It should be noted that as much as I respected the professionalism and relative independence of certain VOA journalists, the reason for the club's decision years ago was as relevant then as it is today.
The U.S. government has been, since the George W. Bush administration, creating government-controlled news organizations masked as independent sources of news. Nothing tied financially or organizationally to the government is independent of the government, especially news organizations.
The constitutionally-guaranteed right of freedom of the press is endangered when the government decides to control a part of the press.
USA Today recently reported that the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) is running the Trans-Regional Web Initiative in Tampa, Florida, A number of international news websites are part of its Trans Regional Web Initiative (TRWI).
The program has existed since 1999 when USSOC decided to become involved in the news business during the NATO military operations in Kosovo and Serbia. This editor broke the story that Special Operations personnel were working as interns at CNN headquarters in Atlanta. TV Guide reported that similar interns were working for National Public Radio in Washington, DC.
TRWI sites include Southeast Europe Times, SES Turkey, Magharebia, Mawtani al-Shorfa, and Central Asia Online. USSOCOM's operations are supported by the Rendon Group, a Washington-based propaganda propagation firm that was involved in news deception and denial operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, including assisting the Pentagon in banning reporters from combat zones who were suspected of anti-war leanings.
In addition to USSOCOM, the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), also based in Tampa, is involved in its own media "information operations."
Recently, the website DeeplySyria.com appeared on the scene in support of the Syrian rebels. The site's personnel have a definite neo-con and George Soros taint about them with backgrounds at The Wall Street Journal, B92 in Belgrade, Human Rights Watch, Council on Foreign Relations, and with the campaign of Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
DeeplySyria also has links to dubiously-linked "aid" organizations, including Mercy Corps, World Food Program, and UNICEF. Thanks to intense lobbying by U.S. ambassador to the UN, UNICEF is headed by Anthony Lake, the National Security Adviser under President Bill Clinton.
In the late 1970s, the American Newspaper Guild accepted a CIA-linked grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to help organize labor fronts in Latin America.
According to a May 1979 article by Jeff Stein in The Progressive, the money was laundered by USAID through the American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD) that was established in 1961 by the government, AFL-CIO, and large corporations like Anaconda Copper, PanAm, and W.R. Grace and Company to stem the rise of left-wing progressive movements in Latin America.
AIFLD chairman Peter Grace became a close friend of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. AIFLD also helped overthrow the government of Brazilian President Joao Goulart in 1964. In 1967, the CIA funneled $1 million directly to the American Newspaper Guild through front foundations.
Editors Press Service was a CIA proprietary that fed news stories to the Latin American media. Today, the CIA continues to use foundations, including those of Soros, to fund propaganda operations, including print, broadcast, and web-based services.
There were so many CIA-linked journalists operating in Latin America, truly independent U.S. journalists covering the continent were often accused of being CIA agents. American journalists who wanted to cover Latin American leftist guerrilla movements were often suspected of being CIA agents.
In 1976, it was revealed that Forum World Features (FWF), a British news features agency, was funded by the CIA in order to make secret payments to foreign correspondents working on behalf of the CIA. Providing cover for the CIA was FWF owner John Hay Whitney, publisher of the New York Herald Tribune.
Continental Press Service was a Washington-based news agency run by the CIA that provided copy to foreign newspapers Fodor's Modern Guides provided CIA agents overseas cover as travel and tourism reporters.
National Geographic was known to employ CIA photographers and reporters in countries normally denied to U.S. diplomats, including communist Outer Mongolia, mainland China, and communist-ruled Albania. In some cases, CIA agents used actual press credentials issued by Reuters, Agence France Presse, and The Washington Post.
An attempt by the U.S. Congress in the late 1970s to ban the CIA from using journalists as agents was shot down by the Jimmy Carter administration.
Carter's CIA director, Stansfield Turner, believed that restrictions on the use of journalists were best handled by CIA internal regulations. A federal law, he reasoned, would "tie the hands" of the CIA to have the option of using journalists in "specialized circumstances."
Those circumstances have apparently gone from "specialized" to routine.
source: Wayne Madsen Reports
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