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Forum Post: "Congressmen Seek To Lift Propaganda Ban", by Michael Hastings.

Posted 2 years ago on May 20, 2012, 12:51 a.m. EST by shadz66 (19985)
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Congressmen Seek To Lift Propaganda Ban.

Propaganda that was supposed to target foreigners could now be aimed at Americans, reversing a longstanding policy. “Disconcerting and dangerous,” says Shank.

by Michael Hastings (BuzzFeed Staff)

May 19, 2012 "Information Clearing House" ( http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/ ) ---

An amendment that would legalize the use of propaganda on American audiences is being inserted into the latest defense authorization bill, BuzzFeed has learned.

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.

~

multum in parvo ...

~

This article was first published at Buzzfeed : http://www.buzzfeed.com/mhastings/congressmen-seek-to-lift-propaganda-ban .

[Article copied verbatim under "Fair Use" from : http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article31378.htm & use this link to access embedded links.]

26 Comments

26 Comments


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[-] 6 points by alexrai (851) 2 years ago

Kinda sounds like a formality...

I hadn't even realized there were any protections from government propaganda, its actually so bad I have to go to Russia Today to get news... never thought I'd live to see the day. :p

[-] 5 points by shadz66 (19985) 2 years ago

I totally get your point and as evidence append this short half hour RT Documentary about OWS which NO Corporate US MSM (ABCNNBCBS, FUX-SNEWzzz et al) would have ever have produced or shown :

  • "American Spring - Even the cold early spring of 2012 could not deter Occupy Wall Street (OWS) activists in New York city. People from different backgrounds continue to come out onto the streets. The agenda driving all the protesters remains the same: income inequality, corruption among banks and multinational corporations, foreclosures, climate change, police brutality and above all, the need to get together and talk in person – not just via mobile phones. It is all about the courage of ordinary men and women to tell the truth to those who hold power." : http://rt.com/programs/documentary/american-spring-occupy-protests/ .

Finally, re RT the four shows linked to below are made by Americans for Americans in America (bar 'The Keiser Report' which is generally produced in Paris) and are second to none in order to understand just what is going on in The U$A today :

fiat lux ...

[-] 4 points by Nevada1 (4784) 2 years ago

Remember 'Radio Free Europe' back in the Cold War days? Now we need, Radio Free USA.

[-] 4 points by shadz66 (19985) 11 months ago

''Radio Free USA'' ?! Perhaps they would have highlighted Michael Hastings' untimely demise ?!!

multum in parvo ...

[-] 3 points by Devonshire (81) from Norwich, VT 11 months ago

"Radio Free USA"!! I love Nevada's idea because it provides us with a necessary 'slap' to the corrupt MSM...it makes me smile, and we will most likely be getting the 'REAL news to boot!!

It is very encouraging to see the RESISTANCE build (which Dreirer talks about in the below link), but it is becoming more difficult to keep up with it all. In case you missed it, here are two excellent Moyer's interviews especially the second one with Prof.. Richard Dreirer, although I don't agree with everything he said. I guess Mom read Dr Seuss to you too, eh?

http://billmoyers.com/episode/full-show-progressives-pick-up-the-pieces/

On Wednesday I will be going to NY to hear Alexis Goldstein and Professor Richard Wolf talk at the Unitarian Church.

Edit; And then another web site with an international flavor to it:

http://revolution-news.com/

At this rate, I may have to forgo my weather app...

[-] 3 points by shadz66 (19985) 11 months ago

Nevada1's ''Radio Free USA'' is indeed an idea before its time & many thanx to you for the comment and very interesting links to Professor Richard Drierer and Gretchen Morgenson on JPMorgan was also very interesting - though infuriating in equal measure. Also I bookmarked your http://revolution-news.com/ link. Hope Alexis Goldstein and Prof. R.D.Wolff were good and fyi, by the ever insightful Bill Moyers :

''This is the full length 90 min. version of Bill Moyer's 1987 scathing critique of the criminal subterfuge carried out by the Executive Branch of the United States Government. Host Bill Moyers exposes the inner workings of the secret government. Though originally broadcast in 1987, it is even more relevant today. Interviews with respected, top military, intelligence, and government insiders reveal both the history and secret objectives''

e tenebris, lux ...

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[-] 3 points by shadz66 (19985) 11 months ago

''The Secret Government : The Constitution in Crisis'', by Bill Moyers (Video) :

I think that I hear you re. Michael Hastings and I appreciate your comment, in compliment of which I append & highly recommend the above very revealing Bill Moyers video as well as the following article :

Alas, I think that we have to face the probable fact that the POTUS is a puppet of The Corporate MIC !!!

multum in parvo ...

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[-] 5 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 2 years ago

Politicians are propaganda

[-] 2 points by shadz66 (19985) 11 months ago

But they're also corporate puppets & very few (eg. Kucinich, Sanders, McKinney) are pro-99%. Solidarity @ u & :

fiat lux ...

[-] 4 points by factsrfun (6714) from Phoenix, AZ 2 years ago

If we stuck to the truth, wouldn't matter where we told it.

[-] 3 points by shadz66 (19985) 2 years ago

Ain't that "the truth" ?! Further :

ad iudicium ...

[-] 2 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 11 months ago

propaganda has always been used by the military industrial complex

support the troops

[-] 6 points by shadz66 (19985) 11 months ago

Indeed ''propaganda has always been used by the military industrial complex'' and IF you truly ''support the troops'' - then agitate, educate and organise for peace and in order to bring them home ~*~ Also fyi :

fiat lux ; fiat pax ; fiat justitia ...

[-] 4 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 11 months ago

there's a lot of talk about civilian deaths with drones but I don't want to be killing "militants" either.

[-] 3 points by shadz66 (19985) 11 months ago

''Perpetual War - How Does the Global War on Terror Ever End?'', by Jeremy Scahill :

Bless your compassionate heart Matt. Solidarity.

fiat lux et fiat pax ...

[-] -1 points by HCHC4 (-28) 11 months ago

Some Greens are playing Dirty Wars around here coming up, trying to raise awareness.

That being said, I dont think it ends. Just like every other power grab they do, it never goes in reverse. This isnt going to end well for our country.

Someone earlier today posted about coopts. I think that is the one lone chance we have. Get as much of the supply and the production back into the hands of the people of the community as possible.

[-] 3 points by shadz66 (19985) 11 months ago

''Limitless growth is the fantasy of economists, businesses and politicians. It is seen as a measure of progress. As a result, gross domestic product (GDP), which is supposed to measure the wealth of nations, has emerged as both the most powerful number and dominant concept in our times. However, economic growth hides the poverty it creates through the destruction of nature, which in turn leads to communities lacking the capacity to provide for themselves.'' - In compliment of your comment & from :

Also, in compliment of your reference to Jeremy Scahill's excellent ''Dirty Wars'' film, please see, share and recommend Robert Greenwald's latest documentary :

pax et lux ...

[-] -1 points by HCHC4 (-28) 11 months ago

"However, economic growth hides the poverty it creates through the destruction of nature, which in turn leads to communities lacking the capacity to provide for themselves."

Exactly. This thing is falling apart before our very eyes, and the only thing that is holding it together is constant bailouts, which we all know leads to a total destruction of the monetary supply.

So when it unravels, as it did in 08 -and the option of printing more money is no longer an option because its just laughed at by investors and the markets- what do we do?

It seems to me that the preemptive thing to do would be to start getting the local infrastructure back into place. Doesn't have to be functioning, but at least in place. Clothing and food being key. We certainly have enough housing.

[-] 2 points by shadz66 (19985) 11 months ago

There are no shortages of housing or the other necessities of everyday living - but there is hoarding, speculating and profiteering by Corporate Monopolies and Cartels. Whatever happened to the 'RICOH Statutes' ? 'Think Global ; Act Local' - as they say & also fyi :

fiat lux ...

[-] 2 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 11 months ago

housing is half my money

[-] 2 points by jimmycrackerson (940) from Blackfoot, ID 2 years ago

"Propaganda is generally an appeal to emotion, not intellect."

Which is why it will work so well in America. Because in America we don't need a proper monarch queen. We've got a couple-hundred-million drama queens all trying to control their emotion-driven lives.

[-] 3 points by shadz66 (19985) 2 years ago

Funny and clever comment ! Thus, with regard to 'The Information Function' ; Propaganda OR Counter-Propaganda - call it what you will ... I append :

per aspera ad astra ...

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