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To Kill a Mockingbird

Don't forget: Boo's the good guy.


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Mohammad Mosaddegh was by all accounts a great leader and a visionary leader. He was the democratically elected PM of Iran from 1951 to 1953.

But he was too good: he'd threatened to nationalise British oil interests in the country. So Britain's MI6 turned to the US CIA for help, and they had him forcibly removed from power on 19 August 1953. They put Mosaddegh in prison for three years, then moved his place of incarceration to his own home, and even had him buried there so as to prevent political turbulence.

When it comes to coups, the CIA and the MI6 know their stuff.

Jacobo Árbenz, president of Guatemala from 1951 to 1954, was ousted by a CIA coup in June 1954 and fled to Mexico. As his government had been 'leftist' and intent on expropriating, amongst other US holdings, Allen Dulles' United Fruit, he couldn't be tolerated by Washington. Dulles used the CIA to install a military junta instead.

This was of course couched in and obfuscated by political gobbledegook surrounding the country's agrarian reform law 'Decree 900', introduced by Árbenz and passed by the Guatemalan congress 27 June 1952. One can't get too uppity unless one is Russia.

In the agency's view, Árbenz's toleration for known communists made him, at best, a 'fellow traveler' and, at worst, a communist himself. The social unrest that accompanied the passage and implementation of Decree 900 supplied Guatemalan and US critics with confirmation that a communist beachhead had been established in the Americas. Agrarian reform was not the issue - communism was.

The coup was preceded by a classic skew in the media, in particular hype of a Guatemala gone communist. The CIA's Operation PBHISTORY subsequently worked to put the 'shine' on the citizenry to quell objections to the US intervention.

Preparations were already underway before the Eisenhower presidency and were approved by Harry Truman who'd given approval to dropping nuclear bombs on Japan. Eisenhower liked covert operations, and the mood in and around Washington was bolstered by the agency's success with the coup against Mosaddegh in Iran.

Operation Mockingbird

Operation Mockingbird began back then. This Allen Dulles brainstorm was a scheme to hide the truth from the citizenry. The Dulles CIA recruited journalists in the US to both spy for the CIA and to skew news reports in their favour. They also worked to influence foreign media and political campaigns, much as had been done in the early stages of the Mosaddegh coup.

Frank Wisner, formerly head of the OSS for southeast Europe, was told by the CIA to create an organisation that focused 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.

The result was Operation Mockingbird.

Wisner recruited WaPo's Philip Graham, husband of later WaPo publisher Katherine Graham, to run Mockingbird inside the industry. By the early 1950s already, Graham 'owned' respected members of the NY Times, Newsweek, and television giant CBS. By 1951, Dulles recruit Cord Meyer became the operation's principal operative, and by 1953, Dulles was running the show himself, with significant influence over 25 newspapers and wire agencies.

The basic modus operandi of Operation Mockingbird was to place pieces developed by the CIA in the hands of reporters. Some of them were in on the scam, some were not. The first published reports would then be repeated or cited by the first reporters until the stories spread through the media.

The networks used by Mockingbird included those of William Paley of CBS; Henry Luce of Time and Life; Arthur Sulzberger of the NY Times; Alfred Friendly of WaPo; Jerry O'Leary of the Washington Star; Hal Hendrix of the Miami News; Barry Bingham of the Louisville Courier-Journal; James Copley of the Copley News Services; and Joseph Harrison of the Christian Science Monitor.

The tack worked, fundamentally because the news people (or their sources) held onto the raw data and the readers had no way to check if the data were correct. Operation Mockingbird eventually handled 3,000 salaried and contract CIA staff who were engaged in CIA propaganda. The staff didn't only skew the news as it came in: they could also successfully prevent the dissemination of news when so desired. Amongst the most notorious blackouts at the time: the CIA coup against Mosaddegh and soon after, the coup in Guatemala in 1954.

Thomas Braden, who was head of the International Organisations Division and a principal in Mockingbird, had this to say many years later.

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.

Frank Church's 1975 Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities published a report 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's committee estimated Mockingbird's yearly budget at $265 million.

Herbert Walker Bush

George HW Bush was appointed head of the CIA and had to scramble for face, so in February 1976 he announced that Operation Mockingbird would be shut down.

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 US news service, newspaper, periodical, radio or television network or station.

But he coyly added that his agency would of course continue to welcome 'volunteer efforts'.

So Mockingbird wasn't gone; things just went undercover. And so far, no one's yet been able to root it out and kill it.

Mockingbird & US Media

To anyone who's lived outside the US, trying to find out what's really going on in the world when stuck inside the US is a gruesome experience. Those who once volunteered to help the CIA spread their lies weren't doing so merely out of greed for money. They opted and were chosen because they thought there wasn't so much wrong with it. And as things developed, that unholy alliance continues even to this day. The CIA feed prefab clips to media networks everywhere, clips where local stars can put in their own voices and faces to make things look like expensive local independent productions.

The networks aren't being formally paid as in the heydays of the Dulles Mockingbird - they're just given offers they can't refuse. All the while the demand for truly independent investigative journalism grows, truly independent investigative journalists become an endangered species, and puppet networks such as CNN move to trash entertainment.

Yet ask anyone in the US if they trust their media, and they're bound to answer emphatically in the affirmative. They'll even tell you that 'foreign' media can't be trusted, even though they've never read anything from them. They've been brainwashed by years and generations of Mockingbird sleaze. Things are so bad that blackouts on major world events aren't uncommon in the US.

Mockingbird & Assange

Media coverage of 'Assange in Sweden' has been crooked from the get-go, all the way from the behaviour of the hyenas at Expressen who published the first story and then spent 12 hours nonstop (with no sleep) on social media sites trying to pimp their 'scoop', through the breach of office committed by the prosecutor who illegally divulged details of the case to the tabloid, through to the refusal, even today, to expose the full details of the case in its entirety.

No one in the Swedish MSM dares mention even today that the supposed 'evidence' needed to reopen the case after it had once been closed was known by them all to be falsified; only one obscure Swedish site ever dared publish the police documents; and most journalists in the country, journalists who've known the whereabouts of the documents, still haven't bothered reading them, yet publish highly vitriolic op-eds about what's right and what's wrong, who's innocent and who's guilty, and base everything on guesses, hunches, perception of 'PC', and political and professional expediency, with no regard whatsoever for the actual facts.

The situation in Sweden spread outside the duckpond, notably to the UK where the Guardian, still smarting from a right hard knuckle rap by Assange and lawyer Stephens, plotted revenge on their former friend whom they regarded as an 'upstart', not a fellow journalist, but only as a lowly 'source' who could, as with all sources, be 'owned', exploited, and abused at whim.

Cablegate was to go to the Washington Post, not the New York Times, but David Leigh of the Guardian was making overtures to the Times' Bill Keller and didn't want to back out. And when he was found to have plotted with Keller behind Assange's back...

So from Nick Davies with his cherry-picked excerpts from a shabby translation of the police documents, first debunked when others also had access to the documents; through the pilfering of the WikiLeaks mail server; through the anti-Semitic smears commissioned by Leigh and carried out by understudy James Ball; through the deliberate sabotage of Cablegate; all with the approval of boss Alan Rusbridger: this Guardian rogues gallery tried harder than anybody before or since to discredit the new 'scientific journalism' Assange and his organisation stand for.

The efforts of the Guardian spread to other journalists in the Kingdom who stopped at nothing to skew truth so as to attack perceived enemies and protect their ensconced positions. Assange was upsetting their applecart, his journalism had already spelled the end of their careers; they weren't going down easily.

Witness as well how the same people attacked his television show because it was syndicated by Russian RT, and how they attacked RT as well.

Couple this with the UK involvement in the invasion of Iraq and the duplicity in duping the UK citizenry to accept that act of aggression, and one sees how the same Fleet Street that supported the bloodshed weren't going to sit easy if US documents on the war were suddenly to surface. No wonder Nick Davies obsessed about News of the World: better for the street with hacked phones than goose-stepping with Judith Miller.

Mockingbird & MENA

Northern Africa is in rubbles today. Some of the leaders were weird, but not all the people were suffering, certainly not as today. From Libya to Syria, the imprint of US involvement is seen everywhere. To what extent have 'Mockingbird' tactics again served to disguise the truth of their intentions?

The US were keen on invading Syria, and were all prepared, when new secretary of state John Kerry blew it at a press conference. Asked if a US invasion was inevitable, he said it was - unless of course the impossible should happen, such as Syria turning over all their chemical weapons.

Vladimir Putin jumped right in the gap. Next thing the world knew, Syria began assembling their chemical weapons for destruction, and the US felt frustrated. Eyes turned to the Ukraine.

Mockingbird & Ukraine

Never before has the Mockingbird effect been so blatant. Funded by billionaires such as Pierre Omidyar of eBay and the US government who've reportedly already dumped $5 billion into the effort, the US waited for the right moment, then co-opted a popular uprising against corruption to install a puppet government in Kiev more corrupt (and more dangerous) than ever.

From a never-ending competition between crooked Ukrainian billionaires, things devolved into more government with the same type of crooked billionaires, but now with a kind of terrorism and fascism most people hadn't even known existed anymore.

And none of this made it in any significant way to the west.

The US with the EU with the IMF with NATO: that's their game plan. They want to get weapons into the heart of the Russian continent, and they don't seem worried about how they destabilise the planet as a whole. Victoria Nuland, the architect of the current junta in Kiev, has ties with the ultra-right in the US and stops at nothing.

And they will continue, with the help of their media friends, to feed their narrative to the citizenries. All the while people suffer and are killed.

Mockingbird & Iraq

The US invasion of Iraq began eleven years ago today, on 19 March 2003. It was begun despite huge protests. It was begun despite Hans Blix protesting that Iraq had no WMDs and had no ability to acquire them. It was begun despite the husband of Valerie Plame reporting the same. It was begun with little backing outside the UK.

The results are well known, as is the Mockingbird narrative the US and others continue to spin.

We're past having opinions on major issues. We have to find out the truth. We have to get the facts. Nothing else will do.

Unfortunately there are way too many, even in professional and amateur journalistic circles, who are still too lazy and too amoral to see things that way.

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