The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee recently held a hearing devoted, in part, to accusations that Russia initiated a massive “fake news” campaign against the United States during the 2016 election. It must be pointed out that the popularity of alternative foreign news sources for the American public came after the “dumbing down” of U.S. news consumers by a “infotainment” industry, headquartered in Los Angeles and New York, that dished massive amounts of “phony news” to America on a 24/7 basis.
When Russia Today (RT), China’s CCTV, Al Jazeera, Latin America’s Telesur, and Iran’s Press TV happened upon the scene in the United States, they became instantly popular for providing actual news instead of incessant pabulum about maladjusted Hollywood celebrities. After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, many Americans were tired of their foreign news being filtered through the lenses of the Pentagon, Central Intelligence Agency, and Council on Foreign Relations.
No sooner had many Americans started switching their televisions to RT, Al Jazeera, and other international satellite news networks, American politicians like then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, herself no stranger to issuing forth propaganda masked as news, and their puppets in the media, began complaining about “foreign propaganda” aimed at Americans. The term “foreign propaganda” has now been changed to “fake news” because the Latin word “propaganda” was seen by the U.S. intelligence news manipulators as too hard for dumbed-down Americans in the hinterlands of the nation to understand.
To demonize Russia and the Trump administration in a single fell swoop, the CIA and National Security Agency permitted several former employees to take to the airwaves on television, radio, and Twitter to lambaste Trump for alleged connections to the Russian government and relying on Russian-directed “fake news” trolls and bots during the 2016 campaign. When the CIA, NSA, National Security Council, and other U.S. intelligence agencies encourage their former employees and retirees to take to public media, it is to advance a U.S. intelligence agenda. CIA field operatives are trained to lie. However, that fact is lost on U.S. media networks that are happy to have such purveyors of false propaganda to rant and rave about Russia, Trump, foreign lobbyists, and other self-invoked “demons.”
The biggest fraud is MSNBC’s featuring a “U.S. intelligence expert” whose highest rank in the U.S. Navy was senior chief petty officer. This individual acts as though he enjoys access to all-source intelligence, something he would not have been authorized to view even on active military duty as an Arabic linguist for NSA. Chief petty officers, who are enlisted personnel and not officers, seem to have, at least for MSNBC producers, been placed on par with two- or three-star admirals. This is but one example of the scarcity of individuals in the corporate media who have even a small degree of experience in the military or the intelligence community.
Another intelligence “expert” hired by CNN was transferred from the CIA’s Office of Gulf Affairs in early 2001 to the George W. Bush National Security Council. Yet, this chest-beating “expert,” who rails against “Russian influence” over the Trump White House, was unable to ascertain that Saudi and Gulf money was being used in early- and mid-2001 to finance a group of Al Qaeda terrorists who would later take credit for the 9/11 attack.
Fox News uses the “expertise” of a former CIA operations officer whose post-CIA claim to fame has been to appear on “shock jock” radio programs of such New York-based hosts as Don Imus and Gregg “Opie” Hughes and Anthony Cumia (“Opie & Anthony”). This particular former CIA officer has been a cheerleader for assigning all blame for Trump’s “Russia problems” on former national security adviser Michael Flynn, claiming that Flynn’s greatest “crime” was not being truthful with Vice President Mike Pence about previous lobbyist connections. Only in the minds of these professional purveyors of disinformation could lying to a creepy former Indiana talk radio host like Pence be akin to a “crime.”
Former high-level U.S. intelligence officials, including acting CIA directors Michael Morell and John McLaughlin, CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden, and CIA general counsel John Rizzo, have not been shy about appearing on television deriding Trump and his officials for Russia contacts. This points to a new politicization of the U.S. intelligence hierarchy unseen in the past. By beating the path to every television studio willing to have them on the air calling for severe retributions for the Trump White House, these members of the intelligence shadow hierarchy give rise to allegations of a “deep state” conspiracy against the U.S. administration.
The bloviating hyperventilation about threats from “Russia,” “China,” “Russian banks,” and the Trump White House coming from the lips of these hyped intelligence experts is nothing more than propaganda dictated by the information operations branches within the CIA, NSA, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the U.S. Cyber Command. These experts have been joined by members of Congress who are “bought-and-paid-for” by the CIA, NSA, and other agencies. These include House Intelligence Committee ranking member Representative Adam Schiff, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Senator Richard Burr, Senate Intelligence Committee ranking member Senator Mark Warner, Arizona Senator John McCain, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, California Senator Dianne Feinstein, and Oregon Senator Ron Wyden.
The CIA’s sudden conversion to an agency concerned about “fake news” is laughable since its over six decades-long history is replete with examples of news manipulation designed to advance CIA disinformation and propaganda operations. The CIA’s OPERATION MOCKINGBIRD was premised on creating CIA intelligence carve-outs within major American newspapers, broadcasters, and magazine publishers to promulgate false information. In so doing, the CIA created fake news stories to cover up the agency’s overthrowing of governments in Iran, Guatemala, Syria, British Guiana, Iraq, Laos, Togo, South Vietnam, Brazil, Bolivia, Indonesia, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Cambodia, Chile, Australia, Chad, Suriname, Grenada, Fiji, Burkina Faso, Panama, Gambia, Rwanda, Haiti, Nepal, Thailand, Honduras, Paraguay, Libya, and Ukraine. The 1963 coup against President John F. Kennedy can easily be added to this list, as well as the 1972 Watergate operation involving some of the same Kennedy assassination conspirators that was designed to eventually depose President Richard Nixon.
The U.S. intelligence community is also orchestrating another McCarthy era in the United States. Former FBI agent Clint Watts, a newly-minted “cyber-security expert” who now works for the CIA-linked Foreign Policy Research Institute, founded in 1955 by anti-Communism crusader Robert Strausz-Hupé, was the star witness of a recent Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Russian “interference” in the 2016 election. Parroting the 1950s-era anti-Russian propaganda of Senator Joseph McCarthy and Strausz-Hupé, Watts proclaimed, “Through the end of 2015 and the start of 2016, the Russian-influenced system began to push themes and messages seeking to influence the result of the presidential election . . . Russian overt media outlets and covert trolls sought to sideline opponents on both sides of the political spectrum with adverse views towards the Kremlin.”
Watts told intelligence committee member Senator Marco Rubio that he was one such target. Watts would have the nation believe that Rubio’s questionable past as a Miami call boy male prostitute and his links to a Miami on-line gay pornography businessman were all the products of Russian “trolls.” However, the political dirt on Rubio was of the senator’s own making and non-attributable to “Russian” or any other foreign sources. The same goes for Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who was less-than-forthcoming about his Cuban father’s activities in New Orleans in the summer of 1963 alongside one Lee Harvey Oswald.
In a word, the congressional investigation of Trump and Russia, “fake news,” and the hyping of the coverage by the corporate media is all nonsense. If one wants a lesson in fake news, just read any legitimate history of the CIA, Operation MOCKINGBIRD, and the agency’s “Mighty Wurlitzer” of propaganda fed to a tongue-drooling and tail-wagging media.
This article originally appeared in Strategic Culture Foundation on-line journal.
Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).