Read

Search form

26,000 Sign Petition Demanding Washington Post Disclose Bezos-Amazon’s CIA Ties

26,000 Sign Petition Demanding Washington Post Disclose Bezos-Amazon’s CIA Ties
Fri, 1/3/2014 - by Alex Newman
This article originally appeared on The New American

The Washington Post, one of the premier mouthpieces for the establishment, is facing a tsunami of criticism and calls for full disclosure after the newspaper’s new owner, Amazon C.E.O. and Bilderberg luminary Jeff Bezos, secured a $600 million contract with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency for “cloud” services.

According to critics, the Washington Post boss’s CIA ties represent a serious conflict of interest that, under basic ethical standards in journalism, must be disclosed to readers — at least whenever the paper is reporting on the “intelligence community” and its activities. So far, however, the Post has not publicly announced whether or not it will acknowledge what analysts say is a cut-and-dry conflict of interest.

Also troubling to critics of Bezos and his budding media empire is the billionaire’s intimate ties to the very pinnacle of the establishment. Bezos, for example, has in recent years become a regular attendee of the annual Bilderberg meetings. The deeply controversial and secretive gatherings feature top international figures in government, the establishment media, military, business, banking, royalty, intelligence, academia, and more.

While the outfit is fiendishly obsessed with secrecy — its attendees claim they just want to discuss global issues in private — critics have long pointed to admissions from its luminaries to suggest that Bilderberg plays a crucial but largely hidden role in directing world trends.

Another controversy emerging around Bezos and his acquisition of the Post surrounds Amazon’s treatment of WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy group that helps whistleblowers expose government crimes by releasing secret documents. As the transparency organization was publishing U.S. State Department cables documenting myriad crimes and scandals, Amazon’s web services division infamously pulled the plug on WikiLeaks’ website. The extraordinarily controversial decision came shortly after politicians in Washington, D.C., such as Sen. Joe Lieberman, began hysterically melting down over the public exposure of their machinations.

The alternative media, of course, has seized on the conflict-of-interest story, citing the massive CIA contract with Amazon as yet another example of the establishment press run amok — Big Business and Big Government joining forces against the public.

Experts in communications, media, and intelligence have also been slamming the paper and its owner for the controversial and shadowy dealings. As the public learns of the news, meanwhile, anger is growing as well. Tens of thousands of people have already signed a petition calling on the newspaper to provide full disclosure on its links to the shadowy espionage agency — especially when reporting on the CIA and related agencies or activities.

“A basic principle of journalism is to acknowledge when the owner of a media outlet has a major financial relationship with the subject of coverage,” states a petition on RootsAction, a prominent self-styled “progressive” outfit dedicated to mobilizing resistance to what it views as corporatism.

“We strongly urge the Washington Post to be fully candid with its readers about the fact that the newspaper’s new owner, Jeff Bezos, is the founder and CEO of Amazon which recently landed a $600 million contract with the CIA. The Washington Post’s coverage of the CIA should include full disclosure that the sole owner of the Post is also the main owner of Amazon — and Amazon is now gaining huge profits directly from the CIA.”

Bezos purchased the Post earlier this year for $250 million from its longtime owners, the Graham family. The self-made billionaire, who earned his fortune by founding pro-Internet-taxes book giant Amazon.com in 1994, has avoided any drastic changes at the Post thus far, despite the fact that it has been losing money.

Around the same time Bezos was purchasing the newspaper through his private investment company, Amazon’s cloud computing division, known as Amazon Web Services, beat IBM and secured the $600 million contract with the CIA. The billionaire has remained relatively silent on the massive deal so far, other than praising his employees for their work.

From across the political spectrum, the so-called “alternative” media — as opposed to what critics condescendingly refer to as the “mainstream media” (MSM) — have been lambasting the Post over the apparent conflict of interest. Amazon’s CIA contract is to provide “cloud computing” services to the intelligence-gathering outfit, which has led to countless headlines about a CIA “cloud” of suspicion descending over the Post.

Adding fuel to the fire is the fact that the CIA and various other “intelligence” organs serving the U.S. government have a long and sordid history of manipulating the media in a bid to manipulate the public. Operation Mockingbird, for example, is among the best known scandals.

Former CIA analyst and co-founder of “Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity” Ray McGovern, whose responsibilities once included chairing National Intelligence Estimates, is among the prominent figures speaking out about the CIA-Post connection.

In a statement published by the Institute for Public Accuracy, McGovern said the CIA-Bezos duo offered “compelling proof that the Fourth Estate is moribund, and that defenders of the independence and integrity of the Web must thwart attempts by bozos at CIA and Bezos at the once-independent Washington Post from leaving still more stain on journalism.”

“CIA secret ties with the Post and other Fawning Corporate Media (FCM) go back several decades,” McGovern continued. “After leaving the Post in 1977, Carl Bernstein wrote a major story for Rolling Stone (Oct. 20, 1977) showing how the FCM worked hand in glove with the CIA and how this was all covered up by the committee led by [Senator] Frank Church in 1975. What emerges now is what, in intelligence parlance, is called an ‘agent of influence’ owning the Post — with a huge financial interest in playing nice with the CIA. In other words, two main players nourishing the national security state in undisguised collaboration.”

Other respected analysts offered similarly stinging criticism of the troubling relationship between the CIA, Bezos, and one of America’s most influential newspapers. University of Illinois communications Professor Robert McChesney, who has published books dealing with conflicts of interest in the media, for example, also blasted the links. “When the main shareholder in one of the very largest corporations in the world benefits from a massive contract with the CIA on the one hand, and that same billionaire owns the Washington Post on the other hand, there are serious problems,” he explained in a statement.

“The Post is unquestionably the political paper of record in the United States, and how it covers governance sets the agenda for the balance of the news media,” Prof. McChesney added. “Citizens need to know about this conflict of interest in the columns of the Post itself. If some official enemy of the United States had a comparable situation — say the owner of the dominant newspaper in Caracas was getting $600 million in secretive contracts from the Maduro government — the Post itself would lead the howling chorus impaling that newspaper and that government for making a mockery of a free press. It is time for the Post to take a dose of its own medicine.”

Even former reporters for the Washington Post have criticized the paper and its owner over the conflict of interest. While Bezos’s Bilderberg links have not received much attention thus far, Amazon’s treatment of WikiLeaks has been raising alarms among some media watchdogs as well. However, despite the recent uproar, the Post is hardly the only major U.S. paper to come under fire for controversial relationships with the powerbrokers and officials they are supposed to keep in check.

Indeed, critics of the establishment press come from all across the political spectrum. The major criticism all sides appear to agree on, though, is that the most of the “mainstream media” have failed spectacularly in their supposed job to keep the American people properly informed. The outcry surrounding recent developments at the Washington Post barely scratches the surface of the problem. It remains to be seen if, when, or how the Post will respond to the criticism.

Originally published by The New American

Add new comment

Sign Up

Article Tabs

climate chaos, carbon emissions, climate movement, Break Free from Fossil Fuels, worldwide climate protests, disrupting dirty power, Climate Mobilization, 350.org, keep it in the ground, renewable energy transition

Starting next week, a global wave of mass actions will target the world’s most dangerous fossil fuel projects.

protest movements, social mobilizations, movement of the squares, Occupy Wall Street, Podemos Party, Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders, protest demands, horizontal democracy, Arab Spring, Nuit Debout

The movements of the squares were a watershed moment that profoundly changed grassroots and institutional politics – they have enthused in equal measure as they have disappointed, both under-delivering and over-delivering on their promises.

The Bay Area currency operates a commercial barter system – where businesses with unused inventory or excess capacity "deposit" their excess into an exchange, and “withdraw” other businesses’ excess goods and services instead of money.

climate crisis, climate information, Climate Feedback, accurate climate coverage

Climate Feedback brings together a global network of scientists who use a new web-annotation platform to provide feedback on climate change reporting.

Black Lives Matter, ACLU of Oregon, state surveillance, surveillance programs

Monitoring the social media use of BLM activists is an example of "how the level of trust between law enforcement and communities of color has been so damaged," the civil rights group says.

migrant crisis, East African migrants, migrant smugglers, organ trafficking

A week ago, on April 17, 400 East Africans drowned in the Mediterranean Sea after their boat capsized on the way to Italy – and when the numbers get this big, we forget that they are individual lives being lost, like this, every day.

Posted 5 days 1 hour ago
Panama Papers, tax avoidance, tax shelters, corporate tax evasion, Oxfam

The names on the list of "Broken At the Top" are like a who’s who of big business – and some of the headline figures are simply staggering.

Posted 2 days 18 hours ago
British academies, privatized education, lower teaching standards, low teacher pay, National Union of Teachers, Anti-Academies Alliance

“It is a complete bonfire of pay and conditions," said David Gilchrist of the Anti-Academies Alliance, who claims the government has "no evidence to back up the claim that academies improve educational standards – in fact the opposite is true."

Posted 3 days 19 hours ago

In recent weeks, thousands of people marched and were arrested on the steps of the Capitol demanding that the people’s voice be heard: that we the people, not money, be the driving force of our government.

Posted 5 days 1 hour ago

The Bay Area currency operates a commercial barter system – where businesses with unused inventory or excess capacity "deposit" their excess into an exchange, and “withdraw” other businesses’ excess goods and services instead of money.

Posted 1 day 19 hours ago

The Bay Area currency operates a commercial barter system – where businesses with unused inventory or excess capacity "deposit" their excess into an exchange, and “withdraw” other businesses’ excess goods and services instead of money.

With more than 1,300 people arrested on the steps of the Capitol earlier this month, the Democracy Spring campaign pulled off one of the largest acts of civil disobedience this century.

climate crisis, climate information, Climate Feedback, accurate climate coverage

Climate Feedback brings together a global network of scientists who use a new web-annotation platform to provide feedback on climate change reporting.

Civil Rights movement, environmental movement, green-black alliance, Black Lives Matter, Moral Mondays, Martin Luther King Jr, movement of movements

A beautiful thing is happening: Advocates for racial justice and for environmental protection are coming together in a new way.

act out, occupy, spoken word, poetry, Harriet Tubman, 20 dollar bill, money in politics, regulation, cost benefit analysis, human life, cost of life, value of life, Public Citizen, Amit Narang, corporate accountability, corporate malfeasance, May Day, Int

This week, regulation is the name of the game if you want to hold corporations accountable and keep them in line with the interests of people and planet. Sadly, there's one serious hurdle standing between us and regulation.