphere sites categorized as 'news' or 'analysis' or… To prove we are not partisan I'll give one example from the left side of the isle in blogs:

    Some turned Libby Trial & Fitzgerald into 'OJ Simpson' like cirque. Really!! It was nauseating. I didn't/don't spend much time surfing the net (I can't; juggling too many fronts), but visited a few sites based on sent links…and awful!I don't recall the site name, but one with 'Jenny & Betty' wanna be journalists go to washington and do their coverage, was …pretty awful…

    Anon (with upcoming screen name): I will respond tomorrow. It's 11 p.m. and my daughter will be up in…about 6 hours.

  31. Mizgîn says:

    Oh, yeah, let’s talk about the neoconservative “commitment to democracy,” Turkey, and the Kurds, shall we Mr. Neocon?

    29 March elections . . . the pro-Kurdish DTP overwhelmingly voted the American puppet party, the AKP, out of the Kurdish region, and this was in spite of the fact that the American puppet party set up their own little bullshit Kurdish TV channel–which nobody watches because they know it’s all about propaganda–and went around handing out furniture, money (aka bribes), refrigerators, washing machines (some of which were handed out in villages in Dersim where there is no indoor plumbing).

    So, in spite of all the American puppet party’s attempts to buy the Kurdish vote, it failed miserably, with the people choosing DTP.

    What happened when the American puppet party lost? It voided 3,000 votes in Agir, which caused mass demonstrations against the government there. DTP parliamentarians (you know, like congressmen) were beaten by police with nightsticks for attempting to speak to local authorities to calm the situation. German and French election observers sided with the population of Agri in noting that the voiding of votes was not correct and that there had been a number of violations of “democracy” by local police . . . who also happen to be members of the American puppet party.

    Then came Ocalan’s birthday. Now it doesn’t really matter what you neocons or anyone else thinks about Ocalan because the Kurdish people, who have suffered atrocities at the hands of America’s Model of Democracy in the Middle East, know that Ocalan is their leader. Period. Now, Ocalan wanted people to plant trees in honor of his birthday and that’s what they started to do outside his home village of Amara in Urfa.

    But the American puppet party police decided to attack the peaceful gathering–which is not unusual for America’s Model of Democracy in the Middle East. One third-year student from Dicle University was shot by police and another, a father of two, was shot by police with a tear gas cannister. If you knew anything about the reaction of America’s Model of Democracy in the Middle East, you’d know that using tear gas cannisters as anti-personnel weapons is nothing new either. Turkish security forces, including the American-trained Special Teams, did the very same thing during the Amed Serhildan, killing a number of children and young people in the same way.

    Of course, now that we know that Israel uses a new weapon to fire its high-velocity tear gas cannisters, I’m going to find out if America’s Model of Democracy in the Middle East is using the same weapon system. When I do find out, and if Turkey is using the Israeli weapon, believe me, I’ll use it against both of those evil regimes. I’ve already got my requests out there for that information.

    After the American puppet party police murdered two Kurds during a peaceful tree-planting/birthday celebration, DTP parliamentarians–most of whom have been involved with IHD (no need to explain those initials for you since you don’t know what human rights are anyway)–they were also beaten by American puppet party police when they attempted to enter the hospital to talk to the families of the murdered and give their condolences.

    Then there was the fourteen-year-old who was beaten in the head with a rifle butt by Special Team police in Hakkari. Just like that fourteen-year-old last year had his arm broken by American puppet party police in Hakkari . . . and women were beaten by the American puppet party police during Newroz in Van . . .

    How’s that for democracy in action?

    Then America’s puppet party decided to start arresting DTP politicians and workers, claiming that they were members of PKK. That’s hilarious! According to the US and its great ally, Turkey, every Kurd is a member of PKK. Over 400 DTP personnel were arrested and everyone knows it was because America’s puppet party is pissed off that Kurds voted for Kurds.

    See, America’s puppet party has been pushing some so-called “Kurdish” conference to be held in Hewler in June and the puppet party was hoping to buy votes away from DTP so that Turkey, the US, and the corrupt Southern Kurdish leadership could try to force disarmament on PKK. But it didn’t quite work out as planned and the Kurds under Turkish occupation are going to go to that conference as the legitimate representatives of 20 million Kurds and their agenda is not the same as the Ankara regime’s, or the Washington regime’s, or the Southern Kurdish regime’s.

    All of this is YOUR democracy, Mr. Neocon, so we all know that this is YOUR version of democracy. And anyone who thinks that the US is going to bring them democracy, had better take a long hard look at Turkey to see if that’s really what they want.

    American democracy is democracy with a constitution that was written by generals. Yes, that would be the accurate description of the Turkish constitution. We know that the 12 September coup was an American-backed coup. None other that Paul Henze told Jimmy Carter that “Our boys did it!” after the pashas overthrew yet another government . . . after a year of carefully staged “media events” to justify their dirty business.

    (As an aside, you may remember that Paul Henze went on to bigger and better things, like propagandizing the assassination of the pope. He did that because it was “His boys” who tried to pull off the assassination and that wouldn’t look good to the rest of the world, so Henze came up with a load of bullshit blaming the attempt on the KGB. That load temporarily took the attention away from the CIA’s “boys”, the Gray Wolves. Let me reiterate for the thick-headed out there: It was America that attempted to assassinate the pope.)

    And, you know, it’s only people like you that see the Kurdish situation as “thorny”. It’s also only people like you that bring up the question of a Kurdish state. The Southern leadership has stated that it will remain a part of Iraq. Talabani, one to always exaggerate when it comes to ass-licking, has gone so far as to say a Kurdish independence is a fantasy. So what state are you talking about, Mr. Neocon?

    Then we have Kurds under Turkish occupation. The PKK has said for several years now that it wants to sit down and have a democratic solution negotiated that would guarantee Kurdish rights within the borders of Turkey. For many years, PKK realized that equality for Kurds would mean equality for Turks. It would mean a better Turkey. I guess that’s why ethnic Turks were also founders of the freedom movement and that’s why connections between PKK and the Turkish Left remain strong today.

    But the US doesn’t want a better Turkey. It doesn’t want real democracy for Turkey. It doesn’t want an end to the Deep State. None of these things serve American warmongering interests. That’s the real reason that people like you always say such stupid things, like “Kurdistan is a thorny question.” It’s not in US interests to be honest about Kurdistan.

    If you really want something to worry about, why don’t you go look up Hasan Cemal’s recent interview, published in Milliyet, with Murat Karayilan? Then I’m sure, being a neocon, you’ll have plenty of little Turkish friends who can translate it for you. Cemal’s interview is nothing new for Kurds, but it’s the first time that anything about PKK’s solution for a democratic resolution has been presented to the Turkish public. And that should terrify YOU, Mr. Neocon, because the moment that Turks get tired of their kids getting whacked in the mountains (and they’re already getting there) and they decide that maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to sit down with PKK and hammer out a solution, then all your little wet dreams about your national interests in the Middle East and Central Asia are going to be gone forever.

    In fact, you’ll be able to pull all your dirty little troops out of the entire region, because Turkey will be the regional power. You’ll also be able to kiss Israel’s reign of terror goodbye because they’ll have to obey the new boss in the neighborhood. And believe me, TSK will have a MUCH easier time of it in Israel than they’ve had for the last twenty-five years in the mountains of Kurdistan.

    Hehehe . . . so much for your Clean Break Strategy.

    By the way, don’t let Israel go looking for sympathy from the Kurds when that happens, either. We know that Israel, just like the US, has been giving targets to TSK in the last year and a half so that TSK could continue to bomb civilians in South Kurdistan.

  32. Sibel,

    THE MEDIA:
    Surely their news coverage is lacking, the run-ups to the Spanish-American and Iraq wars being prime examples that resulted in 100s of thousands dead.

    But you also have to blame the public. Laci Peterson, O.J. Simpson and Natalee Holloway were on the news because that’s what bumps the ratings up a quarter point, which means more revenue. Because of the existence of this feedback loop, the media is essentially part of the government running on a for-profit basis.

    Just as damning (when one considers 2000), close elections are much better sellers than blowouts. The media has a legal duty to its stockholders to get ratings, and that means making Al Gore, Jr. and George Walker Bush look equally competent.

    THE UNIVERSITIES:
    There was a parallel operation going on in the universities. I remember reading that 100s, or maybe 1000s, of University Professors in America volunteered to work with the CIA during the 1950s, and many of them obviously stayed on for a long time.

    The enemy was a dictatorship.

    I imagine many journalists volunteered in the same way.

    THE MINDS:
    Viet Nam changed it all. New Professors volunteered in much, much smaller numbers. The government is now banned from the best campuses. Surely journalists stopped volunteering in as large numbers, as well.

    The Professors and the Journalists are the foundations of the minds of the country. In the battle for the hearts and minds, everyone seems to have forgetten the minds.

    Maybe someday the smart people will want to work for the government again.

    ANON THE NEOCON:
    Anon the neocon is dedicated to democracy, he just hasn’t realized that his dedication is immoral. I’m sure it isn’t Paul Wolfowitz or Richard Perle, but they have the same mental block.

    We’d all like to see, as Leo Strauss depicted in the introduction to the City and Man, a world carpeted with Republics.

    The day you lift your hand to force someone else to do it, you have become a dictator, and what you create is not a free Republic, and is more than likely to collapse as soon as the force that pushed it into being is withdrawn (as it must be, someday).

    When someone else gets involved, arming one faction of a civil war from afar, well, that’s a different story.

    And if someone invades another country, we all get an excuse to go beat the (*cough*)thuggings out of them.

  33. Sibel Edmonds says:

    This is great! We are having a very heated and well-articulated debate here. This is exactly what I wished for.

    Mizgin: …and of course all these points and facts, among so many others, involving the Kurdish isuue, have received 'zilch' as far as US MSM coverage goes.

    Pope Assassination: A great example, topic. Dr. Melvin Goodman, Former CIA Analyst now a professor @ John Hopkins, is a member of NSWBC. He wrote a book on this, I think it's called The Wars of Edvard Shevardnadze…I'd say 99.999% of people: have no idea about this, and all that's been exposed via CIA whistleblowers, recently declassified documents, etc. They still believe the original/old version fed to them decades ago by the CIA.

    JSN: Welcome, and thank you for these excellent points.

    Media v Public expectations: I have the exact same problem. When I started listing my points on 'Corporate Media' section I got totally blocked by 'Chicken or the Egg' question. They are doing what they are doing because that's the 'demand' out there, and their supply responds to this demand: Entertainment & Lite News.

    Universities & Professors: I have an example to add. I have given speeches in a few universities around the country, and have received invitations from many…Yet, I was never approached by 'my' universities- Both in DC area: GWU & GMU. When I asked,I was told: we receive large federal grants; you and your topics may end all that… How is that for 'pressure'?!

  34. Nikephoros says:

    Sibel, I feel you lack a broader perspective on the media. Before copyright the media was very different. “Reporters” which are a caste certified by the modern university to deem what information is worthy or not of “news”, had no monopoly in their trade. Often ordinary people would submit articles for publication that if deemed worthy by the editor were published. Since there was no copyright one newspaper would freely copy articles for publication that originated in another if the editor so wished.

    You posit the media as failing in its goal to inform the public on realities due to corporate and government interests in collusion. This is no failure or mistake, but this is the vital, purposeful function of media in our society; instead of reflecting reality, the media system is meant to shore up support for government and corproate interests, which involves to hide and trivialize the true depth of most issues. It seems that the lone individual does not matter in our society and his opinions are not worthy to be counted unless some powerful government or corporate faction is backing him. Thus my lowly opinion does not matter, but if tomorrow I became some vapid platinum selling rockstar my opinion would be widely sought out for print media, only because a corporate record label backs me.

    A great source for a broad critique of modern media is this excellent study of the following French anti-establishment intellectual:
    Propaganda by Jacques Ellul:
    pp. 108-109
    The vast majority of people, perhaps 90 percent, know how to read, but do not exercise their intelligence beyond this. They attribute authority and eminent value to the printed word, or, conversely, reject it altogether. As these people do not possess enough knowledge to reflect and discern, they believe—or disbelieve—in toto what they read. And as such people, moreover, will select the easiest, not the hardest, reading matter, they are precisely on the level at which the printed word can seize and convince them without opposition. They are perfectly adapted to propaganda.

    pp. 124-131
    As the government cannot follow opinion, opinion must follow the government
    “Public opinion is so variable and fluctuating that government could never base a course of action on it; no sooner would government begin to pursue certain aims favored in an opinion poll, than opinion would turn against it.
    To the degree that opinion changes are rapid, policy changes would have to be equally rapid; to the extent that opinion is irrational, political action would have to be equally irrational. And as public opinion, ultimately, is always “the opinion of incompetents,” political decisions would therefore be surrendered to them.
    “Only one solution is possible: as the government cannot follow opinion, opinion must follow the government. One must convince this present, ponderous, impassioned mass that the government’s decisions are legitimate and good and that its foreign policy is correct. The democratic State, precisely because it believes in the expression of public opinion and does not gag it, must channel and shape that opinion if it wants to be realistic and not follow an ideological dream. The Gordian knot cannot be cut any other way. Of course, the political parties already have the role of adjusting public opinion to that of the government. Numerous studies have shown that political parties often do not agree with that opinion, that the voters—and even party members—frequently do not know their parties’ doctrines, and that people belong to parties for reasons other than ideological ones. But the parties channel free-floating opinion into existing formulas, polarizing it on opposites that do not necessarily correspond to the original tenets of such opinion. Because parties are so rigid, because they deal with only a part of any question, and because they are purely politically motivated, they distort public opinion and prevent it from forming naturally. But even beyond party influence, which is already propaganda influence, government action exists in and by itself.”

    pp. 139-141
    “We have stressed that the State can no longer govern without the masses, which nowadays are closely involved in politics. But these masses are composed of individuals. From their point of view, the problem is slightly different: they are interested in politics and consider themselves concerned with politics; even if they are not forced to participate actively because they live in a democracy, they embrace politics as soon as somebody wants to take the democratic regime away from them. But this presents them with problems that are way over their heads. They are faced with choices and decisions which demand maturity, knowledge, and a range of information which they do not and cannot have. Elections are limited to the selection of individuals, which reduces the problem of participation to its simplest form. But the individual wishes to participate in other ways than just elections. He wants to be conversant with economic questions. In fact, his government asks him to be. He wants to form an opinion on foreign policy. But in reality he can’t. He is caught between his desire and his inability, which he refuses to accept. For no citizen will believe that he is unable to have opinions. Public opinion surveys always reveal that people have opinions even on the most complicated questions, except for a small minority (usually the most informed and those who have reflected most). The majority prefers expressing stupidities to not expressing any opinion: this gives them the feeling of participation. For this they need simple thoughts, elementary explanations, a “key” that will permit them to take a position, and even ready-made opinions. As most people have the desire and at the same time the incapacity to participate, they are ready to accept a propaganda that will permit them to participate, and which hides their incapacity beneath explanations, judgments, and news, enabling them to satisfy their desire without eliminating their incompetence. The more complex, general, and accelerated political and economic phenomena become, the more do individuals feel concerned, the more do they want to be involved. In a certain sense this is democracy’s gain, but it also leads to more propaganda. And the individual does not want information, but only value judgments and preconceived positions. Here one must also take into account the individual’s laziness, which plays a decisive role in the entire propaganda phenomenon, and the impossibility of transmitting all information fast enough to keep up with developments in the modern world. Besides, the developments are not merely beyond man’s intellectual scope; they are also beyond him in volume and intensity; he simply cannot grasp the world’s economic and political problems. Faced with such matters, he feels his weakness, his inconsistency, his lack of effectiveness. He realizes that he depends on decisions over which he has no control, and that realization drives him to despair. Man cannot stay in this situation too long. He needs an ideological veil to cover the harsh reality, some consolation, a raison d’être, a sense of values. And only propaganda offers him a remedy for a basically intolerable situation.”

  35. Anonymous says:

    I keep getting wrong pass word,weird. And also I used the name see123realchange on a web site message board trying to boost volume here and my name was deleted
    and my computer became very slow.
    I suspect youtube and google hate your message Sibel

  36. Anonymous says:

    On Miller

    You went into jail in the summer. It is fall now. You will have stories to cover — Iraqi elections and suicide bombers, biological threats and the Iranian nuclear program. Out west, where you vacation, the aspens will already be turning. They turn in clusters, because their roots connect them. Come back to work — to life.”

    — 2005 Iraqi elections and suicide bombers, biological threats and the Iranian nuclear program.

    Cryptic note to Judy Miller regarding testifying about her “source.”

    Biological Threats? TURNING? It is FALL now? Their roots CONNECT THEM?

    Get out of jail free card?

    Come back to work — to life.

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