Thought Control: Corporate-Funded Think-Tanks that Perpetuate Faux Beliefs Promulgated by CIA Propagandists

From: The Institute for Economic Democracy

The CovertAction Quarterly, put out by disaffected CIA agents, recognized corporate America was wrapping a large share of the world within a belief system the same way America’s beliefs of lurking enemies during the Cold War had been manufactured and also the way Britain imposed Adam Smith free trade beliefs 200 years ago.We obtained permission to quote Sally Covington. Her description of corporate control of information locking society within a belief system is a close parallel to the post-WW II activities of intelligence services described above:

Spearheading the assault has been a core group of 12 conservative foundations: the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Carthage Foundation, the Charles G. Koch, David H. Koch and Claude R. Lambe charitable foundations, the Phillip M. McKenna Foundation, The JM Foundation, The John M. Olin Foundation, the Henry Salvatori Foundation, the Sarah Scaife Foundation, and the Smith Richardson Foundation…. From 1992-94, they awarded $300 million in grants, and targeted $210 million to support a wide array of projects and institutions…. The 12 have mounted an impressively coherent and concerted effort to shape public policy by undermining—and ultimately redirecting—what they regard as the institutional strongholds of modern American liberalism: academia, Congress, the judiciary, executive branch agencies, major media, religious institutions, and philanthropy itself. They channeled some $80 million to right-wing policy institutions actively promoting an anti-government unregulated market agenda. Another $80 million supported conservative scholars and academic programs, with $27 million targeted to recruit and train the next generation of right-wing leaders in conservative legal principles, free-market economics, political journalism and policy analysis. And $41.5 million was invested to build a conservative media apparatus, support pro-market legal organizations, fund state-level think tanks and advocacy organizations, and mobilize new philanthropic resources for conservative policy change … Conservative foundations also provided $2,734,263 to four right-of-center magazines between 1990 and 1993, including The National Interest, The Public Interest, The New Criterion, and The American Spectator.[1]

The conservative institutions have taken

the political offensive on key social, economic, and regulatory policy issues…. These institutions have effectively repositioned the boundaries of national policy discussion, redefining key concepts, molding public opinion, and pushing for a variety of specific policy reforms…. These groups flood the media with hundreds of opinion editorials. Their top staff appears as political pundits and policy experts on dozens of television and radio shows across the country. And their lobbyists work the legislative arenas, distributing policy proposals, briefing papers, and position statements…. The American Enterprise Institute has ghost writers for scholars to produce op-ed articles that are sent to the one hundred and one cooperating newspapers—three pieces every two weeks…. The Hoover Institution’s public affairs office … links to 900 media centers across the U.S. and abroad. The Reason Foundation … had 359 television and radio appearances in 1995 and more than 1,500 citations in national newspapers and magazines. The Manhatten Institute has held more than 600 forums or briefings for journalists and policy makers on multiple public policy issues and concerns, from tort reform to federal welfare policy…. The Free Congress Foundation, in addition to its National Empowerment Television, is publishing NetNewsNow, a broadcast fax letter sent around the country to more than 400 radio producers and news editors.[2]

As Karen Rothmyer wrote:

Layer upon layer of seminars, studies, conferences, and interviews do much to push along, if not create, the issues, which then become the national agenda of debate…. By multiplying the authorities to whom the media are prepared to give friendly hearing, [conservative donors] have helped to create an illusion of diversity where none exists. The result could be an increasing number of one-sided debates in which the challengers are far outnumbered, if indeed they are heard at all.’… [The Heartland Institute] introduced Policy Fax … a revolutionary public policy fax-on-demand research service that enables you to receive, by fax, the full text of thousands of documents from more than one hundred of the nation’s leading think tanks, publications, and trade associations. Policy Fax is easy to use and it’s free for elected officials and journalists…. The American Legislative Exchange Council and the newer State Policy Network provides technical assistance, develops model legislation, and reports about communications activities and conferences. ALEC, well funded by private foundations and corporate contributors, is a powerful and growing membership organization, with almost 26,000 state legislators—more than one-third of the nation’s total. The organization, which has a staff of 30, responds to 700 information requests each month, and has developed more than 150 pieces of model legislation ranging from education to tax policy. It maintains legislative task forces on every important state policy issue, including education, health care, tax and fiscal policy, and criminal justice.[3][4]

During early histories of all developing democracies, powerbrokers bought up the major information systems, at that time primarily newspapers.

Control moved from one center of power to others as media were sold or taken over but they were never released to seriously inform the masses, the occasional, or even many, exposés notwithstanding. Until the recent advent of alternative TV news, the foundation beliefs intended to protect wealth and power were unchallenged and heavily promoted.

In late February 2002, the attempted establishment within the Pentagon of an Office of Strategic Influence (office of disinformation) to plant fraudulent and distorted news in the world press to control Muslim opinion worldwide was exposed.

The media took the tack that this was something new. But it was not new. The U.S. Has 16 intelligence services, most other nations have several, the state departments of major countries practice disinformation, and corporations and politicians practice it to control who will be elected and what laws will be written.

The corporate-owned media is there to push social-control corporate philosophies and scholars have easy access to the massive literature put out by corporate-funded think tanks.

Everyone everywhere feels he or she is thinking independently but when analyzed most information and foundation beliefs come from those disinformation centers or less-than-straight-forward government sources.

When little other information is available, researchers stay safely inside permitted parameters of debate. For those who dare to write or speak truly independently, the market was once extremely limited. These heavily-funded schools of thought became the functioning beliefs of society and all other views had been crowded to the margins. Fortunately—though we have yet to see how far it goes—all this is changing.

Alternative news, and informative books are forcing the corporate media to address injustice and inequalities within the system and this has the potential of collapsing the monopoly system. We are proceeding on the assumption the changes will be revolutionary.

McCarthyism Suppressing Honest Thought

After WW II the old imperial centers of capital had shattered each other’s power, and the former colonial world was revolting. The only wealth left to suppress those breaks for freedom was in America.

At the end of that war the United States had two Grand Strategy choices: join the newly emerging nations in their break for freedom or join the old imperial centers of capital and suppress those insurgencies.[6]

The behind-the-scenes cultural and financial ties to Western Christian, white, Europe were too great. America chose alignment with the old imperial nations and the historical record shows this choice was chiseled in stone decades before.

For 130 years British intelligence services, the British diplomatic service, and British industry had financed university systems and think tanks to teach neo-mercantilist free trade. U.S. intelligence services, State Department, and multinational corporations took over that role as the British Empire crumbled.

Most universities and opinion makers in Europe and America then wrapped society within that belief system, most unwittingly, for the next 60 years (1947 to 2007 when the citizenry started to see through it).

Within the old imperial centers of capital it was not possible to remain in a position of influence in either government or academia if one promoted anything other than the belief systems protecting that society.

The crisis of the Great Depression created openings for other social philosophies to be looked at, but WW II and the Cold War, fought specifically to suppress those belief systems, permitted the re-imposing of the beliefs protecting empires.

While McCarthyism was in full swing, painting any progressive philosophy as Communist, it was political, social, and career suicide to be objective and intellectually balanced.

European professors, including, and especially, the classical philosophers, had for centuries been the carriers of the belief systems of imperialism and there was little else taught.

There were however conscientious professors in the American universities who knew the history of Americans gaining their economic freedom, who knew most other colonial nations were still under the control of imperial centers of capital, and who recognized the potential of those former colonies joining the brotherhood of free nations.

These idealistic and conscientious professors were recognized authorities whose views would be freely expressed through their classes and eventually the media.

To take over the imperial mantle and suppress the post-WW II breaks for freedom, it was necessary for America to strip these potential carriers of truth and reality out of the universities.

McCarthyism was no aberration of one individual as recorded in history. Senator Joseph McCarthy was the chosen point man for the House Un-American Activities Committee, whose members themselves were point men for the wealthy and powerful and the first echelon managers of state, to strip those professors out of the universities and their thoughts out of the media.

Hundreds of professors and thousands of others lost their jobs as lower-level managers of state, congresspersons without security clearances, the universities, the media, and lay intellectuals were conditioned to keep their heads down, their mouths shut, and their typewriters silent.[7]

The major universities’ rehabilitation of the reputation of these persecuted souls when the Cold War was won, most were dead by then, proves even the powerbrokers of universities, the very people sworn to provide an honest education to the nation and the world, knew students and everyone else were being fed a controlled and fraudulent picture of the world.

Professors took leaves of absence to organize the CIA and then returned to their ivory towers.[8] By not telling their students they had established a massive perception management organization that was to put all others to shame, which would have been an honest education, they, and all who knew but remained silent, became propagandists just as surely as those within the massive intelligence system they had set up.

The 1975-76 Church Committee and Pike Committee hearings exposed many of these black ops. There were thousands of fraudulent books financed by intelligence services and other imperial centers were doing the same thing.

There were hundreds of thousands of articles planted all over the world, intelligence agencies of all imperial centers were also doing this, including the CIA making movies as well as newsreels the 50s and 60s generation watched with almost every movie.

Massive literature was put out by subsidized think tanks and academics. Thousands of books were written by sincere academics sourcing fraudulent literature being passed off as honest scholarly work. On top of this were the massive fictions, novels and movies, written to ride the crest of the created hysteria.

This was the rhetorical thunder of the Cold War. After 30 to 40 years of this hysteria, during which honest and sober works were dismissed as the works of radicals, misguided souls and conspiracy theorists, only a few on the fringes of academia understood how deeply they were involved in suppressing truth through parroting these carefully created beliefs that democracy and freedom were under threat.

The truth can be found only through intense research and dedication and few have the time, money, or motivation to do it. Thus, although good researchers are now pushing back and their books are selling by the thousands, the legacy of McCarthyism and the orthodoxy it created still rules the halls of academia, the media, congressional bodies, and enough of the citizenry that there has not yet (2008) been a defining revolt at the ballot box. The errors of President GW Bush has been so massive that this year’s election could change that. But, since many leading democrats are just as passionate about control of nations and resources, one sees no sign of that in either the main stream or alternative news.

Corporate News Media Protecting Corporate Interests

Citizens educated under those thought controlling conditions eventually moved into positions of power and, within the limitations of their power and misinterpretation of free trade, were likely sincere in their efforts to develop the world and eliminate poverty.

But those who would question free trade as practiced by neo-mercantilists were silenced; at first by McCarthyism’s threat to their career and later by peer pressure and lack of financial or identity rewards.

As opposed to the certainty of being cast into oblivion if one tried to stand up against the perception management, the majority staked their careers on promoting those belief systems and the high financial, career, and identity rewards that choice offered.

Thus the Brer-Rabbit, don’t throw me in the brier patch,[9] neo-mercantilist, Adam Smith free trade scam became firmly entrenched. To the extent we continue to believe the imposed belief systems and continue to force these policies on the world, we will seriously retard world development, continually ratchet down the wages of labor in the developed world, and could again collapse the world economy into a depression.

While enjoying the followers and income they gained by publishing the Cold War hype created by the power structure, the media trapped themselves. Once a nation was fully locked within a belief system, the media were further controlled by their readers and advertisers.

With the masses believing enemies were planning to attack them at any moment and intelligence services spending hundreds of millions of dollars continually reinforcing those beliefs, any media that would dare present a rationalization outside the Cold War belief system that the West was under serious threat would lose both their readers and advertisers in droves.

The market then worked its magic. With the world programmed that enemies were lurking behind every bush, the occasional scholarly and honest critique could not be sold while paranoid and hysterical writings, and the total frauds we have been addressing, sold by the hundreds of millions.

The world now understands the causes of world misery the past 60 years and we are going on the assumption that reality will trump perception management and the world will break free.

Writing History to Protect Wealth and Power

History is written by the powerful to protect their wealth and power. Those carefully crafted press releases and recordings of events is the writing of history. Because all people are trained to be just, a society could survive no other way, destabilizing other societies to lay claim to, or retain claim to, their wealth requires the imperial center to create the belief that targeted and oppressed people are enemies and-or incompetents.

To justify colonizing the world, confiscating much of the world’s wealth, enslaving entire populations to produce that wealth, and actually wiping entire civilizations off the face of the earth in the process, it was necessary to expound the belief the natives of those besieged societies were not really people (they had no soul).

When it was no longer possible to ignore the fact that they were people, it was necessary to expound the belief these indigenous people were incompetent, that they could not run their own affairs, a belief only now being slowly set aside, and that technologically advanced and “civilized” societies were helping them. That cover story is a primary aspect of today’s beliefs and is obviously also untrue.

When the blatant injustices of mercantilist imperialism became too embarrassing, the belief that mercantilism had been abandoned and true free trade was in place was expounded.

In reality the same wealth confiscation went on, deeply buried within complex systems of monopolies and unequal trade hiding under the cover of classics on capitalism.

Many explanations have been given for wars between the imperial nations when there was really only one common thread: “Who will control resources and trade and the wealth produced through inequalities in trade?”

This is proven by the inequalities of trade siphoning the world’s wealth to imperial centers of capital being in place today just as when plunder by trade was learned centuries ago.

The battles over the world’s wealth have only kept hiding behind different protective philosophies each time the secrets of laying claim to the wealth of others have been exposed.

Thus it is that students of statecraft and foreign policy are openly taught that what the people believe is happening is only a control mechanism created through a public education campaign, perception management creating society’s belief systems, and those planning the Grand Strategies of state are “defensive realists” or “offensive realists” dealing with the “realities” of the “real” world.

Trained to be “realists,” students of statecraft are taught to care for their nation’s “national interest.” Students with the right connections, along with many more who moved up through the corporate, political, and military world, move into the inner sanctums of government, take a pledge of secrecy, and become the managers of state we have been discussing throughout this treatise.

Where upper echelon managers are not trained to care for the interests of either the poor within monopoly capitalism or the impoverished world, they are deeply ingrained with the need to care for the corporate world and the imperial center.

For managers of state to care for those on the periphery of empire when the confiscation of the natural wealth and labors of that periphery are creating the wealth and power of the imperial center is an oxymoron.

While powerful nations are controlling other people’s resources or denying the use of those resources to competing centers of capital, it is necessary to create the belief people targeted for covert or overt attack, economically or militarily, are a serious threat to “national security.”

Of course, the ones under threat are the already impoverished whose natural wealth and labor production are being siphoned to the powerful developed imperial centers of capital.

The belief that imperial nations are under military and terrorist threat and these “good” nations are supporting “good” people on the periphery of empire is accomplished through loudly proclaiming this through the still operational Mighty Wurlitzer.

Those imposed belief systems establish the parameters of national and international debate and the real problem, monopolies and unequal trade, is not a politically correct or economically correct subject of discussion.

When the threat of loss of power and wealth is high, meaning imperial injustices and unequal trades are being placed on the table for discussion on the periphery of empire as is happening as we speak, Western cultures engage in massive perception management and covert destabilizations, both internally and externally, which is exactly what we are taught is done in dictatorships.

After the threat of a break for freedom is past, only an occasional violent covert operation is necessary. Populations had been so thoroughly indoctrinated by the perception management of the Cold War and there were so little else recorded in articles, books, or history, the imposed beliefs were firmly emplaced in the social mind.

As both the survival and wealth of most citizens of the imperial centers are based on the system as structured, most were firmly within the aura of a society’s protective beliefs.

Extending those beliefs to the periphery and maintaining it is what these covert and overt destabilizations were all about.[10]

The line between the controllers and the controlled lies above the university system and the media and below the National Security Administration (NSC), the State Department, the intelligence services, the few in Congress with high security clearances, and other inner-sanctum managers of state.[11]

The elite and managers of state are well aware the masses are encased in a belief system cocoon. After all, they imposed the belief systems that encased them.

The masses, and this includes most within the university system, the media, and elected officials outside the inner sanctums of government, are unaware they are being controlled through strategies of tension so their governments can do throughout the world just what they are warning that others wish to do to them, subvert their governments and steal their wealth.

It would be a difficult task for a professor or journalist to step back and realize his or her entire education and life’s work was little more than spreading social-control beliefs which had been imposed upon society for generations. Nor could many accept these fundamental beliefs, with little relevance to reality, had been kept in place by extreme violence.

Those professors and journalists would instinctively and quickly realize that all the rewards, money, career advancement, acceptance of one’s work for publication, acceptance by one’s peers, and appointments to government posts were stacked totally in favor of parroting the social control beliefs.

After observing those who did stand up being totally ostracized by their peers and denied any of the above described rewards for their achievements, only an insignificant few will stand up.

However, due to the Iraqi quagmire losing America the moral high ground, this is changing. Those who question those unjust and unequal policies and provide different answers are finding an audience.

That and the collapsing economies on the periphery of empire discrediting the beliefs imposed upon them accounted for President GW George Bush’s advisors September 2000 study, Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategies, Forces, and Resources for a New Century, concluding what was needed to retain dominance and control of the world’s resources was “some catastrophic and catalyzing event, like a new Pearl Harbor[12]” which occurred on September 11, 2001.

While ignoring all other interpretations of world events as propaganda, crucial Western news comes directly from the CIA’s Mighty Wurlitzer and other intelligence services’ presentation of reality.

Intelligence agencies’ wordsmiths restructure every world event to the desired spin. It is this reality that ambassadors and other government agencies hand to reporters.

Lower-level officials have to parrot the same words they hear from higher officials. With the many years required to reach such a position of authority, every government official has been through this many times and knows what he or she is expected to say. To deviate from the proper script, no matter how much reality demands it, would incur immediate dismissal.

During the Cold War, any accredited reporter seriously challenging these creations at a presidential news conference or any other high-level news briefing would quickly lose accreditation to attend such meetings.

To seriously address these creations as the propaganda they were would immediately have placed one outside the loop, cost most their jobs, and be instant social and political suicide.

Peer pressure is at the heart of a primary structure of beliefs and little else is heard or read. Thus, children can quickly understand what adults find incomprehensible.

Children are honest and have nothing to lose while adults have everything to lose and following the crowd will quiet their conscience. No one challenges them there but they would face big challenges if they tried to peel aside any major portion of the belief system society was wrapped in and expose the truth.

We are taught that the Soviet Union was a criminal aggressive nation. In the first page of the next section we tell about captured American Airmen Finishing Out Their Lives In Soviet Prisons which Americans know nothing about.

Their families were told they died somewhere in a plane crash. In reality over 700 were shot down or crashed over the Soviet Union as the flew in assassins and saboteurs in the on-going effort to destabilize that rising threat to monopoly capitalism.

No successful example of another social system could be permitted. The entire world would notice, the belief systems so carefully imposed upon the world would stand exposed, and monopoly capitalism would collapse.

Those crucial 170 words describing an honest, efficient, capitalist economy. Does anyone have the ear of President Barack Obama’s Economic Recovery Team?

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[1] Sally Covington, “Right Thinking, Big Grants, and Long Term Strategy: How Conservative Philanthropies and Think Tanks Transform U.S. Policy,” CovertAction Quarterly (Winter 1998), pp. 6-16; see also Frances Stoner Saunders, The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters (New York: The Free Press, 1999), pp. 116, 135, 138-39, 142, 353-58, 409.

[2] Ibid. Run a Google/Nexus-Lexus Internet search using keywords, names, and countries on these pages

[3] Ibid. Run a Google/Nexus-Lexus Internet search using keywords, names, and countries on these pages

[4] The courts are also targeted. In “A Hostile Takeover” (The American Prospect, Spring 2003, pp. A16-A18) Martin Garbus explains The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy was highly successful in packing the federal courts.

[5] Mason Gaffney, Fred Harrison, The Corruption of Economics (London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 1994).

[6] In the Conclusion we address those same choices being available by other centers of capital and possibly being the final crisis that destroys the current monopoly system and bringing peace and prosperity to this world.

[7] Ellen Schrecker, No ivory tower: McCarthyism and the Universities (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986).

[8] Robin W. Winks, Cloak and Gown; Saunders, The Cultural Cold War.

[9] Referring to the children’s classic when the captured Br’er rabbit begged not to be thrown into the briar patch. His captor promptly threw him in the briar patch and he escaped.

[10] Those beliefs are collapsing. The world is becoming conscious and preparing to suppress the coming breaks for freedom accounts for America’s military costing as much as all the rest of the world combined.

[11] In Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins alerts us that the head of the snake is the huge National Security Administration. They keep track of everything happening in the world, alert the NSC, and orders are passed from there.

[12] New Statesman, London, December 12, 2002, John Pilger. Legislation has been passed since that attack (the Patriot Act, a recreation of Hitler’s Enabling Act) which legalizes all the internal surveillance and covert destabilizations just described. This act is, just as Hitler’s, the legal structure of fascism.

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