The CIA’s 60-Year History Of Fake News: How The Deep State Corrupted Many American Writers


In this week’s episode of “Scheer Intelligence” Robert Scheer interviews Joel Whitney, author and co-founder of Guernica magazine.
Whitney’s new book, “Finks: How the C.I.A. Tricked the World’s Best Writers,” explores how the CIA influenced acclaimed writers and publications during the Cold War to produce subtly anti-communist material. During the interview, Scheer and Whitney discuss these manipulations and how the CIA controlled major news agencies and respected literary publications (such as the Paris Review).
Their talk comes at a particularly tense time in American politics, as accusations of fake news and Russian propaganda fly from both sides of the aisle. But the history detailed in Whitney’s book presents a valuable lesson for writers hoping to avoid similar manipulations today.
Scheer opens the discussion with the question: “Were they really tricked?”
“It could have been ‘paid,’ it could have been ‘subsidized,’ it could have been ‘used,’ Continue reading "The CIA’s 60-Year History Of Fake News: How The Deep State Corrupted Many American Writers"

Fired ‘Marketplace’ Reporter Wonders: Is Objective Journalism Dead?


In this week’s episode of “Scheer Intelligence,” Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer interviews Lewis Wallace, a former reporter fired for questioning objective journalism in the age of Trump.


Wallace had been working for the American Public Media show “Marketplace” for months when he was abruptly fired in February. The reason? He’d written a personal blog post, titled “Objectivity is dead, and I’m okay with it,” in which he explored how journalists will “adapt to a government that believes in ‘alternative facts’ and thrives on lies, including the lie of white racial superiority.”


“Marketplace” executive Deborah Clark stated that the blog post “was a clear violation of our ethics code.”


Wallace, who is transgender, tells Scheer that he can’t be objective when it comes to LGBTQ issues in the news—nor should he have to be. The two also discuss diversity in journalism. Listen to Continue reading "Fired ‘Marketplace’ Reporter Wonders: Is Objective Journalism Dead?"

Lizbeth Mateo: Contradictions Of U.S. Immigration Policy

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In this week's episode of "Scheer Intelligence," Robert Scheer speaks with lawyer and immigrant rights activist Lizbeth Mateo, who self-deported in order to illuminate the plight of immigrants like herself.



Mateo came to the United States with her family at age 14 and attended college and law school. She returned to Mexico for several days in 2013 and was subsequently denied DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), calling into question her ability to live and work in the United States.

In their conversation, Mateo tells Scheer why she decided to become an activist and self-deport, knowing it was a risky move. She explains why activists call President Obama the "Deporter-in-Chief," and affirms that whatever happens in the presidential election, immigrants will not forget the politicians who remained silent while Donald Trump insulted them.

Adapted from Truthdig.com

Read the interview below:

Robert Scheer: Hi. This is Robert Scheer. Welcome to Continue reading "Lizbeth Mateo: Contradictions Of U.S. Immigration Policy"

Chris Hedges And Robert Scheer Assess The Merits Of A Life Of Virtue In A World For Careerists


In this week’s episode of “Scheer Intelligence” on KCRW, Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer speaks with Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges about the rewards of Hedges’ unorthodox career as a minister and journalist covering the disintegration of societies on multiple continents, his working habits, and the consequences of elite neglect of the forces that turn civilized populations barbarian.
The two spoke in Philadelphia in late July as Democrats pilloried Republicans and their presidential candidate, Donald Trump.
“The Nazis before 1933 were buffoonish figures, as were Radovan Karadžic and Slobodan Miloševic in Yugoslavia,” Hedges remarked. “And as Trump is. But when these buffoonish figures take power, they become extremely frightening.”
“They are frightening,” Scheer replied. But “what you’re saying is they didn’t come from nowhere.”
“Right,” said Hedges. “The Nazis came out of the collapse of Weimar. And Radovan Karadžic came out of the economic collapse of Yugoslavia.”
Continue reading "Chris Hedges And Robert Scheer Assess The Merits Of A Life Of Virtue In A World For Careerists"

Larry Gross And The Formation Of The Gay Community


In this week’s Scheer Intelligence Robert speaks with author and academic Larry Gross about how“invisible” closeted gay men and women came, over the course of the middle and late 20th century, to form a community that wielded political power.
A former dean at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and a professor, Larry Gross has been a pioneer of queer studies for decades. He has written two books on gay issues: Contested Closets: The Politics and Ethics of Outing, and Up from Invisibility: Lesbians, Gay Men and the Media in America.
In their conversation, Gross tells Scheer about how and when gay people emerged as a minority group after settling in urban areas after World War II. The pair also discuss how the internet has helped young gay men and women have role models and feel less isolated.
Click to listen and read the full story below. 



Continue reading "Larry Gross And The Formation Of The Gay Community"

Feinstein v. the CIA: A Moment of Truth

It was a truly historic moment on Tuesday when Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein took to the Senate floor to warn that the CIA's continuing cover-up of its torture program is threatening our Constitutional division of power. By blatantly concealing what Feinstein condemned as "the horrible details of a CIA program that never, never, never should have existed," the spy agency now acts as a power unto itself, and the agency's outrages have finally aroused the senator's umbrage.

As Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, chair of the Judiciary Committee that will be investigating Feinstein's charges noted, "in 40 years here, it was one of the best speeches I'd ever heard and one of the most important." That was particularly so, given that Feinstein's searing indictment of the CIA's decade-long subversion of congressional oversight of its torture program comes from a senator who previously has worked overtime to justify the subversion of democratic governance by the CIA and other spy agencies.

But clearly the lady has by now had enough, given the CIA's recent hacking of her Senate committee's computers in an effort to suppress a key piece of evidence supporting the veracity of the committee's completed but still not released 6,300- page study that the CIA is bent on suppressing.

The Senate's investigation began in earnest with the Dec. 7, 2007 revelation in the New York Times that the CIA had destroyed videotapes of its "enhanced interrogation techniques," despite objections from then-President Bush's director of National Security and the White House counsel. At that time, then-committee chair Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., sent staffers to begin the painstaking process of reviewing the limited material that the CIA was willing to make available; their preliminary report wasn't issued until early 2009.

By then, Feinstein had assumed the chairmanship and, as she recalled in her Tuesday speech, "The resulting staff report was chilling. The interrogations and the conditions of confinement at the CIA detention sites were far different and far more harsh than the way the CIA had described them to us."

Feinstein, ostensibly backed by new President Barack Obama, who had campaigned as an opponent of the CIA's methods, obtained the committee's bipartisan backing for an expanded investigation. But the CIA, led at the time by Obama appointee Leon Panetta, the former democratic congressman, put numerous logistical obstacles in the way of the Senate investigation.

As Feinstein pointed out, "the CIA hired a team of outside contractors--who otherwise would not have had access to these sensitive documents--to read, multiple times, each of the 6.2 million pages of documents produced, before providing them to fully-cleared committee staff conducting the committee's oversight work. This proved to be a slow and very expensive process."

It was so slow that the committee's investigation has only now been completed. Along the way, documents that Senate staffers found interesting would then mysteriously disappear from the system. One such set of disappeared documents, referred to as the "Internal Panetta Review," is now at the center of the CIA hacking scandal.

The Panetta Review became relevant last June, when the CIA offered its critique of the Senate study. But as Feinstein points out, "Some of those important parts that the CIA now disputes in our committee study are clearly acknowledged in the CIA's own Internal Panetta Review. To say the least, this is puzzling. How can the CIA's official response to our study stand factually in conflict with its own Internal Review?"

Relations between the Senate committee responsible for oversight of the CIA and the agency were so poor that, as Feinstein states, "after noting the disparity between the official CIA response to the committee study and the Internal Panetta Review, the committee staff securely transported a printed portion of the draft Internal Panetta Review from the committee's secure room at the CIA-leased facility to the secure committee spaces in the Hart Senate Office Building."

Feinstein defended the committee staff's spiriting information away from the CIA:

"As I have detailed, the CIA has previously withheld and destroyed information about its Detention and Interrogation Program ... there was a need to preserve and protect the Internal Panetta Review in the committee's own secure spaces."

The response of the CIA was to hack the computers that Senate staffers had been using at the CIA off-site location, and the agency's acting general counsel filed a crimes report with the Department of Justice against the Senate committee's staff.

That was too much for Feinstein, who outed the CIA's counsel:

"I should note that for most, if not all, of the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program, the now acting general counsel was a lawyer in the CIA's Counterterrorism Center--the unit within which the CIA managed and carried out this program. From mid-2004 until the official termination of the Detention and Interrogation Program in January 2009, he was the unit's chief lawyer. He is mentioned by name more than 1,600 times in our study. And now this individual is sending a crimes report to the Department of Justice on the actions of congressional staff--the same congressional staff who researched and drafted a report that details how CIA officers--including the acting general counsel himself--provided inaccurate information to the Justice Department about the program."

Enough said, except that White House spokesman Jay Carney put the president on the side of those like current CIA Director John Brennan covering up torture: "The president has great confidence in John Brennan and confidence in our intelligence community and in our professionals at the CIA." It's something that George W. Bush would have said.

Honoring the ‘Accomplices’ to Truth Who Caught Clapper in a Lie

The tide is turning. Yesterday's traitor is today's hero, and the brave journalists who helped Edward Snowden get the word out are at last being honored for their public service. Or so one hopes.

On Sunday it was announced that the prestigious George Polk Award for National Security Reporting would be given to the four journalists -- Glenn Greenwald, Ewen MacAskill, Laura Poitras and Barton Gellman -- most active in reporting about the content of the NSA documents leaked by Snowden. The award, named after a CBS News correspondent killed in 1948 while covering the civil war in Greece, is intended to honor journalists who "heightened public awareness with perceptive detection and dogged pursuit of stories that otherwise would not have seen the light of day."

That is, of course, the very purpose of the First Amendment's guarantee of a free press, an indelible standard of freedom subverted by figures like James R. Clapper Jr., the president's director of national intelligence, who condemned those reporters as "accomplices" to Snowden's disclosures and suggested that telling the truth should be treated as a serious crime. Of course, Clapper's own blatant lies to the Senate Intelligence Committee, denying mass-scale surveillance of the American public under his direction, are to be presumed virtuous.

In reality, the documents Snowden shared with the reporters from The Guardian, The Washington Post and other news organizations with well-established records of journalistic integrity were reported on in a manner that was mindful not to reveal the sources and methods used to ferret out terrorists. There is no evidence that this reporting has weakened the U.S. government's ability to protect the nation or that the NSA's mass surveillance of the private communications of Americans has made us safer.

On the contrary, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate, concluded, after an exhaustive investigation in the wake of the Snowden revelations, that the NSA surveillance program should be ended, as it is ineffectual and dangerous to our freedoms. Defenders of the program, implemented under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, have argued that if that NSA program had been in operation, one of the 9/11 hijackers, Khalid al-Mihdhar, would have been caught because of a call he made from San Diego to Yemen. But the board concluded in its majority report: "We do not believe the Mihdhar example supports continuance of the NSA's Section 215 program. First, the failure to identify Mihdhar's presence in the United States stemmed primarily from a lack of information sharing among federal agencies, not a lack of surveillance capabilities. As documented by the 9/11 commission and others, this was a failure to connect the dots, not a failure to collect enough dots."

When the suspicious call was made in early 2000, Mihdhar was living in San Diego with "a longtime FBI asset." But Mihdhar--who was being tracked by the CIA as well as the FBI--was allowed to leave the country and return on his valid Saudi passport to hijack a plane "in 2001 because he still had not been placed on any watchlists."

Even more damning is the conclusion of the report, vetted by the NSA, that the information on Mihdhar was readily available without the collection of metadata on most Americans:

"But obtaining this knowledge did not require a bulk telephone records program. The NSA knew the telephone number of the Yemen safe house. If the telephone calls with Mihdhar were deemed suspicious at the time, the government could have used existing legal authorities to request from U.S. telephone companies the records of any calls made to or from that Yemen number... Thus we do not believe that a program that collects all records from U.S. telephone companies was necessary to identify Mihdhar's location in early 2000, nor that such a program is necessary to make similar discoveries in the future."

What is threatening about the Snowden leaks is not the exposure of effective tactics employed by the U.S. in the fight against terrorism but rather the Keystone Cops-style ridicule it has brought upon America's claim of leadership in that effort. A case in point is the report coauthored by Polk winner Laura Poitras, a documentary filmmaker close to Snowden (and obviously one of the accomplices to whom Clapper was referring), that ran in Saturday's New York Times.

In that latest installment from Snowden's trove of government secrets that Americans had a right and need to know, it was revealed that the NSA, in cahoots with an equivalent Australian intelligence outfit, spied on the communications between an American law firm and the Indonesian government. In this instance there is not even a fig leaf of national security pretense because the issue being litigated concerned the import of Indonesian clove cigarettes and shrimp rather than the implements of violent behavior.

As with the previous revelation about the NSA's taping of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone conversations, it is clear that the scope of the spy agency's surveillance is so vast as to be absurd in its claim to be a narrowly targeted intrusion to nail suspected terrorists.