Sunday, February 26, 2023

The CIA’s Psychological Warfare Division: Gladio meets the Congress for Cultural Freedom


CIA OPC Burnham CCF propaganda cold war subversion Nazi Kennan Wisner Buckley books psychological warfare polwar hegemony

“Burnham was a consultant to OPC on virtually every subject of interest to our organization…He had extensive contacts in Europe and, by virtue of his Trotskyite background, was something of an authority on domestic and foreign Communist parties and front organizations.”

– E. Howard Hunt’s Memoirs

In 1948, Joseph Bryan III, a former classmate of Burnham, joined the CIA where he headed the Political and Psychological Warfare Division of the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC). The Office of Policy Coordination (OPC) was created as a department of the CIA in 1948, but operated as a rogue operation until October 1950. Many of the agency’s recruits were so-called “ex” Nazis.

George F. Kennan, the director of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, was the key figure behind the OPC’s creation. Frank Wisner, who worked as a Wall Street lawyer for the law firm Carter, Ledyard & Milburn, was former OSS and worked closely with Allen Dulles. He would be called in from the State Department as OPC’s first director. During the period of 1948-1950, Dulles and Wisner were essentially operating their own private spy agency, with the special blessing of George F. Kennan, as the OPC was actually more beholden to the State Department then the CIA during this period.

During WWII, Burnham would leave his teaching post at NYU to work for the OSS in 1944 and carried on to work for the CIA when the OSS was disbanded. Joseph Bryan III offered Burnham a consultantship with the OPC in February or March 1949. Burnham worked with Bryan’s OPC unit, which included the notorious E. Howard Hunt, using the code names “Hamburn” and “Kenneth E. Hambley”. This included campaigns to harass communist governments, such as the Carpathians based Ukrainian band that until the early 1950s waged guerilla war on the Soviet rule and ‘liberation’ offensives by militant émigré groups aimed at destabilising Soviet ‘puppet’ regimes.

The focus of Burnham’s work was on propaganda. It included creating an image of the USSR threat for the Western public. It was thus decided that Soviet influenced countries, at Burnham’s instruction, should not be called ‘satellites’ but ‘colonies’, and that “In general…[the USSR should be linked] with all key retrogressive words: ‘reactionary,’ ‘imperialistic,’ etc.” Propaganda, bribery, and disinformation should be employed to encourage factionalism, defections and transfers of allegiance to the United States. The ruin of the Soviet morale should also be sought by causing bewilderment in Moscow through apparently irrational U.S. actions, inciting revolt among Soviet labor camp inmates and projecting total confidence in Western victory.  (more...)

The CIA’s Psychological Warfare Division: Gladio meets the Congress for Cultural Freedom

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