Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org
Here’s an example: Ron Unz has called this article that he published in his magazine, The American Conservative, in 2010, and which The Nation magazine had briefly published in 2008 in an abbreviated version and quickly removed from its website, and which The Nation also blocked from being stored on any web archive site — he called it “the biggest story of his [i.e., of Pulitzer-winner Sydney Schanberg’s] career, which has seemingly vanished down the memory hole without trace.” Unz asked, “Could a news story ever be ‘too big’ for the media to cover?” The “alternative news” site Counterpunch reported on this story in print at the same time as The American Conservative, but also removed it from their site if it ever really was on their site (which site has far more readers than their print magazine ever did). Counterpunch had even earlier quoted excerpts from it but then removed that article also from their site. However, on 26 May 2010, The American Conservative did actually publish, in its print magazine, which was dated July 2010, Schanberg’s 8,130-word report — the report which The Nation had originally buried (after having ‘published’ briefly in only an abbreviated version). Counterpunch summarized it, honestly, at their site, headlining, on 28 May 2010, “Vietnam MIAs: Ghosts Return to Haunt McCain and the US Press”. They quoted there, from Schanberg’s article about the difficulty he had had, in finding a publisher (two years too late) for his article (which had previously been available only temporarily and only online and only shortened, at the website of The Nation, in 2008), Schanberg’s story about the newsmedia’s resistance to publishing this:
“In recent years, I have offered my POW stories to a long list of editors of leading newspapers, magazines, and significant websites that do original reporting. And when they decline my offerings, I have urged them to do their own POW investigation with their own staff under their own supervision. The list of these news organizations includes the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, New York magazine, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, Harper’s, Rolling Stone, Mother Jones, Vanity Fair, Salon, Slate, Talking Points Memo, ProPublica, Politico, and others. To my knowledge, none have attempted or produced a piece. Their explanations for avoiding the story have never rung true. … Some said they didn’t have enough staff to do the story. Others said the story was ‘old’ — even though we have never found out what happened to the missing prisoners. …
“I asked these editors about the mountain of hard evidence attesting to the existence of abandoned men. In particular, I asked about the witness evidence, the 1,600 firsthand live sightings of American prisoners after the war. Did these journalists believe that every last one of the 1,600 witnesses was lying or mistaken? Many of these Vietnamese witnesses were interrogated by U.S. intelligence officers. Many were given lie-detector tests. They passed. The interrogators’ reports graded the bulk of the witnesses ‘credible.’
“I would run through the long gamut of known intelligence — official radio intercepts of prisoners being moved to and from labor camps in Laos, satellite photos, conversations overheard by Secret Service agents inside the White House, ransom offers from Hanoi through third parties, sworn public testimony by three U.S. defense secretaries who served during the Vietnam era that ‘men were left behind.’ The press wasn’t and isn’t interested.” In late 2008 The Nation published a shorted version of Schanberg’s investigation, and Hamilton Fish put a much fuller account up on the National Institute’s website.”
That reference to Hamilton Fish and The Nation (which Fish had purchased in 1978) wasn’t actually in Schanberg’s article about his article, but was added, with its confusing word “shorted” instead of the correct “shortened”, and with “the National Institute’s” instead of the correct “The Nation Institute’s”, by Counterpunch’s editor and publisher Alexander Cockburn (but since Counterpunch is “leftist” it has and had no official “publisher”). Those sloppinesses weren’t from Schanberg, but instead from Cockburn, perhaps after an until-then-uninterested Cockburn had listened to Schanberg’s urging him to publish this story and telling him why it was still news, worthy of being published even two years after John McCain’s 2008 Presidential campaign, a campaign throughout which all of the press — both Democratic and Republican — had hidden it from the public.
So, it was now two years after the 2008 Presidential campaign, and the story was finally finding a publisher: Ron Unz. During the Presidential contest, it had been suppressed not only by Republican Party ‘news’ media, but also by Democratic Party ‘news’ media.
Then Counterpunch summarized, there, in that same article by Cockburn, just thrown-in as an aside, yet another example of America’s rigidly controlled press, an example which indicated that the Israeli government was actually controlling the U.S. government, at least back in 1967 — and that all of the U.S. press then and since were hiding that established fact, hiding it from the American public, who still didn’t know about it, almost a decade after the issuance of the blistering 2003 federal report on that 1967 incident. (A summary of the evidence on that still-covered-up matter can be found here. The evidence itself is here.) The media could have had a field day with this matter, but instead have consistently covered it up and alleged that Israel is “a U.S. ally” — the exact opposite of (at least since 2003) the historically proven reality.
How can anyone say, with a straight face, that the U.S. is a democracy? There’s even a serious question as to whether the Israeli government still controls the U.S. government. At the very least, no patriotic American public official should be supporting America’s $3 billion annual payments to what still remains, even today, apartheid Israel — and all U.S. officials who have done so in the past should be voted out of office, because they’re actually foreign agents. (Or, otherwise, the phrase “foreign agent” is meaningless.)
But the problem here obviously goes even deeper than that of whether the Israeli government, or perhaps an alliance between them and the Saud family, or perhaps no alliance at all but simply one family, controls the U.S. government. The entire press that hires ‘reporters’ in America is involved in hiding instead of reporting the really important news, the news that implicates the newsmedia themselves in a selective system-wide operation of news-suppression, alongside their selective system-wide operation of ‘news’-reporting: reported ‘news’ that’s stripped of the real news — stripped of the crucial facts that enable the public to understand public affairs. Unz’s efforts have made public (to the limited extent he can) the uniform complicity of the American press.
Schanberg had been researching this news report and historical account, since at least 1994, when Penthouse magazine — which back in those years was publishing some of the real breakthrough investigative journalism, including major history that still is suppressed elsewhere, which none of the ‘serious’ ‘news’ media would touch — issued in September (1994) Schanberg’s “Did America Abandon Vietnam War P.O.W.’s?” Even at that time, Schanberg was reporting that, “time and again, when these numbers or letters or names have shown up on the satellite digital imagery, the Pentagon, backed by the C.I.A., insisted out of hand that humans had not made these markings,” etc. And that cover-up continues to the present day.
After Unz published Schanberg’s complete article online on 26 May 2010 and then also in the July 2010 issue of his magazine The American Conservative, The Nation restored their abbreviated version of it to the internet, and web.archive captured their first shot of it on August 8th of that year. One could see there that the version The Nation had published had actually been cut down 67%, from Schanberg’s 8,130 words to only a mere 2,686 words. Their version focused only on McCain’s blame in the matter — all the rest was stripped-out — and ignored the blame on the part of John Kerry and of other Democrats, and especially the blame on the part of the press (the press’s guilt in covering up the scandal — the biggest part of the blame in this entire sordid affair). Furthermore, the cover of that issue of the magazine, (the 8 October 2008 issue, just prior to the 2008 Presidential election) had included the following as the cover’s tagline to the news-report, the historical account, inside: “MCCAIN’S POW COVER-UP” — only that Democratic-Party propaganda-message, which (like the story inside) was pretending that this was only a scandal about one man, the Republican Presidential nominee, not about America’s corrupt ‘news’ media (including, now quite obviously, The Nation itself).
In other words: when The Nation did publish the report, it was only in a drastically stripped-down version designed strictly for Democratic Party propaganda purposes — not as what its author, Schanberg, had intended: an indictment of the U.S. ‘news’ media and of the virtually one-party political rule in this ‘two-party’ fake ‘democracy’.
On 13 July 2016, Unz made another try, at his Unz Review online site, to draw the public’s attention to his 2010 restoration of Schanberg’s 8,130-word article.
Perhaps The Nation will someday remove their 2,686-word propaganda-piece for the 2008 Obama-for-President campaign, and replace it by Schanberg’s decades-long reportorial coup, his 8,130-word exposé of America’s psychopathic aristocracy and of their press.
Clearly, when we have a nation whose press is so rigorously controlled that even a reporter such as Sydney Schanberg can’t find any ’news’ medium for an investigative report (even when the report provides damning information about the Republican Party’s Presidential nominee — McCain — and the 2008 Presidential contest is the country’s hottest news); when such a reporter as that, can’t find any ‘news’ medium which will pay him to make public and expose to the American people lies — lies about the background of such a Presidential nominee, incriminating truths that are kept secret both by that candidate and by his opponent Barack Obama, lies that are put forth as truths by both of America’s political parties, and truths that are rigidly censored-out by both the Democrats and the Republicans — then, in that case, what exists, in this nation, is actually a dictatorship, not a democracy. The ‘democracy’ is then only a front. Not real. But this front is called ‘journalism’ in a ‘free press’ in a ‘democracy’. It’s actually propaganda in a controlled press in a very modern type of dictatorship. That’s the reality. But it’s one that cannot be published, because the media-owners don’t want the public to know it.
Incidentally, Hamilton Fish now owns both The New Republic magazine and The Washington Spectator magazine. He and his successor Victor Navasky sold The Nation in 2005 to Katrina vanden Heuvel, whose father, the corporate lawyer William J. vanden Heuvel, was a close friend of Navasky as well as of all three Kennedy brothers (JFK, RFK, and EMK), and had started out as the right-hand man to the corporate lawyer Bill Donovan, founder of the OSS, the predecessor of the CIA. The wikipedia article on William J. “Wild Bill” Donovan refers to “his protégé Allen Dulles” (another corporate lawyer) whom the Republican Dwight Eisenhower selected in 1953 to run the CIA. Fish descended from Hamilton Fish III, the famous Republican enemy of the anti-fascist Democratic U.S. President FDR, and of FDR’s New Deal, and also famously opposed to FDR’s enmity toward Hitler, Mussolini, and Hirohito-Tojo. Bill vanden Heuvel went on, after the OSS, to become the top aide to Democrat Averill Harriman, whose Republican partner Prescott Bush founded the Bush dynasty, and then vanden Heuvel became the top aide to Robert F. Kennedy.
But, of course, those were just a few of the people at the very top of America’s ‘liberal’ Establishment. The American aristocracy, like any aristocracy, has both its ‘liberal’ (Democratic) and its conservative (Republican) wings. Both of its wings are far-right, they’re in-service to the owners of America’s international corporations (the controlling owners who are America’s aristocrats); and, so, they don’t hire ‘journalists’ who report about any such phenomenon as this control of the U.S. government by the controllers of America’s mega-corporations. It’s banned; it is America’s “samizdat” — truth that’s prohibited from being published.
Whatever the claimed ideology, the people at the top feel that rich people are superior to poor people; they look down on the destitute. That’s the reality. Virtually nobody at the top wants the public to know the deeper realities, which bond these individuals (the aristocracy and their agents) together as a group, against the public.
Is there any way to stop the rot at the top, if the public has no way to know about it? The public can know about the little things, but not about what really counts to the aristocracy — the people who control the public (via their government and their ‘news’ media). The public has no way to know what they are being controlled to do, no way to know why they are doing it, or to know why what is being done to them is being done. It just ‘happens’ — and sometimes they don’t even ever get to know that it has happened to them. It just does, that’s all. That’s the way things are in a dictatorship. Things just ‘happen’, but don’t really make sense in the way that the ‘news’ media and the scholars are contextualizing events. The beneficiaries are hidden, because the employees, the agents, are paid to do that — they are just doing their jobs.
Regarding the suppressed history in this present matter, here is the core of it from Schanberg’s 8,130-word article:
… a senior North Vietnamese general’s briefing of the Hanoi politburo, discovered in Soviet archives by an American scholar in 1993. The briefing took place only four months before the 1973 peace accords. The general, Tran Van Quang, told the politburo members that Hanoi was holding 1,205 American prisoners but would keep many of them [half of them] at war’s end as leverage to ensure getting war reparations from Washington.
Throughout the Paris negotiations, the North Vietnamese tied the prisoner issue tightly to the issue of reparations. They were adamant in refusing to deal with them separately. Finally, in a Feb. 2, 1973 formal letter to Hanoi’s premier, Pham Van Dong, Nixon pledged $3.25 billion in “postwar reconstruction” aid “without any political conditions.” But he also attached to the letter a codicil that said the aid would be implemented by each party “in accordance with its own constitutional provisions.” That meant Congress would have to approve the appropriation, and Nixon and Kissinger knew well that Congress was in no mood to do so. The North Vietnamese, whether or not they immediately understood the double-talk in the letter, remained skeptical about the reparations promise being honored — and it never was. Hanoi thus appears to have held back prisoners — just as it had done when the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 and withdrew their forces from Vietnam. In that case, France paid ransoms for prisoners and brought them home.
In a private briefing in 1992, high-level CIA officials told me that as the years passed and the ransom never came, it became more and more difficult for either government to admit that it knew from the start about the unacknowledged prisoners. Those prisoners [approximately 600 in number] had not only become useless as bargaining chips but also posed a risk to Hanoi’s desire to be accepted into the international community. The CIA officials said their intelligence indicated strongly that the remaining men — those who had not died from illness or hard labor or torture — were eventually executed.
The U.S. refused to pay Vietnam “$3.25 billion in ‘postwar reconstruction’” (for Vietnam to deal with the consequences of America’s massive bombing, Agent-Orange toxification, etc., of their country) in order for Vietnam to release the remaining (the unreleased) half of the 1,205 U.S. soldiers — prisoners who had participated in perpetrating these things upon Vietnam — prisoners whom Vietnam were holding for ransom. That’s $6.6 million per soldier who would be set free, under the agreed terms ending the war. A way could have been found to pay this without making the ransom public — for example, the CIA routinely spends money that’s non-official — but a U.S. soldier’s safety and life just wasn’t worth it, to top U.S. government officials, the people (including in the White House and in Congress) who held the power to honor the commitment that had been made to Vietnam. They didn’t want the American people to know, conclusively, that the U.S. had lost the Vietnam war and even promised to pay $6.6 million per person to get 600 U.S. soldiers freed. The French government had paid the ransom for theirs; the U.S. government never paid the ransom for theirs. Whereas the French government took this as a governmental responsibility, the American government treated its soldiers who had carried out their missions for the U.S. as merely taking lumps for what they had done (though the U.S. aristocracy had actually sent them there to do it). So, the U.S. aristocracy abandoned them. it was bipartisan perfidy by America’s aristocracy. But, this should be seen in the broader perspective: only around 600 Americans got slaughtered, not around 3,000, like in the 9/11 matter and the similar coverup of the international aristocratic machinations behind that.
Of course, this news-story that Schanberg had worked decades to uncover, was far less important than some news-stories — such as America’s war, since 1990, to conquer Russia; an increasingly hot war that now seems rather likely to end in a globe-destroying nuclear war — but, still, it’s too big for America’s aristocracy to allow to be made public, because it shows that the real conflict in America isn’t between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, but between the U.S. government and the U.S. public. The aristocracy can’t allow that to become known, no matter how big a story it is, because it’s just one step away from admitting that the government represents some aristocracy, not the public. It would blow the cover off the American political reality.
This also explains, for example, why another of the great investigative journalists, Seymour Hersh, has been unable to get his most-important recent reports published in the United States, but only turn-downs for these articles, from his traditional publisher The New Yorker magazine, and other U.S. outlets that he has offered them to. These articles, which ultimately were published in the London Review of Books, present U.S. President Barack Obama’s lying about the source of the 21 August 2013 sarin gas attack in Syria, attributing it to Bashar al-Assad when Obama had to have been aware that it was not, and, in fact, the Obama Administration itself was involved (along with the Sauds, and Qataris, and the Erdogan regime in Turkey) in preparing the attack. Obama continues to blame Assad for it (it was set up as a “false-flag attack” — the type of attack that’s designed specifically to be blamed on an ‘enemy’), because Assad is allied with Russia, while the U.S. is allied with Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which want to pipeline their oil and gas through Syria into the EU. For the Qataris and Sauds, it’s more about money, but for the U.S. regime it’s about strangulating Russia’s economy by cutting off Russia’s largest oil-and-gas market — Europe — and cutting in America’s allies, the royal families who own Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Furthermore, the U.S. government knows that the Saudi royals provided most of the financing for Al Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks, and that also the royal families of Qatar, UAE, and Kuwait, are top funders of jihadist groups throughout the world. All of these matters are unpublishable in the U.S., because those are “U.S. allies” (i.e., aristocracies that are allied with the U.S. aristocracy).
When Unz, recently, on July 13th, made another try at getting the word out about the late Sydney Schanberg’s big story, he also wrote there about the ‘news’ media’s persistent cover-up of it when he had in 2010 published it (unfortunately at least two years too late) and when he brought together a symposium about it whose panelists included many leading journalists and publishers; Unz wrote:
I felt confident we would attract a great deal of mainstream attention. I was on friendly terms with quite a number of established reporters and opinion columnists, and sent them advance copies of the material, speaking with some of them by phone, and discovering that all were as shocked by Syd’s revelations as I had been. Yet the result once again was utter and complete silence from mainstream media outlets, and no response to any of my follow-up notes. I was later told that one of America’s best-known investigative reporters read the story and found it stunning, yet he never said a word about it in public.
Speaking for myself now (not quoting anyone here): I have experienced this news-suppression numerous times. I have been confidentially told by some top people in newsmedia, and in academia, that certain realities cannot be made public, certain truths are simply unpublishable. (Perhaps that’s also the reason why this — which somehow, surprisingly, managed to be accepted for publication — was the last article that Huffington Post published from me, though they have continued to receive all of my submissions — and then they mysteriously zapped the 60K “Like”s on it, and replaced that number with “17K” instead. And the “2,782 Comments” were somehow mysteriously then shown below that, under “Conversations”, to have been only “1860 Comments”.)
I think the reason why the essential truths are not reported to the public isn’t that journalists and their editors don’t know those facts but instead that the owners would fire and blackball any reporters and editors and producers who enabled the public to know those facts — it’s simply forbidden, though there’s no published rule forbidding it.
For example, the best-selling nonfiction books aren’t published and successfully promoted to the best-seller lists because they’re the best on their respective topics, but because — just to mention here the main filter that’s used — they’re the ones that the aristocracy are not united about suppressing. The works that the aristocracy are united about suppressing are generally the highest quality nonfiction works of all, because widespread public knowledge of their facts would generate a revolution overthrowing the aristocracy: the public would come to understand that the problem isn’t “Republicans” and it isn’t “Democrats” and it isn’t “Whites” and it isn’t “Blacks” and it isn’t “Jews” and it isn’t “Muslims” and it isn’t “Catholics,” etc.: it’s instead the aristocracy themselves and their agents, some of which individuals are public figures, but the most important of whom are not (except that they might be on some lists of billionaires and centi-millionaires — but the very wealthiest people aren’t even listed there). And, of course, numerous crackpot books and articles are published about “the Illuminati” and about “the Warburgs,” “the Masons,” etc., which use lousy sources and misrepresent even those, and which therefore pose no threat at all to the individuals who really are in control; so, no ban exists against those works (the bad works), but only against the works that are soundly sourced and that do get the history right.
Often, the best works about public affairs don’t even get published at all — and the few that do get published, get iced by the ‘news’ media (regardless of their quality), and thus flop.
And that’s the reality. In a dictatorship. Getting to the truth, and getting it published, can be dangerous to one’s career, if one’s country is a dictatorship, such as in the U.S.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.