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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 4/27/12

George Soros' and the Neo-Cons' Control of Washington's Propaganda Program

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Wayne Madsen
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An examination of the current 2013 budget for the U.S. government's Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) that oversees the International Broadcasting Board (IBB) and which determines the slant taken by the U.S. government's propaganda efforts on radio, television, and, increasingly on the Internet, illustrates the head-lock that George Soros and neo-conservative "soft power projection" interests have on the official state-sponsored information disseminated by the U.S. government to a global audience.

The new propaganda bias of such IBB-controlled outlets such as the Voice of America, Radio Free Asia, and Radio Free Europe should comes as no surprise, considering that former CNN chairman and chief executive officer Walter Isaacson laid down the gauntlet after he assumed the chairmanship of the Broadcasting Board of Governors in 2009 by calling for the United States to aggressively challenge what he termed anti-American "propaganda" emanating from such international broadcasters as RT (the former Russia Today), Iran's Press TV, and China's CCTV. Isaacson walks in lock-step with the goals of Soros and the Council on Foreign Relations as the head of the politically-connected Aspen Institute. Isaacson stepped down from his broadcasting chairmanship position in January 2012.

The priorities for U.S. propaganda include stepping up efforts to effect political change in what are termed the five remaining "Communist" countries in the world through Cold War-era dissemination of "news" and other content via the Voice of America (VOA), the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB), and "grantee" organizations RFE/RL (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty), Inc., and Radio Free Asia (RFA). Soros' Open Society Institute holds a predominant role in the administration of the "grantee" broadcast arms, which were originally operated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) before de facto control was passed to Soros after the collapse of communism in Europe. The targeted five remaining communist nations are China, Cuba, North Korea, Laos, and Vietnam.

The BBG claims that America's propaganda efforts reach a global audience of 187 million people and that the 59 language broadcasts to over 100 nations costs less than a mere $5 million per year. The BBG budget request contains all the Soros code phrases in describing America's "highest standards of journalistic independence, ethics, and objectivity" and support of "democracy, civil society, and transparent institutions around the world."

While the U.S. propaganda broadcasts emphasize "transparency" for governments around the world, the Obama administration has been one of the most opaque administrations in recent memory. The indictment of six former U.S. intelligence and military personnel for communicating, directly or indirectly, alleged classified information to journalists in violation of the arcane 1917 Espionage Act is unprecedented for any administration since the law was enacted during World War I. The six individuals indicted or convicted are -- the National Security Agency's Thomas Drake, the CIA's Jeffrey Sterling and John Kiriakou, the U.S. Army's Bradley Manning, the FBI Hebrew translator Shamai Liebowitz, and the State Department's Steven Kim. The New York Times' James Risen is fighting a subpoena by a federal grand jury to name his CIA source or sources on the agency's nuclear spying operations directed against Iran. Other journalists and their sources are also facing aggressive investigations by U.S. intelligence agencies, the FBI, and the Justice Department.

With a draconian and restrictive American approach to openness and freedom of information, the United States propaganda effort is aimed at bringing pressure on various governments around the world to open up their own political structures to increased scrutiny.

The BBG's vision for the United States to control the full spectrum of international news broadcasting is spelled out in its visionary statement in its latest budget request: "the BBG's core strategic goal is to become the world's leading international news agency focused on our mission and impact -- i.e., to reach key audiences in support of free, open, democratic societies. The agency's principal performance goal is to reach 216 million in global weekly audience by 2016." One of the U.S. government's goals is to launch a "Global News Network." To carry out this goal, the BBG foresees an aggressive program that will: "combat Internet censorship and jamming, elevate and expand social media innovation, and employ leading-edge communication techniques and technologies."

The propaganda efforts mirror those previously and currently being carried out by Soros, the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy's (NED), and U.S. Institute for Peace's efforts to utilize social networking technologies such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, podcasts, mobile phone instant messaging, on-line chats, Android and I-Phone applications, and micro-blogs to stage "themed revolutions" in Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, and other countries. The BBG has called for an expansion of the U.S. government's propaganda reach by using all the aforementioned technologies.

The propaganda effort, according to the outlined BBG policy and goals include increasing television broadcasts directed at Egypt and central Asia. Although the BBG sees television, the web, and social networks as new avenues for dissemination of propaganda, current shortwave and medium wave radio broadcasts will be continued in programming directed at "Cuba, China, North Korea, Burma, Iran, Tibet, Uyghur, FATA (Afghan-Pakistan border region), Pakistan, Afghanistan, Belarusian, Russian to the Caucasus, Russian, Turkmen, Khmer, and Africa."

The U.S. will continue to finance and expand the reach of a number of radio stations targeting certain countries where the United States is attempting to overthrow existing anti-American governments, maintain existing American surrogate governments, or influence the overall political situation through "soft power" projection. These stations include Radio Free Europe's/Radio Liberty's Radio Farda that broadcasts Persian programming into Iran; Radio Free Afghanistan and its Pashto and Dari services; Radio Mashaal, which broadcasts Pashto programs into the Afghanistan-Pakistan region; Radio Free Iraq and its Arabic broadcasts; and the North Caucasus Unit that broadcasts in Avar, Chechen, and Circassian. In addition the Voice of America will continue its TV and Radio Ashna, targeting Afghanistan in Pashto; Radio Deewa, directed at Afghanistan in Pashto; Kurdish service targeting the Kurdish regions of Iraq, Turkey, Iran, and Syria; Radio Azzatyq directed to Kazakhstan; Radio Azzatyk directed to Kyrgyzstan; and Radio Europa Libera directed to Moldova.

The U.S. will also continue to maintain its Arabic television and radio broadcasts via Alhurra, Alhurra Iraq, Radio Sawa, and Afia Darfur. In addition to radio, Twitter, Facebook, Google, Yandex, and YouTube offerings will be increased in the Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Kurdish, Russian, Belarusian, Avar, Chechen, Circassian, Tatar-Bashkir (Radio Azatliq), Ukraine (Radio Svoboda), Albanian, Mandarin and Cantonese Chinese, Uyghur, Tibetan, Korean, Burmese, Indonesian, Thai, Haitian Creole, Hausa, French for Africa, Amharic, Afaan Oromoo, Tigrigna, Somali, Swahili, Shona, Ndbele, Kinyarwanda, and Kirundi efforts. The BBG admits that it instituted "surge broadcasting" to support the Soros-financed "Saffron Revolution" in Burma in late 2007.

The BBG intends to counteract Russian government influence in central Asia by broadcasting via direct-to-home satellite television programs to counteract "Russian-language media -- much of it controlled by Moscow" that presents what the BBG considers are "consistently anti-Western messages." Particular targets for this direct satellite and Livestream television propaganda are Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

Direct satellite transmissions and web offerings will also be increased in the Urdu, Lao, Khmer, Tibetan, and Vietnamese languages. Radio Free Asia will also increase FM radio broadcasts from border stations in Thailand to Laos. The Office of Cuba Broadcasting Radio and TV Marti programs from Miami will expand its use of stringers in Latin America to file radio, television, and web reports from various Latin American locations for the Cuban audience.

In some cases, the BBG seeks to place U.S. propaganda television and radio programs, called --interactive segments" and produced by such entities as the Voice of America's Bangla Service, within domestic broadcasts in media-intensive countries like Bangladesh. Other U.S. segment placement utilizing local broadcasters is carried out in Greek for stations in Athens, Nicosia and in Serbian for "over fifty" television affiliates in Serbia, and in Indonesia for over 230 affiliate radio stations in Indonesia. Another target for such segment "placement" is Turkey, which is described by the BBG as a crowded and competitive media market that "shows increasing anti-American bias and a growing appeal for Islamic audiences."

The BBG claims that the Voice of America has been successful in the placement of programming in the Balkans by establishing "firm positions on local TV outlets in Bosnia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia." Voice of America now maintains new broadcast transmitting stations in Benghazi and Tripoli, Hargeisa (the capital of the internationally unrecognized Republic of Somaliland), Bangui, Afghanistan, and the United Arab Emirates and newly-refurbished transmitter stations in Sao Tome, Bangkok, Kuwait, Tinian, Saipan, and Sri Lanka.

As the United States cracks down on the freedom of the press at home it is increasing its propaganda efforts abroad. Such are the hallmarks of an empire, caught in its own death throes of rapidly fading global importance, which attempts to maintain its power and influence, regardless of its poor image or the costs.

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