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Who Paid the Piper: The CIA and the Cultural Cold War

Posted by Fredsvenn den februar 27, 2008

«This book provides a detailed account of the ways in which the Central Intelligence Agency penetrated and influenced a vast array of cultural organizations, through its front groups and via friendly philanthropic organizations like the Ford Foundation and Rockefeller Foundations.

The author, Frances Stonor Saunders, details how and why the CIA ran cultural congresses, mounted exhibits, and organized concerts. The CIA also published and translated well-known authors who toed the Washington line, sponsored abstract art to counteract art with any social content and, throughout the world, subsidized journals that criticized Marxism, communism, and revolutionary politics and apologized for, or ignored, violent and destructive imperialist U.S. policies.

The CIA was able to harness some of the most vocal exponents of intellectual freedom in the West in service of these policies, to the extent that some intellectuals were directly on the CIA payroll. Many were knowingly involved with CIA «projects,» and others drifted in and out of its orbit, claiming ignorance of the CIA connection after their CIA sponsors were publicly exposed during the late 1960s and the Vietnam war, after the turn of the political tide to the left.

U.S. and European anticommunist publications receiving direct or indirect funding included Partisan Review, Kenyon Review, New Leader, Encounter and many others. Among the intellectuals who were funded and promoted by the CIA were Irving Kristol, Melvin Lasky, Isaiah Berlin, Stephen Spender, Sidney Hook, Daniel Bell, Dwight MacDonald, Robert Lowell, Hannah Arendt, Mary McCarthy, and numerous others in the United States and Europe. In Europe, the CIA was particularly interested in and promoted the «Democratic Left» and ex-leftists, including Ignacio Silone, Stephen Spender, Arthur Koestler, Raymond Aron, Anthony Crosland, Michael Josselson, and George Orwell.

The CIA, under the prodding of Sidney Hook and Melvin Lasky, was instrumental in funding the Congress for Cultural Freedom, a kind of cultural NATO that grouped together all sorts of «anti-Stalinist» leftists and rightists. They were completely free to defend Western cultural and political values, attack «Stalinist totalitarianism» and to tiptoe gently around U.S. racism and imperialism. Occasionally, a piece marginally critical of U.S. mass society was printed in the CIA-subsidized journals.

What was particularly bizarre about this collection of CIA-funded intellectuals was not only their political partisanship, but their pretense that they were disinterested seekers of truth, iconoclastic humanists, freespirited intellectuals, or artists for art’s sake, who counterposed themselves to the corrupted «committed» house «hacks» of the Stalinist apparatus.»

Continued

Monthly Review,  Nov, 1999  by James Petras

Central Intelligence Agency – Wikipedia

James Petras is a Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York. He is the author of 62 books published in 29 languages, and over 560 articles in professional journals, including the American Sociological Review, British Journal of Sociology, Social Research, and Journal of Peasant Studies. He has published over 2000 articles in nonprofessional journals such as the New York Times, the Guardian, the Nation, Christian Science Monitor, Foreign Policy, New Left Review, Partisan Review, TempsModerne, Le Monde Diplomatique, and his commentary is widely carried on the internet. His publishers have included Random House, John Wiley, Westview, Routledge, Macmillan, Verso, Zed Books and Pluto Books. He is winner of the Career of Distinguished Service Award from the American Sociological Association’s Marxist Sociology Section, the Robert Kenny Award for Best Book, 2002, and the Best Dissertation, Western Political Science Association in 1968. His most recent titles include Unmasking Globalization: Imperialism of the Twenty-First Century (2001); co-author The Dynamics of Social Change in Latin America (2000), System in Crisis (2003), co-author Social Movements and State Power (2003), co-author Empire With Imperialism (2005), co-author)Multinationals on Trial (2006).

He has a long history of commitment to social justice, working in particular with the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement for 11 years. In 1973-76 he was a member of the Bertrand Russell Tribunal on Repression in Latin America. He writes a monthly column for the Mexican newspaper, Le Jornada, and previously, for the Spanish daily, El Mundo. He received his B.A. from Boston University and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.

More from James Petras

James Petras website

 

Rebelion – Petras essays in english…

 

James Petras – Israel’s War with Iran

 

James Petras’ New Book:The Power Of Israel In The United States

 

James Petras: China Bashing & the Loss of US Competitiveness

 

James Petras: CIA Destabilization Memo Surfaces on Venezuela

 

 

 

 

 

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