Kudos to Tyler Durden of ZeroHedge.com for his little exposé on the surreptitious, “bipartisan” sneakiness of slipping something called the “Countering Information Warfare Act of 2016” into a $611 billion Defense appropriation bill signed into law by Barack Obama just before the Christmas holiday.
We can thank two Republicans, Sen. Rob Portman and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, for spearheading what could well be, as Durden calls it, a “de facto Ministry of Truth” inside the U.S. State Department. The guise is a centralized effort to counter “foreign disinformation and manipulation” they say threatens the world’s “security and stability.”
In other words, it’s an effort to take on “fake news,” as defined by the U.S. government.
I bet the Founding Fathers never saw that one coming.
How’s it going to work?
Here’s how Portman and Democrat Sen. Chris Murphy explained it after this act became law.
The Countering Information Warfare Act is described as the establishment of “an interagency center housed at the State Department to coordinate synchronize counter-propaganda efforts throughout the U.S. government. To support these efforts, the bill also creates a grant program for NGOs, think tanks, civil society and other experts outside government who are engaged in counter-propaganda related work. This will better leverage existing expertise and empower our allies overseas to defend themselves from foreign manipulation. It will also help foster a free and vibrant press and civil society overseas, which is critical to ensuring our allies have access to truthful information and inoculating people against foreign propaganda campaigns.”
Yes, that’s the way I always envisioned creating a “free and vibrant press” – with grants and direction from the U.S. government.
“With this bill now law, we are finally signaling that enough is enough; the United States will no longer sit on the sidelines,” Portman and Murphy’s statement continued. “We are going to confront this threat head-on. I am confident that, with the help of this bipartisan bill, the disinformation and propaganda used against us, our allies, and our interests will fail.”
Won’t Hillary Clinton be pleased! Imagine what she could have done with these resources during her term at State.
But it gets richer: “The use of propaganda to undermine democracy has hit a new low. But now we are finally in a position to confront this threat head on and get out the truth. By building up independent, objective journalism in places like eastern Europe, we can start to fight back by exposing these fake narratives and empowering local communities to protect themselves,” said Murphy. “I’m proud that our bill was signed into law, and I look forward to working with Senator Portman to make sure these tools and new resources are effectively used to get out the truth.”
By the way, who are the big enemies in this propaganda war?
Russia and China – not Saudi Arabia, not Iran, not the Palestinian Authority, not the United Nations.
Here are the two main priorities of this new, undisclosed amount of funding:
“The first priority is developing a whole-of-government strategy for countering the foreign propaganda and disinformation being wages against us and our allies by our enemies. The bill would increase the authority, resources, and mandate of the Global Engagement Center to include state actors like Russia and China as well as non-state actors. The Center will be led by the State Department, but with the active senior level participation of the Department of Defense, USAID, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the Intelligence Community, and other relevant agencies. The Center will develop, integrate, and synchronize whole-of-government initiatives to expose and counter foreign disinformation operations by our enemies and proactively advance fact-based narratives that support U.S. allies and interests.
“Second, the legislation seeks to leverage expertise from outside government to create more adaptive and responsive U.S. strategy options. The legislation establishes a fund to help train local journalists and provide grants and contracts to NGOs, civil society organizations, think tanks, private sector companies, media organizations, and other experts outside the U.S. government with experience in identifying and analyzing the latest trends in foreign government disinformation techniques. This fund will complement and support the Center’s role by integrating capabilities and expertise available outside the U.S. government into the strategy-making process. It will also empower a decentralized network of private sector experts and integrate their expertise into the strategy-making process.”
Feeling safer now?
Happy New Year!
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