Archive for the Media cover-up Category

“US faces another debacle on Pacific economic treaty” – TPP, fake free trade pact, in trouble [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Anti-China propaganda exposure, Australia, Canada, Capitalism crisis early 21st century, Chile, China, China-bashing, Economic crisis & decline, Economy, Encirclement of China, EU, European Union, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Media cover-up, Mexico, New Zealand, Obama, Peru, Protectionist Trade War with China, Singapore, south Korea, U.K., US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, Vietnam on April 5, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Mike Head
4 April 2015

Having suffered a decisive defeat in its efforts to block other countries from joining the new China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the US government faces mounting difficulties with regard to its most far-reaching move to dominate the Asia-Pacific region: the so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

In Hawaii last month, the latest round of five-year-long TPP talks between the 12 governments involved broke up without any further agreement. For the third year in a row, the White House’s deadline for a final deal looks set to be breached in 2015.

Significantly, the main stumbling block this time was reportedly not ongoing differences between the US and Japan over auto and agricultural markets, but doubts over President Barack Obama’s capacity to get congressional approval for the pact.

Falsely presented as a “free trade” deal, the TPP is the opposite. It is aimed at creating a vast US-controlled economic bloc. In return for favoured access to the US market, which is still the largest in the world, the TPP requires its members to scrap all legal, regulatory and government impediments to American investment and corporate operations.

The TPP is an essential component of Washington’s military and strategic “pivot” to Asia, aimed at establishing unchallenged hegemony over the region, including China, which has thus far been excluded from the treaty. The “partnership” seeks to restructure every aspect of economic and social life across the Asia-Pacific in the interests of Wall Street finance capital and the largest US corporations, particularly the IT, pharmaceutical and media conglomerates.

A similar drive is underway to incorporate the European Union into a Transatlantic Trade and I nvestment Partnership (TTIP) bloc. Like the TPP, the European treaty is being negotiated behind the backs of the international working class amid tight secrecy, with hundreds of the world’s largest corporations taking part.

Obama has resorted to blatant anti-Chinese rhetoric in a bid to overcome opposition to aspects of the TPP from sections of the Democratic and Republican congressional leaderships. In one recent interview, the US president declared: “If we don’t write the rules out there, China’s going to write the rules and the geopolitical implications of China writing the rules for trade almost inevitably means that we will be cut out or we will be deeply disadvantaged. Our businesses will be disadvantaged, our workers will be disadvantaged.”

Washington is concerned that other imperialist powers, such as Germany, Britain and Japan, could strengthen their positions in China at the expense of the US unless America “writes the rules” for world trade in the 21st century.

Global financial commentators are drawing attention to what is at stake. Under the headline, “Round two in America’s battle for Asian influence,” David Pilling wrote in the London-based Financial Times on April 1: “Washington’s attempt to lead a boycott of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank ended in farce after Britain broke ranks and other nations from Germany to South Korea fell over themselves to join. If round one was a defeat for America, round two hangs in the balance.”

Pilling noted that the TPP’s exclusion of China, on the grounds that its economy was state-owned and centrally planned, was obviously concocted. “In a peculiar display of diplomatic contortion,” he wrote, “Vietnam — a country whose economy is as centrally planned and as rigged [sic] as the best of them — is somehow considered fit for entry.”

The Financial Times Asia editor pointedly added that the TPP was “just as likely to annoy America’s allies in the region as reassure them” because of its intrusive demands, which include the dismantling of state-owned enterprises, tendering restrictions, financial regulations, data protection rules and intellectual property laws.

Washington’s aggressive drive to establish the TPP and TTIP economic blocs marks a reversal of its post-World War II role, when the ascendancy of American industry permitted it to champion the reconstruction of its Japanese and European rivals, albeit always for its own benefit, including via the expansion of markets for its exports.

Today, amid the ongoing decline of US industry, its ruling elite depends increasingly on the parasitic activities of Wall Street, the exploitation of patents by Silicon Valley, Hollywood and the drug companies, and contracts for the supply of military hardware. These rapacious interests will most directly benefit from the TPP.

Many details remain secret, but pro-TPP lobbying efforts highlight the anticipated profit bonanzas. Mireya Solis of the Brookings Institution think tank stressed advantages such as “internationalisation of financial services, protection of intellectual property and governance of the Internet economy.”

US technology firms would benefit from a ban on requiring companies to house customers’ data within a specific country. “If we’re going to serve the customer of Malaysia from, say, a data center in Singapore, the data has to be able to move back and forth between those two countries,” Brad Smith, Microsoft general counsel, told the Wall Street Journal.

Central to the treaty are punitive Investor-State Dispute Settlements (ISDS) clauses, which permit transnationals to sue governments for losses allegedly caused by official policy decisions. WikiLeaks last month published a chapter of the TPP treaty showing that firms could bypass a country’s courts to obtain damages for changes in “environmental, health or other regulatory objectives.”

Apart from the US and Japan — the two biggest partners by far — the other TPP participants are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

The willingness of many of these countries to make the required concessions to the US has been undermined by Obama’s failure to secure support for a Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill so that he can sign the TPP and then have it ratified by Congress with a single “yes” or “no” vote. Without TPA, Congress could force amendments to the negotiated pact, effectively rendering the agreement void.

According to a Japan Times report: “Several negotiating partners, including Canada and Japan, have publicly stated they will not put their final negotiating positions on the table until Congress grants TPA for the Obama administration. With a presidential election looming in the United States, further delay creates a real risk of TPP being delayed until 2017.”

Much of the US congressional resistance is bound up with protectionist lobbies, based on national-based industries and their trade unions. In response, the Obama administration is ramping up a campaign that explicitly spells out the expected benefits to corporate America.

On March 30, the White House published letters from former senior economic officials, including 10 ex-commerce secretaries representing every administration, Democratic and Republican, since 1973, urging congressional leaders to give Obama TPA authority.

The commerce secretaries stated: “Once completed, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will give the United States free trade arrangements with 65 percent of global GDP and give our businesses preferential access to a large base of new potential customers.”

This demand for “preferential access” by US imperialism threatens to break up the world economy into the kind of rival blocs that preceded World War I and World War II.

Edited by Zuo Shou

Article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/04/04/tppo-a04.html

The struggle of Venezuela against ‘a common enemy’ [Johnpilger.com]

Posted in Hugo Chavez, Media cover-up, Media smear campaign, US imperialism, USA, Venezuela on March 27, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Feb. 17, 2015

Albert: Why would the United States want Venezuela’s government overthrown?

Pilger: There are straightforward principles and dynamics at work here. Washington wants to get rid of the Venezuelan government because it is independent of US designs for the region and because Venezuela has the greatest proven oil reserves in the world and uses its oil revenue to improve the quality of ordinary lives. Venezuela remains a source of inspiration for social reform in a continent ravaged by an historically rapacious US…

Excerpted; full article link: http://johnpilger.com/articles/the-struggle-of-venezuela-against-a-common-enemy

Saudi Arabia, 9/11 and the “war on terror”[World Socialist Website]

Posted in 9/11, Afghanistan, CIA, Corporate Media Critique, FBI, Iraq, Media cover-up, Pentagon, Saudi Arabia, US "War on Terror", US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, War crimes on March 26, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

6 February 2015

More than 13 years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, evidence in a federal lawsuit brought by relatives of the victims is a devastating exposure of events and relations long covered up and obscured by the media and political establishment: that Al Qaeda and the 9/11 hijackers were financed by the Saudi monarchy, a top US ally with extensive ties to US intelligence agencies.

Affidavits filed with Federal District Judge George P. Daniels substantiate claims that leading figures in the Saudi monarchy, including its longtime ambassador to Washington, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, a nephew of the current Saudi monarch, King Salman, financially supported Al Qaeda.

The documents include a deposition from Zacarias Moussaoui, the only individual convicted of direct participation in the plot to hijack airplanes and fly them into the World Trade Center and other US targets on September 11, 2001.

Moussaoui testified that while working for Al Qaeda in Afghanistan in the 1990s he prepared a digital database of the group’s financial backers that included Prince Bandar and two other high-ranking Saudi princes: Prince Turki al-Faisal, the longtime head of Saudi intelligence, and Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, chairman of the Kingdom Holding Company and the wealthiest member of the royal family.

He also described working as a courier for bin Laden, bringing messages to members of the Saudi royal family, including Prince Salman, then the governor of Riyadh, who today is King Salman after succeeding to the throne last month.

The New York Times published lead articles Wednesday and Thursday highlighting the new allegations of Saudi backing for the 9/11 attacks. These had less the character of an exposé, however, than of a semi-official attempt to contain the impact of the material being released as a consequence of the 9/11 families’ lawsuit.

This is the apparent reason for the articles’ near-exclusive focus on Moussaoui, a witness whose testimony can be more easily dismissed by the political establishment. The legal papers filed with the federal district court included Moussaoui’s deposition, but much more, including allegations of Saudi complicity in 9/11 from such pillars of the Washington establishment as former senator Robert Graham of Florida. He wrote, “I am convinced that there was a direct line between at least some of the terrorists who carried out the Sept. 11 attacks and the government of Saudi Arabia.”

Graham is in a position to know. He chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2002 when it produced a lengthy report on the 9/11 attacks. This included a 28-page section on Saudi support to the 9/11 hijackers that was classified and suppressed by the Bush administration, an act of censorship that was endorsed and continued by the Obama administration. Senator Graham, who favors the release of this material, wrote, “The 28 pages primarily relate to who financed 9/11, and they point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as being the principal financier.”

The evidence of Saudi complicity in the 9/11 attacks is a devastating exposure of the fraudulent nature of the “war on terror,” the axis of US national security policy for more than 13 years.

The Bush administration used the 9/11 attacks as the pretext for wars against Afghanistan, whose government had provided shelter to Osama bin Laden, but had no involvement in 9/11, and against Iraq, which had no connection to either 9/11 or Al Qaeda. Meanwhile Saudi Arabia, the country that supplied Al Qaeda’s funds, its principal leader, and 15 of the 19 hijackers, was deemed a key US ally.

Every official investigation into the 9/11 attacks had to whitewash the Saudi connection—or be censored, like the Senate Intelligence Committee report. The issue was not just the reactionary role of the Saudi monarchy in financing and supporting Al Qaeda, but the close ties between US intelligence agencies and the supposedly anti-American terrorist group—connections on which the latest Times articles are completely silent.

There is every reason to believe that nearly 3,000 Americans were murdered on September 11, 2001 with the tacit or active complicity of sections of the US military-intelligence apparatus. The CIA, FBI and other agencies took no action to disrupt the operations of the terrorists, even though many of the individuals involved were known to US security agencies and several were under active surveillance as they planned and executed the simultaneous hijacking of four US jetliners…

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/02/06/pers-f06.html

Is the U.S. a Fascist Society? Fascism is a Political Economic Structure Which Serves Corporate Interests [Globalresearch.ca]

Posted in Corporate Media Critique, Fascism, Media cover-up, Nazism, Neo-colonialism, New York Times lie, Police, Police brutality, Police State, US imperialism, USA on March 18, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Danny Haiphong
March 14, 2015

[This article was originally published on 8 April 2014.]

Most Americans are taught in school that fascism is a ruthless one party dictatorship, the most popular example being Nazi Germany. This is a misconception. Fascism is a political economy, not merely a political system that existed in one moment of history. Fascism, as defined by Black revolutionary and assassinated political prisoner George Jackson, is the complete control of the state by monopoly capital. Fascism is the last stage of capitalism in the heart of the US imperial center where the relationship between the state and corporation becomes indiscernible. A difficult, but necessary, task for the left in this period is to acknowledge that fascism is the system of rule in the United States.

The privatization of the public sector, de-unionization of the entire labor force, and violent austerity are the seeds of domestically grown fascism in the economic realm. Such fascist activity has brought about the rapid decline of political and economic conditions for the working class and the rapid accumulation of wealth and profit for the ruling class. Workers are doing more and more on the job for less and less pay. The jobless are either searching desperately for work or not searching at all. Shelters are overflowing and turning the homeless away. The US has 25 percent of the world’s prisoners despite only possessing 5 percent of the world’s population. Mass joblessness, poverty, imprisonment, and homelessness are material forces that breed fear and competition amongst the working class.

The paradox of fascism lies in its ability to sustain and grow in the midst of deteriorating conditions for the majority of the population. The racist foundation of this country is useful in this regard. The white working class steadfastly defends its privileges obtained from white imperial pillage of Black and indigenous people both here and abroad. The white ruling class maintains unity with the white working class because, although exploitation has heightened for everyone, Black and indigenous people (including undocumented immigrants) remain economically and socially oppressed to a much harsher degree than Whites. To ensure racism does not precipitate a radical struggle between white supremacy and Black freedom, the US ruling class has molded and trained a Black political class. This class of neo-colonial elites, with Barack Obama leading the way, works in the interests of fascism by protecting the rule of the white ruling class while teaching the entire Black community that Black faces in high imperial places is not only desired, but also worthy of staunch defense.

Furthermore, fascism relies on a racist enforcement arm to control the political direction of the oppressed. The expanded surveillance and military state that currently spies, detains, and wiretaps the 99 percent remains more dangerous and repressive for the Black community. The vast majority of wiretaps, police and vigilante murders, and stop-and-frisks happen to Black and brown people. So instead of joining forces with the Black community to build a powerful movement, exploited white Americans can still rely on the state to enforce racism on its behalf.

The US corporate media and education system provide the ideological chains of fascism. In this period, both systems serve as mouthpieces for US imperial ambitions, values, and behaviors. Fascism is normalized in the American mind through the inculcation of racism, individualism, and a depoliticized and inaccurate conception of history and politics. The US education system conditions the oppressed and oppressors into their positions in society. Black and indigenous youth attend factory schools that emphasize obedience to authority, which instills a dehumanized and subservient disposition for a future in low-wage work or prison. From K-12, Black working class youth are taught to “pledge allegiance” to the flag of genocide and colonialism in over-crowded, police-occupied, and privatized schools. White youth “pledge allegiance” in better-funded schools more capable of conditioning them into positions of power. However, all youth are taught a mythological version of US history that applauds white supremacy, colonialism, and capitalist development as “freedom” and “democracy.”

The corporate media, despite being far more monopolized than the US school system, provides a more diverse means of education. Corporations like CNN and the New York Times habitually lie about the facts of political events to protect the white ruling class and its institutions from accountability. Corporate hip-hop, music, and television entertainment compliment corporate news syndicates by doping the mind full of mindless garbage. It matters little if the media of choice is watching “Scandal”, listening to Nicki Minaj on the radio, or reading the Washington Post. The boardrooms of five corporations are manufacturing consent to the US fascist system. Malcolm X succinctly summarized the function of the corporate media when he said “if you are not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing…”

Excerpted; full article: http://www.globalresearch.ca/is-the-us-a-fascist-society-examining-the-existence-of-fascism-in-the-united-states/5377146

New evidence implicates pro-US opposition in Maidan killings during Kiev coup [World Socialist Website]

Posted in False flag, Fascism, France, Germany, Media cover-up, Media smear campaign, NATO, Russia, Ukraine on February 19, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手
By Andrea Peters
16 February 2015

Further evidence has emerged that the deadly shootings on Independence Square (Maidan) in Kiev last February, in the final stages of the NATO-backed putsch that ousted pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, were carried out by the far-right.

Recently published investigative coverage by the BBC and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) in Germany indicates that snipers were recruited by fascist forces to fire on targets on the Maidan. Until that point, police had engaged in violent confrontations with anti-government protesters but had yet to resort to live ammunition.

This suggests that the far-right forces were trying to escalate the conflict, in order to shatter plans for a negotiated settlement that European officials were trying to work out between the Yanukovych regime and the far-right, pro-NATO opposition forces.

The 98 deaths during the Maidan protests—now referred to as the “Heavenly Hundred”—were utilized to promote the myth that the fascist-led coup was a democratic movement of peaceful protesters martyred by Ukrainian riot police. The Kiev regime established the “Order of the Heavenly Hundred,” which recognizes people for “civic courage, patriotism, the upholding of constitutional principles of democracy.” Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko recently declared February 20 the “Day of the Heavenly Hundred Heroes” to commemorate the “Revolution of Dignity.”

The BBC and FAZ investigations give the lie to this propaganda. They point to the anti-democratic intrigue that underlies the current Kiev regime and ongoing US provocations against Russia in the region, which threaten the world with what France’s president recently described as “total” war…

Excerpted; full article link:  http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/02/16/maid-f16.html

‘Cold War Two’ – excerpt from “The Anti-Empire Report” # 131 [Williamblum.org]

Posted in 9/11, Anti-communism, Assassination, Black propaganda, Corporate Media Critique, EU, European Union, Fascism, Germany, IMF - International Monetary Fund, Iraq, Malaysia, Media cover-up, Media smear campaign, Nazism, Psychological warfare, Russia, State Department, Syria, Ukraine, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, USSR, Vietnam on November 4, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By William Blum – Published August 11th, 2014

= Cold War Two =

During Cold War One those of us in the American radical left were often placed in the position where we had to defend the Soviet Union because the US government was using that country as a battering ram against us. Now we sometimes have to defend Russia because it may be the last best hope of stopping TETATW (The Empire That Ate The World). Yes, during Cold War One we knew enough about Stalin, the show trials, and the gulags. But we also knew about US foreign policy.

E-mail sent to the Washington Post July 23, 2014 about the destruction of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17:

Dear Editor,

Your July 22 editorial was headed: “Russia’s barbarism. The West needs a strategy to contain the world’s newest rogue state.”

Pretty strong language. Vicious, even. Not one word of hard evidence in the editorial to back it up. Then, the next day, the Associated Press reported:

Senior U.S. intelligence officials said Tuesday that Russia was responsible for ‘creating the conditions’ that led to the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, but they offered no evidence of direct Russian government involvement. … the U.S. had no direct evidence that the missile used to shoot down the passenger jet came from Russia.

Where were these words in the Post? You people are behaving like a rogue newspaper.

– William Blum

I don’t have to tell you whether the Post printed my letter. I’ve been reading the paper for 25 years – six years during Vietnam (1964-1970) and the last 19 years (1995-2014) – usually spending about three hours each day reading it very carefully. And I can say that when it comes to US foreign policy the newspaper is worse now than I can remember it ever was during those 25 years. It’s reached the point where, as one example, I don’t take at face value a word the Post has to say about Ukraine. Same with the State Department, which makes one accusation after another about Russian military actions in Eastern Ukraine without presenting any kind of satellite imagery or other visual or documentary evidence; or they present something that’s wholly inconclusive and/or unsourced or citing “social media”; what we’re left with is often no more than just an accusation. 1 Do they have something to hide?

The State Department’s Public Affairs spokespersons making these presentations exhibit little regard or respect for the reporters asking challenging questions. It takes my thoughts back to the Vietnam era and Arthur Sylvester, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, the man most responsible for “giving, controlling and managing the war news from Vietnam”. One day in July 1965, Sylvester told American journalists that they had a patriotic duty to disseminate only information that made the United States look good. When one of the reporters exclaimed: “Surely, Arthur, you don’t expect the American press to be handmaidens of government,” Sylvester replied: “That’s exactly what I expect,” adding: “Look, if you think any American official is going to tell you the truth, then you’re stupid. Did you hear that? – stupid.” 2

Such frankness might be welcomed today as a breath of fresh air compared to the painful-to-observe double-talk of a State Department spokesperson.

My personal breath of fresh air in recent years has been the television station RT (formerly Russia Today). On a daily basis many progressives from around the world (myself included occasionally) are interviewed and out of their mouths come facts and analyses that are rarely heard on CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, NPR, PBS, Fox News, BBC, etc. The words of these progressives heard on RT are typically labeled by the mainstream media as “Russian propaganda”, whereas I, after a long lifetime of American propaganda, can only think: “Of course. What else are they going to call it?”

As for Russia being responsible for “creating the conditions” that led to the shooting down of Flight 17, we should keep in mind that the current series of events in Ukraine was sparked in February when a US-supported coup overthrew the democratically-elected government and replaced it with one that was more receptive to the market-fundamentalism dictates of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and the European Union. Were it not for the coup there would have been no eastern rebellion to put down and no dangerous war zone for Flight 17 to be flying over in the first place.

The new regime has had another charming feature: a number of outspoken neo-Nazis in high and low positions, a circumstance embarrassing enough for the US government and mainstream media to turn it into a virtual non-event. US Senator John McCain met and posed for photos with the leader of the neo-Nazi Svoboda Party, Oleh Tyahnybok (photos easily found on the Internet). Ukraine – whose ties to Naziism go back to World War Two when their homegrown fascists supported Germany and opposed the Soviet Union – is on track to becoming the newest part of the US-NATO military encirclement of Russia and possibly the home of the region’s newest missile base, target Moscow.

It is indeed possible that Flight 17 was shot down by the pro-Russian rebels in Eastern Ukraine in the mistaken belief that it was the Ukrainian air force returning to carry out another attack. But other explanations are suggested in a series of questions posed by Russia to the the Secretary-General of the UN General Assembly, accompanied by radar information, satellite images, and other technical displays:

“Why was a military aircraft flying in a civil aviation airway at almost the same time and the same altitude as a civilian passenger aircraft? We would like to have this question answered.”

“Earlier, Ukrainian officials stated that on the day of the accident no Ukrainian military aircraft were flying in that area. As you can see, that is not true.”

“We also have a question for our American colleagues. According to a statement by American officials, the United States has satellite images which show that the missile aimed at the Malaysian aircraft was launched by the militants. But no one has seen these images.” 3

There is also this intriguing speculation, which ties in to the first Russian question above. A published analysis by a retired Lufthansa pilot points out that Flight 17 looked similar in its tricolor design to that of Russian President Putin’s plane, whose plane with him on board was at the same time “near” Flight 17. In aviation circles “near” would be considered to be anywhere between 150 to 200 miles. 4 Could Putin’s plane have been the real target?

There is as well other serious and plausible questioning of the official story of Russia and/or Ukrainian anti-Kiev militias being responsible for the shootdown. Is Flight 17 going to become the next JFK Assassination, PanAm 103, or 9-11 conspiracy theory that lingers forever? Will the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and the Syrian chemical weapons be joined by the Russian anti-aircraft missile? Stay tuned…

Excerpted; full article link (with footnotes): http://williamblum.org/aer/read/131

CIA document details cover-up of drug trafficking by Contras [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Afghanistan, CIA, Connection to drugs and narcotics, Media cover-up, Media smear campaign, New York Times lie, Nicaragua, State Department, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA on November 1, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Thomas Gaist
2 October 2014

An analysis written for the CIA’s internal journal Studies in Intelligence, “Managing a Nightmare: CIA Public Affairs and the Drug Conspiracy Story,” attributed to Nicholas Dujmovic, reviews the efforts of the agency to contain a series of articles by journalist Gary Webb documenting relationships between the CIA and US-backed Contra rebels.

The article is part of a trove of CIA documents released on September 18 in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

As shock troops in a US-backed war against the Nicaraguan government, the Contras carried out a reign of terror against Nicaragua’s civilian population, killing tens of thousands. Support for the Contras by US intelligence was authorized by President Ronald Reagan, who instructed CIA head William Casey to “support and conduct … paramilitary operations” in Nicaragua in 1981.

The CIA began operations aimed at expanding the ranks of the Contra forces, which were recruited from elite military units of the Somoza regime and from layers of the peasantry. Arms shipments to the Contras were overseen by a secret cabal headed by Lt. Colonel Oliver North, despite a congressional prohibition.

Webb’s articles revealed that the US government continued to support Contra elements even with the knowledge that the latter were engaged in trafficking cocaine into major US cities and using the proceeds to finance their war against the Sandinista (FSLN) government of Nicaragua. Webb’s investigation showed that representatives of the US-backed right-wing militias worked with gangs in Los Angeles to sell tons of cocaine, leading to speculation from other commentators that the CIA directed the flow of drugs to target black neighborhoods.
Reagan with cabinet members in the White House, 1986

“Managing a Nightmare” makes clear that the CIA utilized its extensive network of relations with the US media to discredit Webb’s reporting by promoting the publication of stories in major news outlets attacking Webb’s research. The paper’s author, a CIA employee, concluded that the media relations campaign by the agency succeeded in containing the fallout from Webb’s revelations.

“A review of the CIA drug conspiracy story—from its inception in August 1996 with the San Jose Mercury-News stories—shows that a ground base of already productive relations with journalists and an effective response by the Director of Central Intelligence’s DCI Public Affairs Staff (PAS) helped prevent this story from becoming an unmitigated disaster,” Dujmovic wrote.

“By the end of September, the number of observed stories in the print media that indicated skepticism of the Mercury News series surpassed that of the negative coverage, which had already peaked. In fact, for three weeks the number of skeptical or positive pieces observed in the media constantly exceeded the number of negative treatments of the CIA,” Dujmovic found.

In some cases it is even possible, he noted, “to change the mind of a reporter whose initial inclinations toward CIA were negative but who is willing to listen to the other side of the story.”

Describing the methods used by the agency, Dujmovic explained that it was possible to spread the agency’s carefully tailored perspective in the US media without even needing to directly plant stories in newspapers.

“Public Affairs cannot dictate stories to the media … What CIA media spokesmen can do, as this case demonstrates, is to work with journalists who are already disposed toward writing a balanced story … CIA Public Affairs can help the journalist with information he might not have or a perspective that might not have crossed his mind,” Dujmovic wrote.

Dujmovic went on to predict that the CIA would face an upsurge of public distrust in the coming decades, calling for greater moves to build the public relations capacities of the agency.

“There will be other public relations crises with which CIA will have to contend … If historians such as Samuel Huntington are correct …we can expect periodic displays of public distrust in government roughly every 20 to 30 years—and we are just beginning such as phase. In such times, even fantastic allegations about CIA … will resonate with, and even appeal to, much of American society. At those times, it is especially important to have a professional public affairs staff help limit the damage and facilitate more balanced coverage of CIA.”

Written under the heading “Societal Shortcomings,” one of Dujmovic’s concluding paragraphs revealed the intellectual degeneration and contempt for democratic principles that rules within the power centers of the US government.

“Ultimately the CIA-drug story says a lot more about American society on the eve of the millennium that [sic] it does about either the CIA or the media. We live in somewhat coarse and emotional times–when large numbers of Americans do not adhere to the same standards of logic, evidence, or even civil discourse as those practiced by members of the CIA community,” Dujmovic wrote.

In reality, the story revealed the US media as eager attack dogs on behalf of the CIA’s efforts to destroy Webb and bury the material he was bringing to light.

As the WSWS noted in its review of Webb’s 1998 book Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion, “Dark Alliance is as much an exposure of the American media as of the American intelligence apparatus and the Nicaraguan Contras. It is no discredit to Webb’s enterprise and intelligence to say that any serious and competent reporter, given the leads he was given, could have produced a similar exposé. That no other reporter did what Webb did demonstrates the largely controlled character of the American media.”

In a number of pieces aimed at burying the story, the major US newspapers reproduced CIA-concocted distortions of Webb’s reporting, attributing to him more extreme claims made by talk radio hosts and others about the extent of direct CIA involvement, and dismissing his claims on this basis.

In its review of Webb’s book, the New York Times proclaimed, “It is laughable to suggest that today’s CIA has the imagination or the courage to manage a cover-up on the scale” suggested by Webb. In fact, as the newly released document clearly shows, the CIA mobilized a systematic public affairs campaign precisely to “manage” the “nightmare” caused by exposures of agency collaboration with drug traffickers to provide funds for an illegal dirty war

The Los Angeles Times responded to the Contra-cocaine story by forming a “get Gary Webb team” of some 17 journalists, who worked systematically to produce material discrediting Webb, according to comments made by Times reporter Jesse Katz during a 2013 radio interview.

Katz said that the Times reporters were instructed to search Webb’s findings with a “microscope.” He added, “It was overkill. We had this huge team of people at the LA Times and kind of piled on to one lone muckraker up in Northern California.”

The Washington Post joined the media counterattack against Webb, with an article which, as the WSWS wrote in its review of Webb’s 1998 book , “parroted distortions of the series originally voiced by the US intelligence agencies (alleging, for instance, that Webb claimed the CIA had deliberately targeted black communities in promoting Contra cocaine trafficking).”

Reacting to the wave of attacks against Webb’s series, the editor at Webb’s employer, the Mercury News, published a repudiation of the articles, saying the paper had “fallen short” in its editorial responsibilities. Webb was never able to find employment again as a journalist, and died from an apparent suicide on December 9, 2004.

The practices described in the Dujmovic document were developed by the agency over decades. Operation MOCKINGBIRD, launched in the 1950s to disseminate CIA propaganda and overseen by Allen Dulles and later by Frank Wisner, cultivated a network of CIA-friendly journalists and developed cultural and student organizations to serve as fronts for the agency’s ideological warfare operations.

In a 1977 expose for Rolling Stone, Pulitzer Prize winner Carl Bernstein reported that numerous leading news outlets including CBS, Time, Life Magazine, the Washington Post, the Washington Star and the Christian Science Monitor published reports passed directly to them from the CIA.

The report of the 1976 Church Committee acknowledged the use of such methods by the agency overseas, stating, “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.”

Despite the CIA suppression of investigative reporting on the matter, many of the US government’s own reports have confirmed significant involvement of the CIA with cocaine trafficking during the war.

The 1985 National Intelligence Estimate reported that top Contra leader Eden Pastora had links to traffickers. The Reagan administration acknowledged the existence of connections between the US-backed Contras and cocaine smuggling between 1985 and 86.

A CIA internal investigation acknowledged that the agency had worked with Contra elements involved in drug smuggling and that CIA agents “looked the other way” in order to further the political aims of the war.

“During the Contra era, CIA worked with a variety of people to support the Contra program,” CIA Inspector General Frederick Hitz wrote in a report based on the internal investigation which he headed. “These included CIA assets, pilots who ferried supplies to the Contras, as well as Contra officials and others. Let me be frank about what we are finding. There are instances where CIA did not, in an expeditious or consistent fashion, cut off relationships with individuals supporting the Contra program who were alleged to have engaged in drug trafficking activity or take action to resolve the allegations.”

A report issued from a Senate hearing co-sponsored by John Kerry and Christopher Dodd acknowledged that at least $800,000 in State Department funds went to known drug traffickers, supposedly as payment for their services in shipping aid to the Contras.

“There is no question in my mind that people affiliated with, or on the payroll of, the CIA were involved in drug trafficking,” said then Senator Kerry.

Circumstantial evidence abounds that the counter-revolutionary militias raised funds through drug sales inside the US. An investigation of the seizure of 430 pounds of cocaine in San Francisco led the San Francisco Examiner to report in 1986 that a “cocaine ring in the San Francisco Bay area helped finance Nicaragua’s Contra rebels.” The Examiner quoted convicted cocaine smuggler Carlos Cabezas saying that his drug money went to support “the Contra revolution” and that he “just wanted to get the Communists out of my country.”

Former Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agent Celerino Castillo stated that cocaine traffickers shipped drugs to the US with the knowledge of the CIA in planes departing from El Salvador’s Ilopango Airport. Oscar Danilo Blandon testified to a grand jury that he smuggled cocaine into the US while working for the Contras and sold the drugs to dealers in Los Angeles.

In a strong indication of knowledge of the drug operations at the highest levels of the political and intelligence establishments, CIA director William Casey sought and Attorney General William French Smith signed a special exemption in February 1982 freeing the agency from legal requirements to report about the drug trafficking operations of its assets.

The Contra-cocaine story was only the latest in an extended pattern of collaboration between US covert operations and drug trafficking syndicates in South East Asia and Afghanistan. Writing about CIA involvement in the heroin trade in Afghanistan and Southeast Asia, historian Alfred McCoy noted that “the CIA did not handle heroin, but it did provide its drug lord allies with transport, arms, and political protection.”

“American involvement had gone far beyond coincidental complicity, McCoy wrote in his work The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia. “[E]mbassies had covered up involvement by client governments, CIA contract airlines had carried opium, and individual CIA agents had winked at the opium traffic. As an indirect consequence of American involvement in the Golden Triangle until 1972, opium production steadily increased.”

Relations between the US ruling elite and organized crime have flourished in the decades since the Contra war. In April 2006, the capture of a cocaine-laden DC9 owned by the Sinaloa cartel exposed money laundering operations by Wachovia bank on behalf of the massive cartel, which operates across more than 40 countries. The cartel, responsible for 25 percent of illegal drugs sold in the US, passed some $370 billion to Wachovia, investigators found.

Large infusions of drug money played a key role in stabilizing the finances of the big banks during the 2008 financial crisis, according to top UN official for drugs and crime Antonio Maria Costa. During a 2012 Al Jazeera interview, an official spokesman for the government of Mexico’s Chihuahua province accused the CIA of “managing the drug trade.”

CIA crimes against Nicaragua went far beyond collaboration with drug traffickers, of course. The agency was directly involved in organizing death squads, subversion, murder and intimidation against the population of Nicaragua and Honduras as part of its war against the Sandinistas. US intervention included the creation of Honduras’ “Battalion 3-16,” which carried out extra-judicial killings and torture to suppress opposition to the US-backed Honduran regime and Contras, while under the leadership of the US-trained General Luis Elvir.

Webb’s research was suppressed because it began to tear away the veil from this underworld of covert operations in which America’s government, media and major banks function as a permanent conspiracy against the working class in all countries.

Article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/10/02/cont-o02.html