the Foundation for National Progress (which publishes Mother Jones magazine), theNation Institute, and the TV and radio program Democracy Now! In Britain, until 2011,Lannan was a supporter of the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism.The Lannan Foundation was set up in 1960 by J. Patrick Lannan, who amassed afortune, much of it in art, while he was majority shareholder of the Internationalelephone and Telegraph Corporation (ITT). Founded in the 1920s, ITT had extensiveinterests in Europe. In the 1930s, ITT’s companies in Germany expanded; an ITTsubsidiary owned 25 percent of the aircraft company Focke-Wulf, which supplied theLuftwaffe; at the height of the Second World War, this was a majority holding.During the American invasion of Vietnam in the 1960s, ITT produced navigationsystems for laser-guided bombs and developed surveillance systems for what thePentagon calls the “automated battlefield.” In 1971, President Salvador Allendenationalized ITT’s 70 percent interest in the Chilean Telephone Company. As declassifiedCentral Intelligence Agency (CIA) files show, ITT’s response was an eighteen-point covertaction plan” to overthrow Allende. According to The CIA’s Greatest Hits by Mark Zepezauer, the CIA “sponsored demonstrations and strikes, funded by ITT and other UScorporations with Chilean holdings,” prior to General Augusto Pinochet’s September 1973military coup. ITT funded El Mercurio, the Chilean daily that opposed Allende and backedPinochet.
J. Patrick Lannan died in 1983. On the Lannan Foundation’s website, he is described asa “liberal thinker.” His son, Patrick, runs the Foundation today.On June 15, 2011, I was due in Santa Fe, having been invited to share a platform withDavid Barsamian, whose interviews for his Alternative Radio program have brought himacclaim, notably those with Noam Chomsky. The subject of my talk was the role of American liberalism in a permanent state of war and in the demise of freedoms, such asthe right to call government to account. I intended to make the case that Barack Obama,a liberal, was as much a warmonger as George W. Bush and had prosecuted morewhistle-blowers than any US president, and that his singular achievement had been toseduce, co-opt, and silence much of liberal opinion in the United States.The Lannan Foundation was also to host the US premiere of my new film, The WarYou Don’t See, which investigates the role of the media in war-making, especially liberalmedia such as the New York Times and the BBC. It is a film about censorship that doesnot speak its name.The organizer of my visit was Barbara Ventrello, Lannan’s director of Cultural FreedomPublic Events, with whom I had been in frequent contact. “We’re all looking forward toseeing you here,” she said. “Your events are proving very popular.” On June 9, as I wasabout to leave for Santa Fe, I received this email:Dear John,I have just received a call from Patrick Lannan. . . . Something has come upand he has asked me to cancel all your events next week. He did not go intodetails so I have no idea what this is about, and I apologize. . . . We thank youfor your understanding.