While not wholly unexpected CBS has failed to hold any of those involved with the now thoroughly discredited Benghazi fantasy story by their ‘ace’ reporter Lara Logan which despite being worked on for around a year was nothing but a massive lie. While CBS executives and Logan rushed to apologize and retract the story after it was exposed that the primary source, a British mercenary goon named Dylan Davies who wrote a book under the pseudonym of Sgt. Morgan Jones entire story was fabricated. One could understand why corporate media titan CBS would have a vested interest in pushing the book, entitled The Embassy House (now withdrawn by the publisher) as it was a product of one of their publishing subsidiaries but to taint the reputation of their hallowed Sunday night McNews program 60 Minutes was risky and stupid. Not that the show holds up to any sort of scrutiny anyway, these days it is nothing but a vacuous zombie money machine that is a shell of the program that it was long ago when the reputation was built. 60 Minutes more often than not serves up the sleazy celebrity swill that the state-corporate media is already awash in as well as puff pieces that burnish the image of war criminals like Dick Cheney but to air such a blatant bit of propaganda as the Logan story is really so over the top that questions need to be asked about whether the story was intentionally planted.
It is not that planted stories, manipulated facts and outright lies are not commonplace given the dismal quality of what passes for media in this country in the waning days of 2013. There are conflicts of interest aplenty, for example the trotting out of former military and establish figures as “experts” on the wars and rumors of wars that have come to permeate our increasingly militarized society. It was certainly not disclosed that many of those trotted out on as “expert” talking heads babbling on about the necessity to attack Syria a few months back worked for firms that would have profited lavishly from an attack. This is actually fairly commonplace, it wasn’t that long ago when former Department of Homeland Security head Michael Chertoff was afforded the credibility that he did not deserve when his firm The Chertoff Group was pimping those naked body scanning machines to the TSA after the bizarre Christmas Day “Underwear Bomber” plot was foiled. The mainstream media has long been used by elements of the government to sell wars, sow disinformation and trick Americans into blindly accepting their own enslavement to the state. The CIA’s Operation Mockingbird being a prototype program that has come to evolve over time and the advent of technology into an all-encompassing propaganda machine.
The 60 Minutes story has been a strange one from the first day that it ran sending the notorious crank Palmetto State Senator Lindsey Graham into one of his standard bitch fits, holding a press conference and threatening to block all of Obama’s nominees. Graham refused to back off after the Logan piece was identified as total bullshit and she was forced to issue an on air apology. The Graham tantrum blew up in his gerbil cheeked face this week when the ongoing abuse of the filibuster (which is incidentally not included anywhere in the Constitution) when former Nevada Gaming Commissioner and current Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid invoked the “nuclear option”. While the entire Senate silliness is yet another blatant indictment at how the entire legislative body has been effectively hijacked by wealthy special interests waving fistfuls of campaign donations at the prostitutes in Congress it only came to head because of chronic abusers the likes of Senator Graham who in any functional democracy would have long ago been voted out of office for his flagrant abuses of the public trust.
But I digress…
The disturbing lack of accountability over the 60 Minutes hoax indicates the presence of something far more nefarious than a simple matter of a parent company pushing the books of a publishing division. In a Newsweek piece that just came out entitled “Lara Logan’s Mystery Man” by Jeff Stein examines the potential role of Logan’s husband, Joseph W. Burkett in the scandal. It seems that Mr. Burkett has quite the history as a professional propagandist and at one time worked for a government contracting firm named The Lincoln Group that specialized in planting stories during the Iraq war. I excerpt the following from the piece:
Nobody at 60 Minutes has been fired or even publicly disciplined for its odd, inflammatory and dead-wrong October 27 story on the Islamist assault in Benghazi that killed U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. But it has apologized. That mea culpa, however, left some large and troubling questions unanswered; the most important one is how CBS's superstar correspondent, Lara Logan, her producer and other network news executives let security contractor Dylan Davies on the air with his explosive tale about what he did and saw during that attack.
While Davies was the central on-camera personality in that report, the most interesting figure in this mystery was never on screen, nor listed as a contributor to the piece. It is Logan's husband, Joseph W. Burkett, a former Army sergeant and onetime employee of a private intelligence outfit hired by the Pentagon to plant pro-U.S. stories in the Iraqi media in 2005.
One recent account implied that Burkett, 42, was the Svengali behind the now infamous story that pinned responsibility for the Benghazi attack on al Qaeda, without citing any sources.
"He was an employee of the Lincoln Group, a now-shuttered 'strategic communications and public relations firm' hired by the Department of Defense in 2005 to plant positive stories written by American soldiers in Baghdad newspapers during the Iraq War," the website Gawker reported.
The Gawker account also implied Burkett was a key operator in the covert action. A source intimately familiar with Burkett's family told Newsweek that he regularly suggested he was some sort of super-spook.
According to an internal company document obtained by Newsweek, the Lincoln Group specialized in producing films, news clips, and print stories in Baghdad that would be fed to the media through cutouts on an unattributed basis, making them appear as originating from legitimate news organizations.
If this is indeed the case it calls into question the very essence of Logan’s journalistic integrity. She has no objectivity and as is the case when she went off on Michael Hastings the now deceased journalist for his Rolling Stone magazine piece "The Runaway General" that eventually led to the resignation of General Stanley McChrystal could herself be an embedded disinformation artist. She has been on record with comments extremely critical of Obama's Benghazi response which should have triggered some form of oversight by the CBS management over the segment in question, she also has the distinction of having been on the spot in the Baghdad square when the statue of Saddam Hussein was pulled down. It was the war's iconic image until it was replaced by the horrific image of Army private Lynddie England with a man on a leash among other gruesome pics from Abu Ghraib prison where U.S. troops were sexually humiliating and torturing Iraqis. The pulling down of Saddam's statute has subsequently been revealed to have been a psy-op, staged and packaged by image masters to bolster public support for the war and it happens to make for an interesting bit of coincidence that the future wife of a paid government disinformation operative would be the one covering it. I have yet to see that question asked but now that Mr. Burkett has been brought up in a story in a national publication it should merit at least some degree of follow-up considering the magnitude of the 60 Minutes false (planted?) story.
Americans should never underestimate just how much of their own taxpayer money is used to brainwash them into an acceptance of a disastrous foreign policy. The business of managing the news is an enormously expensive ongoing effort and the military in the digital age is particularly savvy in the utilization of technology to expand beyond the broadcast and print media into the internet and social networking. The bloated Pentagon budget, one that continues to be hidden from the American public has plenty socked away to hire firms such as the defunct Lincoln Group as well as the Rendon Group, another prominent public relations firm that shills for foreign U.S. military interventions.
According to remarks reportedly made by John Rendon in a 1996 address to cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy:
“‘I am not a national security strategist or a military tactician. I am a politician, and a person who uses communication to meet public policy or corporate policy objectives. In fact, I am an information warrior and a perception manager.’ He reminded the Air Force cadets that when victorious troops rolled into Kuwait City at the end of the first war in the Persian Gulf, they were greeted by hundreds of Kuwaitis waving small American flags. The scene, flashed around the world on television screens, sent the message that U.S. Marines were being welcomed in Kuwait as liberating heroes.
“‘Did you ever stop to wonder,’ Rendon asked, ‘how the people of Kuwait City, after being held hostage for seven long and painful months, were able to get hand-held American, and for that matter, the flags of other coalition countries?’ He paused for effect. ‘Well, you now know the answer. That was one of my jobs then.’”
It has now become virtually impossible for average Americans to be able to come to any serious idea of what actually constitutes the truth in the corrupt state-corporate media. This is precisely the objective of the professionals who use psychology, boatloads of money, slick imagery and paid shills within the networks to manage perception and promote the continuing flow of dollars that could be far better utilized on projects that are desperately needed at home. Money that would be better spent on repairing a decaying and obsolete infrastructure, science and research projects to actually develop things that enhance society instead of blowing things up and making defense industry insiders and investors rich or even paying down the debt. It takes one hell of an effort to be informed these days and a daily intake of numerous news sources including non-domestic as well as a monitoring of state-corporate media to identify the daily spin.
In the words of the late CIA director William Casey: "We will know that we have succeeded when everything the public believes is false." He never lived long enough to see this come to fruition but we are all living in a world based on this philosophy now.