Skip to comments.Congressmen Seek To Lift Propaganda Ban
Posted on 05/20/2012 10:40:55 AM PDT by thouworm
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The amendment would “strike the current ban on domestic dissemination” of propaganda material produced by the State Department and the Pentagon, according to the summary of the law at the House Rules Committee's official website.
The tweak to the bill would essentially neutralize two previous acts—the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 and Foreign Relations Authorization Act in 1987—that had been passed to protect U.S. audiences from our own government’s misinformation campaigns.
The bi-partisan amendment is sponsored by Rep. Mac Thornberry from Texas and Rep. Adam Smith from Washington State.
In a little noticed press release earlier in the week — buried beneath the other high-profile issues in the $642 billion defense bill, including indefinite detention and a prohibition on gay marriage at military installations — Thornberry warned that in the Internet age, the current law “ties the hands of America’s diplomatic officials, military, and others by inhibiting our ability to effectively communicate in a credible way.”
The bill's supporters say the informational material used overseas to influence foreign audiences is too good to not use at home, and that new techniques are needed to help fight Al-Qaeda, a borderless enemy whose own propaganda reaches Americans online.
Critics of the bill say there are ways to keep America safe without turning the massive information operations apparatus within the federal government against American citizens.
“Clearly there are ways to modernize for the information age without wiping out the distinction between domestic and foreign audiences,” says Michael Shank, Vice President at the Institute for Economics and Peace in Washington D.C. "That Reps Adam Smith and Mac Thornberry want to roll back protections put in place by previously-serving Senators – who, in their wisdom, ensured limits to taxpayer–funded propaganda promulgated by the US government – is disconcerting and dangerous."
“I just don’t want to see something this significant – whatever the pros and cons – go through without anyone noticing,”
“ says one source on the Hill, who is disturbed by the law. According to this source, the law would allow "U.S. propaganda intended to influence foreign audiences to be used on the domestic population."
The new law would give sweeping powers to the State Department and Pentagon to push television, radio, newspaper, and social media onto the U.S. public. “It removes the protection for Americans,” says a Pentagon official who is concerned about the law. “It removes oversight from the people who want to put out this information. There are no checks and balances. No one knows if the information is accurate, partially accurate, or entirely false.”
According to this official, “senior public affairs” officers within the Department of Defense want to “get rid” of Smith-Mundt and other restrictions because it prevents information activities designed to prop up unpopular policies—like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Critics of the bill point out that there was rigorous debate when Smith Mundt passed, and the fact that this is so “under the radar,” as the Pentagon official puts it, is troubling.
The Pentagon spends some $4 billion a year to sway public opinion already, and it was recently revealed by USA Today the DoD spent $202 million on information operations in Iraq and Afghanistan last year.
In an apparent retaliation to the USA Today investigation, the two reporters working on the story appear to have been targeted by Pentagon contractors, who created fake Facebook pages and Twitter accounts in an attempt to discredit them.
(In fact, a second amendment to the authorization bill — in reaction to the USA Today report — seeks for cuts to the Pentagon’s propaganda budget overseas, while this amendment will make it easier for the propaganda to spread at home.)
The evaporation of Smith-Mundt and other provisions to safeguard U.S. citizens against government propaganda campaigns is part of a larger trend within the diplomatic and military establishment.
In December, the Pentagon used software to monitor the Twitter debate over Bradley Manning’s pre-trial hearing; another program being developed by the Pentagon would design software to create “sock puppets” on social media outlets; and, last year, General William Caldwell, deployed an information operations team under his command that had been trained in psychological operations to influence visiting American politicians to Kabul.
The upshot, at times, is the Department of Defense using the same tools on U.S. citizens as on a hostile, foreign, population.
A U.S. Army whistleblower, Lieutenant Col. Daniel Davis, noted recently in his scathing 84-page unclassified report on Afghanistan that there remains a strong desire within the defense establishment “to enable Public Affairs officers to influence American public opinion when they deem it necessary to "protect a key friendly center of gravity, to wit US national will," he wrote, quoting a well-regarded general.
The defense bill passed the House Friday afternoon.
As if we could tell the difference between that and the current Obama blither?
This will do to adults what public schools do to children, indoctrinate them along the lines of North Korean propoganda. I guess the American people need to learn to love Big Brother.
Propaganda is against the law? Sure coulda’ fooled me.
It’s called NPR... but, this means more taxes for government union thugs which are protecting OBama and their own interests instead of facing true enemies abroad... We are run by cowards.
Everybody else in government lies to us. Why not the Defense and State Departments?
Yeah. We're not the U.S.S.A. Promise ya.
We beat the Soviet Union, then we became them.
“No one knows if the information is accurate, partially accurate, or entirely false.
You mean line the New York times, Wahington Post, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX and all the so called science reports coming out of higher education?
Posse Kommitatus needs strengthening.
Strange, two days ago I sent everyone on my email mailing list my two cents on the propaganda machine located in Washington....and now this article that clearly identifies the intent to make us slaves.
Obama’s “Lie Ship” is springing a lot of leaks that the news media has been patching for the last 3 years. Now, it seems, that the truth is coming out and the people are finally starting to realize that they have been duped by this raving Marxist/Communist farce.
The article linked cannot be disputed.
A note to my friends and fellow patriots:
We are on the brink of a propaganda campaign in which the Nazi propaganda expert ( Joseph Goebbels: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Goebbels ) would stand in awe of.
All of our printed, broadcast and televised media (the Main Stream Media (MSM)) with extremely few exceptions is fully on the Liberal/Progressive Socialist bandwagon, and has been since FDR and even more so since LBJ’s Great Society.
We are now a nation without any pride in our heritage, morals, and responsible citizens. More than half of all citizens (and non-citizens) receive some sort of government assistance directly while the real Americans work and pay taxes pay for them.
Our freedoms are being stripped from us every day this Kenyan is still in office along with his troops within Congress and the “Czars” he has placed at his beck and call to circumvent Congress and the Constitution.
Everything is to funnel us into a line that strictly follows the dictates of the future dictator...Obama!
For example, the TSA was really placed into service to indoctrinate and condition citizens to give up (without question) their freedoms to move freely from city to city by airlines today, trains and busses tomorrow and eventually from town to town by any means. Today, they violate our rights by unconstitutional search and seizure and we mindlessly walk through the line because the government told us to do it. “Your papers please” was a horrifying sound in Joseph Goebbels day and it will soon be yours too if Obama wins the next election.
In a nut shell, Obama is setting himself up to be the Dictator in Chief, not the President in Chief of the United States of America.
The writing is clearly on the wall with each passing day, the prediction becomes more solidified. For example: Did you know that Obama wants to have every city to have drones to fly over you to keep the peace and “safety” (if you are stupid enough to believe that propaganda lie) and the stupid people of America will gladly let him do it in the name of SAFETY, PEACE, and FAIRNESS. After all, “it’s for the children” isn’t it? Those three words form a vile and viscous stinking pile of crap called “POLITICAL CORRECTNESS (PC) that has killed the tenants of our Constitution and America itself.
I really don’t think that I would not blame you for calling me a raving lunatic for believing what I just wrote, but open your eyes, turn off your liberal TV news and watch the internet (Fox News, FreeRepublic.com. Fox.com and a host of other places that are not controlled by the Marxists and liberal PC mouthpieces YET. Actually, the only TV news that even comes close to conservative is FOX. The Internet is still free (Obama is trying to change that as I write) and presents both sides of every argument (or story) simply by doing a search. So far, it’s the only free speech and source of unbiased news we still have.
If you think Romney is going to fix things, you are in for a huge shock. He has been proven to lie just as much as Obama and we have to remember, the GOP ALLOWED the near-total destruction of our free society by simply going along to get along. Now they champion a fellow RINO to lead their charge. PC is their motto and COMPROMISE is their battle cry.
We are in a very, very bad state of affairs and it is possible both our freedoms, way of life, economy and culture will be damaged beyond repair in the next four years.
The media has been feeding us nothing but propaganda for the last several years.The kids in colleges are getting it every day from liberal; teachers, and it is working.
We have Communists and anarchists marching with Unions like SEIU today.
How is a socialist state suppose to survive without control of the media and a propaganda directive?
New “Land of Dreams” Commercial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcfbdiiEQDM&feature=relmfu
Warning. Do not watch near glass or liquor.
Rather than give the State Dept. the license to lie, even though that has never stopped them, the State Dept. needs to be purged of every communist. I realize that would decimate the agency but IMO that is a good thing.
McCarthy knew what a snake’s nest the State Dept. was, he just underestimated the degree of infestation.
” You mean line the New York times, Wahington Post, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX and all the so called science reports coming out of higher education? “
I think it means that now these organizations (few, representative of many) can now get paid by the Gummint ‘above-the-table’ for spreading the ‘message’.. (Or would that be ‘massage’???)
IOW, typical Enemedia output.
“enable Public Affairs officers to influence American public opinion when they deem it necessary to “protect a key friendly center of gravity”
Translation,,lie to us about a foreign countrys supposed friendliness to us. IE,, do a full court press to convince us that these arab springs are good,, that the US needs to do anything NATO wants,,, that the UN is our friend. Etc etc,,,
These sickening SOBs don’t even try to hide it anymore,,
“McCarthy knew what a snakes nest the State Dept. was, he just underestimated the degree of infestation.”
I agree. The State Dept has become synonymous with putting other countries and other interests ahead of the people of the USA.
We won’t hear much about this propaganda bill either because the MSM will benefit with the lies and advertising, just like we didn’t hear much about allowing foreign corporations to spend unlimited sums influencing our elections.
We are slowly losing our nation as we knew it, and I put the blame squarely at corrupt self serving politicians who want money and power above all else. While they are conniving and doing that they keep us busy clawing at each others throats about much less important stuff.
Exactly,, they need no protection to speak the truth. But they need a law change to legally lie to us.
Like a cheating spouse, deciding to work things out, the US Government must adopt a policy of “radical honesty”. The US Govt owes us absolute honesty, 100%. Otherwise,, it’s time to divorce.
The most effective and stunning thing this nation could do is tell the truth, always, everywhere. It’s disgusting that a citizen should have to calculate when we are being lied to.
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