Buzzfeed's Michael Hastings reports on a revision to the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 and Foreign Relations Authorization Act in 1987, which prohibit the use of government disinformation and propaganda campaigns within the USA. The amendment, sponsored by Rep. Mac Thornberry from Texas and Rep. Adam Smith from Washington State, would allow the US government to knowingly tell lies to its people in order to promote the government's own policies.
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.
Congressmen Seek To Lift Propaganda Ban
(Image: stalin - chinese propaganda booklet, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from uair01's photostream)
Editor's note: I've known Shahid Buttar for years, in his capacity as an activist organizer, drawing on his background as a constitutional lawyer and his deep commitment to a just world to help start effective grassroots groups across America; now Shahid has taken leave from EFF to challenge Nancy Pelosi -- a consistent force for […]
Male supremacy has gotten a strong foothold online through men’s rights activism (MRA), pickup artist movement (PUA), and the “tradwife” movement. Now SPLC has started naming the leaders on their hate watchlist.
Patrick Ryan wants to be the Democratic nominee for New York's 19th district in the Hudson Valley, a Republican seat that Dems hope to flip; he's gone on record stating that he can do the job because of his entrepreneurial success -- but he didn't mention that he built his career at Berico Technologies by […]
Surfing on public Wi-Fi is convenient, but it’s far from safe. Whether you’re at a cafe or hotel, connecting to an unsecured network exposes you—and your personal information—to a host of hazards, including hackers, government spies, and trackers. Private Internet Access helps you navigate past these risks and tap into a safer, restriction-free internet, and […]
The web is vast, and while there’s room for everyone, competition is stiff when it comes to landing on that first page of a Google search. That’s why developers aren’t afraid to spend exorbitant amounts of time and money on search engine optimization (SEO) to ensure their sites rank higher than others. However, not all […]
Many of us enjoy the aesthetic of vintage electronics, but trying to use most hardware from the 1950’s isn’t necessarily practical. This is especially true where speakers are concerned. While most of us can appreciate the old-school feel of retro speakers, they have a hard time matching the convenience and power delivered by today’s Bluetooth speakers. […]