And this is why I’m calling Wyden and Merkley today!
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.
So, let’s review. At a time when the American Public’s trust in Government is at an all time low, the House wants to make it easier for the Government to lie to us?
This is the sort of genius thinking that fuels Ron Paul rallies and creates a market for canned goods and shotguns.
And also keep in mind that Bush and company was able to get the country into a needless war with Iraq without those powers.
How easy do you think it would be for the next guy who uses those tools to bomb somewhere else.
For Supplemental Reading: Here’s the indispensable Dr. Juan Cole on the subject.
Nothing speaks more urgently to the creeping fascism of American politics than the assertion by our representatives, who apparently have never read a book on Germany in the 1930s-1940s or on the Soviet Union in the Stalin period, that forbidding DoD and the State Department from subjecting us to government propaganda “ties the hands of America’s diplomatic officials, military, and others by inhibiting our ability to effectively communicate in a credible way.” And mind you, they want to use our own money to wash our brains!
As Will Rogers observed, “This country has come to feel the same when Congress is in session as when the baby gets hold of a hammer.”
Contact information for the Senate is here. Let’s make some calls.