Accuracy in Media

June B AIM Report

The late CBS Evening News anchorman Walter Cronkite is named in a just-released FBI document from 1986 as being targeted in a Soviet “active measures” campaign against President Reagan’s anti-communist foreign policy. Cronkite is named as a possible member of a U.S. delegation that would sign a pro-Soviet “People’s Peace Treaty.”

Cronkite, once known as “the most trusted man in television news” because of his influence during the time when three network news programs dominated the national dissemination of news and information, bears a great deal of responsibility for the American military defeat in Vietnam and the communist conquest of that Southeast Asian country.

The term “active measures” in the FBI document carries special significance, since it designates Soviet intelligence operations to damage the United States and further the interest of Soviet foreign policy. The most common were political influence operations in which high-profile U.S. and Western political and public figures were used to promote Soviet objectives.

Released through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the Cronkite documents include an FBI cover letter, dated June 25, 1986, which designates an attached internal memorandum from the “Campaign for a People’s Peace Treaty” as part of a “Soviet active measures” campaign. The document is addressed to the FBI director and the attention of the Bureau’s intelligence division.

While many questions remain about the nature of this secret influence operation and its ultimate success, the documents provide absolute confirmation that the Soviets were targeting major figures in the U.S. media. Other targets were talk-show host Phil Donahue, Harrison Salisbury of the New York Times, David Brinkley of ABC News and Bill Moyers of CBS News and later with public television.

The “Campaign for a People’s Peace Treaty” was a project of the Soviet front National Council of American-Soviet Friendship and was designed to create public and international pressure to undermine Reagan’s U.S. conventional and nuclear arms buildup.

Assistant Director for Intelligence of the FBI Edward J. O’Malley testified before Congress in 1982 that the National Council of American-Soviet Friendship was founded in 1943 by the Communist Party USA and served Soviet interests.

Cronkite, who retired as CBS Evening News anchorman in 1981 but continued to speak publicly about current events, was a natural target of the Soviets and their agents because he was already considered sympathetic to their cause. In 1979, he had given an interview to the Soviet magazine, Literary Gazette, and told Vitaly Kobysh that the “Soviet threat” was “most likely…a myth.” According to the magazine, Cronkite went on to say that “I will never believe in a ‘Soviet threat.’”

Shortly after the interview was published, the Soviets invaded Afghanistan.

Donahue, who pioneered the daytime television talk-show format in the U.S. before Oprah Winfrey capitalized on it, had already been doing programs with Soviet journalist Vladimir Pozner and continues to be a prominent left-wing activist making occasional media appearances. His program on MSNBC was cancelled in 2003, his former senior producer Jeff Cohen claims, because he was too anti-war.

Other claims made in the documents—that Cronkite assisted anti-Vietnam War protesters and said that CBS would rent a helicopter to transport Senator Edmund Muskie to an anti-war rally—have been seized upon by other news outlets which apparently got batches of the same material through separate FOIA requests.

The offer of support from Cronkite to the anti-war organizers is consistent with the fact that the CBS newsman had already declared that the communist 1968 Tet Offensive was a defeat for the U.S. and that the American government should negotiate a military withdrawal. Cronkite’s verdict that the war was unwinnable—and its acceptance by other media and many members of the public—forced the transformation of U.S. policy into one of negotiations with the communists and eventual withdrawal of U.S. forces, leading to the Communist takeover of South Vietnam in 1975.

Communist Plan for Victory

Communist North Vietnam had launched an invasion of South Vietnam in 1960, creating the “National Liberation Front of South Vietnam,” or Viet Cong, as surrogates to wage war.

In the March-April 2010 issue of Military Review, in an article titled, “Lessons Learned from Vietnam,” Dr. William L. Stearman revisits the controversial period of 1968-1969, which was critical for the Vietnamese Communists because, despite Cronkite’s claims, they had actually been militarily defeated by U.S. and South Vietnamese troops during their Tet Offensive. Stearman notes that Cronkite’s hasty and faulty verdict on the war came after “a quick trip” to Vietnam in late February 1968.

The Tet Offensive “was a major North Vietnamese blunder,” notes Uwe Siemon-Netto, an international journalist who covered the war. At Tet, he writes, Hanoi lost 45,000 men and its entire infrastructure in the south. “Yet major United States media outlets portrayed Tet as a defeat for their own side,” he said, referring to Cronkite and others. “Following Tet, [President] Johnson announced that he would not stand for re-election. Though a military victory for the United States and its allies, Tet ultimately marked the beginning of their defeat.”

Stearman concluded, “…thanks to U.S. media, the enemy won the war where it most counted—in the United States.”

The Soviet Communists, who were waging the same kind of propaganda war against U.S. policy makers and the public, were not as successful as the Vietnam Communists. Reagan not only persisted in his arms build-up and beat back communist aggression in Central America but launched several efforts to expose and combat Soviet propaganda operations.

We now know, because of documents discovered and released after the Soviet collapse, that Senator Ted Kennedy made an offer to the Soviets to help organize opposition to Reagan’s pro-defense policies. Kennedy was the leading congressional sponsor of the “nuclear freeze” campaign to prevent deployment of U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe to counter the Soviet threat.

At Columbia University in 1983, a young Barack Obama wrote sympathetically about groups involved in the “nuclear freeze” campaign and the dangers of “militarism” and expressed the hope for total disarmament. As President, he is pursuing the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons, which many experts say is unverifiable, and just signed a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia that he wants ratified by the U.S Senate. Obama is opposed to modernization of the U.S. nuclear deterrent.

Cronkite and the other media personalities were included in a list of “possible members of the US delegation to sign the treaty.” A left-wing organization, the Center for Defense Information, is named as being in the position of providing a “military person” to sign the document.

In the area of industry, a first name, “Armand,” is listed, an apparent reference to Armand Hammer, the late chairman of Occidental Petroleum who was a family friend of Al Gore and a Soviet agent.

The “Labor” designation includes a reference to the ACTWU, the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union.

The memorandum says that Alan Thomson will take the signed “peace treaty” to Moscow and present it to the Soviet Peace Committee. Thomson was the executive director of the National Council of American-Soviet Friendship.

Despite his reputation as an honest and objective newsman, Cronkite was a key player in an on-the-air CBS News assault on the Reagan Administration’s defense buildup.

We wrote in a column, “After Ronald Reagan took office as President and proceeded to build up U.S. national defense capability, in the wake of the disastrous Jimmy Carter years, CBS News acted to counter the Reagan effort. They aired a five-part program, ‘The Defense of the United States,’ in which Cronkite appeared to tell us that the relationship with the Soviet Union was dominated by ‘the same old fears and doubts’ because we didn’t have a genuine dialogue with the Soviet communists.”

AIM founder Reed Irvine noted at the time of the broadcast that CBS gave us “the Kremlin view that it is the United States, not the Soviet Union, that is striving for an impossible military superiority, while creating fantasies about Soviet aggression.”

Irvine drew attention to the “persistent anti-defense bias of CBS News” under Cronkite and commented, “One has to wonder why the anti-defense bias is so strong and persistent at CBS. My own feeling is that it is a reflection of the views enunciated by Walter Cronkite that show a benign view of the Soviet Union.”

While Reagan pursued his arms buildup, including development of the Strategic Defense Initiative, and the Soviet Union eventually collapsed in 1991, the effort to save Vietnam from communism was not successful, thanks in large part to Cronkite’s influence.

The bloody result: 58,260 U.S. servicemen and nearly one million civilians died in the Vietnam War. The South Vietnamese military lost about a quarter of a million dead, and over one million Communist soldiers were killed. Tens of thousands of South Vietnamese allies of the U.S. left behind after the American military withdrawal were tortured in communist camps. Thousands of others fled in leaky boats, becoming known as the “boat people.”

The government of Vietnam today remains a Communist dictatorship.

Meanwhile, the National Council on American-Soviet Friendship turned its collection of pro-Soviet films over to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. “The films provide a fascinating window into a country and political system which no longer exist, and give viewers a way to see the Cold War from another perspective,” the academy says.

While the Soviet political system may not exist, the Russians have continued many of the old Soviet-style intelligence and influence operations. The book, Comrade J, based on the revelations of a Russian master spy, Sergei Tretyakov, identified former Clinton State Department official and now Brookings Institution head Strobe Talbott as a dupe of Russian intelligence.

Talbott had been a columnist for Time magazine, where he wrote about the need for world government, a cause also embraced by Walter Cronkite.

The KAL Shootdown

James Oberg, a veteran NASA mission-control engineer and well-known writer on aviation and space exploration, recounts working with Reed Irvine to counter pro-Moscow propaganda that was accepted by Cronkite and others in regard to the Korean Airliner atrocity—the Soviet shootdown of KAL-007 over international waters on September 1, 1983, after it had overflown the Kamchatka Peninsula and Sakhalin Island while off-course. This tragic event took the lives of nearly 300 people. Cronkite had endorsed the book, Incident at SakhalinThe True Mission of KAL Flight 007, by Michel Brun, a retired French pilot.

Brun had argued that the Korean airliner shootdown was a hoax perpetrated by the CIA, during which American jets destroyed the civilian airliner and then later engaged in a bloody dogfight with Soviet interceptors, an air battle both sides agreed to cover up.

Oberg commented, “Despite the egregiously crackpot nature of the theory, the stridently anti-American spin of its conclusions, and the sloppy and cooked-up ‘facts’, Cronkite allowed (I verified this with his staff) his words of support to be published on the book jacket.”

Cronkite’s endorsement stated, “This book has importance far beyond its sensational and dramatic revelations of a Cold war intelligence ploy that turned into a military engagement—an aerial battle that could easily have escalated into World War III.”

Oberg noted that the book “portrays US government officials as cold-blooded murderers as well as secret plotters and liars—but without any evidence that any serious aerospace historian considers valid. Yet that indictment was endorsed by Cronkite, who loaned his credibility to the claim.”•

Hedge Funds Spark World Revolution

By Cliff Kincaid

The Marxists used to be the experts in exploiting human suffering for the purposes of sparking revolution. But the hedge funds are doing better than the Marxists.

Consider that the business publication Barron’s ran an article headlined on its cover, “A savvy hedge-fund manager reveals how to make money on Old World’s woes.” A better headline would have been “How to exploit human suffering.” At a time when people were dying in Greece because of riots in response to economic problems, what kind of publication would openly advertise how to make money at the expense of others and profit from their misery?

But this is how the hedge fund short sellers and their apologists work.

First, our media claimed the stock market plunge on May 6 was a fat finger pushing the wrong key on a computer. That ridiculous assertion was laughable. Then, the absurd claim was that it might have been a cyber attack by some unnamed foreign adversary. A conspiracy theory is not needed to explain this. All available evidence points to the involvement of the hedge fund short sellers. These are people who specialize in selling short and then buying long, in order to make money at both ends of the transactions. Any financial analyst with a brain knows that the hedge fund short sellers operate this way. It is not a mystery.

If anything, the Goldman Sachs congressional hearings demonstrated this fact. The result has been a loss of even more confidence in the system, putting the survival of American capitalism in jeopardy. It is something the Marxists have only dreamed about.

The online version of Barron’s had a different headline over the article, which consists of an interview with Adam Fisher, the 38-year-old founder of Commonwealth Opportunity Capital. This headline says, “How to Make Money in a World of Risk.” But the point is still the same—there is money to be made while the world—and eventually America—goes up in flames.

While Fisher is betting on the collapse of the European Union’s currency, major upheaval in the United States is not too far behind.

The Global Europe Anticipation Bulletin (GEAB), which predicted the current financial crisis, has been predicting a U.S default on some of its debts. The default has been temporarily postponed because of the unprecedented spending and issuance of debt on top of debt by the Obama Administration. It predicts the next debt crisis in Britain, to be followed inevitably by the United States when “a major crisis” will affect its public debt holdings.

Interestingly, while Fisher was quoted in Barron’s as mostly talking about turmoil in Europe, he was full of praise for John Paulson, who saw “the forest for the trees” when he bet on a housing market collapse and made billions of dollars.

For his part, Fisher is “short” on the euro and is betting on a “significant change” that would mean dissolution or massive devaluation of the European currency. There is a 30 percent probability that the entire European financial system “blows up,” he says.

These comments are made as if he is playing a board game of Monopoly. But real lives and the savings and jobs of millions of people are at stake.

International Marxists, meanwhile, have seized on the “revolutionary consequences” of what is happening in Greece, saying that European Communist Parties must organize in opposition, bring down current governments, and “replace them instead with the United Socialist States of Europe.”

Not surprisingly, Fisher found nothing objectionable in the short-selling scheme that earned Goldman Sachs an indictment. In that operation, John Paulson helped Goldman select a pile of dubious loans that were likely to fail but were sold to investors anyway. Paulson was not indicted, however.

Also not surprisingly, Fisher insisted the charges against Goldman are “flimsy” and that it was “irrelevant” who picked the loans because all of the players were “big boys” who should have understood the nature of the transaction.

But “little people,” who lose their homes or much of the value of their homes, get burned. And now, because of what happened in the markets on May 6, the “little people” with good reason are scared to death to invest in the stock market.•

Illegal Alien Group Gets Favorable Coverage from Post

By Cliff Kincaid

CASA de Maryland, the group behind a May 1 “May Day” rally in favor of “immigrant rights” in Washington, D.C., is financially supported by the Catholic Church, Big Business, the federal government, and various Maryland governmental entities. The demonstration took the form of opposition to Arizona’s new law that is designed to discourage illegal immigration.

CASA de Maryland has distributed an eight-page book telling illegal aliens how to avoid law enforcement authorities. The CASA book, Know Your Rights, flatly says, “Don’t provide government officials information about your immigration status.”

Gustavo Torres of CASA was a listed speaker on the subject of “United States: A possible revolution” in Marxist-ruled Venezuela in 2007. CASA received $1.5 million from the Venezuelan oil company Citgo.

“Only in America can groups like CASA and their illegal alien criminal clientele use tax dollars to lobby for amnesty and equal rights, all to the detriment of the American people and our way of life,” commented Brad Botwin of Help Save Maryland.

In the past, Accuracy in Media has protested support given to CASA from the Philip L. Graham Fund, which is staffed by current and former officials of the Washington Post and includes Donald E. Graham, Chairman of the Board of The Washington Post Company, as a trustee.

The Eugene and Agnes Meyer Foundation, which is named after the former owner and publisher of The Washington Post, is currently listed as a financial sponsor of CASA. The Foundation reports that it provided $405,000 to the group.

The Herb Block Foundation, named after the long-time Washington Post editorial cartoonist, is also a CASA sponsor. This foundation provided funds for one of several controversial “Day Laborer Centers” operated by CASA.•

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