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Masters of Deceit: Propaganda, Disinformation and Corruption


John Simkin
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Over the last couple of years I have spent a lot of time developing my website on the JFK assassination. During my research I have discovered a great deal about the way the media control the information that gets to the American public. The most important aspect of this is the CIA’s Operation Mockingbird.

According to the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities 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." Frank Church argued that the cost of misinforming the world cost American taxpayers an estimated $265 million a year.

In February, 1976, George Bush, the 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.

As a result Operation Mockingbird continued and in fact, it is more successful today than it has ever been. I have decided to spend the next couple of years looking into how Mockingbird works today. I am going to call this section “Masters of Deceit: Propaganda, Disinformation and Corruption”.

One of my first subjects will be Roger Ailes, the man who runs Fox News. According to the excellent “Outfoxed”, every day, Ailes or one of his assistant’s sends out a memo to all the Fox producers on the interpretation that Murdoch wants. For example, one memo said that they must do everything they could to make sure that 9/11 does not become another “Watergate”.

One polling organization attempted to discover the impact that different news organizations had on people’s political knowledge. They discovered that regular watchers of Fox News showed the highest levels of political ignorance. See this report, Misperceptions, the Media and the Iraq War, published in October, 2003:

A new study based on a series of seven US polls conducted from January through September of this year reveals that before and after the Iraq war, a majority of Americans have had significant misperceptions and these are highly related to support for the war in Iraq.

The polling, conducted by the Program on International Policy (PIPA) at the University of Maryland and Knowledge Networks, also reveals that the frequency of these misperceptions varies significantly according to individuals’ primary source of news. Those who primarily watch Fox News are significantly more likely to have misperceptions, while those who primarily listen to NPR or watch PBS are significantly less likely.

An in-depth analysis of a series of polls conducted June through September found 48% incorrectly believed that evidence of links between Iraq and al Qaeda have been found, 22% that weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq, and 25% that world public opinion favored the US going to war with Iraq. Overall 60% had at least one of these three misperceptions.

Such misperceptions are highly related to support for the war. Among those with none of the misperceptions listed above, only 23% support the war. Among those with one of these misperceptions, 53% support the war, rising to 78% for those who have two of the misperceptions, and to 86% for those with all 3 misperceptions. Steven Kull, director of PIPA, comments, “While we cannot assert that these misperceptions created the support for going to war with Iraq, it does appear likely that support for the war would be substantially lower if fewer members of the public had these misperceptions.”

The frequency of Americans’ misperceptions varies significantly depending on their source of news. The percentage of respondents who had one or more of the three misperceptions listed above is shown below.

http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/art...02&lb=brusc

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Please let me have names of people who should be featured in this section of my website.

Edward L. Bernays (1891-1995) was dubbed by his biographer as "The Father of Spin." One of Bernays' clients back in the day was United Fruit Company. At one point in time, Bernays was assistant to William Paley, founder of CBS.

In his book Propaganda (1928), Bernays wrote:

"The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country."

According to the book description:

A seminal and controversial figure in the history of political thought and public relations, Edward Bernays (1891-1995), pioneered the scientific technique of shaping and manipulating public opinion, which he famously dubbed "engineering of consent." During World War I, he was an integral part of the U.S. Committee on Public Information (CPI), a powerful propaganda apparatus that was mobilized to package, advertise and sell the war to the American people as one that would "Make the World Safe for Democracy." The CPI would become the blueprint in which marketing strategies for future wars would be based upon.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/097031259...0634592-4023919

Edited by Michael Hogan
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Please let me have names of people who should be featured in this section of my website.

John...as I previously mentioned, other important information on

this subject is in:

THE COMPANY THAT BOUGHT THE BOARDWALK, Mahon

ROLLING STONE ARTICLE, Bernstein

Along with Sprague, these cover "everything". I suggest

that you investigate both.

The ties between the CIA and RESORTS INTERNATIONAL

plus the MARY CARTER PAINT COMPANY is crucial to

understanding the media takeover. A thread

on Resorts International might be appropriate.

Jack

Edited by Jack White
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John...as I previously mentioned, other important information on

this subject is in:

THE COMPANY THAT BOUGHT THE BOARDWALK, Mahon

ROLLING STONE ARTICLE, Bernstein

You will find the article by Bernstein on my website:

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

I will try to get a copy of "The Company that Brought the Boardwalk".

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John...as I previously mentioned, other important information on

this subject is in:

THE COMPANY THAT BOUGHT THE BOARDWALK, Mahon

ROLLING STONE ARTICLE, Bernstein

You will find the article by Bernstein on my website:

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

I will try to get a copy of "The Company that Brought the Boardwalk".

Thanks, John. I consider the Bernstein article extremely significant. It

never got the attention it deserved, since the mainstream press obviously

ignored something which targeted themselves.

You will find THE COMPANY THAT BOUGHT THE BOARDWALK extremely

interesting. It details many of the Caribbean operations related to

the assassination and other CIA operations, and the use of RESORTS

INTERNATIONAL as an undercover operation. After reading, you may

want to post your summary of the important points for discussion.

Thanks.

Jack

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I'd just like to 'chirp' in that this is indeed a very important subject and means of control in the USA - and to a lesser extent also outside of it]. It has started with IMO the education system, that teaches facts without the ability to connect the dots, see the larger and historical picture [in fact most of history is not presented], think independantly and critically [especially of authority]. Then they have controlled most of the mainstream media by a variety of means. Only the alternative press and the internet have caused cracks in this effort. [Though they are now actively working to control the internet and access to it for most]. Most Americans just don't see or believe much of what we talk about here simply because it doesn't appear on the evening news or TV specials and can't see nor believe that most of that is controlled and representing the view of those who own it. The more progressive voices in the media have been drummed out and the oversight bodies packed; legislation changed to favor takeover by the coporate giants in the field. While so many good magazines and books do exist most Americans are unaware they do, don't read them [they don't read much at all - least of all non-fiction] and to the extent they are aware of them feel they have no legitimacy as they are not reviewed favorably in the mainstream media, don't sell well and are put down by the powers that be. Along with this in America has long been a subtle indoctrination to believe in and follow / obey authority while tyring to portray a non-authoritarian society. There are various organs of propaganda within the goverenment, the CIA's 'Mockingbird' [real name unknown and likely changed] one of them. The end result is clear - most Americans don't know the historical facts and can't seem to retain in their memory those they do hear about to connect with the others - due to the strengh of the myth and other propaganda. It is a very sad situation. I used to lecture and when I had mentioned that the USA was the only nation to use nuclear weapons on defenseless civlians someone from the audience shouted out 'we were not! - thought he knew full well we were.....it just goes against the myth [we never have nor do nor would do any wrong] and having sensed it was wrong, felt it couldn't be true as I presented it....and many other examples. We have a few on this site telling us we must believe the US Authorities despite the proof they have repeatedly and almost always lied; that we should trust the mainstream media, when it is undeniable that they have been controlled, often lied, contained planted disinformation agents in high postions, left out stories and facts to aid the elites, etc. Most can't connect the dots, see the picture and with any new event start from first principles again...the authorities and their media assects are to be believed and those who object are to be considered noncontents and unpatriotic. Goebbels would be impressed. Our democracy is much diminished and dumb-downed due to these long-term propaganda efforts against the public. To the propagandists the ends justify their means and they see no contraction in saying the current 'enemies' hate us for our freedoms, while they rob most of the most important one - access to truthful information and the real history of events and who was behind them.

Over the last few months I have been convinced that this is the most important subject of all. It is therefore necessary to communicate this to as many people as possible.

As well as writing about the Masters of Deceit I willm have a section on those trying to combat this move towards fascism. For example, people like Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber. The most important political influence on me during my lifetime has been George Orwell. This is a passage that has motivated me to write for a living. I am sure if Orwell was alive today he would have his own website linked to a forum.

George Orwell, Why I Write (September, 1946)

I think there are four great motives for writing, at any rate for writing prose. They exist in different degrees in every writer, and in any one writer the proportions will vary from time to time, according to the atmosphere in which he is living. They are:

1. Sheer egotism. Desire to seem clever, to be talked about, to be remembered after death, to get your own back on grown-ups who snubbed you in children, etc. etc.

2. Aesthetic enthusiasm. Perception of beauty in the external world, or, on the other hand, in words and their right arrangement. Pleasure in the impact of one sound on another, in the firmness of good prose or the rhythm of a good story. Desire to share an experience which one feels is valuable and ought not to be missed.

3. Historical impulse. Desire to see things as they are, to find out true facts and store them up for the use of posterity.

4. Political purpose - using the word 'political' in the widest possible sense. Desire to push the world in a certain direction, to alter other people's idea of the kind of society that they should strive after.

It can be seen how these various impulses must war against one another, and how they must fluctuate from person to person and from time to time. By nature - taking your nature to be the state you have attained when you are first adult - I am a person in whom the first three motives would outweigh the fourth. In a peaceful age I might have written ornate or merely descriptive books, and might have remained almost unaware of my political loyalties. As it is I have been forced into becoming a sort of pamphleteer.

Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic Socialism, as I understand it. It seems to me nonsense, in a period like our own, to think that one can avoid writing of such subjects. It is simply a question of which side one takes and what approach one follows.

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Over the last few months I have been convinced that this is the most important subject of all. It is therefore necessary to communicate this to as many people as possible.

...

I agree. The propaganda concerns me as much as the murder. Few will even hear about the murder because of the propaganda. As we've seen with JFK.

I think the concept of "framing" is as important as the act of planting stories with "friendly" sources. Obviously it helps the fascists to have their own propaganda outlet, i.e., Fox "News." But once they have the outlets and friendly sources the decision makers control how the sources say things. It's very standardized, very controlled, very effective. And what we call "framing" Orwell called "doublespeak."

Framing and repetition framing and repetition... How many times have Amercans heard "war on terror Iraq war on terror Iraq? They don't have a damn thing to do with each other, but thru' constant chanting of war on terror and Iraq in the same breath, many Americans think they're related.

George Lakoff, the Professor of Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, is the best source I'm aware of on framing. Not only does he alert us to the ways the bad guys frame (memo to Fox: "we're not calling it 'intelligent design' instead of 'creation'--who can disagree with a term like "*intelligent* design"?), but he tells us how to reframe. So he goes beyond showing us one more thing to fret about all helplessly; he shows us how to utilize framing in our discourse. It takes a lot of discipline, which the neo-cons have. They've got it down to a science.

Lakoff has written many books on the subject, and has a website: http://www.rockridgeinstitute.org/people/lakoff. He's a very good teacher/lecturer.

I don't know if framing was distinct discipline within Operation Mockingbird, but I would think it was. It's too effective to overlook. It's certainly used excessively now. I think pert near every concept that reaches our ears from the rabid right is manufactured in a think tank.

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Over the last few months I have been convinced that this is the most important subject of all. It is therefore necessary to communicate this to as many people as possible.

...

I agree. The propaganda concerns me as much as the murder. Few will even hear about the murder because of the propaganda. As we've seen with JFK.

I think the concept of "framing" is as important as the act of planting stories with "friendly" sources. Obviously it helps the fascists to have their own propaganda outlet, i.e., Fox "News." But once they have the outlets and friendly sources the decision makers control how the sources say things. It's very standardized, very controlled, very effective. And what we call "framing" Orwell called "doublespeak."

Framing and repetition framing and repetition... How many times have Amercans heard "war on terror Iraq war on terror Iraq? They don't have a damn thing to do with each other, but thru' constant chanting of war on terror and Iraq in the same breath, many Americans think they're related.

Excellent posting Myra. Thank you for the link. Members might wish to explore the following:

http://www.rockridgeinstitute.org/projects...le_framing/view

http://www.rockridgeinstitute.org/research...ncompetent/view

http://www.rockridgeinstitute.org/research...occupation/view

http://www.rockridgeinstitute.org/research...aluesideas/view

http://www.rockridgeinstitute.org/research...wtorespond/view

http://www.rockridgeinstitute.org/research/lakoff/luntz/view

http://www.rockridgeinstitute.org/research...f/gwot_rip/view

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Framing and repetition framing and repetition... How many times have Amercans heard "war on terror Iraq war on terror Iraq? They don't have a damn thing to do with each other, but thru' constant chanting of war on terror and Iraq in the same breath, many Americans think they're related.

Yes, framing is most important and is one [along with the other methodologies we are mentioning] of the standard techniques of political propoganda. All policestates, dictatorships, authoritarian regiems know and act to control information and restrict the truth and replace it with propaganda. There are so many distrubing trends in the USA. Embedding of journalists to control what they see in 'wars'; most universities have now merged their journalism departments with public relations [progaganda] departments!; increasing control of the media and press into fewer rightwing hands; the media outlets extant framing the 'debate' and limits of exploration; control and roll-back of access to documents; dimunition of checks and balances in the government; chiling effects of the [un]Patriot Act that can make a truely investigative journalist or citizen the target of a COINTELPRO-like investigation or labeling as sympathetic to the synthetic enemies; spying on what citizens say, read in libraries, buy, do, go, research on the internet et al, the buying of the Congress and other political offices who have no interest in representing [or enlightening] the public - only in holding on to power and pleasing their sponsors [corporations and the oligarchs], etc.

Without access to information - REAL information, UNBIASED facts and not what the powers-that-be want to be known there is NO democracy as no one can make an informed decision, and even if allowed to vote, can't make one based upon the facts, the history, the consequences that will result from their vote. [but now even the vote is tampered with!]

America is now run by a small group of theological extremists who reject The Enlightenment, Rationality, Democracy, Equality, and many other values...while posing as if they do....this combined with a powerful disinfomation / propaganda machine and control of our past history and the current events [and who is behind them] has made for a witches brew that could destroy American Democracy, now lying in the emergency ward on life-support, in very short order - IMO. All too many have been taken in by this 'magic show'.

Framing is done in many ways. To name just two....the debates on TV Sunday political discussions. They pit a centrist or right of center Democrat against a far-Right Republican and call that a wide spectrum of views. No one who questions the basic decisions are allowed [for example no one who objects to the Patriot Act or the War in Iraq - only those who have slightly different views on how to continue them]. Or, the NYT never, ever having mentioned anything contradictory to the Warren Report's view of LHO as the lone assassin. For all of it's erudition, the NYT is the prime element of media control in the NYT and the CIA has admitted as much and concentrated more of their assets there than any other newspaper.

Misuse of RELIGION and RELIGIOUS BELIEFS is one of the major ways to

frame belief systems.

The "war on terrorism" is a thinly disguised war on Islam and Islamic extremists.

Dubya controls a huge group with the magic words "born-again-christian".

Going wayway back, the Crusades were framed to eradicate "infidels".

Such propaganda does not always pretend to be "christian" for their own ends.

In more recent centuries, the best example is the anti-christian cultists who

ATTACK RELIGION by promoting the unproven THEORY OF EVOLUTION.

Leaving all religious aspects aside (creationism, intelligent design, etc), if

one examines "evolution" objectively, one must conclude that ALL THAT

EXISTS IS AN INPENETRABLE MYSTERY. Anyone who claims to know the

solution to the mystery is a fool. Creationists are fools. Evolutionists are

fools. If you claim to know the answer, you are a fool...a victim of

propaganda. Nobody knows.

Jack

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BBC Report

The British developer of the world wide web says he is worried about the way it could be used to spread misinformation and "undemocratic forces".

The web has transformed the way many people work, play and do business.

But Sir Tim Berners-Lee told BBC News he feared that, if the way the internet is used is left to develop unchecked, "bad things" could happen.

He wants to set up a web science research project to study the social implications of the web's development.

The changes experienced to date because of the web are just the start of a more radical transformation of society, he said.

But Sir Tim is concerned about the way it could end up being used.

He told the BBC: "If we don't have the ability to understand the web as it's now emerging, we will end up with things that are very bad.

"Certain undemocratic things could emerge and misinformation will start spreading over the web.

"Studying these forces and the way they're affected by the underlying technology is one of the things that we think is really important," he said.

He insisted his new web science research initiative would be more than just computer science.

He said he wanted to attract researchers from a range of disciplines to study it as a social as well as technological phenomenon.

Sir Tim added that he hoped it would create a new science for studying the web, which he believes would lead to newer and more exciting systems.

"All kinds of disciplines are going to have to converge. People with all kinds of skills are going to have to work together to build a new web which is going to be even better," he said.

He also said employers were now beginning to complain that there were not enough people who fully understood the web.

"There aren't any courses at the moment and it hasn't really been brought together.

"We're hearing complaints from companies when they need people that really understand the medium from both the technological and social side.

"When you look at university courses, web science isn't there - it seems to fall through the cracks.

"So we'd like to put it on the curriculum so that there are a lot more people who understand this."

The US-based Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Southampton, UK, will launch the long-term research collaboration that will have a direct influence on the future development of the world wide web.

The Web Science Research Initiative will chart out a research agenda aimed at understanding the scientific, technical and social challenges underlying the growth of the web.

Of particular interest is the growing volume of information on the web that documents more and more aspects of human activity and knowledge.

The project will examine how we access this information and assess its reliability.

You can hear the interview here:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/6108578.stm

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