• War correspondent reveals dirty secrets of mainstream media: journalists are bribed to pry, lie and spy.
By Ronald L. Ray —
AMERICAN FREE PRESS frequently exposes the noxious collaborators with tyranny who operate the mainstream media. Now a courageous German former journalist, Dr. Udo Ulfkotte, has written a powerful new bestselling book that exposes the rampant cooperation of the “Fourth Estate” with the world’s largest intelligence agencies, trans-Atlantic organizations, banks, corporations and billionaires, making it into a political “fifth column.”
The book, Gekaufte Journalisten (literally, “Bought Journalists”), is not yet in English, but this writer interviewed Ulfkotte on October 17 to bring this newspaper’s readers his stunning revelations. Admitting first his own guilt of participating in the destructive underworld of journalism, Ulfkotte fearlessly names other collaborators in his latest work and calls for a return to a free and morally-upright press. The book has garnered worldwide interest, but the German journalistic establishment is giving it the “silent treatment”—and worse.
Ulfkotte, 54, was raised in a devout Christian family and even educated at a religious school. During early adulthood, like many young people, he began investigating other beliefs. At the university in Freiburg in Breisgau he took an interest in law and Islamic studies. He became fluent in Arabic—important for his future, albeit unintended, career.
During college in the 1980s, Ulfkotte also was recruited into the world of espionage. Prior to a particular semester break, when he hoped to visit Italy and meet young women, a professor asked if he would like to attend a two-week seminar in Bonn on the East-West conflict. This was during the Cold War in a divided Germany. Ulfkotte was not at all interested, but university professors in Germany were (and are) highly respected. It was difficult to refuse.
He was promised that his travel would be paid for, as well as lodging and meals, and he would receive spending money into the bargain. For a young man from poor economic circumstances, this was too much. Relates Ulfkotte, “I suddenly felt this deep feeling inside me that I had ‘always’ wanted to go” to such a seminar. Such “innocent” beginnings were the first bribes, which would draw him ever deeper into a widespread network of corruption and spying, where no one considered such behavior immoral, but rather “accepted practice.”
No one said, “I’m from the CIA,” or from the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND)—the German intelligence service. But the seminar leaders sorted out “who was communist and who was pro-Western” among the young attendees. After further similar events, someone asked Ulfkotte if he would work for the BND—the last thing on his mind. But again, a professor—his doctoral advisor—pressured him to “think about it.” And once more, a poor boy found a free automobile and a good salary very attractive.
Upon receiving his doctorate, Ulfkotte—who never studied journalism—was provided a job as a reporter for the leading conservative German newspaper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), hired over hundreds of other applicants. He became a war correspondent in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Iran and much of the Middle East, and later an FAZ editor. Eventually, he did indeed meet agents of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), BND, Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, commonly known as MI6 (Military Intelligence, Section 6), and Israel’s Mossad, who valued his ability to travel freely in countries largely closed to the West. His editors were knowing accomplices.
Former Journalist Udo Ulfkotte in His Own Words
“I’ve been a journalist for about 25 years, and I’ve been educated to lie, to betray—and not to tell the truth to the public. . . . The German and American media [is trying] to bring war to the people in Europe, to bring war to Russia. This is a point of no return, and I am going to stand up and say 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, but all over Europe. . . . I am very fearful of a new war in Europe, and I don’t [want to see] this situation again. There are always people who push for war, and this is not only politicians, it is journalists too. We have betrayed our readers. . . . I’m fed up with this propaganda. We live in a banana republic [Germany], and not in a democratic country where we have press freedom.” — Udo Ulfkotte
What is insidious, as Ulfkotte confesses, is that typically, intelligence agencies use “unofficial covers”—people working for the agency but not actually on its payroll as agents. It is a broad, loose network of “friends,” doing one another favors. Many are lead journalists from numerous countries. This informality provides plausible deniability for both sides, but it means an “unofficial cover,” as Ulfkotte became, is on his own if captured.
The American reporter James Foley, allegedly executed by ISIS, found that out. Ulfkotte confirmed to this author that Foley did indeed work for various intelligence organizations, as this newspaper reported on last month. He also stated that if a journalist is accused of spying, such reports are almost always credible.
We asked the former spy about the extent of recruitment of journalists into espionage. He replied, “Well, they don’t wear stickers on their foreheads,” but he told the following anecdote as an illustration.
Once, he accompanied Helmut Kohl, then chancellor of Germany, on a visit to the king of Jordan. The president of Israel was also there. Ulfkotte went around the room, blithely greeting a number of journalists and officials with whom he was friends—and who, he knew as well, were working for the CIA, the BND and the Mossad. He was ordered sharply back to his place. Otherwise, “everyone would know” who the other intelligence assets were. It must have been an appreciable percentage, because Ulfkotte then realized they were “all in the same boat.”
He also recalls giving a series of lectures on counterespionage at the University of Lueneburg, where Richard Tomlinson of MI6 and other intelligence assets were seeking recruits.
Ulfkotte reveals that there are many quid pro quo exchanges between news correspondents and intelligence agencies. Large sums of money, gifts, public recognition and significant career advancement go to those journalists who provide useful information on people they meet or know, or on places to which they travel. Many times, the reporter, like Ulfkotte, need only put his name on an article written for him by some spy agency or financial institution. Money and gifts change hands; doors open to elitist groups, like the Trilateral Commission, Atlantik-Brücke, the Aspen Institute and the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Those who do not cooperate are fired.
Always, some “friend” asked for simple things, like a soil sample from Ulfkotte’s travels, or reports on the behaviors of his Iranian political friends. Because Iran has no U.S. embassy, he would enter the Turkish embassy and follow a then-secret, underground escape tunnel into the German embassy, where he would turn over his reports for the CIA or BND. In a recent RT interview, Ulfkotte noted that the BND was created by the CIA. To him, it is a symbol of Germany’s status as a “banana republic,” a “colony of the U.S.”
Ulfkotte was severely injured several times during his reportorial years—one of the few to survive a poison gas attack by Iraq on Iran in 1988, which used German-manufactured mustard gas. In Spring 2003, he suffered serious nerve damage in one leg and realized he could not continue in the Middle East. He thereafter resigned from FAZ.
In Spring 2004, a German politician asked Ulfkotte to spy on a political rival, offering a large sum of money for the criminal activity. Refusing, Ulfkotte at last realized: “How deep am I sinking?”—and vowed “never again.” Almost immediately thereafter, the government searched his home and office a total of six times, alleging he had revealed “official secrets.” Clearly a reprisal, but they could never show any proof in court.
Why the book Gekaufte Journalisten? Ulfkotte knows the mass media have become merely the willing slaves of warmongering governments and self-interested billionaires like George Soros. He fears the outbreak of nuclear war with Russia, based on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization propaganda peddled by his old comrades as “news.”
By speaking out in this way now, Ulfkotte hopes most of all to convince other journalists to give up the lucrative but corrupt world of espionage and false reporting. He was young, like many others, when he “fell into the trap.” He wants a “new generation of journalists,” who won’t be bribed. “I just hope that I could stop this.”
The rats will not leave the ship without a fight, though. Reporters have been threatened with a lawsuit by FAZ for publicizing efforts to get the paper’s official reaction to Ulfkotte’s book. So much for “press freedom.”
On the day of our interview, the FAZ released an otherwise bland statement, seeming to imply falsely that Ulfkotte was fired from his position. But, as in his well-documented book, this former member of elitist international organizations holds the trump card: a written work reference, in which the newspaper praises him, especially for his “secret service activity.”
Ulfkotte has suffered three heart attacks and other health problems from his work. AFP’s interview request was one of the few he accepted. He has no children to worry about and so cannot be blackmailed. That is a good thing, because Gekaufte Journalisten seems to have unleashed the wrath of the New World Order, which now stands more clearly exposed before an outraged world public.
Ronald L. Ray is a freelance author and an assistant editor of THE BARNES REVIEW. He is a descendant of several patriots of the American War for Independence.