Global Post, the employer of freelancer James Foley, fails to pass smell test
National news media operations based in Boston are almost like musicals that run "off Broadway."
We can add Global Post to the off-Broadway journalistic hit parade. Global Post is
the Boston-based website that employed freelance photo journalist James
Foley in Syria, recently beheaded by his Islamic State of Iraq and the
Levant (ISIL) guerrillas in Iraq, appears to be a subsidized operation
with an agenda that matches up nicely with that of international hedge
fund tycoon George Soros.
media operations not based in New York or Washington, DC are usually
subsidized by interests with agendas. One Boston-based media operation
that has a clear agenda is The Christian Science Monitor, a
church-owned operation, which has become increasingly neo-conservative
in its coverage since it scrapped its print edition and became an
exclusively web-based operation. The other Boston-based national media
operation is CAMERA - the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East
Reporting in America -- which serves as the Israel Lobby's often rabid
Foley, who was kidnapped on November 22,
2012 in northern Syria, near Idlib, by Syrian guerrillas who were not
members of ISIL for the simple reason that ISIL did not yet exist. Foley
was originally captured by an Islamist group that took its orders from
the Central Intelligence Agency-organized and trained Free Syrian Army
(FSA), whose leaders led their "army" not from the battlefield but from
posh Istanbul hotel suites paid for by the Turkish, Saudi, and Qatari
In early 2013, ISIL took over the rebel group
holding Foley and other kidnap victims. Foley, like other journalists,
was offered up for ransom by ISIL, which is now said to have some 4000
members who are Europeans, Australians, North Americans, and even a few
Japanese, who have no Muslim or Middle Eastern familial backgrounds. In
fact, the British citizen who beheaded Foley on video is said to go by
the first name of "John," which is certainly not a Muslim name.
payments for kidnap victims like Foley have turned into a big business
for ISIL and other terrorist groups. France, Italy, and Spain have paid
large ransom amounts for its nationals taken hostage in Syria, West
Africa, and Somalia. It is stated U.S. and British policy not to pay
ransoms for hostages, however, as witnessed in the Iran-contra scandal,
the U.S. is known to have traded arms to Iran for the release of
hostages held by Shi'a groups in Lebanon.
In the case of Foley, ISIL had been in email communication with his family and Global Post
to work out a ransom deal. However, ISIL said it beheaded Foley in
retaliation for U.S. air strikes against ISIL guerrillas who were
advancing toward the Kurdish capital of Erbil in northern Iraq.
There are reports that ISIL has even purchased kidnapped Westerners from
other groups as far afield as Kashmir, Somalia, and Yemen in order to
trade them for cash. Al Qaeda's reputed leader, Dr. Ayman al Zawahiri,
is said to have called for Islamist groups to seize Western hostages in
return for freeing Islamists held in prisons around the world.
The focus on Global Post
yields some interesting connections. Foley had previously covered other
U.S.-led wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. Foley was always
embedded with U.S. troops, as was the case in Iraq and Afghanistan, or
U.S.-supported militias in Libya and Syria. During the 2011
CIA-initiated Libyan rebellion against Muammar Qaddafi's government,
Foley was taken captive by Qaddafi army loyalists and held for 44 days.
Foley preferred being embedded with those fighting on the side of the
United States rather than cover wars from different perspectives. Such
wartime journalism would lead some believe that Foley was performing
non-journalistic tasks on U.S.-created battlefields, that is, espionage.
President Obama interrupted his summer vacation on Martha's
Vineyard to condemn Foley's beheading. Obama also phoned Foley's parents
who live in New Hampshire. Subsequently, it was reported officially
that U.S. Special Forces had attempted a rescue mission in Syria to free
Foley and other American hostages but it failed. Defense Secretary
Chuck Hagel said that normally such operations would not be revealed but
that in the case of Foley an exception had been made because the
information on the failed rescue operation had already been "leaked" to
the press. One could ask why an administration that is intent on putting
some journalists in prison for publishing leaks of classified
information would make such an exception, itself involving classified
special forces operations, for Foley?
There has long been a
debate within the U.S. intelligence community as to whether it is proper
to use intelligence agents operating abroad under journalistic cover.
Past administrations, including those of Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford,
banned the use of journalists and missionaries by the CIA. Others,
including the Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George
W. Bush administrations were not so adamant against the use of
journalists as spies. The Obama administration's leeway given to the CIA
for all sorts of operations previously prohibited or inhibited opens
the door for journalists, once again, being used as agents in hot spots
like Syria, Libya, and Iraq.
Which brings us back to Global Post.
The media operation has not been around long. It was initiated on
January 12, 2009, a week before the inauguration of Barack Obama as
president, by two Boston businessmen, Charles Sennott and Philip
Balboni. The new website claimed it was going to "redefine international news for the digital age." Originally charging an annual subscription of $199 a year, Global Post cut its annual rate to $30 a year, which has been WMR's unchanged annual subscription rate since 2005. However, Global Post's subscribers' base only stood at around 400. Yet, Global Post
could boast of 65 worldwide correspondents, albeit, many of whom, like
Foley, were freelancers. But how does an on-line media with subscribers
only in the hundreds manage to finance reporters in war zones like Syria
and Libya while maintaining a worldwide network of correspondents?
with its lackluster business revenues, was able to cut syndication
agreements with the Public Broadcasting System (sometimes mockingly
referred to as the "Pentagon Broadcasting System"), the Sumner
Redstone-owned CBS, and the Mort Zuckerman-owned New York Daily News. Oddly, just two years after its start-up, Global Post
had garnered Peabody, Polk, and Edward R. Murrow awards for its "On
Location" video coverage. Clearly, someone wanted to increase Global Post's street credentials through an "award washing" campaign.
Owned by Global News Enterprises, LLC and headquartered on Boston's affluent waterfront, Global Post's board
of directors and management includes those who have had only a glancing
encounter with actual journalism: former cable television executives, a
former chairman of C-SPAN, a former member of the board of The Boston Globe, a former publisher of The Boston Globe,
an assistant to the CEO of the Hearst Corporation, a public relations
flack for PBS, and a board member of the Boston public television
But even more suspicious is the presence on the staff of Global Post of two former editors for The Cambodia Daily,
a CIA-connected publication officially owned by Cambodian orphanage
"aficionado" Bernard Krisher; a former senior correspondent for the CIA-
and Soros-linked Radio Free Europe in Prague; a graduate of the
CIA-linked Sasin Business Institute in Bangkok; a former Boston Globe Jerusalem bureau chief, a former editor for the CIA-connected Tico Times of Costa Rica, and a former editor for the hard-neocon publication The Atlantic. Global Post's team of international correspondents are steeped in neocon credentials, from The Daily Beast and Kyiv Post to The New Republic and The Daily Telegraph.
the White House and journalists mourn the death of Foley, it is
important to point out that his photo reporting seldom departed from the
confines of U.S. military units or irregular rebel forces supported by
the CIA. It is tragic that one of those CIA rebel forces ultimately
would subject Foley to a gruesome videotaped beheading. However, as much
blame for that rests with those who supported the rebellion against
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, individuals like CIA director John
Brennan and national security adviser Susan Rice, as with the rebel