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Walter Lippmann, Operation Mockingbird and the JFK Assassination


John Simkin
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Walter Lippmann, like many journalists in Operation Mockingbird, originally worked for British intelligence. In the 1930s, with the support of Helen Rogers Reid, the owner of New York Herald Tribune, he worked very closely with British Security Coordination (BSC). Released BSC documents list Lippmann as "among those who rendered service of particular value". Thomas E. Mahl, the author of Desperate Deception: British Covert Operations in the United States, 1939-44 (1998) has argued: "In late winter or early spring 1940, Lippmann even told the British to initiate Secret Intelligence Service operations against American isolationists. His exact thoughts are unknown. His specific ideas were 'too delicate' for the British Foreign Office to put to paper, but the idea is quite clear. Lippmann was a heavy weight. His suggestions on how to handle the American public reached as high as the British War Cabinet."

Lippmann's public papers show he was in regular contact with Ivar Bryce, an BSC agent. Nicholas J. Cull, the author of Selling War: The British Propaganda Campaign Against American Neutrality (1996), has argued: "During the summer of 1941, he (Bryce) became eager to awaken the United States to the Nazi threat in South America." It was especially important for the British Security Coordination to undermine the propaganda of the American First Committee.

After the US joined the Second World War he was passed onto the new American intelligence unit, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), established by President Roosevelt in 1942. He continued to work for American intelligence when the OSS became the CIA in 1947.

When JFK was assassinated in 1963, Lippmann was probably the most famous journalist in the US. In the months following the assassination he wrote no articles about the investigation. On the publication of the Warren Report, Lippmann supported the fact that Lee Harvey Oswald had acted alone in assassinating JFK. He wrote in his syndicated column, Today and Tomorrow on 29th September, 1964, that there was "no ground on which any contemporary man, here or abroad, should question the verdict". However, that was not what he really thought. He told his friend, Ronald Steel, that he suspected that Kennedy had been killed as part of a conspiracy. Steel includes this information in his book, Walter Lippmann and the American Century (1999)

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAlippmann.htm

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Ironically, (maybe) Lippmann was the journalist that LBJ feared the most as he began the introduction of US ground troops to Vietnam, which JFK had resolutely opposed so many times. Johnson made many efforts to try to keep British criticism quiet in 1964 and 1965. Perhaps the Lippmann, England link was connected here, although Lippmann carried lots of weight as probably the most internationally respected American journalist. His ideas of the Phantom Public , originally published in the 1920s and strengthened by the vastness of WWII, did much to create elite rationalization for total secrecy when it came to the National Security State. So there is some irony that Lippmann was one of the strongest critics of Vietnam .. fairly early but as Logevall shows, not loud AND early enough.

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Ironically, (maybe) Lippmann was the journalist that LBJ feared the most as he began the introduction of US ground troops to Vietnam, which JFK had resolutely opposed so many times. Johnson made many efforts to try to keep British criticism quiet in 1964 and 1965. Perhaps the Lippmann, England link was connected here, although Lippmann carried lots of weight as probably the most internationally respected American journalist. His ideas of the Phantom Public , originally published in the 1920s and strengthened by the vastness of WWII, did much to create elite rationalization for total secrecy when it came to the National Security State. So there is some irony that Lippmann was one of the strongest critics of Vietnam .. fairly early but as Logevall shows, not loud AND early enough.

The anti-American establishment trusted Lippmann and his attitude towards the assassination was very important. CIA official, Tom Braden, made it clear in an interview he gave in 1975 that it was far more important to control left-leaning journalists than those on the right.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKbraden.htm

(2) Tom Braden, interview included in the Granada Television program, World in Action: The Rise and Fall of the CIA (June, 1975)

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From patspeer.com, chapter 1:

11-25-63

Something odd was in the air. Even the noted leftist Walter Lippman over-stepped the bounds of responsible journalism and assumed not only that Oswald had acted alone, but that he knew why Oswald had acted. While Lippman's column entitled Murder Most Foul angered right-wingers across the country by blaming Oswald's left-wing extremism on the climate created by Dallas' right-wing extremists, the column is just as notable for its bold closure of the case. Lippman asserted that Oswald was "addicted to the fascination of violence in his futile and lonely and brooding existence" and that "No human feeling stayed his hand...For him the government in Washington is a hated foreign power and the President in Washington is an invading conqueror." Lippman concluded, not surprisingly, by telling his readers "I do have much hope in the healing art of Lyndon Johnson" and assured them that "We can turn to him with confidence."

Edited by Pat Speer
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Lippman concluded, not surprisingly, by telling his readers "I do have much hope in the healing art of Lyndon Johnson" and assured them that "We can turn to him with confidence."

Maybe I read that and it's one of the reasons I voted for Johnson. Voting for Johnson is also the reason that I haven't voted since.

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  • 2 weeks later...

In a letter dated December 9, 1960 Lippmann writes to the historian Allan Nevins about the CIA's reason for "why the flight was permitted on May 1st"

"They tell me that they debated it anxiously and decided in favor of it if the weather on any particular day proved to be good for photography

because it would be very nearly their last chance before the cloudy summer weather to find out about the new missile sites in the Soviet Union.

So far as I know Herter did not participate in the decision, nor I think did Eisenhower himself. You may remember that when the whole thing came

out [Allen] Dulles offered to accept the whole the responsibility for the affair and to resign, and that Eisenhower refused the resignation.

I dont' think the State Department has any active control over Dulles since the death of John Foster Dulles, and one of the things Kennedy is going

to have to go into is the relationship between the Foreign Service and the CIA.

The real tragedy of the whole affair, however was the decision made by the President, not by Herter, under the direct influence of Hagerty, to

assume personal responsibility for the U-2 flight and to justify it. This was the thing which upset Khrushchev. In the week following the capture

of the plane, he said at least once, and I think twice, that of course the President couldn't have known about this flight and he didn't hold him

responsible for it. It was when the President insisted that he was responsible that Khrushchev blew up, feeling that he had been humiliated

by the man he had told the Russians they could trust"

I did not realize that Nevins, a very influential historian of the Cold War Consensus "school" during the 1950s had earlier been a colleague of Lippmann's at Pulitzer's New York World.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here is the secret document written by Roald Dahl, H. Montgomery Hyde, Giles Playfair, Gilbert Highet and Tom Hill, British Security Coordination: The Secret History of British Intelligence in the Americas, 1940-45 that was written in 1945 but published in1998, that refers to Walter Lippmann:

The cooperation of newspaper and radio men was of the utmost importance. Without it, as will become apparent later on, many of BSC's operations against the enemy would have been impossible. Yet, in enlisting it, whether directly or through intermediaries, the greatest care had always to be exercised, for clearly if BSC had ever been uncovered or had the sources of its information been exposed, it would at once have been in the position of an overt British propaganda organization and as such considerably worse than useless. The conduct of its Political Warfare was entirely dependent on secrecy. For that reason the press and radio men with whom BSC maintained contact were comparable with sub-agents and the intermediaries with agents. They were thus regarded.

Several of BSC's more important press contacts were established directly by WS before he had the advantage of a working organization. The number was subsequently increased - and radio contacts were added - through intermediaries. There is no need to list them all, but among those who rendered service of particular value were George Backer, publisher of the New York Post, Ralph Ingersoll, editor of PM, Helen Ogden Reid, who controls the New York Herald Tribune, Paul Patterson, publisher of the Baltimore Sun, A. H. Sulzberger, President of the New York Times, Walter Lippmann and several other columnists, William L. Shirer, the commentator, and Walter Lemmon, owner of Station WRUL.

While such a team was clearly in a position to exercise considerable influence on public opinion, it remained true that the American press was in a large measure controlled by men of anti-British and isolationist persuasion. To overcome this handicap WS employed three methods. First, he made use of pro-Administration columnists, who, though their columns appeared in the hostile press, were free to write what they pleased because of their mass appeal - for example, Walter Winchell.

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What you are illustrating , in my opinion, using British Intelligence as but one example, is that foreign intelligence agencies use the basic "Freedom of the Press" principle in the United States to further their own foreign policy goals. This is not to say that all foreign intelligence agencies are able to do this. Only our "friends" can actually do it. Foreign intelligence agencies presumed to be our enemies are not given this access to our media. It is only our "friends" who gain such access.

In order for them to be free we(US citizens) have to be a little less free. It seems we are not allowed to understand the global situation as it truly exists.

In Matrix terminology, there is the red pill and there is the blue pill. If you take the blue pill you see reality as you have always known it. If you take the red pill you see reality as it actually is. We always get the blue pill.

--CopperTop

Edited by Mike Rago
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