Sunday, May 07, 2006

Operation Mockingbird


In 1948 Frank Wisner was appointed director of the Office of Special Projects (OSP). Soon afterwards OSP was renamed the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC). This became the espionage and counter-intelligence branch of the Central Intelligence Agency. Wisner was told to create an organization that concentrated on "propaganda, economic warfare; preventive direct action, including sabotage, anti-sabotage, demolition and evacuation measures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance groups, and support of indigenous anti-Communist elements in threatened countries of the free world." [1]
Later that year Wisner established Mockingbird, a program to influence the domestic and foreign media.

In 1977, Rolling Stone alleged that one of the most important journalists under the control of Operation Mockingbird was Joseph Alsop, whose articles appeared in over 300 different newspapers.

Other journalists alleged by Rolling Stone Magazine to have been willing to promote the views of the CIA included Stewart Alsop (New York Herald Tribune), Ben Bradlee (Newsweek), James Reston (New York Times), Charles Douglas Jackson (Time Magazine), Walter Pincus (Washington Post), William C. Baggs (Miami News), Herb Gold (Miami News) and Charles Bartlett (Chattanooga Times). [5] According to Nina Burleigh (A Very Private Woman) these journalists sometimes wrote articles that were commissioned by Frank Wisner. The CIA also provided them with classified information to help them with their work. [6]
After 1953 the network was overseen by Allen W. Dulles, director of the Central Intelligence Agency. By this time Operation Mockingbird had a major influence over 25 newspapers and wire agencies. These organizations were run by people with well-known right-wing views such as William Paley (CBS), Henry Luce (Time Magazine and Life Magazine), Arthur Hays Sulzberger (New York Times), Alfred Friendly (managing editor of the Washington Post), Jerry O'Leary (Washington Star), Hal Hendrix (Miami News), Barry Bingham Sr., (Louisville Courier-Journal), James Copley (Copley News Services) and Joseph Harrison (Christian Science Monitor). [5]

The Office of Policy Coordination (OPC) was funded by siphoning of funds intended for the Marshall Plan. Some of this money was used to bribe journalists and publishers. Frank Wisner was constantly looking for ways to help convince the public of the dangers of communism. In 1954 Wisner arranged for the funding the Hollywood production of Animal Farm, the animated allegory based on the book written by George Orwell. [7]
According to Alex Constantine (Mockingbird: The Subversion Of The Free Press By The CIA), in the 1950s, "some 3,000 salaried and contract CIA employees were eventually engaged in propaganda efforts". Wisner was also able to restrict newspapers from reporting about certain events. For example, the CIA plots to overthrow the governments of Iran (See: Operation Ajax) and Guatemala (See: Operation PBSUCCESS). [8]

Thomas Braden, head of the International Organizations Division (IOD), played an important role in Operation Mockingbird. Many years later he revealed his role in these events:
"If the director of CIA wanted to extend a present, say, to someone in Europe - a Labour leader - suppose he just thought, This man can use fifty thousand dollars, he's working well and doing a good job - he could hand it to him and never have to account to anybody... There was simply no limit to the money it could spend and no limit to the people it could hire and no limit to the activities it could decide were necessary to conduct the war - the secret war.... It was a multinational. Maybe it was one of the first. Journalists were a target, labor unions a particular target - that was one of the activities in which the communists spent the most money." [9]

Church Committee Investigations
Further details of Operation Mockingbird were revealed as a result of the Frank Church investigations (Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities) in 1975. According to the Congress report published in 1976:
"The CIA currently maintains a network of several hundred foreign individuals around the world who provide intelligence for the CIA and at times attempt to influence opinion through the use of covert propaganda. These individuals provide the CIA with direct access to a large number of newspapers and periodicals, scores of press services and news agencies, radio and television stations, commercial book publishers, and other foreign media outlets."
Church argued that the cost of misinforming the world cost American taxpayers an estimated $265 million a year. [20]
In February, 1976, George H. W. Bush, the recently appointed Director of the CIA announced a new policy: "Effective immediately, the CIA will not enter into any paid or contract relationship with any full-time or part-time news correspondent accredited by any U.S. news service, newspaper, periodical, radio or television network or station." However, he added that the CIA would continue to "welcome" the voluntary, unpaid cooperation of journalists. [21]

Carl Bernstein Article
Carl Bernstein, who had worked with Bob Woodward in the investigation of Watergate, provided further information about Operation Mockingbird in an article in Rolling Stone in October, 1977. Bernstein claimed that over a twenty-five year period over 400 American journalists secretly carried out assignments for the CIA:
"Some of the journalists were Pulitzer Prize winners, distinguished reporters who considered themselves ambassadors-without-portfolio for their country. Most were less exalted: foreign correspondents who found that their association with the Agency helped their work; stringers and freelancers who were as interested it the derring-do of the spy business as in filing articles, and, the smallest category, full-time CIA employees masquerading as journalists abroad." [5]
It is almost certain that Bernstein had encountered Operation Mockingbird while working on his Watergate investigation. For example, Deborah Davis (Katharine the Great) has argued - incorrectly, as it turned out - that Deep Throat was senior CIA official Richard Ober, who was running Operation Chaos for Richard Nixon during this period. [22]

...Media Contacts

According to Carl Bernstein 400 reporters were working for the CIA as part of Operation Mockingbird. These include, but are not limited to:
CBS (William S. Paley)
Chattanooga Times (Charles Bartlett)
Christian Science Monitor (Joseph Harrison)
Copley News Services (James Copley)
Louisville Courier-Journal (Barry Bingham Sr.)
Miami News (William C. Baggs, Herb Gold, Hal Hendrix)
Newsweek (Ben Bradlee)
New York Herald Tribune (Stewart Alsop)
New York Times (Arthur Hays Sulzberger)
Time Magazine (Alfred Friendly, Charles Douglas Jackson, Henry Luce)
Washington Post (Walter Pincus)
Washington Star (Jerry O'Leary)

See also
List of proven conspiracies
Church Committee
Judith Miller
James Risen
Mighty Wurlitzer (media)

"Katherine the Great: Katherine Graham and the Washington Post by Deborah Davis, Harcourt Brace Jovanovitch, 1979. This book makes many claims about Katherine Graham, then owner of the Washington Post, and her cooperation with Operation Mockingbird.

"Private Censorship -- Killing 'Katharine The Great'" by Eve Pell, The Nation, November 12, 1983. This article alleges the previously mentioned book was shelved for years under enormous pressure by the Washington


Let's keep speaking truth to to treason, and refuse to be mocked. I think most of us have about had it with this self appointed, evil group who consider themselves above the law, directly connected to God, and able to commit murder in her name.

Now THAT is mocking.. whew.


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