With a London court ruling that media activist Julian Assange must now return to Sweden to face charges of sex crimes, the WikiLeaks founder has made his last dance a Samba, outing Brazil's most trusted newscaster as what some local media are caling an informant, even suggesting the journalist in question was an agent of the CIA, in place to promote US policy and business deals.
According to a confidential state department cable published by Jornal do Brasil and other online media, the person of interest is William "Bill" Waack. The 59-year-old Waack moderated a crucial presidential debate in last year's election and has been an anchor with Globo TV.
Waack did a high profile interview with secretary of state Hillary Clinton that set the stage for president Barack Obama's 36-hour visit to Brazil and later helped facilitate the objectives of U.S. businesses and policymakers during the tour in March. The state department cable reveals that Waack told U.S. officials that Dilma is not the most qualified candidate and that she seems "incoherent," statements consistent with his subsequent efforts to characterize her as an unflattering candidate during the presidential campaign.
A heralded foreign correspondent for Globo in European capitals and war zones who came home to anchor the nation's top nightly news show, the image of Waack as the Walter Cronkite of Brazil does seem to match up with the job description of propaganda asset developed by the CIA's legendary global media strategist Cord Meyer that remains a staple of U.S. intelligence tradecraft, and that of some allies and competitors in Latin America and other seemingly soft power arenas.
Meyer joined the CIA after rooting out communists at the United World Federalist movement, an early globalist organization. His media playbook in Latin America was inherited by Tom Enders, who, like Meyer was a member of Yale's Scroll and Key secret society and served as assistant secretary of state for Inter-American affairs during the Reagan era, when Waack first showed up the diplomatic cocktail party circuit that includes journalists.
Over the past few years according to the Jornal do Brasil and other online sources Waack met on several occasions to share information with and receive guidance from the U.S. ambassador to Brazil, and Israeli government officials. Waack's pro-American views have been amped up in The American Interest, where he has chastised Brazil for its growing trade relationship with China.
Since it is common for diplomatic and secret services of G-20 nations to maintain relationships with media assets in which information and money often change hands -- and have those contacts go unnoticed -- outing Waack could be a swan song for Assange.
The WikiLeaks founder has been struggling to organize financial support for his project, the economic spirit of which in, his WikiPedia bio, he says is driven by American-style libertarianism. Supporters of his project on the left have always played down the contradiction between his libertarian views and their liberal politics which advocates an open internet. The BBC and other media indicate that WikiLeaks has stopped publishing classified information.
To roll back the drama of the urban myth that causes people to think all things WikiLeaks are secret, of the roughly 245,000 documents involved in Cablegate that form the brunt of the project 53% are unclassified, 40% classified as confidential in many instances just to protect US interest in the subject matter, and only 7% carry a secret classification.
The popular Swedish NGO known as the Pirate Party had been hosting WikiLeaks on their servers, but dropped Assange and publicly distanced themselves from him when it became evident that his legal problems were turning off their membership, jeopardizing efforts by umbrella organization Pirate Parties International to make the NGO a player in the retail politics of Brazil, which it views as a target of opportunity.
Ironically, Brazil's former president Lula, a frequent target of WikiLeaks critiques, offered support for Assange after he was arrested last December by British authorities. Retired Marine captain Daniel Ellsberg of "Pentagon Papers" fame also expressed solidarity with the WikiLeaks founder suggesting that Assange is a victim of the same repression he felt back in when he offended the likes of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger back in 1971.
But going back 40 years to Watergate also means going back to the legacy of Cord Meyer and James Angleton and domestic CIA spying, and the COINTELPRO FBI program that eroded citizen privacy. Today, however, Ellsberg is trumped by the political reality that none of the Watergate crimes that secretary of state Hillary Clinton helped prosecute when she worked with Sam Dash and Fred Thomson on the Senate Watergate committee would be considered criminal today under the Patriot Act.
In spite of efforts to sully Dilma's image in the media she is riding a 70 percent approval rating. She has also upped her game from soft power to political hardball suspending payments to NGOs of all stripes, who have received 13 billion reals (7.6 billion dollars) in government handouts over the last three years. The move amounts to the beginning of an NGO census that will review and reset relationships with the organizations, many of which have globalist agendas, like the nascent Pirate Party of Brazil, and view themselves outside the scope of Brazil's rule of law.
Because Waack is a media icon in Brazil his reputation is unlikely to be damaged by a WikiLeak. But the outing is a reminder to press freedom and open internet advocates of how U.S. public diplomacy folded into local media culture can construct political reality in emerging democracies that can change the outcome in the ballot box.
With humor and circumspection the WikiLeaks drama has taken on the dimensions of a Mad Men- script featuring throwback chacracters not unlike the Cold War media elites and swinging parties in London that sparked the Profumo Affair and Moscow's literary circles where KGB media asset Victor Louis fed Kremlin propaganda to Fleet Street and American journals to offset what Cord Meyer and his minions were putting out, as Craig Whitney's assessment of the Assange-like Louis in the New York Times reveals.
Now the great game has moved to Rio and the beat of the samba. With mid-term elections on the horizon and the influence of former president Lula sidetracked by treatment to palliate his larengyal cancer, Brazil's latest political carnival could find William Waack at the front of the parade.
Correction: This post originally connected William "Bill" Waack with SBT network and Silvio Santos and has since been corrected.