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.
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.”
Afghanistan as a whole supplies 92% of the world’s opiates. The Head of the Taliban’s Supreme Council, Mullah Mohammed Omar, declared it “un-Islamic” to process heroin in July 2001 and production for that year fell by 91%. Two months later, the 9/11 attacks happened in the United States and were immediately blamed on Al Qaeda operating out of Afghanistan. The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001. NATO forces, lead by the U.S.A., removed the Taliban’s control of Afghanistan. Since then, opium production in Afghanistan has reached all-time historical highs. Recent estimates by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimate that 52% of the nation’s GDP, amounting to $2.7 billion annually, is generated by the drug trade and some 3.3 million Afghans are involved in producing opium. There are currently around 437,000 troops making up the NATO / Afghan / USA non-NATO force in Afghanistan. As the CIA has a history of dealing with drug traffickers (i.e. the Contras), we have to wonder what’s going on in Afghanistan. How is the product leaving the country when it has 430,000 foreign troops spread out all over it? One argument is that opium is such a huge part of the Afghan economy, that NATO troops can’t destroy it without creating huge financial burdens on the farmers. Yet the $2.5 Billion that opium production provides the Afghan economy each year is a pittance compared to the cost of the war, which is already well over $369 Billion for the USA alone. Another $2.5 Billion to destroy 90% of the world’s opium seems like a easy decision. Why hasn’t it been made yet? Is it possible that the NATO forces are supporting the world’s heroin trade?
World Bank website – Afghanistan Opium Report
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime website – World Drug Report
Wikipedia “War In Afghanistan”
Nautilus Institute: Opium And Heroin Production
Wikipedia: “Mohammed Omar”
Wikipedia: “US involvement in Contras”
Cost Of War
I’ve been reading more from Tim Weiner’s book “Legacy Of Ashes: The History of the CIA” and have finished the story about how the CIA staged a covert coup d’Ã©tat against the legitimate government of Iran in 1953. You can read the salient details in Wikipedia. Note: this isn’t a “conspiracy theory” – it was confirmed by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, during the administration of President Bill Clinton, when she called it a “setback for democratic government” in Iran.
Basically what happened is this:
The Iranians wanted to nationalize their oil. They had done a deal with the British in 1901 to explore Iran for oil and just before WWI, Winston Churchill moved the British navy from coal-burning ships over to oil-burning ships and then basically took control of Iran’s oil production, leaving them with only 16% of the profits. The Iranians weren’t happy with the situation, to the British installed a Shah of their liking on the throne.
During WWII, Churchill invaded Iran, got rid of the Shah (who was thought to be too friendly with the Nazis) and installed his son on the throne.
After WWII, the Iranians decided to take control of their oil production back. And Churchill wasn’t happy. Britian took their case to the International Court of Justice at The Hague – and lost. So Churchill asked the American government to intervene. The President (Truman) said no. So MI6 turned to the CIA who said “sure that sounds like fun”.
They then spent millions of dollars undermining the government, spreading lies about them, hiring thugs to commit crimes around the country and then blaming it on communists, on propaganda accusing the Iranian Prime Minister Mossadeq of being a communist, etc. The BBC in Britian did their part, also broadcasting anti-Iranian propaganda to lend the events legitimacy.
Eventually US-backed troops stormed the Prime Minister’s offices, arrested him, and he spent the last years of his life in prison, replaced by a General Zahedi, picked by the US and Britian to be Mossadeq’s puppet successor.
What happened next? 25 years later the Iranian revolution happened, fueled by memories of the coup, and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini took control and the country has hated the US and Britian ever since. Can you blame them?
Of course, the US and Britian denied all of this ever happened for almost 50 years until internal CIA documents were leaked in 2000.
So – the next time you hear about how Iran “hate our freedoms” or about the US trying to overthrow a country and other “conspiracy theories”, remember – Iran 1953.