We don’t even pretend to be America anymore. I mean, what does America mean to these people – some kind of stage set that only gets rolled out for political commercials? Governments lie; most of us already know that. But inherent in the idea of our democratic republic is that when it happens, it will be done sparingly, and for a very good reason. That is not what this sounds like:

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.

At least they’re coming right out and saying it now: Americans are the enemy of the state.

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.

Wow. So we really are just like the Soviet Union now. We’ll have “official” news like the ironically-named Pravda, and then we have reality.

5 thoughts on “Propaganda

  1. Adam Smith of Washington state is not now nor has he ever been a Democrat. He calls himself a Democrat, but he’s the Bluest of Dogs. Which puts him in the same league as Demorcatic Mayor Cory Booker. Booker, who is suppose to be an Obama surrogate, hangs around with the likes of Republican (Capitalist) Chris Christy shooting videos and yukking it up. Then he turns around and attacks Obama for talking about how destructive vampire venture Capitalists like Bain Capital are. Booker is a “dickhead” in love with the 1%. Smith is a neo-con (Zionist) “dickhead” in love with war and the military industrial complex.

  2. i thought we were already getting hit with propaganda 24/7. Seriously.

  3. brendamcalling, there’s overt propaganda (a single point of view) like FOX news(?) practices, and then there’s covert propaganda, also known as propaganda by omission, that the other networks practice. Smith and the rest just want to make shit up and present it as news a la Big Brother in “1984”.

  4. During the Cold War, we were constantly lied to by the government ‘for our own good.’ Now that we have the ‘War on Terror’ to justify almost any action taken by the government. Will there be another Church commission again to reveal all the criminal acts? or have we passed some point of no return?

  5. Well, if it’s labeled as being put out by the Dept. of Propaganda, it might wake some of public up to what’s being done with information they are given in this nation.

    Our MCM (Mainstream Corporate Media) chooses carefully what to emphasize and what to push down the Memory Hole. The sophisticated practicioners of this grey art, such as the NYTimes, report important information, but, if it is contrary to the current Powers That Be story line, only on the back pages somewhere close to the end but not close enough that people who read the closing paragraphs see it. If that buried material might upset the Powers That Be, it is never mentioned again.

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