RMG Flashback: Breaking News NDAA & Freedom of Speech 2016-12-27
There's a new Red Scare sweeping the land folks; a neo-McCarthyism that's taken hold of those in government - or rather a desire to scapegoat another country in light of a tremendous Dem loss last November.
This RMG broadcast from December of 2016 explains the Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act that was part of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that President Obama signed into law on Christmas Eve of last year. It's allows a kind of Ministry of Truth to be established by the State Department, in conjunction with the Department of Defense.
The tick-tock and substance of the law was as follows:
On November 30, 2016, legislators approved a measure within the National Defense Authorization Act to ask the U.S. State Department to take action against foreign propaganda through an inter-agency panel. The legislation authorized funding of $160 million over a two-year-period. Portman urged more U.S. government action to counter disinformation and propaganda. Murphy said that after the election it was apparent the U.S. needed additional tactics to fight Russian disinformation. Senator Ron Wyden, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, told The Washington Post: "There is definitely bipartisan concern about the Russian government engaging in covert influence activities of this nature."
The bill advanced in the U.S. House of Representatives on 2 December 2016, when the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 conference report to S. 2943 passed in that chamber including the Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act.
In a speech to lawmakers on 8 December 2016, Hillary Clinton called attention to the issue, saying pending legislation before the U.S. Congress would "boost the government's response to foreign propaganda." She called on trendsetters in society to work together on the problem: "It's imperative that leaders in both the private sector and the public sector step up to protect our democracy, and innocent lives."
On 8 December 2016, the Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act passed a vote in the U.S. Senate by a wide margin. It was included together with the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Conference Report for fiscal year 2017, which passed in the U.S. Senate with a final tally of 92 to 7.
In the version of the bill incorporated into the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, the U.S. Congress would ask the United States Secretary of State to collaborate with the United States Secretary of Defense and other relevant Federal agencies to create a Global Engagement Center to fight against propaganda from foreign governments, and publicize the nature of ongoing foreign propaganda and disinformation operations against the U.S. and other countries. The bill said this inter-agency effort should: "counter foreign propaganda and disinformation directed against United States national security interests and proactively advance fact-based narratives that support United States allies and interests."
One can see how open-ended such a law is and how broad the implications against free speech are. This law, that hasn't been paid attention to a great deal, is the chief reason that the US can pressure a media organization, such as RT, into registering as "foreign agents."
The more diabolical aspect of this, is where Facebook and Twitter comes in. Part of the Countering Foreign Propaganda & Disinformation Act are the government grants available to those who help "collect and store examples in print, online, and social media, disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda" directed at the U.S. and its allies, as well as "counter efforts by foreign entities to use disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda to influence the policies and social and political stability" of the U.S. and allied nations.
The vehemence with which Twitter and Facebook are going after RT, is not based upon any democratic altruism or "noble" patriotism, but rather getting its piece of the $619 billion pie allocated to the newly created and heavily-funded Ministry of Truth and the New Red Scare. And, who knows how many other "legitimate" news organizations or social media entities have come to feed from this same trough?
Propaganda is what the government and its acolytes say it is, creating dangerous times for independent and alternative media - or anyone who presents a counter-narrative to the "official story. In this writers opinion, the New Red Scare wasn't just about covering their - the Dems - proverbial backside - this was also the big payback, by then-President Obama, against Russia giving aid and comfort to, national security whistleblower, Edward Snowden.
For a president who used the 1917 Espionage Act against more journalists than all of his predecessors combined, that must have left an extremely bitter taste in his mouth. What he, Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party - and GOP - have, fundamentally done, however, is to create another powerful weapon to further eviscerate the first amendment. And a literal Christmas gift for someone as vindictive as the thin-skinned, narcissistic, malcontent who sits in the Oval Office.
Shhhh... Big Brother is listening.