Obama Quietly Signs The "Countering Disinformation And Propaganda Act" Into Law

Tyler Durden's picture

Late on Friday, with the US population embracing the upcoming holidays and oblivious of most news emerging from the administration, Obama quietly signed into law the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which authorizes $611 billion for the military in 2017.

In a statement, Obama said that:

Today, I have signed into law S. 2943, the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017.” This Act authorizes fiscal year 2017 appropriations principally for the Department of Defense and for Department of Energy national security programs, provides vital benefits for military personnel and their families, and includes authorities to facilitate ongoing operations around the globe. It continues many critical authorizations necessary to ensure that we are able to sustain our momentum in countering the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and to reassure our European allies, as well as many new authorizations that, among other things, provide the Departments of Defense and Energy more flexibility in countering cyber-attacks and our adversaries’ use of unmanned aerial vehicles."

Much of the balance of Obama's statement blamed the GOP for Guantanamo's continued operation and warned that "unless the Congress changes course, it will be judged harshly by history," Obama said. Obama also said Congress failed to use the bill to reduce wasteful overhead (like perhaps massive F-35 cost overruns?) or modernize military health care, which he said would exacerbate budget pressures facing the military in the years ahead.

But while the passage of the NDAA - and the funding of the US military - was hardly a surprise, the biggest news is what was buried deep inside the provisions of the Defense Authortization Act.

Recall that 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 battles. “These countries spend vast sums of money on advanced broadcast and digital media capabilities, targeted campaigns, funding of foreign political movements, and other efforts to influence key audiences and populations,” Portman explained, adding that while the U.S. spends a relatively small amount on its Voice of America, the Kremlin provides enormous funding for its news organization, RT.

“Surprisingly,” Portman continued, “there is currently no single U.S. governmental agency or department charged with the national level development, integration and synchronization of whole-of-government strategies to counter foreign propaganda and disinformation.”  

Long before the "fake news" meme became a daily topic of extensive conversation on such discredited mainstream portals as CNN and WaPo, 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.

In short, long before "fake news" became a major media topic, the US government was already planning its legally-backed crackdown on anything it would eventually label "fake news."

* * *

Fast forward to December 8, when the "Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act" passed in the Senate, quietly inserted inside the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Conference Report.

And now, following Friday's Obama signing of the NDAA on Friday evening, the Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act is now law.

* * *

Here is the full statement issued by the generously funded Senator Rob Portman (R- Ohio) on the singing into law of a bill that further chips away at press liberties in the US, and which sets the stage for future which hunts and website shutdowns, purely as a result of an accusation that any one media outlet or site is considered as a source of "disinformation and propaganda" and is shut down by the government.

President Signs Portman-Murphy Counter-Propaganda Bill into Law

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

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 been signed into law 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 from our enemies 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 our allies overseas to defend themselves from foreign manipulation. It will also help foster a free and vibrant press and civil society overseas, which is critical to ensuring our allies have access to truthful information and inoculating people against foreign propaganda campaigns.

“Our enemies are using foreign propaganda and disinformation against us and our allies, and so far the U.S. government has been asleep at the wheel,” Portman said. “But today, the United States has taken a critical step towards confronting the extensive, and destabilizing, foreign propaganda and disinformation operations being waged against us by our enemies overseas. With this bill now law, 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. I am confident that, with the help of this bipartisan bill, the disinformation and propaganda used against us, our allies, and our interests will fail.”

The use of propaganda to undermine democracy has hit a new low. But now we are finally in a position to confront this threat head on and get out the truth. By building up independent, objective journalism in places like eastern Europe, we can start to fight back by exposing these fake narratives and empowering local communities to protect themselves,” said Murphy. “I’m proud that our bill was signed into law, and I look forward to working with Senator Portman to make sure these tools and new resources are effectively used to get out the truth.”

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 from our enemies:

  • The first priority is developing a whole-of-government strategy for countering THE foreign propaganda and disinformation being wages against us and our allies by our enemies. The bill would increase the authority, resources, and mandate of the Global Engagement Center to include state actors like Russia and China as well as non-state actors. 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 by our enemies 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 so, with the likes of WaPo having already primed the general public to equate "Russian Propaganda" with "fake news" (despite admitting after the fact their own report was essentially "fake"), while the US media has indoctrinated the public to assume that any information which is not in compliance with the official government narrative, or dares to criticize the establishment, is also "fake news" and thus falls under the "Russian propaganda" umbrella, the scene is now set for the US government to legally crack down on every media outlet that the government deems to be "foreign propaganda."

Just like that, the US Ministry of Truth is officially born.

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Wulfkind's picture

(chuckle)....and all you castrated Hannitybots think automatically and Pavlovian that someone who happens to be an anarchist and hasn't even been registered to vote in over 15 years is some kind of "Hillaryfembot" when saying something negative about the Raging Cheetoh.

You're so cute when you're a moron.

 

ZD1's picture

(groan)...you castrated Rachel Maddcow anarchist fembots aren't cute anytime.

Go let some of Ohomo's BLM thugs beat on your worthless anarchist head.

DeathMerchant's picture

Maddow morphs into Chris Hayes every time she is criticized

ebear's picture

You misspelled anachronist.

DeathMerchant's picture

I'm guessing that the only thing wolf like about you is the urine scent marking on a tree in the forest.

Yes We Can. But Lets Not.'s picture

Had your man Barry not signed the bill at this late date, you'd need not concern yourself with whether Trump would seek to undo it.

DeathMerchant's picture

The Raging Cheetoh may very well dismantle most laws signed by the Raging Cheetah. He may also go after Tarzan for not keeping Cheetah on a leash.

Wile-E-Coyote's picture

“In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”   G. Orwell

cmdr.paco's picture

to all cock sucking Trump supporters - do you assholes think your "hero" will repeal this act??? No fuckeing chance - he will USE IT to its FULL EXTENT and fuck all everyone els.

Get your fucking anuses  ready!

cmdr.paco's picture

to all cock sucking Trump supporters - do you assholes think your "hero" will repeal this act??? No fuckeing chance - he will USE IT to its FULL EXTENT and fuck all everyone els.

Get your fucking anuses  ready!

DeathMerchant's picture

Be sure to ask for refund of the tuition for your English class.

cmdr.paco's picture

Fuck you - this is just my keyboard - however pretty please get your ass ready ... ;-)

Mountainview's picture

Lies are truth and truth are lies...big brother decides

Anti-kleptocrat's picture

... we don't need more government ... we need less of it ...

"I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery." - Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, January 30, 1787

cossack55's picture

And the Truth Czar is........envelope please

Yes We Can. But Lets Not.'s picture

.... former President Barack Hussein Obama!.....

Michelle can again be proud of her country, with her Barry ending all the lies.

Cynicles's picture

Michael Øbama is a natural born tyrant - would fit well into the spot. Great way to get some experience to be POTUS in a few years

Withdrawn Sanction's picture

Collectivists (what would typically be called leftists in the US, but also includes a great righ wingers too) all have tyrranical streaks.  They believe the collective precedes and thus take priority over the individuals who comprise it, and that the individual needs to be made subservient to the wishes of the collective--even if that means going against basic human nature.  

The illogic of that position combined with fear and loathing of personal responsibility makes them resent and attack anyone who challenges their corrput worldview.  The closer you get to challenging their basic view of reality, the more violent they're apt to become.  

DeathMerchant's picture

The ape accusation will probably stand however.

DeathMerchant's picture

Rahm Emmanuel!!! Congratulations !!!

chunga's picture

All fake news, all the time! Fuck YOU Barkey you JERK!

blue51's picture

Portman & Murphy Traitorous Act . You WILL regret this , pizza - boys .

Hope Copy's picture

Interestingly the new incoming administration has made no issue on this.  I suspect that with a slight tweaking of this law with other existing laws, those that passed this into law will live to see the day that it will be used against them.

bh2's picture

Would the MSM be definable as "foreign propagandists" under this fake news law?

BarkingCat's picture

BBC - British Bullshit Company....or does the C stand for Cucks???

max_leering's picture

Merry Christmas Bitchez!!!!!!!!!!

allgoodmen's picture

Just because a Democrat signed this does not mean Trump cannot use it to further his agenda -- and he will, as soon as he is in charge.

Liberal supporters of this deballing of the 1st Amendment fail to foresee the consequences down the road, and it will backfire, much like old Senator Reid's "nuclear option."

Cannot wait to see discredited (NYT) and one-man opinion rags (Washington Post) muzzled as a result of this policy they supported.

TeamDepends's picture

Merry Chrstmas, Barry! Everything you've done over the last eight years will be slowly, systematically dismantled in the coming months. It is morning in America again!

SmackDaddy's picture

Yes this news dampers my Christmas Spirit a bit.
But fortunately I'm about to sit down with my whole family to watch the greatest comedy movie of all time SCHINDLER'S LIST!!

lil dirtball's picture

A hundred years of increasing tyranny - dismantled in months!

Months!

Delusional Trumptards.

lil dirtball's picture

Yes, Janie, pray very hard.

tripletail's picture

Fuck the US government! Keep pushing --- and watch the revolution go hot!

GRDguy's picture

If you understand what "us" and "our" means to those who speak these words, it doesn't include you and me, that's for sure.

Quinvarius's picture

In light of how every single thing the Democrats has backfired on them, I wonder what Trump is going to do with this?  Hillary funded by foreign nationals, globalists, and George Soros, assisting the fake news MSM Donald hates so much, are now handing over the power to destroy them to Trump.  Why would anything Obama ever did work out as planned?

mc888's picture

Shut down WaPo, NYT and CNN would be a good start.

 

BarkingCat's picture

Arrest Soros and send him to Rusia...

On second thought send him to Syria.

worbsid's picture

So now some bureaucrat will decide what is truth or not?  You gotta be kidding. My next question is; "What is the penalty for lying politicians and MSM?"

WillyGroper's picture

^^^^^

yea, they're kidding.

sending those kids right thru the rat lines in syria.

 

mvlazysusan's picture

This, after Obama passes law allowing the propaganda he now claimes to be fighting:

http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/07/14/u-s-repeals-propaganda-ban-spreads-g...

Bollockinell's picture

You took the words right out of my mouth!
These fork-tongued twats wouldn't know the TRUTH if it hit them right between the eyes.

moorewasthebestbond's picture

If AIPAC lkes it, Trump keeps it.

sister tika's picture

Meanwhile, Trump and Putin proactively communicate, work together, establish common ground/mutual respect and prevent WWIII.

rlouis's picture

I want to be protected from Hollywood.

rlouis's picture

Oh wait, I have an off-button.