How do you win a war without firing a single bullet? You use the media to manipulate the minds of the people - and these leaked documents from the BBC and Reuters are a prime example of just how propaganda is being used to pull humanity's strings all over the planet.
Reuters and BBC Caught Taking Money for Propaganda Campaign
Leaked documents reveal Reuters and BBC News have been involved in a covert program by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office to weaken Russia’s influence through a multipronged propaganda campaign
Operation Mockingbird was a clandestine CIA media infiltration campaign launched in 1948 under the Office of Special Projects. The CIA spent about one-third of its budget on bribes to hundreds of journalists who published fake stories at the CIA’s request
However, infiltration and manipulation of the media have been a routine occurrence since 1915, when J.P. Morgan interests, including the steel and shipbuilding industries, purchased editorial control of 25 of the most influential newspapers, thereby allowing them to control news about military preparedness, financial policies and other news that were crucial to their private and corporate interests
Operation Mockingbird was the CIA’s effort to consolidate and expand this secret hold over the media some three decades later
While the propaganda messages change with the times, the basic modus operandi remains the same to this day. If anything, the system has only gotten more efficient and effective, as the number of major media outlets have shrunk and a vast majority of journalists simply parrot what’s reported by the three global news agencies
This article was previously published March 10, 2021, and has been updated with new information.
Operation Mockingbird,1,2 publicly revealed during a 1975 Congressional hearing, was a clandestine CIA media infiltration campaign launched in 1948 under the Office of Special Projects.3
The CIA reportedly spent $1 billion a year (about one-third of its entire budget4) on under-the-table bribes to hundreds of American journalists who in return published fake stories at the CIA's request. CIA-recruited journalists worked in most major news organizations, including CBS News, Time, Life, Newsweek and The New York Times, just to name a few.5 Later on, the campaign expanded to include foreign media as well.6 As reported by the Free Press:7
"In 1976, Senator Frank Church's investigation into the CIA exposed their corruption of the media. The Church Committee reported: 'The CIA currently maintains a network of several hundred foreign individuals around the world who provide intelligence for the CIA and at times attempt to influence opinion through the use of covert propaganda.
These individuals provide the CIA with direct access to a large number of newspapers and periodicals, scores of press services and news agencies, radio and television stations, commercial book publishers, and other foreign media outlets' …
The tactic was straightforward. False news reports or propaganda would be provided by CIA writers to knowing and unknowing reporters who would simply repeat the falsehoods over and over again."
Reuters and BBC News Were Paid for Propaganda Campaign
While Operation Mockingbird may sound like ancient history, there's plenty of evidence to suggest it's still in full swing. During the Cold War, CIA propaganda disparaged communist ideologies. Today, it promotes radical socialist ideas that support a technocratic economic system instead.
While the propaganda messages change with the times, the basic modus operandi of their dissemination remains the same. If anything, the system has only gotten more efficient and effective, as the number of major media outlets has shrunk over these past decades, and a vast majority of journalists and news anchors simply parrot what's reported by the three global news agencies.
The CIA also isn't the only intelligence agency using the media for its own propaganda purposes. Leaked documents8 reveal Reuters and BBC News have been involved in a covert program by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to weaken Russia's influence on its neighbors. In his extensive February 20, 2021, GrayZone article, Max Blumenthal writes:9
"Working through a shadowy department within the UK FCO known as the Counter Disinformation & Media Development (CDMD), the media organizations operated alongside a collection of intelligence contractors in a secret entity known simply as 'the Consortium.'
Through training programs of Russian journalists overseen by Reuters, the British Foreign Office sought to produce an 'attitudinal change in the participants,' promoting a 'positive impact' on their 'perception of the UK' …
In effect, the British government was seeking to infiltrate Russian media and propagate its own narrative through an influence network of Russian journalists trained in the UK …
'These revelations show that when MPs were railing about Russia, British agents were using the BBC and Reuters to deploy precisely the same tactics that politicians and media commentators were accusing Russia of using,' Chris Williamson, a former UK Labour MP who attempted to apply public scrutiny to the CDMD's covert activities and was stonewalled on national security grounds, told The Grayzone.
'The BBC and Reuters portray themselves as an unimpeachable, impartial, and authoritative source of world news,' Williamson continued, 'but both are now hugely compromised by these disclosures. Double standards like this just bring establishment politicians and corporate media hacks into further disrepute.'"
Reuters, BBC Hired to Promote Pro-NATO Narratives
The leaked documents show both Reuters and the BBC received "multimillion-dollar contracts to advance the British state's interventionist aims." The FCO funded:
The cultivation of Russian journalists
The establishment of "influence networks" in and around Russia
The promotion of pro-NATO narratives in Russian-speaking regions
In its proposals, Reuters stated it has 15,000 journalists and staff within its global network, including 400 journalists within Russia. Reuters and BBC carried out their covert influencing mission in partnership with other high-profile media companies, including Bellingcat, Meduza and Mediazona.
Overseeing the operation was the Zinc Network, an intelligence contractor, which was also responsible for the establishment of a network of Russian and Central Asian YouTubers who were not registered as external sources. The Zinc Network also claimed to have the ability to "activate a range of content; to support anti-government protests inside Russia."
This isn't the first time Reuters and the BBC have been implicated in a Mockingbird-type media influencing operation. Documents declassified in January 2020 showed the British government funded Reuters "throughout the 1960s and 1970s to assist an anti-Soviet propaganda organization run by the MI6 intelligence agency," Blumenthal writes.10 The BBC, meanwhile, was used as "a pass-through to conceal payments" to Reuters.
180-Degrees From the Truth
It's no small irony that most of the organizations claiming to promote truth and counter disinformation are in fact doing the exact opposite. The Counter Disinformation & Media Development (CDMD) group sounds very much like the Centre for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH).
The CCDH is an opaquely funded group run by Imran Ahmed, who is also a member of the Steering Committee on the Countering Extremism Pilot Task Force under the British government's Commission for Countering Extremism.
Ahmed has gone on record saying he considers anti-vaxxers "an extremist group that pose a national security risk,"11 and admits tracking and spying on 425 vaccine-related Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter accounts.12
In addition to stating that medical and scientific professionals must "convince the public that COVID is dangerous and give them confidence that a vaccine is safe and effective,"13 the CCDH is also calling for deplatforming anyone who questions vaccines,14 and to "hold platforms accountable" through fines, criminal sanctions and other measures that can impact the platform's bottom line.
So, just as the CDMD is actually not countering disinformation but, rather, creating it, the CCDH is not in the business of countering digital hate; it's actively creating and promoting online hate by baselessly labeling millions of law-abiding parents — whose only crime is to be concerned about their children's health — as extremist threats and enemies of the state.
Media Have Become Integral Part of Intelligence Spy Network
Other media reports15,16,17 have also highlighted the role of intelligence agencies in the global effort to eliminate "anti-vaccine propaganda" from public discussion, and the fact that they're using sophisticated cyberwarfare tools to do so. For example, independent investigative journalist Whitney Webb writes:18
"British and American state intelligence agencies are 'weaponizing truth' to quash vaccine hesitancy as both nations prepare for mass inoculations, in a recently announced 'cyber war' to be commanded by AI-powered arbiters of truth against information sources that challenge official narratives …
The UK's GCHQ [Government Communications Headquarters19] 'has begun an offensive cyber-operation to disrupt anti-vaccine propaganda being spread by hostile states' and 'is using a toolkit developed to tackle disinformation and recruitment material peddled by Islamic State' to do so.20
In addition, the UK government has ordered the British military's 77th Brigade, which specializes in 'information warfare,' to launch an online campaign to counter 'deceptive narratives' about COVID-19 vaccine candidates.
The newly announced GCHQ 'cyber war' will not only take down 'anti-vaccine propaganda' but will also seek to 'disrupt the operations of the cyberactors responsible for it, including encrypting their data so they cannot access it and blocking their communications with each other.'
The effort will also involve GCHQ reaching out to other countries in the 'Five Eyes' alliance (U.S., Australia, New Zealand and Canada) to alert their partner agencies in those countries to target such 'propaganda' sites hosted within their borders."
Intelligence-Led Information Warfare Against the Public
Clues that U.S. intelligence agencies — not just the CIA but also the FBI — support this cyberwar against the public can also be found in a white paper21 published in the InfraGard Journal in June 2019. InfraGard, a nonprofit national security group, collaborates with the FBI22 on educational and information-sharing initiatives "that help mitigate threats" to national security.23
The InfraGard paper24 claims the American anti-vaccine movement is being orchestrated by Russian government-aligned organizations seeking to "sow discontent and distrust in topics and initiatives that serve U.S. interests,"25 and that "The biggest threat in controlling an outbreak comes from those who categorically reject vaccination."26
Primer's ultimate goal is to use their AI to entirely automate the shaping of public perceptions and become the arbiter of 'truth,' as defined by the state. ~ Whitney Webb