Using Holidays as a Distraction, Obama Just Signed NDAA “Propaganda” Provision to Destroy Free Press

white-houseBy Claire Bernish

Using the cover of the holidays and distracted attention, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law Friday evening — just two days before many Americans celebrate Christmas — perhaps because it contains ominously Orwellian language meant to “counter propaganda and disinformation directed at the United States.”

Although the NDAA’s true purpose is to fund the military, notorious provisions — particularly of the variety which erase yet more freedoms — are often added to the overall legislation. In this case, the propaganda and disinformation provisions mentioned above had been attempted in a stand-alone bill which remains stalled in Congress — partly due to scathing criticism and unpopularity from wary politicians.

And that seems justifiable, given legitimate parallels drawn to 1950s’ McCarthyism and the Red Scare.

According to the text of the $619 billion bill, the Secretaries of State and Defense and other pertinent officials will be tasked with creating an innocuous-sounding “Global Engagement Center.”

“The purpose of the Center,” states the text, “shall be to lead, synchronize, and coordinate efforts of the Federal Government to recognize, understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining United States national security interests.”

In actuality, however, countering propaganda amounts to silencing dissenting opinion — particularly in the press — of anything deemed shining a favorable light on one of the many countries the U.S. considers a foe.

Such as Russia — which has been the target of choice for blame concerning the election of Donald Trump.

But it could also be a vehicle to initiate censorship of independent and alternative media for reporting on corruption — rife in the Democrat establishment and corporate press — as exposed by documents published by WikiLeaks.

It also means creating and furthering propaganda of the American government — because, theoretically, you can’t combat foreign agitprop without filling the void with something convincing and favorable to governmental agendas.

As text of the new law 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.”

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.

Seeming at least somewhat innocuous, had the law been passed in a vacuum, the current hysteria over putative Russian interference during the election cycle presents alarming potential implications for the future of free speech and unobstructed access to information.

A subsequently partially backtracked report by the Washington Post, “Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say,” originally published on November 24, boldly declared The Russians had been behind disinformation during the election cycle, and had facilitated the election of Donald Trump to suit a shady but noticeably unspecified political agenda.

First to obtain an ostensibly damning list of news organizations affiliated with The Russians, the Post failed, negligently or intentionally, to investigate the nascent organization which provided said list, or to even contact a single outlet named — yet reported as if the information were so damning as to be indisputable truth.

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In fact, the supposed experts cited by the once-illustrious outlet inhabited a single, newly created website, PropOrNot, whose owners sophomorically responded to outrage — giving the Post a black eye in the process — tweeting,

Aww, wook at all the angwy Putinists, trying to change the subject – they’re so vewwy angwy!! It’s cute [gloating emoticon] We don’t censor; just highlight.

propagandaThe website encourages reporters and anyone with questions to reach out via Twitter or email, but says, “If you’re a Russian troll, though, don’t bother. We’ll just ban you.”

Although the Post, itself, did not publish or link to the unsourced and unverified index of organizations — incidentally, comprising 200 independent, alternative outlets, and those who’d dared endorse presidential candidates other than Hillary Clinton — the damage exponentially worsened as countless corporate presstitutes parroted the non-information at a rapid clip.

After its half-hearted retraction of that misstep, the Post further embarrassed itself with a report titled, “Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House” — but stunningly provided even less evidence — and again failed due diligence to back this assertion, other than the putative claims of unnamed officials.

Worse, its own article disputed the audaciousness of the headline — the Post admitted no report would be forthcoming from a consensus of all 17 U.S. Intelligence agencies, since “minor disagreements” among officials persist.

When the public had a difficult time swallowing such allegations, the White House stepped in and, rather flippantly, proclaimed Russian President Vladimir Putin played a direct role in hacking the U.S. presidential election — again, despite any evidence the ‘election’ had been ‘hacked.’

Couple this renewed Red Scare with what, in essence, marked the legalization of one of the most nefarious covert domestic government operations in U.S. history — Operation Mockingbird — and any iterations this program won’t severely cripple legitimate but dissenting American media ring hollow.

Notably, though the Obama administration cited pernicious pro-Russian propaganda and the proliferation of false reports for causing the election of Trump, no unassailable evidence has yet been proffered proving this theory true — nor has any indication “fake news” so much as changed a single vote.

Yet, these propaganda-slaying provisions — now the law in the newly-signed NDAA — put this shirked blame for a lost election strawman directly in the crosshairs, as if The Russians meddled was irrefutably evident.

What we can now expect in the coming year is quite up in the air; but, for purveyors of information critical of the political establishment, the NDAA portends censorship beyond the current, heightened, and unusually judicious level we’re currently experiencing.

For everyone concerned about the ability to speak freely — and those who choose to challenge themselves with information outside their personal echo chamber — the legislation constitutes a potentially abhorrent overreach into previously sacred territory.

In fact, for all intents and purposes, the NDAA’s single phrase, “dissemination of fact-based narratives,” summons a near specter to newspeak, the propagandistic and revisionist language created by the Ingsoc government’s Ministry of Truth in George Orwell’s now eerily portentous 1984.

Innumerable tongue-in-cheek references to that dystopian classic have been made in recent times, but the new law seemingly cements the parallels — naming the modern iteration of the Ministry of Truth an even creepier, Global Engagement Center.

Given the renewed Cold War atmosphere, perhaps politicians would’ve been better served by discarding pretense and inserting into the legislation’s text Orwell’s famous line, “Oceania was at war with Eurasia; therefore Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia.”

None of this, it must be noted, is intended in any way to instill fear; however, history — specifically the era of Senator Joseph McCarthy and his ill-reputed witch hunts against dissenting voices — teaches that the imperative for caution greatly precludes the polite delicacies of not treading far enough.

And it is precisely the foible human penchant for failing to grasp historical lessons that makes a degree of alarm necessary in yet another attempt not to repeat our most ill-fated mistakes.

Claire Bernish writes for, where this article first appeared.

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17 Comments on "Using Holidays as a Distraction, Obama Just Signed NDAA “Propaganda” Provision to Destroy Free Press"

  1. Well Done, Claire Bernish! The article covers the subject and possible consequences with insight, only you could have tied this action into the recent manipulations destroying ICANN/Internet integrity.

  2. just go shopping and STFU! whats wrong with you people. stay asleep and suck it up.

  3. “fact-based narratives” – as opposed to factual.

    • The government and all of it’s tentacles’ “officially verified government facts”,will be the norm. Oh, wait- had a karate kid moment…Most of the country has been conditioned

      and trained to accept without question any ‘facts’ disseminated ftom the administration and/or their puppets known as the media, more like–the propaganda and narrative repeater services. Wax on, Wax off; Up.Down; Side to Side;- except the only thing they have learned is how to believe everything their ‘superiors’ who are always correct and ‘honest” or so they think….Nothing should surprise anyone after the last eight years of lies and propaganda and more lies…

  4. Seems someone read President Snow’s lines from “The Hunger Games” films.

  5. …like I have been saying for the past 8 years…. If you’re not stocked up on food, medical supplies and bullets, you are behind the power curve… I have put a lot of faith in Trump….if he doesn’t correct this crap, well….

  6. More people need to know that the Washington Post is a mouthpiece for the CIA propaganda as it is owned by the same guy who owns Amazon & MAKES MILLIONS FROM THE PRIVATE CLOUD HE CREATED FOR THEM TO STORE THEIR DATA.

  7. Not to worry, Trump will make all right again……….hahaha!!

  8. Ministry of Truth!

  9. friend-thru-the-storm | December 26, 2016 at 7:07 am |

    Afore this man in the W-H can order anything, shouldn’t he be
    compelled in a just court of law to provide actual proof of his claims
    and accusations? If such censorship– that would have international
    effects, involving diktat over many other nations that Mr Obama was not
    elected to serve. Sorry if it busts his bubble but he is not president
    of the whole world nor of the WWW–could be so easily ordered, over mere
    hearsay, then what’s stopping a Hitler or a Stalin censoring, not
    because it is in the interests of national security, but precisely the
    opposite, in preventing unpalatable truths being made known about

  10. Gooferment and Hollywood are same-o-same-o. Disgusting swamp creatures, tied by the goat worshipers to do their bidding.
    Ever wonder why we the people keep sending out labor (taxes) back to those disgusting bipeds.
    Here is a short list of what they have wrought.
    Vaccines that kill the auto immune system and causes organ failure and all sorts of exotic disease, from cancer to neurological.
    Synthetic drugs that mask the symptoms while attacking other organs.
    GMO which causes death of organs and growth of tumors.
    Chemtrails which causes all sorts of problems from tumors to death.
    Perpetual war and the manufacture of destroyed war machines.
    Propaganda to cloud the intellect and make it appear that death should be inflicted, on the other side, naturally.
    Weather manipulation via Haarp and gwen.
    False flags from 9/11 to Missouri to Florida to California to France and too many to list.
    Seriously doubt if the earth is a ball at this point.
    Yeah this is the swamp that enforces (extorts) money out of the plebes for their own end, kidnaps children for entertainment.
    Be ready for the end game, coming soon, no doubt.

    • this seems to be a anti mudslinging and stick to facts you can actually properly cite or source. no more bs agenda crap, no more fake science or abstracts, no more fake news.

  11. Claire Bernish, did it occur to you with all the “socialists” currently in power in the capitalist center of the world, that Joseph McCarthy was RIGHT, and that the “Red Scare” wasn’t a “witch hunt” as the MSM, Hollyweird, and you call it to this day, but a coup d’ etat…?! THINK before you write, honey.

    • well actually this looks to kill nonsense posts. no more fake news. no more mudslinging. no more fact lacking, non credible sources bullshit. no more entertainment fake posts or abstract sucking dr oz crap.

  12. You think THIS will apply to CNN — Clinton News Network — and Yahoobama, and the real fake news…? Why would the people in power who have benefitted from the real fake news (which has been working as their unofficial PR firm) suddenly destroy it? Hey, I was young and naive many years ago, too. Good luck (to us all).

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