When an intelligence agency arranges to disseminated fake news it is called “disinformation” and it is a subset of what is referred to as covert action, basically secret operations run in a foreign country to influence opinion or to disrupt the functioning of a government or group that is considered to be hostile.
During the Cold War, disinformation operations were run by many of the leading players in both the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and in the opposition Warsaw Pact. Sometimes the activity and the sponsorship were clearly visible, as when Radio Free Europe and Radio Moscow would exchange barbs about just how bad daily life was in the opposition alliance. Sometimes, however, it took the form of clandestinely placing stories in the media that were clearly untrue but designed to shift public perceptions of what was taking place in the world. The Vietnam War provided a perfect proxy playing field, with stories emanating from the U.S. government and its supporters presenting a narrative of a fight for democracy against totalitarianism while the Communist bloc promoted a contrary tale of colonial and capitalist oppression of a people striving to be free.
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) inherited the mantle of covert action operations as a legacy from its OSS predecessor, which had had considerable success in conducting disinformation operations during World War 2. But there was from the start considerable opposition to continuing such programs as they were both expensive and subject to devastating blowback when they were identified and exposed. In Western Europe, powerful domestic communist parties were quick to publicize U.S. intelligence missteps, but nevertheless the ability to manipulate the news and information media to place stories critical of the Soviets and their allies led to major programs that funded magazines and books while also seeking to acquire a cadre of journalists that would produce pieces on demand proved too tempting to ignore.
There has been considerable ex post facto examination of the CIA’s use of covert funding mechanisms including the Congress of Cultural Freedom to fund writers and magazines in Europe, the best known of which were The Paris Review and Encounter out of London. As there was a low intensity war going on against communism, a conflict which many patriotic writers supported, funding magazines and finding contributors to write appropriate material was relatively easy and hardly challenged. Some senior editors knew or strongly suspected where their funding was coming from while some did not, but most didn’t ask any questions because then as now patrons of literary magazines were in short supply. Many of the writers were in the dark about the funding, but wrote what they did because of their own personal political convictions. The CIA, seeking value for money, would urge certain editorial lines but was not always very aggressive in doing so as it sought to allow the process to play out without too much interference.
Opinion magazines were one thing, but penetrating the newspaper world was quite a different story. It was easy to find a low or mid-level journalist and pay him to write certain pieces, but the pathway to actual publication was and is more complicated than that, going as it does through several editorial levels before appearing in print. A recent book cites the belief that CIA had “an agent at a newspaper in every world capital at least since 1977” who could be directed to post or kill stories. While it is true that U.S. Embassies and intelligence services had considerable ability to place stories in capitals in Latin America and parts of Asia, the record in Europe, where I worked, was somewhat mixed. I knew of only one senior editor of a major European newspaper who was considered to be an Agency resource, and even he could not place fake news as he was answerable both to his editorial board and the conglomerate that owned the paper. He also refused to take a salary from CIA, which meant that his cooperation was voluntary and he could not be directed.
CIA did indeed have a considerable number of journalist “assets” in Europe but they were generally stringers or mid-level and had only limited capability to actually shape the news. They frequently wrote for publications that had little or no impact. Indeed, one might reasonably ask whether the support of literary magazines in the fifties and sixties which morphed into more direct operations seeking journalist agents had any significant impact at all in geopolitical terms or on the Cold War itself.
More insidious was so-called Operation Mockingbird, which began in the early 1950s and which more-or-less openly obtained the cooperation of major American publications and news outlets to help fight communist “subversion.” The activity was exposed by Seymour Hersh in 1975 and was further described by the Church Commission in 1976, after which point CIA operations to influence opinion in the United States became illegal and the use of American journalists as agents was also generally prohibited. It was also learned that the Agency had been working outside its founding charter to infiltrate student groups and antiwar organizations under Operation Chaos, run by the CIA’s controversial if not completely crazy counterintelligence Czar James Jesus Angleton.
As the wheel of government frequently ends up turning full circle, we appear to be back in the age of disinformation, where the national security agencies of the U.S. government, including CIA, are now suspected of peddling stories that are intended to influence opinion in the United States and produce a political response. The Steele Dossier on Donald Trump is a perfect example, a report that surfaced through a deliberate series of actions by then CIA Director John Brennan, and which was filled with unverifiable innuendo intended to destroy the president-elect’s reputation before he took office. It is undeniably a positive development for all Americans who care about good governance that Congress is now intending to investigate the dossier to determine who ordered it, paid for it, and what it was intended to achieve.
Originally published on 2018-01-15
About the author: Philip M. Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer who served nineteen years overseas in Turkey, Italy, Germany, and Spain. He was the CIA Chief of Base for the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 and was one of the first Americans to enter Afghanistan in December 2001. Phil is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a Washington-based advocacy group that seeks to encourage and promote a U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East that is consistent with American values and interests.
Source: American Herald Tribune
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!
Donate to Support Us
We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
The 2017 Global Peace Index has declared Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and South Sudan to be among the “least peaceful” countries in the world. Incidentally, all four have been targets of U.S.-led destabilization efforts that were used to pursue economic interests that suit the U.S.
MINNEAPOLIS– The annual Global Peace Index, recently released for June 2017, has found that while the world is more peaceful now than last year, violence has increased significantly overall in the past decade.
Although the situation has improved in many countries, the ten lowest-ranking nations – known as the world’s “least peaceful” countries – have shown little change ...
Americans are outraged by allegations that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an intelligence service to hack email accounts of the Democratic National Committee. How inexpressibly heinous that one country, Russia, would try to influence elections in another sovereign country, in this case the United States! How unprecedented! How diabolical! How uniquely Russian!
In response, the Obama administration has expelled Russian diplomats, hinted at economic sanctions, and promised further retaliation using America’s “world-class arsenal of cyber weapons.” (NYT Dec. 16, 2016) Obama’s Republican opponents, for their part, have demanded “rocks” instead of Obama’s “pebbles.”
But does the USA meddle in the presidential elections ...
US and NATO forces invaded Afghanistan more than 16 years ago in October 2001. It’s has been a continuous war marked by US military occupation.
The justification is “counterterrorism”. Afghanistan is defined as a state sponsor of terrorism, allegedly responsible for attacking America on September 11, 2001.
The war on Afghanistan continues to be heralded as a war of retribution in response to the 9/11 attacks. US troops are still present and deployed in Afghanistan.
The legal argument used by Washington and NATO to invade and occupy Afghanistan under “the doctrine of collective security” was that the September 11 2001 attacks constituted an ...
The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists — Ernest Hemingway
Military spending is the second largest item in the US federal budget after Social Security. It has a habit of increasing significantly each year, and the proposed 2019 defense budget is $886 billion (roughly double what it was in 2003).
US military spending exceeds the total of the next ten largest countries combined. Although the US government acknowledges 682 military bases in 63 countries, ...
Leaked emails are filling in the picture of a Bill-and-Hillary-Clinton plan to destroy Russia – a plan which had originated with US President George Herbert Walker Bush in 1990, and which has been followed through both by his son George W Bush, and by both of the Clintons, but which has only recently started to become documented by leaked publications of personal communications amongst the key operatives who were the insiders running this operation behind the scenes, and who include Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, George W Bush, Victoria Nuland, Jeffrey Feltman, Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan al-Saud, Saudi Crown Prince ...
For almost 2 decades, the US pursued a list of ‘enemy countries’ to confront, attack, weaken and overthrow.
This imperial quest to overthrow ‘enemy countries’ operated at various levels of intensity, depending on two considerations: the level of priority and the degree of vulnerability for a ‘regime change’ operation.
The criteria for determining an ‘enemy country’ and its place on the list of priority targets in the US quest for greater global dominance, as well as its vulnerability to a ‘successfully’ regime change will be the focus of this essay.
We will conclude by discussing the realistic perspectives of future imperial ...
At the beginning of March 2017, it will be exactly six years since the beginning of the conflict in Syria. Some journalists even make unfavorable forecasts wondering about the very possibility of reconciliation. Complicated by the foreign intervention on the part of Israel war in Lebanon, for example, had been for about 15 years. But even a six-year term it is too long.
That is why we may hope that the meeting in Astana scheduled on January 23 will eventually lead to a positive result. And then there will be an occasion to consolidate the success of the negotiations in Geneva ...
Such important reality as is shown in this picture is virtually unpublishable in mainstream US ‘news’media, because US ‘news’media need to deceive their public about the most important international realities — such as that the US imposed upon Ukraine a nazi regime against Russia, and the US now lies to accuse Russia for doing what Russia must do in order to protect itself from the US nazi regime next-door.
This picture is among many which were originally published in the excellent 4 July 2018 article by Asa Winstanley at The Electronic Intifada. His article was headlined "Israel is arming neo-Nazis in Ukraine”. That article focuses upon Israel’s strong support for ...
The American Civil War The American Civil War (1861−1865) was a military conflict between the northern and the southern states of the USA which initially started as a political-economic revolt and desire for the independence by the southern states which created their own Confederacy not recognized by Washington. However, very soon the conflict was transformed into the war for the abolition of the slavery within the whole territory of the USA. In the first half of the 19th century, there was an increasing number of personalities mostly from the industrial northern states who called for the abolition of the slavery but ...
“The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants” (Albert Camus 1913-1960)
On 1st May 2003, George W. Bush stood in a dinky little flying suit on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln and in a super stage managed appearance told the lie of the century: “Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the Battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country.” (1)
The illegal occupation and decimation of Iraq continued until December 2011. In June 2014 they returned to bomb again ...
Well, once again, Israeli Prime Murderer Benjamin Netanyahu astounds. One would think that there must be some limit to the bizarre statements that issue from his mouth, but no, we learn again and again that he is willing to push the bizarreness envelope to places where, like the crew of Star Trek’s Enterprise, no one has ever before ventured.
His latest flight of fancy even seems to have astonished his worshipful U.S. government, which characterized his statements as ‘inappropriate and unhelpful’, harsh criticism indeed from that bastion of Israeli love. And what is it that Mr. Netanyahu has said? This writer ...
The Senate Report’s revelations of CIA torture of suspects following the 9/11 bombing is only the tip of the iceberg. The Report omits the history and wider scope of violent activity in which the CIA has been and continues to be involved. CIA organized large scale death squad activities and extreme torture in Vietnam (Phoenix Project); multiple assassinations of political leaders in the Congo, Chile, Dominican Republic, Vietnam, the Middle East, Central America and elsewhere; the kidnapping and disappearance of suspected activists in Iraq and Afghanistan; massive drug-running and narco-trafficking in the “Golden Triangle” in Southeast Asia and Central America (the Iran-Contra war).
The Senate Report fails to locate ...
40 yrs after Prez Teddy Roosevelt gave Korea to brutal Jap Empire in return for its recognition of Philippines as US Territory, US invaded Korea long AFTER Jap surrender, overthrowing its Korean gov., cutting it in two parts, installing a US dictatorship in its south now documented to have murdered 100,000 of its own citizens.
What Western media calls ‘Communist China,’ is a China governed by its Communist Party since 1949, and lying just across the Yalu River from a Korea, which between 1950 and 1953, was merciless bombed by the US, both north and south, all cities and towns of ...
Wednesday, May 30th, was Memorial Day in the United States. The commemoration began in 1868 shortly after the American Civil War, when townsmen in several communities came together to decorate the graves of the fallen on the last Monday in May. The practice began in the northern states but soon spread to the south and the annual remembrance ceremony soon took on the name Decoration Day. As wars proliferated in the twentieth century the commemoration eventually lost its association with the Civil War and was increasingly referred to nationally as Memorial Day, eventually becoming a federal holiday.
The American Civil war ...
After 17 bloody years, the longest war in US history continues without relent or purpose in Afghanistan.There, a valiant, fiercely-independent people, the Pashtun (Pathan) mountain tribes, have battled the full might of the US Empire to a stalemate that has so far cost American taxpayers $4 trillion, and 2,371 dead and 20,320 wounded soldiers. No one knows how many Afghans have died. The number is kept secret.Pashtun tribesmen in the Taliban alliance and their allies are fighting to oust all foreign troops from Afghanistan and evict the western-imposed and backed puppet regime in Kabul that pretends to be the nation’s ...
This year’s Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) for its successful effort to establish a global treaty that bans nuclear weapons. Peace, disarmament, and civil society groups around the world celebrated the announcement and congratulated ICAN for its landmark treaty accomplishment.
In a statement, ICAN called the prize “a tribute to the tireless efforts of many millions of campaigners and concerned citizens worldwide who, ever since the dawn of the atomic age, have loudly protested nuclear weapons, insisting that they can serve no legitimate purpose and must be forever banished from the face ...
The public has been so brainwashed by Big Brother’s lies so that many people won’t believe this article unless they click onto the link wherever they happen to think that what it is alleging is false. Then, they will see the evidence, for themselves, and will recognize that they’ve been fooled about that matter, and those readers will learn something important that they didn’t know before — including that Big Brother is real, and what it actually is, and how it came to be the way it is. This is about reality, the reality behind the screen of lies.
Today's Axis ...
In the article “Kurdistan – Turkey’s Kosovo” Prof. Sotirović compared different aspects of Turkish Kurdistan case to the Kosovo one, found some parallels and pointed out Turkey’s hypocrisy.While Prof. Sotirović is right in his assessment that Turkey is hypocritical to say at least, he failed to expose the fundamental differences between Kurdistan and Kosovo. His article contains some inaccuracies, misinterpretations and lacks in detail. Such an imprecise comparison may lead a reader who is not familiar with Balkans to acquire a false impression. A reader might come to conclusion that Kosovo Albanians had experienced the same level of suffering and ...
Being attacked from two sides simultaneously (terrorism and Russian threat) Europe has to decide what to do first: to counter terrorism or increasing Russian might. Choosing the priority is the most difficult challenge for the European States today. But Europe should make choice because states' budgets are not bottomless.
It is obvious, that as soon as the terrorism problem comes to the fore, NATO (first of all the US) diverts attention to other matters, such as the necessity to boost defence expenditures because of Russia, Syria, Afghanistan and other "annoying" countries.
It can be easily explained by the burden the country has ...
The speech delivered Tuesday by Donald Trump to the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York was without precedent either for the UN or the American presidency.Speaking before a world body ostensibly created to spare humanity the “scourge of war” and founded on the principles elaborated at the Nuremberg trials of Nazi leaders, the American president openly embraced a policy of genocide, declaring that he was “ready, willing and able” to “totally destroy” North Korea and its 25 million people.The fact that nobody in the assembly moved for Trump’s arrest as a war criminal, or even ...
9 of the World’s 10 Least Peaceful Nations were all Targeted by U.S. Intervention
US Meddling in 1996 Russian Elections in Support of Boris Yeltsin
The 2001 War on Afghanistan is a Profit Driven “Resource War”
U.S Military Bases Worldwide: 682 Military Bases in 63 Countries
Hitllary Clinton Plans to Destroy Russia
America’s Enemies, Who’s on the List?
What Should We Expect from the Talks on Syria in Astana?
This is the Real, Americanized, Nazi-Dominated Ukraine
When the American Civil War Ends: In 1865 or 1965?
Death and Destruction in Iraq, Extensive US War Crimes: Apocalypse in Mosul in the Guise of Bombing ISIS
Netanyahu, Palestine and Ethnic Cleansing
CIA: The Politics of a Global Secret Police Force
Fake News Laundered 1950-53 US Slaughter of 3 Million Koreans to Maintain US 1%’s Rule of South
America Celebrates Memorial Day
Afghanistan: The War That Shames America
Nobel Peace Prize goes to Abolitionists while US Conducts Nuclear War Games
America’s Allies Against Russia & Iran: Main U.S. Allies are Saudi Arabia, UAE, Al Qaeda, ISIS, Israel, & Nazis
Kosovo is not Serbia’s Kurdistan, but Balkan’s IS/Daesh
Trump’s “Mein Kampf” Tirade at the United Nations (September 2017)