Goodnight, sweet United States
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13-12-2016, 04:14 AM
Goodnight, sweet United States
http://bangordailynews.com/2013/07/15/ne...americans/

"December 08, 2016
Senate Passes Major Portman-Murphy Counter-Propaganda Bill as Part of NDAA

Portman/Murphy Bill Promotes Coordinated Strategy to Defend America, Allies Against Propaganda and Disinformation from Russia, China & Others

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) today announced that their Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act – legislation designed to help American allies counter foreign government propaganda from Russia, China, and other nations – has passed the Senate as part of the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Conference Report. The bipartisan bill, which was introduced by Senators Portman and Murphy in March, will improve the ability of the United States to counter foreign propaganda and disinformation by establishing an interagency center housed at the State Department to coordinate and 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 local communities to defend themselves from foreign manipulation.

“The passage of this bill in the Senate today takes us one critical step closer to effectively confronting the extensive, and destabilizing, foreign propaganda and disinformation operations being waged against us. While the propaganda and disinformation threat has grown, the U.S. government has been asleep at the wheel. Today we are finally signaling that enough is enough; the United States will no longer sit on the sidelines. We are going to confront this threat head-on,” said Senator Portman. “With the help of this bipartisan bill, the disinformation and propaganda used against our allies and our interests will fail.”

“Congress has taken a big step in fighting back against fake news and propaganda from countries like Russia. When the president signs this bill into law, the United States will finally have a dedicated set of tools and resources to confront our adversaries’ widespread efforts to spread false narratives that undermine democratic institutions and compromise America’s foreign policy goals,” said Murphy. “I’m proud of what Senator Portman and I accomplished here because it’s long past time for the U.S. to get off the sidelines and confront these growing threats.”

NOTE: The bipartisan Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act is organized around two main priorities to help achieve the goal of combatting the constantly evolving threat of foreign disinformation. They are as follows:

The first priority is developing a whole-of-government strategy for countering foreign propaganda and disinformation. The bill would increase the authority, resources, and mandate of the Global Engagement Center to include state actors like Russia and China in addition to violent extremists. 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 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."

And

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/07/15/ne...americans/

"By John Hudson, Foreign Policy magazine
Posted July 15, 2013, at 11:10 a.m.

WASHINGTON — For decades, a so-called anti-propaganda law prevented the U.S. government’s mammoth broadcasting arm from delivering programming to American audiences. But this month, that came silently to an end with the implementation of a reform passed in January. The result: an unleashing of thousands of hours per week of government-funded radio and TV programs for domestic U.S. consumption in a reform initially criticized as a green light for U.S. domestic propaganda efforts. So what just happened?

Until this month, a vast ocean of U.S. programming produced by the Broadcasting Board of Governors such as Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks could only be viewed or listened to at broadcast quality in foreign countries. The programming varies in tone and quality, but its breadth is vast: It’s viewed in more than 100 countries in 61 languages. The topics covered include human rights abuses in Iran; self-immolation in Tibet; human trafficking across Asia; and on-the-ground reporting in Egypt and Iraq.

The restriction of these broadcasts was due to the Smith-Mundt Act, a long-standing piece of legislation that has been amended numerous times over the years, perhaps most consequentially by Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright, D. In the 70s, Fulbright was no friend of VOA and Radio Free Europe, and moved to restrict them from domestic distribution, saying they “should be given the opportunity to take their rightful place in the graveyard of Cold War relics.” Fulbright’s amendment to Smith-Mundt was bolstered in 1985 by Nebraska Senator Edward Zorinsky, D, who argued that such “propaganda” should be kept out of America as to distinguish the U.S. “from the Soviet Union where domestic propaganda is a principal government activity.”

Zorinsky and Fulbright sold their amendments on sensible rhetoric: American taxpayers shouldn’t be funding propaganda for American audiences. So did Congress just tear down the American public’s last defense against domestic propaganda?
Story continues below advertisement.

Spokeswoman Lynne Weil insists the Broadcasting Board of Governors is not a propaganda outlet, and its flagship services such as VOA “present fair and accurate news.”

“They don’t shy away from stories that don’t shed the best light on the United States,” she told FP. She pointed to the charters of VOA and Radio Free Europe: “Our journalists provide what many people cannot get locally: uncensored news, responsible, discussion and open debate.”

A former U.S. government source with knowledge of the Broadcasting Board says the organization is no Pravda, but it does advance U.S. interests in more subtle ways. In Somalia, for instance, VOA serves as counterprogramming to outlets peddling anti-American or jihadist sentiment. “Somalis have three options for news,” the source said, “word of mouth, Al-Shabaab or VOA Somalia.”

This partially explains the push to allow board broadcasts on local radio stations in the United States. The agency wants to reach diaspora communities, such as St. Paul Minnesota’s significant Somali expat community. “Those people can get Al-Shabaab, they can get Russia Today, but they couldn’t get access to their taxpayer-funded news sources like VOA Somalia,” the source said. “It was silly.”

But if anyone needed a reminder of the dangers of domestic propaganda efforts, the past 12 months provided ample reasons. Last year, two USA Today journalists were ensnared in a propaganda campaign after reporting about millions of dollars in back taxes owed by the Pentagon’s top propaganda contractor in Afghanistan. Eventually, one of the co-owners of the firm confessed to creating phony websites and Twitter accounts to smear the journalists anonymously. Additionally, just this month, The Washington Post exposed a counter propaganda program by the Pentagon that recommended posting comments on a U.S. website run by a Somali expat with readers opposing Al-Shabaab. “Today, the military is more focused on manipulating news and commentary on the Internet, especially social media, by posting material and images without necessarily claiming ownership,” reported The Post."

Have fun with your ministry of truth, US.
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13-12-2016, 05:05 AM
RE: Goodnight, sweet United States



I feel so much, and yet I feel nothing.
I am a rock, I am the sky, the birds and the trees and everything beyond.
I am the wind, in the fields in which I roar. I am the water, in which I drown.
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13-12-2016, 06:52 AM
RE: Goodnight, sweet United States
Scary stuff. Finding alternate media will become even more important.

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored- Aldous Huxley
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13-12-2016, 07:54 AM
RE: Goodnight, sweet United States
I didn't see anything about banning fake news. Is it concerning? Sure, but it doesn't seem to be a full blown "ministry of truth". Anyway, Trumpy wants to ban "fake news", but only when it's about him.
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13-12-2016, 07:59 AM
RE: Goodnight, sweet United States
Given that Fox News Channel is founded and run by an Australian who lives in England, is that channel going to be banned now? Laugh out load

(Yes, I know he has American citizenship now, and only lives part time in England, among other places. Was just being funny.)

Yeah. We're fucked. Ministry of Truth indeed.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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13-12-2016, 08:01 AM
RE: Goodnight, sweet United States
(13-12-2016 07:59 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  Given that Fox News Channel is founded and run by an Australian who lives in England, is that channel going to be banned now? Laugh out load

Yeah. We're fucked. Ministry of Truth indeed.

But I didn't see anything in the article that suggested anything was going to be banned. However I just woke up so my interpretation skills might be off.
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13-12-2016, 08:01 AM
RE: Goodnight, sweet United States
I am convinced half of of the population gets their news from Facebook posts and memes.

The dumbing down of America, indeed.

"If you don't have a seat at the table, you're probably on the menu."

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13-12-2016, 08:28 AM
RE: Goodnight, sweet United States
(13-12-2016 07:54 AM)GenesisNemesis Wrote:  I didn't see anything about banning fake news. Is it concerning? Sure, but it doesn't seem to be a full blown "ministry of truth". Anyway, Trumpy wants to ban "fake news", but only when it's about him.



If the Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act were to become law there would be nothing to stop your government from simply writing off anything that's anti-gov as fake news™ or Russian Propaganda™ and censor it.

Combine that with a United States free of the anti-propaganda law and suddenly the only "real" news is the governments news.

Have fun with that.
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13-12-2016, 04:42 PM
RE: Goodnight, sweet United States
Ok, I know I said that Trump being President isn't going to lead to war, and I stand by that statement, but this divide Trump is starting to create between the US and China/Russia is a little worrying. In a time when we need to be forming trade deals and cooperating with eachother he's gonna make it you guys v them.
This is gonna be a long 8 years if this trend continues.

There's being firm with China and then there's Trump.

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13-12-2016, 05:14 PM
RE: Goodnight, sweet United States
Lets not burry our head in the sand. Fake news, conspiracy theory, pseudo-science and propaganda have found in internet and social netweork a fantastic way to spread themselves. That you share them as a joke, sarcasm or because you believe in them genuinly doesn't change much, it spreads and can reach more people, thus more credulous or manipulatable people. This is a problem with high connectivity. Misinformation and disinformation become more dangerous than ignorance. Not wanting to stop fake news, conspiracy theory, propaganda and pseudo-science to spread is a bit like being against virtue.

Yet, despite all this being said, its even more important to find a cure that isn't just as bad or worse than the ill in the first place. This initiative, while maybe filled with good intention, is definitely worse than the ill it seeks to cure. The only solution to bullshit isn't a bullshit police with little accountability and that can be subverted easily to spread its own specific brand of bullshit, but skepticism. The problem is that skepticism is complicated, requires involvement, temperance, patience, tact and honesty and these are qualities that are both difficult to develop and about as sexy as a perfectly filled tax form. If only politician would take education as seriously as their geopolitical interest. Lets just hope that the bomb can be disarm before it goes off.

Freedom is servitude to justice and intellectual honesty.
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