No Illusions Podcast #58 – Brad H Talks Iran

No Illusions Podcast #58 – Brad H Talks Iran

Today I welcome back to the show Brad Heitmann (aka Brad The Mormon). This time we’re talking about Iran. FOR TWO HOURS. Fer realz.Ermahgerd.

Brad travelled to Iran in 2009 around the time of their Presidential elections and the riots. He spent a couple of hours at a dinner listening to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

We discuss the history of Iran, their current nuclear program and America’s history of invading countries to get at their natural resources.

Is Syria another Operation Ajax?

If you want an alternative perspective on what’s happening in Syria to the one you’ve been getting on the MSM, try this one by Lebanese-American writer and activist Joyce Chediac. Is Syria another Operation Ajax?

At least since 1953 (and probably before that) it has been a tried-and-true tactic of the CIA to finance and conduct (either directly or indirectly) “false flag” civil unrest in a country they want to overthrow. They will then blame escalations of violence on the person running the government (the target of the operation) and use his perceived abuses to justify political or military intervention (directly or indirectly).

The list of countries where they have carried on this kind of operation is lengthy (I counted 53 in Tim Weiner’s book “Legacy Of Ashes”). Here’s a short list:

  • Iran (1953)
  • Guatemala (1954)
  • Indonesia (1958)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo (1960)
  • Dominican Republic (1961)
  • South Vietnam (1963)
  • Brazil (1964)
  • Chile (1973)
  • Afghanistan (1979)
  • Turkey (1980)
  • Nicaragua (1981)
  • Iraq (1992)
  • Afghanistan (2001)
  • Venezuela (2002)
  • Iraq (2003)
  • Haiti (2004)

So when you see something similar happen in Syria, you’d be naïve not to wonder if the version of events we are getting from the corporate media isn’t the same bunch of fabricated bullshit that we’ve seen so many times before. Assad may be the antichrist – like so many were before him – or maybe he’s being set up. Since Washington has been funneling money to a right-wing Syrian opposition group since at least 2005, there is obviously more to the story than the one we are being told.

When The CIA Took Over The Media

I’m still reading this book about LBJ’s involvement in JFK’s assassination (LBJ: The Mastermind of The JFK Assassination by Phillip F. Nelson) and it introduced me to one part of the CIA’s history I either didn’t know about or have forgotten – something called OPERATION MOCKINGBIRD.

CIA Logo

Mockingbird isn’t some conspiracy theory – like MKULTRA and the 638 attempts at assassinating Fidel Castro, it’s a genuine part of CIA history. MOCKINGBIRD has been written about in detail since the late 70’s, but it’s one of those pieces of U.S. history that isn’t talked about much in the mainstream media. Why? I assume because they would prefer people don’ t know about it as it would make them ask too many questions, such as “how do we know the CIA isn’t controlling the media today as well?”

It’s also one of those events in history that should help us all realize that we’ve been manipulated and lied to by the government and the media in the past so it’s entirely rationale to believe they might be manipulating and lying to us still today.

SO WHAT WAS OPERATION MOCKINGBIRD? 

Basically Mockingbird was a CIA operation that ran from the 50’s through to the 70’s and which used the U.S. corporate media to deliberately spread lies to the American people and international readers (and media). 

Carl Bernstein, one of the guys who broke the Watergate scandal, wrote in Rolling Stone in 1977 that Mockingbird was the story of:

How Americas Most Powerful News Media Worked Hand in Glove with the Central Intelligence Agency

Bernstein goes on to explain that the most powerful people in the US media were happy to work with the CIA:

American publishers, like so many other corporate and institutional leaders at the time, were willing to commit the resources of their companies to the struggle against “global Communism.”

The CIA basically had the co-operation of the news media to publish lies about foreign governments (e.g. Iran, Guatemala, Cuba, Indonesia), designed to indoctrinate the American people to believe the official stories and to look the other way while the CIA illegally overthrew governments and started civil wars. News organisation involved in Mockingbird included:

CBS, Time and Life Magazine, New York Times, The Washington Post, The Washington Star, The Miami News, The Louisville Courier-Journal, The Copley News Services and The Christian Science Monitor.

Of course, these same news organisations were used to promote the official version of JFK’s assassination (the “lone gun” theory) and completely ignoring the evidence tying LBJ and the CIA to the hit or the massive holes in the Warren Commission’s official report.

The MOCKINGBIRD story has lots of twists and turns. For example, the story of Mary Pinchot Meyer. Her husband, Cord Meyer, worked for the CIA and was heavily involved in MOCKINGBIRD. Her sister married Ben Bradlee, publisher of The Washington Post. Her best friend married James Angleton, chief of the CIA’s counterintelligence division. In the late 50’s, Cord Meyer decided to leave the CIA. Not long after, one of their sons was killed by a mysterious hit-and-run accident outside of their home and Cord changed his mind. Cord and Mary divorced in 1958. In 1961 Mary started having an affair with JFK, whom she had known since she was a teenager and had lived next door to in Washington for several years before he was President. According to Timothy Leary, the father of the LSD movement, Mary told him she and JFK were smoking marijuana together and taking LSD. She said this was part of a plan she had to influence the President to bring about world peace.

After Kennedy’s assassination, Mary called Leary and said “They couldn’t control him any more. He was changing too fast…They’ve covered everything up. I gotta come see you. I’m afraid. Be careful.”

A year later, two days after the Warren Commission’s report was released, Mary Meyer was shot to death. One bullet to the heart, another to the head. The man charged with the murder was found innocent, despite an eye-witness testimony. Meyer’s private life (who her ex-husband was and that she had been sleeping with JFK) was kept not only from the courtroom but also from the attorneys involved.

In 2001, several months before his death from lymphoma, when asked who killed his ex-wife, Cord Meyer said  “The same sons of bitches that killed John F. Kennedy.”

The No Illusions Podcast #43 – Operation Ajax

Why do the Iranian people distrust the United States? Because they “hate our freedoms”, as Bush said about Al Qaida? Or do they have genuine reasons?

How many of us know the history of America and England’s involvement in the illegal and covert overthrow of the democratically elected government of Iran in 1953?

My guests today are Daniel Burwen & Ash Aiwase, two of the guys behind Operation Ajax, one of the most exciting apps I’ve seen developed for the iPad so far.

Check out the trailer:

Operation Ajax Trailer

I chatted with Daniel and Ash recently about how Operation Ajax came about and how the iPad can make a dent in the Universe.

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Truth Goggles

According to Neiman Journalism Lab:

“Dan Schultz, a graduate student at the MIT Media Lab (and newly named Knight-Mozilla fellow for 2012), is devoting his thesis to automatic bullshit detection. Schultz is building what he calls truth goggles — not actual magical eyewear, alas, but software that flags suspicious claims in news articles and helps readers determine their truthiness. It’s possible because of a novel arrangement: Schultz struck a deal with fact-checker PolitiFact for access to its private APIs.”

(via Bull beware: Truth goggles sniff out suspicious sentences in news » Nieman Journalism Lab.)

It’s a fascinating idea. Imagine browsers having a plug-in that is able to fact check all sorts of data using sources such as Wikipedia. It could have a huge impact on the future of news media. Imagine reading an article on, say, climate change in The Australian, and this “truth goggles” plug-in pointing out all of the inconsistencies in their reporting.

Or imagine reading Hilary Clinton ramping up the case for invading Iran because they are weaponising uranium, but have “truth goggles” pointing out that there is no evidence to support this claim.

Of course, this process doesn’t *need* to be automated with an algorithm. Chrome extensions like “Glass” allow people to comment on websites. For example, see this screenshot of a comment I left using Glass on a story in the Brisbane Times today about News Ltd corruption allegations from former QLD senator Bill O’Chee.

Could we all use tools like Glass to subvert the ability of the mainstream media and certain blogs to spin bullshit to their readers? Of course there is always the comments section of most sites these days, but perhaps they tend to get moderated and news sites promote comments by their faithful believers. Would Glass-like tools also get corrupted by flame wars? How do we keep them clean and useful? User moderation ala Wikipedia?