President Obama announced May 28 a major update of his foreign policy. But the mainstream media, as usual, failed to report context that would make the implications understandable to the general public.
The money would go to unspecified purposes, which the president suggested might include rebels fighting Syria's government. That formulation underscores the open-ended nature of the slush fund because even the administration has not maintained that Syria's government, or "regime," poses a terrorism threat to the United States. Covert CIA and U.S. special forces have long secretly helped overthrow the current government, according to independent sources.
Seeking to strike a balance with a war-weary public, Obama urged restraint in new commitments. That prompted the Washington Post editorial board and other hawks to protest that restraint would foster terrorism and undermine human rights.
Almost entirely missing from such mainstream analysis was a reminder that the U.S. Constitution requires that congress declare war. That requirement has been undermined through the years, including by gray areas of blanket congressional approvals, treaty obligations and United Nations-style consensus actions. But the constitution itself, the nation's fundamental law, has not been amended.
Besides the legitimacy of such war-making, mainstream media self-censorship represses two other elements required for informed debate of foreign policy: power relationships and secret funding.
- Hidden relationships. The media have persistently hidden parts of President Obama's biography, as well as spy agency ties of many other prominent decision-makers. Obama's first job after college in 1983 was with the CIA front company Business International Corp. The New York Times reported the company's background in 1977, quoting a co-founder as saying it had been a front company. This was in the wake of the Church Committee investigation of the CIA and its hidden operatives in the media. My in-depth look at the Obama-Dunham family background assembles evidence the future president and his family were worker bees in intelligence and related cover posts in business and non-profits. Obama's later work as a community organizer in the mid-1980s in Chicago fostered misleading perceptions of his political orientation, especially following reports of his involvement with radicals. But like most at the highest ranks of the political stage, he is playing a role, as I show in my book Presidential Puppetry: Obama, Romney and Their Masters. Obama is one of many examples of controlled opposition in government. Voters receive little information on this background even regarding Obama, a two-term president.
- Secret Funding. The national security state organizing the nation's civic agenda around "Homeland Defense" and related defense contracting is deeply interwoven with the country's supposedly independent thought leadership, including the Washington Post, other major media, businesses, universities and other non-profit groups. One of many examples is Amazon.com's $600 million contract last fall to handle cloud computing for the CIA. Amazon.com founder Jeffrey Bezos, an attendee at last year's Bilderberg Group annual meeting, bought the Post last year for $250 million. The Bezos joint control of the Post and Amazon.com (and the possibility of additional such government and corporate contracts for Amazon.com) are an obvious, ongoing conflict of interest. More generally, secret government funding and other hidden relationships often help sustain ostensibly non-government organizations (NGOs), private businesses and other entities, such as universities. The money is laundered by pass-throughs difficult to detect with specifics on short notice for news deadlines, but well-known by Washington insiders as standard procedure.
In sum, voters lack the means readily to learn certain kinds of vital information about current affairs. This is no accident. Many major United States institutions were modeled on counterparts in the United Kingdom devised more than a century ago to expand the British empire by fostering secret relationships among the elite. In the United States, financiers have created similar organizations that work together in ways ignored by the most prestigious public affairs commentators.
One illustration is the attendee list of this year's Bilderberg Group, which began its annual deliberations May 29 in Denmark. Organizers, bowing to public pressure, announced 120 attendees enrolled at the super-secret conference first organized in 1954 by the Rockefeller and Rothschild families, initially at the Bilderberg Hotel in a rural town in the Netherlands.
This year's public list included the Western world's titans and enforcement agents who consent to be so identified. Usually some do not. As for their goals, no insiders, including the media billionaires attending, are likely to report on discussions.
The President's Plan
A White House photo showed President Obama in an Oval office meeting with his senior advisors May 27, the day before his address to West Point's graduating class. White House photographers are now providing the public more exposure to positive images of the president. Obama did not launch this process but he has expanded it. Meanwhile, photographers from news organizations are being limited in a variety of ways to fewer and less interesting photo opportunities, thereby endangering their jobs and also public access to the president's circle.
For media watchers, photos enable scrutiny of the personnel involved. In this instance, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, sitting to the president's immediate left, is the brother of CBS News President Andrew Rhodes.
That kind of cross-pollination among the government and media elite is common to both the Obama and predecessor administrations. In the Bush administration, for example, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin regulated the media while his wife, Catherine Martin, was White House Communications Director for Vice President Cheney and then President Bush. Her job? Seeking to influence the media that her husband regulated.
Yet few of these relationships are ever reported because, most obviously, no one would benefit from such knowledge but the general public -- certainly not the media or government officials poised by their jobs for lucrative revolving door.
As for the substance of the president's remarks at West Point: