But the opposite side of that coin is that someone wishing to diminish democracy – and manipulate the citizenry – will strike first at the free flow of information. This has been true for military dictators, and it is true for America’s neoconservatives who view a well-informed U.S. electorate as their biggest threat.

That is why the neocons and their financial backers have invested billions of dollars in developing scary propaganda and building the outlets – magazines, books, newspapers, radio, TV and Internet sites – to inundate the American people with these distortions, deceptions and lies.

It has been our job at Consortiumnews.com to do what we can to counter this propaganda and to give our readers reliable information that enables them to understand what has been happening to America over the past several decades as well as what’s going on today.

Indeed, if Consortiumnews.com did not exist, neither would much of the information that you read at our Web site. Many of our articles are both original and unique. They reflect the insights of writers who have been deep inside the federal government and the mainstream news media.

Our stories also offer historical context, whether explaining the painful history of Haiti, or the U.S. government’s cascade of mistakes in Afghanistan, or the real background of the political crisis in Iran, or the neocon tricks that were used to hijack U.S. foreign policy over the past three decades.

Just go to the Consortiumnews.com Home Page and scroll down the stories, or check out the “If You Missed These Stories” packages month by month, or click on some of the “From the Archive” specials. I think you will see that our commitment to quality journalism is unparalleled.

But investigative journalism costs money and we need your help.

For years now, we have been operating on a shoestring budget with many payless paydays. (At two points in the Web site’s history, I cashed out my retirement funds – one from Newsweek and the other from Bloomberg News – to cover costs.)

In this year's spring fundraiser, our goal is to raise $50,000 so we can maintain and even expand our work. We also want to invest some money in modernizing the Web site.

Whatever you can afford to give will help. And contributions to our 501-c-3 non-profit are tax-deductible.

There are four ways you can help:

1. By donating either by credit card at the Web site or by check – to Consortium for Independent Journalism (CIJ); Suite 102-231; 2200 Wilson Blvd.; Arlington VA 22201. Or you can use PayPal (our account is named after our e-mail address “consortnew@aol.com”).

2. By buying the three-book set of Robert Parry’s Lost History, Secrecy & Privilege, and Neck Deep (co-authored with Sam and Nat Parry). The discount price is only $29. Our goal is to get as many of these books into libraries as possible. For details, click here.

3. By scheduling a joint speech by former CIA analyst Ray McGovern and journalist Robert Parry. The suggested fees – $2,000 for community groups, $5,000 for colleges and larger non-profits, and $10,000 for those who can afford it – go entirely to keeping Consortiumnews.com alive.

4. By signing up for a monthly donation. With contributions of $10 or more a month, you can qualify for war correspondent Don North’s new DVD, “Yesterday’s Enemies” about the lives of former Salvadoran guerrillas. For details, click here.

As always, thanks for your support.

Robert Parry, Editor

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. He founded Consortiumnews.com in 1995 as the Internet's first investigative magazine. He saw it as a way to combine modern technology and old-fashioned journalism to counter the increasing triviality of the mainstream U.S. news media.

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