In 2016, using the cover of the holidays and distracted attention, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law — just two days before many Americans celebrated Christmas — likely due to the ominously Orwellian language it used that was meant to “counter propaganda and disinformation directed at the United States.”
Now, it appears that this counter-propaganda move will be taken a step further as the Department of the State announced a partnership with the Department of Defense this week to spend millions on “initiatives to counter propaganda and disinformation.”
The @StateDept is pleased to announce a new partnership with the @DeptofDefense for initiatives to counter propaganda & disinformation from foreign nations. @UnderSecPD said the transfer of funds announced today reiterates the U.S. commitment to the fight. https://t.co/oT1ffDZU7R
— Department of State (@StateDept) February 26, 2018
To counter what they perceive as “propaganda and disinformation from foreign nations,” the Pentagon plans on paying private companies to create content that will serve as weaponized media.
According to the State Department, “Under the Information Access Fund, civil society groups, media content providers, nongovernmental organizations, federally funded research and development centers, private companies, and academic institutions will be eligible to compete for grants from the GEC to advance their important work to counter propaganda and disinformation.”
The United States is not only actively engaging in an information war but they announced that they will be leading the preemptive strike.
“This funding is critical to ensuring that we continue an aggressive response to malign influence and disinformation and that we can leverage deeper partnerships with our allies, Silicon Valley, and other partners in this fight,” Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Steve Goldstein said. “It is not merely a defensive posture that we should take, we also need to be on the offensive.”
This $40 million in funds is now added to the $60 million already authorized by the NDAA in 2016 which paved the way for funding private companies and mainstream media companies to get paid to push the narrative of the US war machine.
One of the most insidious NDAA provisions to date is called the Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act of 2016, it essentially creates a de facto U.S. Ministry of Truth. The corporate mainstream media has generally failed to report on the implications resulting from the included provisions as to keep Americans in the dark about the Information War being waged on them by their own government.
And now, they will actually be paid to report on any information that is damning to the military-industrial complex.
As Zero Hedge reported at the time:
As we reported in early June, “a bill to implement the U.S.’ very own de facto Ministry of Truth had been quietly introduced in Congress. As with any legislation attempting to dodge the public spotlight the Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act of 2016 marks a further curtailment of press freedom and another avenue to stultify avenues of accurate information. Introduced by Congressmen Adam Kinzinger and Ted Lieu, H.R. 5181 seeks a “whole-government approach without the bureaucratic restrictions” to counter “foreign disinformation and manipulation,” which they believe threaten the world’s “security and stability.”
Also called the Countering Information Warfare Act of 2016 (S. 2692), when introduced in March by Sen. Rob Portman, the legislation represents a dramatic return to Cold War-era government propaganda battle.
H.R. 5181 would task the Secretary of State with coordinating the Secretary of Defense, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Broadcasting Board of Governors to “establish a Center for Information Analysis and Response,” which will pinpoint sources of disinformation, analyze data, and — in true dystopic manner — ‘develop and disseminate’ “fact-based narratives” to counter effrontery propaganda.
Given the disproven narrative on alleged Russian interference in the election and the push by mainstream media, NGOs, and civil society organizations to keep the conspiracy theory alive, the idea of the Pentagon throwing money at these very organizations to preemptively wage an information war is chilling, to say the least.
As the text of the NDAA explains, the center will “support the development and dissemination of fact-based narratives and analysis to counter propaganda and disinformation directed at the United States and United States allies and partner nations.”
Although this new program claims to be aimed at “foreign nations,” the wording in the NDAA indicates otherwise.
Many of the Global Engagement Center’s duties concern targeting disinformation and propaganda being disseminated in other nations; however, it subtly suggests the effort would seek to prevent such content from reaching the United States — thus, domestic actions are, by no means, ruled out.
Indeed, as the law states:
“The Center is authorized to provide grants or contracts of financial support to civil society groups, media content providers, nongovernmental organizations, federally funded research and development centers, private companies, or academic institutions for the following purposes:
- To support local independent media who are best placed to refute foreign disinformation and manipulation in their own communities.
- To collect and store examples in print, online, and social media, disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda directed at the United States and its allies and partners.
- To analyze and report on tactics, techniques, and procedures of foreign information warfare with respect to disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda.
- To support efforts by the Center to counter efforts by foreign entities to use disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda to influence the policies and social and political stability of the United States and United States allies and partner nations.
Adding to the ominous nature of the new program, at the end of the statement, the State Department said, “Separately, the GEC will initiate a series of pilot projects developed with the Department of Defense that are designed to counter propaganda and disinformation. Those projects will be supported by Department of Defense funding.”
So, not only is the DoD publicly upping their information war game for $40 million, but they are conducting side projects and funding them with an unknown amount of money.
Ironically enough, all of this propaganda and informational warfare was once shunned by the federal government. The Smith–Mundt Act of 1948 strictly prohibited the US government from propagandizing its own citizens. However, in 2013—again using the NDAA as cover—the government quietly modified the bill allowing for materials produced by the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), which used to be only informational weapons against our enemies — to be available within the United States.
When looking at the massive half-truths and utter dismay of government accountability—especially police and military—the reason so many Americans accept it without question becomes entirely clear. They are programmed to.
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Contributed by Matt Agorist of thefreethoughtproject.com.
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