Rupert Murdoch, CIA and Conservative Influence – is it Good, Bad or Ugly?

The issue with media interference in politics is the lack of ethics in politicians and this impetus to win at any cost.  It completely undermines the principles of democracy which is about the will of the people.  In truth it is anti-democratic conduct and distortions in the media to influence people to think a certain way.  This is how mind control works and this is not in the public interest.

Rupert Murdoch would be characterised as right wing conservative and his desire to influence the world in his image I feel is very obvious given the commentators on Fox News and mouth pieces employed to ensure the left is destroyed.  The purpose of democracy was to clash up the diverse ideas in order for truth to emerge.  It was not about turning argument, different views into warfare where the other side must be destroyed.   I have come across this mentality and it has really shocked me.  It is nothing about the person but what is perceived that they stand for.  In my case I was perceived as ‘left wing’  I would never classify myself as ‘left’ or ‘right’ but more a universalist or humanist.  I would like to see both sides come together in a way that respects the difference.  I would not expect people to be the same, I much prefer diversity as those differences catalyse new ideas.  To suppress, undermine (bully), influence or force a particular perspective is more akin to fascism not democracy and it is wise to make this visible as it is not what the majority of people want.  People do not want to manipulated and controlled they want to learn about what is happening and in freedom make up their own minds.  That is what made the US so attractive around the world was this sense of freedom as other countries felt constrained under the weight of control paradigms that limit freedom and punish brutally.  It was considered the sign of a civilised society to embrace diversity.

The article below outlines Murdoch’s rise to power and his influence with Reagan.  It points out the issue of media concentration where one media owner can own a range of media channels which expands his influence.

Fairness is a subject that I hold dear as I see so many acting out of self interest.  I noted in the article below the concept of a “Fairness Doctrine” which  requires political fairness.  When this was disabled it enabled conservatism to spread. This is how distortion occurs.  The public are given information in repetitive forms until subliminally it just goes in.  I used to do media research and investigate how consumers recalled advertising.  We called it net correct recognition.  This is recalling what the advertising was about and how accurate the recall was, if at all.  Media is a very powerful medium for social molding or what I call molding the clay subtly.  Murdoch paid politicians and other influencers to spread the message he wanted the world to know rather than report the news in the public interest.  There is a real difference.  What is fascinating is that he wasn’t stopped?  If leadership/politics was ethical there is no way you would allow one operator to have disproportionate influence.  What is particularly concerning about right wing commentaries is their advocacy of violence supporting wars, vilification, particularly viewpoints and aggressively putting down views that differ.  It is reflective of intolerance and bullying.  Malcolm Turnbull was talking about bullying in politics yesterday but I would say this issue has to extend further into government services that bully welfare recipients, organisations that bully dissenters refusing to respect freedom of speech, business people who vilify those they see as competitive and in the public, communities, families and between people etc.

The issue with conservatives is that they regard themselves as business interests.  These interests have a disproportionate access to funds, assets, supporters where as those from other perspectives may not have the same ability to draw upon funds or media influence.  Not that I would endorse that it is more the issue of balance that I am reaching for.  I believe they should not be allowed to use their media reach to influence public opinion.  The issue of balance and fair reporting, independent journalism and investigative journalism without editorial interference must be ensured.  Journalists are very important as I am noting these days given the really strong shift to the right in Australia even recently.  Rather than the ABC public media be allowed to report independently it is viewed as left wing and therefore the ‘enemy’.  I noted calls for the privatisation of the ABC which would destroy this very important investigative forum for journalism in the public interest.  Privatisation shuts out the public and hides under commercial-in-confidence or secrecy to ensure protection of assets etc.  I am all for mixing it up with divergent views even those I don’t agree with.  The clash is what evokes questions and it is in questions that we expand beyond fixed beliefs.  Educating children in a click form of education where they just go ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or point and click and play games to different levels without being challenged, confronted, questioned and evoked (stimulated) creates compliance and almost a dullness that passively takes in information.  I am sure there are efforts to generate this type of conformity as anything challenging is seen as an ‘enemy’. Thus a war mentality not a democratic openness to difference and to enable people to learn, experience, choose and expand.  Of course television creates that passive receptivity often termed a alpha state refer  In my work as a peace educator I was working on experiential education which develops the Beta state of active listening, awareness, feeling and expansion of consciousness through awareness.  It also integrates values such as empathy, honesty, peace, responsibility which ensures we live in a active, vibrant society that is self determining as nature intended.  In my worldview we are here to be happy and have fun and to experience life to the fullest.  It is not about being a cyborg plugged in without any opinion and enunciating a catch cry of ‘whatever’.  That is compliance and complacency.  This is problematic at this time as the world is going through probably its largest transition outside of the cyber world.  It is shifting in ways we have never experienced, you only need look at the climate.  Ecologically and economically there are seismic shifts occurring yet in this dull mesmerised state of being we believe the real world is the computer in front of us.  Have a moment now and notice where you are.  Look around at the people around you. Feel your own presence.  This is awareness.  When you unconsciously lose yourself in the computer this is the alpha state at its most receptive where your own thoughts are the clay molded.  That is how it works.  When you awaken you become aware of how controlled and unconscious you are.  To awaken is to feel yourself and to become who you are.  Each person has an extraordinary capacity to grow in any direction.  Electronic cyber or mind control realities shut down that uniqueness.  It is done very subtly. That is why it is powerful.  You will just agree as everyone else did.  Critical thinking says – why?  This blog comes from why and myself following a thread that I noticed as someone looked at my blog on the CIA and it set me off in a direction which connected me to Australian politics, the leadership spill, the external influences and now Murdoch.  I just follow the thread. If I was shut down I would be looking for news to believe in.  Instead I am creating the news by my questions and truth becomes my true north, not someone else’s opinion.

I smile as I read the article where it speaks of Treasury Secretary William Simon and his book ‘time for truth’.  My question is – whose truth?  And more fun words:  liberty – again whose liberty? and I love this one ‘building democracy’.  Is democracy democracy when you influence it undermining opponents?

The article speaks of Freedom House.  I know about this organisation the President is Michael J. Abramowitz he is on the Council on Foreign Relations and that is when I know he is conservative.

It can be hard to discern the truth in the cyber reality as people can appear on Board to be seen to be ethical or they can truly be there as they believe in a cause.  Truth can be difficult to discern but you just have to keep digging until you get some connections to it.  Don’t believe anything on face value.  Investigative journalists research on hunches and draw links they check sources, who are those sources connected to? what is the angle? what is wanted? what is the money trail and payoff?  Critical thinking is an imperative in respect of investigative journalism, it is like an investigator seeking truth.   Suddenly it falls into place and you see the bigger picture.  Nothing is ever what it appears.  What I do is suspend my opinion and I keep open to possibilities.  I get sudden flashes and I follow up.  I don’t over think it I just look without a story and check it out clicking from one thing to the other but noting my inner feeling as I go. Integrative journalism.  I make my typos in these as I am a bit dyslexic but usually go back and re-read.  I don’t worry too much about perfection in sentences, I am a communicator first and foremost and I have only one focus, follow the feeling.

I love this one anti-war activists are communists. Now only recently I wondered about who was watching me given my peace work?  I would be categorised as left as I mentioned before.  I went to Russia.  Only recently did I actually stand in the shoes of others who would think communism.  I associated with Patch Adams (famous clown doctor) who is anti-capitalist, so a box is created through conceptual thinking.  What isn’t known is that Patch’s political beliefs were unknown to me until last year.  I was influenced to be a clown by a doctor/nurse couple promoting health in hospitals, naturally I went for it as I like having fun.  I just felt to give it a go.  They knew Patch.  I checked him out realised he is into peace.  I had a dream years before (1998) that I dreamed I was teaching peace. So this connected for me.  I am Australian the Communist issue in my background is a non-event. Even in politics we never considered the Labor party as communist or even socialist, it was more connected to working class which we were.  So intelligence can form all these uncontested boxes and draw links and say ‘definitely yes’ but it is not true.  Now let’s look at Communism.  I see Karl Marx and recall him as part of my studies in Economics as we looked at a range of socio-economic approaches to economy and social organisation.  I was never drawn to the left not because I have anything against the doctrine of collectivism but more because I saw militancy in some aspects of it which I am not resonating with.  I am into the love aspect of clowning which is healing and inclusion on the basis of humour.  So a right leaning newspaper can say Communist as they are not deeply probing for truth, they can make that a bad thing rather than touting the real democracy which embraces freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of choice, free from discrimination on the journey of exploring what you relate to what you don’t but not calling it wrong or right just different.  That is the philosophy that transcends conflict and moves me. I am opening into a space that is not anti-anything in the sense that life is what life is and who am I to say think like me! That is arrogant, I am presuming I know what is best for you, I don’t.   I just say ‘be who you are’, for me that is real freedom. I don’t feel threatened or seek to undermine because someone identifies as a aggressive conservatives or militant socialist (extremes I am describing for clarity of differences).  I just know that violence plants the seeds of its own destruction whether that be -thought, word or deed. Violence is negativity it doesn’t care if it is right or left, it is just scared but covers this with masks, mantras and dividing lines into them and us. So violence divides and eventually falls apart. This is a universal law.  Love unites, sees oneself in the other, accepts, includes, understands, feels and so on.  As I said I am more of a universalist (oneness).  We are one family, some families clash others get along but still the one family. For me clowning expresses this openness to diversity with great love and freedom.  I cannot express the beauty of knowing this unbroken line or circle. It is unencumbered by stress or strain or effort just flowing and appreciating life as it shows up.  That is why I probably identify more with the Fool.

So back to good ‘ol Murdoch.  So given my little discussion here he is providing an extreme or diverse view.  Perhaps through his activities he is awakening in others the awareness of political influence, media influence and its impacts. In freedom we get to choose.  Do you watch Fox news or choose again?  Do you take on board that this is what happens and think of other innovations that enable balance or say great! spread conservatism?  So as we dance with those we think are the devil we expand the bigger picture as we search for better ways.  That is how I know it is all good it all depends on the angle/perspective from which you choose to see.  I just explored clowning and had insights into how I may be seen, I expanded. The same would apply to the CIA and other intelligence agencies, what are we learning from their activities?  Perhaps from the clandestine secrecy openness arises.

The CIA video in the previous blog is a ex-CIA guy talking about what he perceives as the problem with the CIA. So he learned to see differently by his own insights and clearly his own search for truth. Is he right or wrong? Each decides.  This is diversity discovering unity within one’s self as it feels resonant with inner truth. It takes courage to step out of conformity and say ‘I don’t agree’ when you are supposed to.  Others will say ‘traitor’ and seek revenge, another might go ‘how brave’, another ‘I didn’t know that’ and so on.  We all choose.  As I move into my own truth I feel peace arise towards Murdoch.  I really love that.

I just read on and discovered Catholic.  Tony Abbott came to mind as he trained as a catholic priest and the christian right comes into view.  I found this.  I cannot validate it as truth but I feel links. People affiliate on the basis of shared beliefs, theology, ideology, philosophy or cosmology.  The issue of Whitlam comes to light in the above article.  Was he removed by the Murdoch/CIA connection.  Is this right? Is this wrong? What was the outcome? Where are we today?  Gender issues arise based on theological belief, the issue of puritan etc.  What is that?  What is it to be pure? Is it fundamentally adhering to doctrine or is it thinking beautiful thoughts?

Another issue of small government comes up in the above article.  I see this today as expanding corporatisation not less government spending. The argument is government is inefficient and spends too much.  That depends on what you think is of value or not?  Is social welfare a good investment in ensuring social stability and happiness for those who cannot benefit from employment and equal access to the benefits of society? Are they lazy? Is there full employment? Should people work? etc.  Are corporates more efficient? Are they more greedy? Can they cross subsidise to ensure those in remote areas get the same services or is this not profitable? What is the purpose of taxation?  Should it go to corporates on public sector contracts? Does that go offshore? Should it be invested in the country and by local companies?  So ethics comes in over and over when we start to question our thinking.  However, those who we would deem extreme believe their thoughts are right and over the years they convince themselves they are right others wrong and the one wrong should be stopped this is how conflict and extremism is rooted in the belief of ‘doing good’.

The agenda to push conservatism by privately funded foundations entwined within public/private relationship enabled covert operations to occur off the record as propaganda campaigns favour the conservative view thus distorting public opinion through biased media reporting, has done much damage.  I reflect on the many death where foreign interference exacerbated conflict through political biases rather than neutral positions aimed at resolving differences.  I see this as essentially the projection of power rather than resolving conflicts so diverse views can coexist enabling greater ideas to be generated rather than shutting down the enemy.  For me, this is the essence.

This discussion became the blog evoked by Rupert Murdoch.  His contribution is direct and by contrast.  He has indeed made an impact.  Now we all get to choose the world we want when we speak up and get involved.  As citizens start to examine information with a critical mind set truth eventually comes out. This is when we become disillusioned but perhaps that is a good outcome.

Murdoch, Scaife and CIA Propaganda

Murdoch, Scaife and CIA Propaganda


Special Report: The rapid expansion of America’s right-wing media began in the 1980s as the Reagan administration coordinated foreign policy initiatives with conservative media executives, including Rupert Murdoch, and then cleared away regulatory hurdles, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

The Reagan administration pulled right-wing media executives Rupert Murdoch and Richard Mellon Scaife into a CIA-organized “perception management” operation which aimed Cold War-style propaganda at the American people in the 1980s, according to declassified U.S. government records.

President Reagan meets with publisher Rupert Murdoch, U.S. Information Agency Director Charles Wick, lawyers Roy Cohn and Thomas Bolan in the Oval Office on Jan. 18, 1983. (Photo credit: Reagan presidential library)

President Reagan meets with publisher Rupert Murdoch, U.S. Information Agency Director Charles Wick, lawyer Roy Cohn and his law partner Thomas Bolan in the Oval Office on Jan. 18, 1983. (Photo credit: Reagan presidential library)

Although some records relating to Murdoch remain classified, several documents that have been released indicate that he and billionaire Scaife were considered sources of financial and other support for President Ronald Reagan’s hard-line Central American policies, including the CIA’s covert war in Nicaragua.

A driving force behind creation of Reagan’s extraordinary propaganda bureaucracy was CIA Director William Casey who dispatched one of the CIA’s top covert action specialists, Walter Raymond Jr., to the National Security Council to oversee the project. According to the documents, Murdoch was brought into the operation in 1983 when he was still an Australian citizen and his media empire was much smaller than it is today.

Charles Wick, director of the U.S. Information Agency, arranged at least two face-to-face meetings between Murdoch and Reagan, the first on Jan. 18, 1983, when the administration was lining up private financing for its propaganda campaign, according to records at the Reagan presidential library in Simi Valley, California. That meeting also included lawyer and political operative Roy Cohn and his law partner Thomas Bolan.

The Oval Office meeting between Reagan and Murdoch came just five days after NSC Advisor William Clark noted in a Jan. 13, 1983 memo to Reagan the need for non-governmental money to advance the project. “We will develop a scenario for obtaining private funding,” Clark wrote, as cited in an unpublished draft chapter of the congressional Iran-Contra investigation.

Clark then told the President that “Charlie Wick has offered to take the lead. We may have to call on you to meet with a group of potential donors.”

The documents suggest that Murdoch was soon viewed as a source for that funding. In an Aug. 9, 1983 memo summing up the results of a Casey-organized meeting with five leading ad executives regarding how to “sell” Reagan’s aggressive policies in Central America, Raymond referred to Murdoch as if he already were helping out.

In a memo to Clark, entitled “Private Sector Support for Central American Program,” Raymond criticized a more traditional White House outreach program headed by Faith Whittlesey as “preaching to the converted.”

Raymond told Clark that the new project would involve a more comprehensive approach aimed at persuading a majority of Americans to back Reagan’s Central American policies, which included support for right-wing regimes in Guatemala and El Salvador as well as the Contra rebels fighting the leftist Sandinista government of Nicaragua.

“We must move out into the middle sector of the American public and draw them into the ‘support’ column,” Raymond wrote. “A second package of proposals deal with means to market the issue, largely considering steps utilizing public relations specialists or similar professionals to help transmit the message.”

To improve the project’s chances for success, Raymond wrote, “we recommended funding via Freedom House or some other structure that has credibility in the political center. Wick, via Murdoch, may be able to draw down added funds for this effort.”

Raymond included similar information in a separate memo to Wick in which Raymond noted that “via Murdock [sic] may be able to draw down added funds” to support the initiative. (Raymond later told me that he was referring to Rupert Murdoch.)

In a March 7, 1984 memo about the “‘Private Funders’ Project,” Raymond referred to Murdoch again in discussing a request for money from longtime CIA-connected journalist Brian Crozier, who was “looking for private sector funding to work on the question of ‘anti-Americanism’ overseas.”

Raymond wrote: “I am pursuaded [sic] it is a significant long term problem. It is also the kind of thing that Ruppert [sic] and Jimmy might respond positively to. Please look over the stack [of papers from Crozier] and lets [sic] discuss if and when there might be further discussion with our friends.”

Crozier, who died in 2012, had a long history of operating in the shadowy world of CIA propaganda. He was director of Forum World Features, which was set up in 1966 by the Congress for Cultural Freedom, which received covert funding from the CIA. Crozier also acknowledged in his memoir keeping some of his best stories for the CIA.

At least one other document related to Murdoch’s work with USIA Director Wick remains classified, according to the National Archives. Murdoch’s News Corp. has not responded to requests for comment about the Reagan-era documents.

Helping Murdoch

Murdoch, who became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1985 to meet a regulatory requirement that U.S. TV stations must be owned by Americans, benefited from his close ties to both U.S. and British officialdom.

On Monday, the UK’s Independent reported that Ed Richards, the retiring head of the British media regulatory agency Ofcom, accusedBritish government representatives of showing favoritism to Murdoch’s companies.

Richards said he was “surprised” by the informality, closeness and frequency of contact between executives and ministers during the failed bid by Murdoch’s News Corp. for the satellite network BSkyB in 2011. The deal was abandoned when it was discovered that journalists at Murdoch’s News of the World tabloid had hacked the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler and others.

“What surprised everyone about it not just me was quite how close it was and the informality of it,” Richards said, confirming what had been widely reported regarding Murdoch’s access  to powerful British politicians dating back at least to the reign of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s. The Reagan documents suggest that Murdoch built similarly close ties to leading U.S. politicians in the same era.

In 1983, Murdoch’s rising media empire was still based in Australia with only a few U.S. properties, such as the Star tabloid and the New York Post. But he was eyeing expansion into the U.S. media market. In 1984, he bought a stake in 20th Century Fox and then six Metromedia television stations, which would form the nucleus of Fox Broadcasting Company, which was founded on Oct. 9, 1986.

At the time, Murdoch and other media moguls were lobbying for a relaxation of regulations from the Federal Communications Commission, a goal that Reagan shared. Under FCC Chairman Mark Fowler, the Reagan administration undertook a number of steps favorable to Murdoch’s interests, including increasing the number of TV stations that any single entity could own from seven in 1981 to 12 in 1985.

In 1987, the “Fairness Doctrine,” which required political balance in broadcasting, was eliminated, which enabled Murdoch to pioneer a more aggressive conservatism on his TV network. In the mid-1990s, Murdoch expanded his political reach by founding the neoconservative Weekly Standard in 1995 and Fox News on cable in 1996. At Fox News, Murdoch has hired scores of prominent politicians, mostly Republicans, putting them on his payroll as commentators.

Last decade, Murdoch continued to expand his reach into U.S. mass media, acquiring DirecTV and the financial news giant Dow Jones, including The Wall Street Journal, America’s leading business news journal.

Scaife’s Role

Richard Mellon Scaife exercised his media influence on behalf of Reagan and the conservative cause in a different way. While the scion of the Mellon banking, oil and aluminum fortune did publish a right-wing newspaper in Pittsburgh, the Tribune Review, Scaife mostly served as a financial benefactor for right-wing journalists and think tanks.

Indeed, Scaife was one of the original financiers of what emerged as a right-wing counter-establishment in media and academia, a longstanding goal of key Republicans, including President Richard Nixon who recognized the importance of propaganda as a political weapon.

According to Nixon’s chief of staff H.R. Haldeman, as reported in The Haldeman Diaries, one of Nixon’s pet ideas was to build a network of loyal conservatives in positions of influence. The President was “pushing again on project of building our establishment in press, business, education, etc.,” Haldeman wrote in one entry on Sept. 12, 1970.

Financed by rich conservative foundations and wealthy special interests, Nixon’s brainchild helped tilt politics in favor of the American Right with Richard Mellon Scaife one of the project’s big-money godfathers. By using family foundations, such as Sarah Scaife and Carthage, Scaife joined with other leading right-wing foundations to fund think tanks, such as the Heritage Foundation, which Scaife helped launch in 1973.

In 1978, Nixon’s friend and Treasury Secretary William Simon provided more impetus to this growing machine, declaring in his book, Time for Truth: “Funds generated by business … must rush by the multimillion to the aid of liberty … to funnel desperately needed funds to scholars, social scientists, writers and journalists who understand the relationship between political and economic liberty.”

With Reagan’s inauguration in 1981 and Casey’s selection as CIA director Scaife and other right-wing ideologues were in position to merge their private funding with U.S. Government money in pursuit of the administration’s geopolitical goals, including making sure the American people would not break ranks as many did over the Vietnam War.

Building the Operation

On Nov. 4, 1982, Raymond, after his transfer from CIA to the NSC staff but while still a CIA officer, wrote to NSC Advisor Clark about the “Democracy Initiative and Information Programs,” stating that “Bill Casey asked me to pass on the following thought concerning your meeting with Dick Scaife, Dave Abshire [then a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board], and Co.

“Casey had lunch with them today and discussed the need to get moving in the general area of supporting our friends around the world. By this definition he is including both ‘building democracy’ and helping invigorate international media programs. The DCI [Casey] is also concerned about strengthening public information organizations in the United States such as Freedom House.

“A critical piece of the puzzle is a serious effort to raise private funds to generate momentum. Casey’s talk with Scaife and Co. suggests they would be very willing to cooperate. Suggest that you note White House interest in private support for the Democracy initiative.”

In subsequent years, Freedom House emerged as a leading critic of Nicaragua’s Sandinista government, which Reagan and Casey were seeking to overthrow by covertly supporting the Contra rebels. Freedom House also became a major recipient of money from the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy, which was founded in 1983 under the umbrella of the Casey-Raymond project.

The role of the CIA in these initiatives was concealed but never far from the surface. A Dec. 2, 1982 note addressed to “Bud,” a reference to senior NSC official Robert “Bud” McFarlane, described a request from Raymond for a brief meeting.  “When he [Raymond] returned from Langley [CIA headquarters], he had a proposed draft letter re $100 M democ[racy]  proj[ect],” the note said.

While Casey pulled the strings on this project, the CIA director instructed White House officials to hide the CIA’s role. “Obviously we here [at CIA] should not get out front in the development of such an organization, nor should we appear to be a sponsor or advocate,” Casey said in one undated letter to then-White House counselor Edwin Meese III as Casey urged creation of a “National Endowment.”

On Jan. 21, 1983, Raymond updated Clark about the project, which also was reaching out to representatives from other conservative foundations, including Les Lenkowsky of Smith-Richardson, Michael Joyce of Olin and Dan McMichael of Mellon-Scaife. “This is designed to develop a broader group of people who will support parallel initiatives consistent with Administration needs and desires,” Raymond wrote.

Bashing Teresa Heinz

One example of how Scaife’s newspaper directly helped the Reagan administration can be seen in clippings from the Tribune-Review that I found in Raymond’s files. On April 21, 1983, the newspaper published a package of stories suggesting illicit left-wing connections among groups opposed to nuclear war.

The articles leave little doubt that Scaife’s newspaper is suggesting that these anti-war activists are communists or communist fellow travelers. One headline reads: “Reds Woo Some U.S. Peace Leaders.”

Another article cites an accusation from one congressman in the 1950s, after hearings on foundation grants “to numerous Communists and Communist-front organizations,” that “Here lies the story of how Communism and Socialism are financed in the U.S. where they get their money.” The 1983 article then asks: “Is history repeating itself?”

Ironically, one of the philanthropists who is singled out in these red-baiting articles is Teresa Heinz, then married to Sen. John Heinz, R-Pennsylvania, who died in a 1991 plane crash. In 1995, Teresa Heinz married Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, who is currently Secretary of State.

The organizational role of Casey and Raymond in this domestic propaganda campaign raised concerns about the legality of having two senior CIA officials participating in a scheme to manage the perceptions of the American people.

Both in internal documents and a deposition to the congressional Iran-Contra committee, Raymond made clear his discomfort about the possible legal violation from his and Casey’s roles. Raymond formally resigned from the CIA in April 1983, so, he said, “there would be no question whatsoever of any contamination of this.”

That sensitivity was also reflected in press guidance prepared in case a reporter noted Raymond’s CIA background and the problems it presented to the “public diplomacy” effort. If someone challenged press reports that asserted “there is no CIA involvement in the Public Diplomacy Program” and then asked “isn’t Walt Raymond, a CIA employee, involved heavily?” the prescribed answer was:

“Walter Raymond is a member of the National Security Council staff. In the past he has worked for Defense, CIA and State. It is true that in the formative stages of the effort, Walt Raymond contributed many useful ideas. It is ironic that he was one of those who was most insistent that there be no CIA involvement in this program in any way.

“Indeed, it is a credit to the Agency that it has stressed throughout that the United States ought to be completely open about the programs it puts in place to assist in the development of democratic institutions and that none of these programs should come under the aegis of the CIA. They do not want to be involved in managing these programs and will not be. We have nothing to hide here.”

If a reporter pressed regarding where Raymond last worked, the response was to be: “He retired from CIA. He is a permanent member of the National Security Council.” And, if pressed about Raymond’s duties, the scripted answer was: “His duties there are classified.” (Raymond’s last job at the CIA was Director of the Covert Action Staff with a specialty in propaganda and disinformation.)

Beyond how Raymond’s “classified duties” contradict the assertion that “we have nothing to hide here,” there was a more deceptive element of the press guidance: it didn’t mention the key role of CIA Director Casey in both organizing and directing the project and it suggested that Raymond’s role had been limited to offering “many useful ideas” when he was the hands-on, day-to-day manager of the operation.

Casey’s Hidden Hand

Casey’s secret role in the propaganda scheme continued well into 1986, as Raymond continued to send progress reports to his old boss, even as Raymond fretted in one memo about the need “to get [Casey] out of the loop.”

The “public diplomacy” operation was “the kind of thing which [Casey] had a broad catholic interest in,” Raymond shrugged during his Iran-Contra deposition. He then offered the excuse that Casey undertook this apparently illegal interference in domestic politics “not so much in his CIA hat, but in his adviser to the president hat.”

Though the Casey-Raymond teamwork ended with the exposure of the Iran-Contra scandal in late 1986 and with Casey’s death on May 6, 1987, its legacy continued with Scaife and other rich right-wingers funding ideological media that protected the flanks of President Reagan, his successor President George H.W. Bush and other Republicans of that era.

For instance, Scaife helped fund the work of Steven Emerson, who played a key role in “discrediting” investigations into whether Reagan’s 1980 campaign had sabotaged President Jimmy Carter’s hostage negotiations with Iran to gain an edge in that pivotal election. [See’s “Unmasking October Surprise Debunker.”]

Scaife also helped finance the so-called “Arkansas Project” that pushed hyped and bogus scandals to damage the presidency of Bill Clinton. [See’s “Starr-gate: Cracks on the Right.”]

Walter Raymond Jr. died on April 16, 2003. Richard Mellon Scaife died on July 4, 2014. But Rupert Murdoch, now 83, remains one of the most powerful media figures on earth, continuing to wield unparalleled influence through his control of Fox News and his vast media empire that stretches around the globe.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and You also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here..

Mohandas Gandhi

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”