Should it be legal for the U.S. government to spend billions of dollars on propaganda designed to change public opinion in the United States? Should it be legal for the U.S. government to use television, radio, newspapers, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs and Internet forums to conduct “psychological operations” targeted at the American public? An amendment that has been added to a new defense bill in Congress would make it legal to target propaganda and “psychological operations” directly at U.S. citizens. The latest version of the National Defense Authorization Act would overturn the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 and the Foreign Relations Authorization Act of 1987. Those two laws essentially make it illegal for propaganda that is used to influence public opinion overseas to be targeted at U.S. citizens back here at home. If those two laws are struck down, there will be essentially very few limits to what the U.S. government can do to shape our opinions. The government would be able to bombard us with propaganda messages on television, on the radio, in our newspapers and on the Internet and there would not even be a requirement that those messages be true. In fact, just as happens so often overseas, it would likely be inevitable that the government would purposely disseminate misinformation to the American public for the sake of “national security”. That is why it is imperative that this bill not become law.
As an article posted on LegalInsurrection.com correctly noted, this bill has already been passed by the U.S. House of Representatives….
Their bill was included as amendment 114 to the Defense Authorization Act and passed out of the House on Friday, May 18. It would amend two existing acts: the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 and the Foreign Relations Authorization Act (1987).
Fortunately, it looks like this amendment might run into some trouble in the U.S. Senate. But during an election year, not many politicians want to appear “soft” when it comes to national security, so it is definitely not a sure thing that the Senate will reject this amendment.
This amendment has been kind of “flying under the radar”, so now would be a good time to contact your U.S. Senators and let them know exactly how you feel about this.
Reauthorizing the indefinite detention of US citizens without charge might be the scariest provision in next year’s defense spending bill, but it certainly isn’t the only one worth worrying about.
An amendment tagged on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 would allow for the United States government to create and distribute pro-American propaganda within the country’s own borders under the alleged purpose of putting al-Qaeda’s attempts at persuading the world against Western ideals on ice.
Former US representatives went out of there way to ensure their citizens that they’d be excluded from government-created media blasts, but two lawmakers currently serving the country are looking to change all that.
Congressmen Mac Thornberry (R-TX) and Adam Smith (D-WA) introduced “The Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012” (H.R. 5736) last week during discussions for the NDAA 2013. It was voted on by the US House of Representatives to be included in next year’s defense spending bill, which was then voted on as a whole and approved.
The amendment updates the antiquated Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 and Foreign Relations Authorization Act of 1987, essentially clarifying that the US State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors may “prepare, disseminate and use public diplomacy information abroad,” but while also striking down a long-lasting ban on the domestic dissemination in America.
For the last several decades, the federal government has been authorized to use such tactics overseas to influence foreign support of America’s wars abroad, but has been barred from such strategies within the US.
If next year’s NDAA clears the US Senate and is signed by President Obama with the Thornberry-Smith provision intact, then restrictions on propaganda being force-fed to Americans would be rolled back entirety.
Both Congressmen Thornberry and Smith say that the amendment isn’t being pushed to allow for the domestic distribution of propaganda, but the actual text of the provision outlines that, if approved by the Senate and signed by President Barack Obama, that very well could be the case.
“We continue to face a multitude of threats and we need to be able to counter them in a multitude of ways.Communication is among the most important,” Rep. Thornberry explains in his initial press release on the bill.
“This outdated law ties the hands of America’s diplomatic officials, military, and others by inhibiting our ability to effectively communicate in a credible and transparent way. Congress has a responsibility to fix the situation.”
On his part, Rep. Smith says that al-Qaeda is infiltrating the Internet in order to drive anti-American sentiments ablaze. If the amendment he co-sponsors is passed, the US government would be able to fight fire with fire.
“While the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 was developed to counter communism during the Cold War, it is outdated for the conflicts of today,” Rep. Smith says in his official statement. “Effective strategic communication and public diplomacy should be front-and-center as we work to roll back al-Qaeda’s and other violent extremists’ influence among disaffected populations.
22 мая 2012 года между прочим
То есть, по состоянию на сегодняшний день пропаганда внутри США таки запрещена.