Exclusive Interview with the Author of ‘Bought Journalists': How He was “Taught to Lie, to Betray and NOT to Tell the Truth to the Public” Bought journalists: Udo Ulfkotte: “I am the first to accuse myself and to prove many others are to blame.”
German journalist Udo Ulfkotte reveals in his bestseller ‘Bought Journalists’, how he was “taught to lie, to betray and not to tell the truth to the public.”
The former editor of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, which is one of Germany’s largest newspapers, was secretly on the payroll of the CIA and the Bundesnachrichtendienst (German secret service), spinning the news in a way that was positive for the United States and bad for its enemies.
According to Ulfkotte the corruption is widely spread in the Western media. Some media are just propaganda outlets of political parties, secret services and high finance entities.
‘Bought journalists’, who are they?
“We’re talking about puppets on a string, journalists who write or say whatever their masters tell them to say or write. If you see how the mainstream media is reporting about the Ukraine conflict and if you know what’s really going on, you get the picture. The masters in the background are pushing for war with Russia and western journalists put on their helmets.”
And you were one of them, and now you are the first to blow the whistle.
“I’m ashamed I was part of it. Unfortunately I cannot reverse this. Although my superiors at the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung approved of what I did, I’m still to blame. But yes, to my knowledge I am the first to accuse myself and to proof many others are to blame.”
How did you become a bought journalist?
“It started very soon after I started working at the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. I learned to accept luxury invitations as quite acceptable and to write positive articles in return. Later on I was invited by the German Marshall Fund Of The United States to travel the United States. They paid for all my expenses and put me into contact with Americans they’d like me to meet. In fact most journalists from respected and big media organisations are closely connected to the German Marshall Fund, the Atlantik-Brücke or other so called transatlantic organisations. Many of them are even members or ‘fellows’. I am a fellow of the German Marshall Fund. The thing is, 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’ and then another will ask you ‘Will you do me that favor”. Eventually you get completely brainwashed. I ended up publishing articles under my own name written by agents of the CIA and other intelligence services, especially the Bundesnachrichtendienst.”
You said your superiors approved of that?
“They did. From my private point of view, in retrospective, they even sent me to spy. For instance in 1988 they put me on a plane to Iraq, where I travelled to the border with Iran. In those days Saddam Hoessein was still seen as a good guy, a close ally to the US. The Americans supported him in his war against Iran. About 35 kilometers from the border, in an Iranian place called Zubaidad, I witnessed the Iraqis killing and injuring thousands of Iranians by throwing poison gas at them. I did exactly what my superiors had asked me to do. I took photo’s of the gas attacks. Back in Frankfurt it appeared my superiors didn’t show much interest in the atrocities I had witnessed. They allowed me to write an article about it, but they severely limited the size of it as if it wasn’t of much importance. At the same time they asked me to hand over the photos 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.”
Why do you think this is proof your superiors sent you out to spy? How could these photo’s be of any commercial value to the German chemical industry?
“I have no idea.”
What’s your opinion on press trips? Journalists usually excuse themselves by saying they are perfectly able to follow their own judgement and that they don’t commit themselves to anything or anybody.
“I’ve been on a thousand press trips and never reported bad about those who paid all the expenses. You don’t bite the hand that feeds you. That’s where corruption starts. And that’s the reason why magazines like Der Spiegel don’t allow their journalists to accept invitations to press trips unless they pay for their own expenses.”
In your book you speak of many journalists being on the Washington payroll. What about journalists on the Moscow or Beijing payroll? Why is the majority paid by Washington? Do the Americans spend more money on this?
“I am not saying Russia or China do not bribe journalists. But I have no experience of that. I just describe what I know and where I have evidence.”
The consequences of becoming a whistleblower can be serious. Do you have any indications people tried to prevent the publication of your book?
“When I told the Frankfurter Allgemeine 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.”
In your book you mention many names of bought journalists. How are they doing now? Are they being sacked? Are they trying to clear their names?
“No German mainstream journalist is allowed to report about the 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. More shocking: We have respected journalists who seem to have gone deep sea diving for a long time. It’s an Interesting situation. I expected and hoped that they would sue me and bring me to court. But they have no idea what to do. The respected Frankfurter Allgemeine just announced they will fire 200 employees, because they’re losing subscribers very rapidly and in high numbers. But they don’t sue me. They know that I have evidence on everything.”
If critics can’t nail you on the content of your message, then often they will question your credibility. According to the Dutch daily Het Parool you have a theory for everything, from the mysterious disappearance of bigband leader Glenn Miller in 1944 to the 2011 Ehec bacterial disease. Also Het Parool sneers about your so called ‘battle against the euro and the islam’, and mentions you are connected to a ‘far-right’ organisation, Pax Europa. Also they accused you of having the same friends as Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
“This makes me laugh. I have never put forward any private theory about Glenn Miller’s disappearance at all. In my book Verschlusssache BND I just quoted the German foreign intelligence service, Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), about this case. The Parool journalist is wrong about Pax Europa as well. I left that organisation many years ago, for the very reason they had moved too much to the ‘right’. Also, I don’t know anything about Mrs. Hirsi Ali’s inner circle. I simply don’t know her, meaning I have never met her. The only thing this Parool journalist is correct about is my relation to the Islam. I wonder what this journalist would think about Islam had he been in my place. In Herat, Afghanistan I was forced by the Taliban to leave my christian faith and convert to Islam. They threatened to slit my throat, behead me with a sword.”
In Germany there’s a lot to do about the way the media are reporting on Russia and Ukraine. The board of advisers of public tv station ARD condemned the ARD for their biased news reports, the German press council condemned Der Spiegel for their ‘Stoppt Putin jetzt!’ cover, there have been protests in front of publishing houses – and chief editors are flooded with letters from angry listeners, viewers and readers. Are things worse now than they’ve ever been before? Or are people becoming more aware?
“Many German people are fed up with the mainstream media pressing for war against Russia. That’s the truth. You can tell from the amount of people who cancel their subscriptions of mass media every month. It’s a new movement.”
Together with some other German journalists you proclaimed October 3 as ‘Day of the Truth’. Journalists were called upon to tell the truth that day. Did you mention any differences? How did journalists of the leading media react?
“There was no difference in reporting on that day. But I’m receiving more and more emails from mainstream journalists asking me for advice. They want to be able to look at themselves in the mirror again, and therefore need another job.”
Do you think the alternative media really is an alternative to the mainstream media? Will people be better informed if they cancel their subscriptions, like you advise them to do? Are there any blogs or alternative news platforms you can recommend?
“I really think that paid journalism is finished. And no, there are no blogs or websites I would especially recommend, but generally speaking the internet is fantastic.”
This interview was conducted by Mr. Eric van de Beek. The translation from German to English was also done by Mr. Beek.
A related article from RT:
RT’s Peter Oliver reports on the new bestseller by German author Udo Ulfkotte.
Udo Ulfkotte is a German journalist and former editor for one of Germany’s main dailies. He studied jurisprudence and politics at Freiburg and London. In his latest book, Bought Journalists (Gekaufte Journalisten) he reveals details on journalism that generally might be considered too outlandish, for example that the CIA pays Western media for spin and bias.
That mainstream media deliberately manipulates citizens with propaganda techniques, has often been considered as a ‘conspiracy theory’. Ulfkotte reveals what really happens behind the scenes and now admits being ashamed that he worked for 17 years for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. He documents for the first time how he was bribed and corruption was encouraged. Just as an example, he reveals why opinion leaders report tendentiously and how the extended arm of the NATO press office prepares the media. The author lists hundreds of names and faces behind the scenes of the organizations that influence the media propaganda onesidedly. One wishes his book will be speedily translated into English because this is not just a German but worldwide affair.