Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Legalization of federal domestic propaganda an amendment in the defense authorization bill

From:  Congressmen Seek To Lift Propaganda Ban, by Michael Hastings  |  BuzzFeed

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

  • The amendment would “strike the current ban on domestic dissemination” of propaganda material produced by the State Department and the independent Broadcasting Board of Governors, 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.

  • According to a source on the Hill, 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 government 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.”

  • 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.

The entire original article.