Becoming the first credentialed, well-known media insider to step forward and state publicly that he was secretly a "propagandist," an editor of a major German daily has said that he personally planted stories for the CIA.
Dr. Udo Ulfkotte
Saying he believes a medical condition gives him only a few years to live, and that he is filled with remorse, Dr. Udo Ulfkotte, the editor of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of Germany's largest newspapers, said in an interview that he accepted news stories written and given to him by the CIA and published them under his own name. Ulfkotte said the aim of much of the deception was to drive nations toward war.
Dr. Ulfkotte says the corruption of journalists and major news outlets by the CIA is routine, accepted, and widespread in the western media, and that journalists who do not comply either cannot get jobs at any news organization, or find their careers cut short.
Dr. Ulfkotte is the author of a book currently available only in German, "Bought Journalists" (Kopp 2014.) Aged 55, he was also once an advisor to the government of German Chancellor Helmet Kohl.
The book has become a bestseller in Germany but, in a bizarre twist which Ulfkotte says characterizes the disconnect caused by CIA control of the western media, the book cannot be reported on.
Ulfkotte says:No German mainstream journalist is allowed to report about [my] book. Otherwise he or she will be sacked. So we have a bestseller now that no German journalist is allowed to write or talk about."
Among the stories Ulfkotte says he was ordered to plant in his newspaper over the years was a story that Libyan President Moammar Gaddafi was building poison gas factories in 2011. Ulfkotte also says he was an eyewitness to Saddam Hussein's use of poison gas against Iranians in the war between Iran and Iraq, but that the editors he worked for at the time were not interested, because Iraq was a US ally at the time.
Ulfkotte says he is better positioned to come forward than many journalists because he does not have children who could be threatened. Ulfkotte told the Russian newspaper Russian Insider (RI):
"When I told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Ulfkotte's nwspaper) that I would publish the book, their lawyers sent me a letter threatening with all legal consequences if I would publish any names or secrets – but I don’t mind. You see, I don’t have children to take care of. And you must know I was severely injured during the gas attack I witnessed in Iran in 1988. I'm the sole German survivor from a German poison gas attack. I’m still suffering from this. I’ve had three heart attacks. I don’t expect to live for more than a few years."
Ulfkotte says that remorse of having "lied" to mass audiences over the years drove him to come forward. He told RI that he was:
"taught to lie, to betray and not to tell the truth to the public."
Ulfkotte says: "I'm ashamed I was part of it. Unfortunately I cannot reverse this."
Among the admissions that Ulfkotte makes in the interview are putting his own name to articles completely written by intelligence agencies. He said:
I ended up publishing articles under my own name written by agents of the CIA and other intelligence services, especially the German secret service."
Ulfkotte detailed the pattern of cajolery and outright bribery used by the CIA and other US-allied intelligence agencies, for the purpose of advancing political agendas. Ulfkotte said:
once you're connected, you make friends with selected Americans. You think they are your friends and you start cooperating. They work on your ego, make you feel like you're important. And one day one of them will ask you 'Will you do me this favor'..."
Ulfkotte noted that a journalists on international press trips paid for by organizations close to the government are unlikely to submit a storyline not favorable to the sponsor.
Of the gassing of Iranians he had witnessed in the Eighties, Ulfkoppe said:they asked me to hand over the photos that I had made to the German association of chemical companies in Frankfurt, Verband der Chemischen Industrie. This poison gas that had killed so many Iranians was made in Germany."
it is not right what I have done in the past, to manipulate people, to make propaganda against Russia, and it is not right what my colleagues do, and have done in the past, because they are bribed to betray the people not only in Germany, all over Europe. … I am very fearful of a new war in Europe, and I don’t like to have this situation again, because war is never coming from itself, there is always people who push for war, and this is not only politicians, it is journalists too. … We have betrayed our readers, just to push for war. … I don’t want this anymore, I’m fed up with this propaganda. We live in a banana republic, and not in a democratic country where we have press freedom...
In his book "The CIA and the Media," Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein quotes William B. Bader, former CIA intelligence officer, in his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Baeder said:
There is quite an incredible spread of relationships. You don’t need to manipulate Time magazine, for example, because there are [Central Intelligence] Agency people at the management level.
Bernstein writes: The Agency’s relationship with the Times was by far its most valuable among newspapers, according to CIA officials. From 1950 to 1966, about ten CIA employees were provided Times cover under arrangements approved by the newspaper’s late publisher, Arthur Hays Sulzberger. The cover arrangements were part of a general Times policy—set by Sulzberger—to provide assistance to the CIA whenever possible.