The Council on Foreign Relations delivered an Orwellian presentation recently that unsurprisingly went unnoticed in the mainstream media, in which CFR’s Richard Stengel forwarded the notion that governments “have to” direct “propaganda” at their own domestic populations.
The Council is recognized as one of the United States’ oldest and most establishment think tanks of the American power-elite, and it often sets the agenda on important policy questions—or, as former senior editor at the Washington Post, Richard Harwood, in a column entitled “Ruling Class Journalists,” approvingly described the Council as, “the nearest thing we have to a ruling establishment in the United States.”
Harwood admiringly wrote:
The membership of these journalists in the Council, however they may think of themselves, is an acknowledgment of their active and important role in public affairs and of their ascension into the American ruling class. They do not merely analyze and interpret foreign policy for the United States; they help make it…. They are part of that establishment whether they like it or not, sharing most of its values and worldviews.
CFR is a key cog in the hub of Washington think-tanks promoting endless war. As former Army Major Todd Pierce described, think-tanks act as “primary provocateurs” using “‘psychological suggestiveness’ to create a false narrative of danger from some foreign entity with the objective being to create paranoia within the U.S. population that it is under imminent threat of attack or takeover.”
In late 2018, WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange publicized the extensive sway the Council on Foreign relations carried over U.S. mass media by Tweeting a graphic created by Swiss Propaganda Research (SPR), a research and information project on geopolitical propaganda in Swiss media, which illustrated the heavy influence CFR exercises over the media narrative delivered to the American public, i.e. domestic propaganda.
Council on Foreign Relations links to major media holdings
— #FreeAssange! (tweets by campaign)⌛ (@JulianAssange) January 28, 2018
The illustration of the Council’s deeply entrenched media presence is based on official membership rosters compiled by SPR, revealing the interconnectedness of CFR’s extensive mass media influence network and its main international affiliate groups—the Bilderberg Group (covering mainly the U.S. and Europe) and the Trilateral Commission (covering North America, Europe and East Asia).
According to the report from Swiss Propaganda Research:
Largely unbeknownst to the general public, many media executives and top journalists of almost all major US news outlets have long been members of the influential Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).
Established in 1921 as a private, bipartisan organization to “awaken America to its worldwide responsibilities”, the CFR and its close to 5000 elite members have for decades shaped U.S. foreign policy and public discourse about it. As one Council member famously explained, the goal has indeed been to establish a global Empire, albeit a “benevolent” one.
Stengel, a former editor of TIME magazine, told the audience at a CFR event in late April called Political Disruptions: Combating Disinformation and Fake News that governments “have to” direct “propaganda” toward their own populations.
At a Council on Foreign Relations forum about “fake news,” former Editor at Time Magazine Richard Stengel directly states that he supports the use of propaganda on American citizens – then shuts the session down when challenged about how propaganda is used against the third world pic.twitter.com/ClAT5POv7G
— William Craddick (@williamcraddick) May 11, 2018
In the full video of the CFR event shown below, Stengel openly argues in favor of propaganda against U.S. citizens starting at the 1:15:26 mark in the footage.
Full video of the forum – efforts to control the flow of information and dictate to the public how to interpret facts should be taken seriouslyhttps://t.co/dKVG6dHBSN
— William Craddick (@williamcraddick) May 11, 2018
Stengel, who is a former high-level U.S. government official, head of the office for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs at the State Department from 2013 to 2016, and a regular pundit on MSNBC, explained:
Basically, every country creates their own narrative story and, you know, my old job at the State Department was what people used to joke as the ‘chief propagandist’ job. We haven’t talked about propaganda… I’m not against propaganda. Every country does it, and they have to do it to their own population, and I don’t necessarily think it’s that awful.
ZeroHedge reported that Stengel’s personal bio site notes that he “helped create and oversee” the Global Engagement Center at the State Department whose official mission is to “counter propaganda and disinformation from international terrorist organizations and foreign countries” (with a “special focus on Russia”).
Perhaps most ominous of all is the fact that a man who publicly says that he is “not against propaganda” on the U.S. government’s “own population“ was recently named a “distinguished fellow” as part of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab).
Yes, the same Atlantic Council that espouses a strongly anti-Russian agenda that is funded by Ukrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk, who also happened to donate at least $10 million to the Clinton Foundation. Pinchuk just so happens to be the CTO and co-founder of CrowdStrike—the company used by the DNC to inspect their servers allegedly hacked by Russia, after refusing the FBI access to the same servers.
Obviously, it seems to be very peculiar behavior by the DNC to refuse the FBI access to their servers, and instead rely on a private company—unless they had an ulterior motive. Consequently, the assessment by CrowdStrike was used as a basis for what eventually resulted in the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab today announced a partnership with Facebook to independently monitor disinformation and other vulnerabilities in elections around the world. The effort is part of an initiative to help provide credible research about the role of social media in elections, as well as democracy more generally.
The Digital Forensic Research Lab is launching a partnership with Facebook to support the world’s largest community in its efforts to strengthen democracy…
As if on cue, and with an utterly Orwellian feel, Facebook announced on June 2, 2018, that the user-generated “trending news” section will be replaced by a “breaking news” section—which will be comprised of 80 publications selected by Facebook—that will feed approved content to users.
Facebook will essentially have complete control of the topics and narratives that are fed to their users in a clear act of social engineering, which will give the social media giant—and their political/ideological allies—the ability to directly manipulate people’s perceptions of any event.
During the 2016 election, leaked internal documents from Facebook revealed that the editors in charge of the company’s “Trending News” section repeatedly discriminated against conservative articles, while promoting progressive content, which resulted in the threat of an investigation from the Senate commerce committee.
The new changes were explained in a Friday announcement:
- Breaking News Label: A test we’re running with 80 publishers across North America, South America, Europe, India and Australia lets publishers put a “breaking news” indicator on their posts in News Feed. We’re also testing breaking news notifications.
- Today In: We’re testing a dedicated section on Facebook called Today In that connects people to the latest breaking and important news from local publishers in their city, as well as updates from local officials and organizations.
- News Video in Watch: We will soon have a dedicated section on Facebook Watch in the US where people can view live coverage, daily news briefings and weekly deep dives that are exclusive to Watch.
So, when CFR is publicly advocating for the societal benefits of domestic propaganda, and Facebook is jettisoning an already meager user-generated “Trending News” section and aligning itself with an anti-Russian, Clinton-connected thinktank, Americans should be keenly aware that they are being actively propagandized, and they should work to intentionally diversify their news sources as an omnipotent mass propaganda regime is being covertly implemented.
Jay Syrmopoulos is a geopolitical analyst, freethinker, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at the University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs and holds a BA in International Relations. Jay’s writing has been featured on both mainstream and independent media – and has been viewed tens of millions of times. You can follow him on Twitter @SirMetropolis and on Facebook at SirMetropolis. This article first appeared at The Free Thought Project.