Operation Mockingbird: New York Times confesses to role in subverting First Amendment
July 17, 2013
For the NSA to succeed in spying on Americans and violating the Constitution without mass demonstrations you must first understand how the security industrial complex compromised the mass media. In the Monday, July 14, 2013 New York Times, we get a rare glimpse into that historical tragedy fittingly on its obituary page.
The death notice, “Austin Goodrich, 87, Spy Posing as Reporter,” detailed seldom seen facts about the legendary “Operation Mockingbird.” The aptly named “Mockingbird” was a covert Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) campaign to create a mass media echo chamber during the Cold War. The Times' lead is telling: “In the 1950s and ‘60s, Austin Goodrich was far from the only journalist doubling as a secret agent for the United States.”
Indeed. Alex Constantine, in his Mockingbird: The Subversion of the Free Press by the CIA, estimates “some 3,000 salaried and contract CIA employees were eventually engaged in propaganda efforts.”
The Times credits “…reports by Rolling Stone and the New York Times” for revealing the program. “The Times reported that at least 22 American news organizations, including CBS News and Time, Life and Newsweek magazines, as well as the Times itself, ‘had employed, though sometimes only a casual basis, American journalists who were also working for the CIA,” according to the New York Times.
Carl Bernstein’s October 1977 article “CIA and the Media” provided an overview of the subversion of our constitutionally guaranteed free press. The 1979 book Katharine the Great: Katharine Graham and the Washington Post by Deborah Davis first revealed Mockingbird’s name. The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA played America by Hugh Wilford, published by Harvard University Press in 2008, provides an excellent summary.
The end of Goodrich’s obituary is meant to be touching, but its irony is obvious. His daughter, Kristina Goodrich told the Times: “He really believed in the importance of the democratic way of life and the danger of any system that would lead to totalitarian control over people.” A man who secretly worked for a spy agency while subverting a free press and turning it toward government propaganda as a predecessor to our current mass spying by the NSA is portrayed as a hater of totalitarian control.
Mockingbird emerged under the direction of Frank Wisner’s Office of Special Projects (OSP) in 1948. Later it was renamed the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC). In one of the earliest exposes of the CIA, the Invisible Government written by David Wise and Thomas Ross, they document that Wisner was directed to create “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.”
Davis asserts that Wisner recruited Philip Graham, president of CEO of the Washington Post to coordinate the agency’s spy apparatus within journalistic circles. Graham died at age 48 of a reportedly self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1963.
By 1953, Bernstein reports that the spy network subverting the American media was directly overseen by CIA Director Allen Dulles. The CIA allegedly had major influence in over 25 U.S. newspapers and wire services. The tactic was straightforward. False news reports or propaganda would be provided by CIA writers to knowing and unknowing reporters who would simply repeat the falsehoods over and over again.
Operation Mockingbird was used to help cover up the overthrow of the democratic Iranian government in 1953 (Operation Ajax) and to control the press during the Bay of Pigs fiasco. A primary function of Mockingbird was to cover up covert and usually illegal foreign operations including the 1954 overthrowing of the democratic government of President Arbenz in Guatamala. In 1955, President Eisenhower created the 5412 Committee to create oversight of the CIA’s covert activities. Director Dulles refused to submit many of the CIA’s black ops operations to the Committee’s review citing "plausible deniability."
According to the Family Jewels report released by the National Security Archive, the CIA also engaged in the illegal wiretapping of Washington-based reporters.
In 1976, Senator Frank Church’s investigation into the CIA exposed their corruption of the media. The Church Committee reported: “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.”
So Austin Goodrich is dead, and portrayed as a patriotic American by the Times. What the paper of record fails to note is that he was part of a covert operation that corrupted the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that led to the easy destruction of the Fourth Amendment by the NSA currently. The consolidation of the multinational for-profit corporate media has created the new Mockingbird.
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