In an age where information warfare is one of the most critical and well-financed areas of warfare, the revelation in 2014 by a former top journalist in Germany is crucial in understanding how the Western media operates. Although this is a story that has been written about by numerous journalists and commentators in the real/alternative media, it is still vital to emphasize the importance of these revelations.
Udo Ulfkotte, a top German journalist and former editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, revealed in an interview with RT in 2014 that journalists are often bribed to lie, deceive and write stories favourable to intelligence agencies (it is worth quoting Ulfkotte at some length):
“I’ve been a journalist for about 25 years, and I was educated to lie, to betray, and not to tell the truth to the public. But seeing within the last month how the German and American media tries to bring war to the people in Europe, to bring war to Russia, this is a point of no return. I am going to stand up and say: it is not right what I have done in the past – to manipulate people; to make propaganda against Russia; and it is not right what my colleagues do, and have done in the past, because they are bribed to betray the people not only in Germany, [but] all over Europe.”
“If you see the German media, especially my colleagues who day-by-day, write against the Russians; [these journalists] are in transatlantic organizations, and are supported by the United States to do so. People like me: I became honorary citizen of the state of Oklahoma in the United States. Why? Because I write pro-American. I was supported by the Central Intelligence Agency, the CIA. Why? Because I am pro-American. I am fed up with it; I don’t want to do it anymore; and so I have just written a book, not to earn money… [but] to give the people in this country, Germany, in Europe, and all over the world, just a glimpse of what goes on behind closed doors.”
Intelligence agencies have used the mainstream media to spread propaganda for decades, and it would be naïve to believe that today is any different. It has been well established that during the Cold War, MI6 had clandestine agents embedded within the major media organisations in Britain, who engaged in propaganda and deception. MI6 agents also have a long history of gaining access to foreign nations under the guise of being journalists.
“Most of the journalists you see in foreign countries, they claim to be journalists and they might be journalists – European or American journalists. But, many of them – like me in the past – are so-called non-official cover – that is what the Americans call it… Non-official cover means what? You do work for an intelligence agency, you help them if they want you to help them but when they [the public] find out that you are not only a journalist but a spy too, they [the CIA] will never say this was one of our guys. So, I have helped them in several situations, and I feel ashamed for that. Is this only the case with German journalists? No, I think it is especially the case with British journalists, because they have a much closer relationship. It is especially the case with Israeli journalists. Of course with French journalists… It is the case for Australians, [with] journalists from New Zealand, from Taiwan, well, there is many countries… like Jordan for example.”
“Sometimes the intelligence agencies, they come to your office, and want you to write an article… I just remember [for example] that the German foreign intelligence agency — [which] is just a sister organization of the Central Intelligence Agency, it was founded by the American intelligence agency. So one day the BND came to my office at the Frankfurter Allgemeine, in Frankfurt, and they wanted me to write an article about Libya and about Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. I had absolutely no secret information regarding Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and Libya. But they gave me all these secret [documents], and they just wanted me to sign the article with my name. I did that. It was published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine, [a story] that originally came from the German foreign intelligence agency. Do you really think this was journalism; intelligence agencies writing articles. It was a story that was printed worldwide two days later, but I had no information on that, it was the intelligence agencies that wanted me to write this article. This is not the way that journalism should work; that intelligence agencies decide what is printed and what is not.”
The CIA has been using the media as a propaganda weapon pretty much since its inception, with Operation Mockingbird illustrative of this phenomenon. Anderson Cooper, a news anchor for CNN, is widely believed to be an intelligence operative, and he admitted in 2006 that he had worked for the CIA “for a couple months over the course of two summers” during college.
Ulfkotte’s whistleblowing is essential to keep in mind when perusing the Western press – especially in light of the Panama Papers leak, as there is often far more going on than initially meets the eye.
Steven MacMillan is an independent writer, researcher, geopolitical analyst and editor of The Analyst Report, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.