US bill passed to crackdown on ‘Russian propaganda fake news’
One week after the Washington Post launched its witch hunt against "Russian propaganda fake news", a bill was passed in the US House of Congress with a sweeping majority.
Published: December 3, 2016, 9:13 am
But if and when the bill will arrives in the Senate, it is unclear if it will be used to shut down websites anonymously characterized as “useful idiots” or subversive elements used in disseminating supposed “Russian propaganda”.
The full “H.R. 6393: Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017”, was sponsored by California Republican Devin Nunes to deal with a series of intelligence-related issues, including “Russian propaganda”, or in any case what the Obama administration calls “propaganda”, and hints at a potential crackdown on “offenders.”
Nunes’ third largest donor in 2016 was the Google parent Alphabet, Inc.
A quick perusal of the bill reveals “Title V—Matters relating to foreign countries”, whose Section 501 calls for the government to “counter active measures by Russia to exert covert influence … carried out in coordination with, or at the behest of, political leaders or the security services of the Russian Federation and the role of the Russian Federation has been hidden or not acknowledged publicly.”
The section lists the following definitions of media manipulation:
Establishment or funding of a front group.
Disinformation and forgeries.
Funding agents of influence.
Incitement and offensive counterintelligence.
As ActivistPost aptly notes, it is easy to see how this law, if passed by the Senate and signed by the current president, could be used to target, threaten, or eliminate so-called “fake news” websites, arbitrarily defined as any website, or blog, that does not share the mainstream media’s proclivity to serve as the Public Relations team of those in power.
As Zero Hedge reports, curiously, the bill which was passed on November 30, was introduced on November 22, two days before the Washington Post published its November 24 article citing “experts” who claim Russian propaganda helped Donald Trump get elected.
The Washington Post cited PropOrNot, an anonymous website that posted a hit list of alternative media websites, including Zero Hedge, Drudge Report, Activist Post, Blacklisted News, the Ron Paul Report, and many others, in pushing a conspiracy theory – without any actual proof – that the listed websites have been either used directly or covertly by the Russians to spread propaganda.
In casting the group behind this website as “experts,” the Post described PropOrNot simply as “a nonpartisan collection of researchers with foreign policy, military and technology backgrounds,” but not one group member is named. The executive director is quoted, but only on the condition of anonymity.
WaPo wrote that “two teams of independent researchers found that the Russians exploited American-made technology platforms to attack US democracy at a particularly vulnerable moment, as an insurgent candidate harnessed a wide range of grievances to claim the White House. The sophistication of the Russian tactics may complicate efforts by Facebook and Google to crack down on “fake news,” as they have vowed to do after widespread complaints about the problem.”
The most striking fault of PropOrNot, is the overly broad criteria used to identify which outlets spread propaganda. According to PropOrNot’s recounting of its methodology, the third step it uses is to check if a site has a history of “generally echoing the Russian propaganda ‘line’,” which includes praise for Putin, Trump, Bashar al-Assad, Syria, Iran, China, and “radical political parties in the US and Europe.”
When not praising, Russian propaganda includes criticism of the United States, Barack Obama, Clinton, the European Union, Angela Merkel, NATO, Ukraine, “Jewish people,” US allies, the mainstream media, Democrats, and “the center-right or center-left, and moderates of all stripes”.
These criteria, of course, could include not only Russian state-controlled media organizations, such as Russia Today, but nearly every news outlet in the world, including the Post itself. Yet PropOrNot claims to be uninterested in differentiating between organizations that are explicit tools of the Russian state and so-called “useful idiots,” which echo Russian propaganda out of sincerely held beliefs. “We focus on behavior, not motivation,” they maintain.
So to PropOrNot, simply having beliefs outside the political mainstream is enough to risk being labelled a “Russian propagandist”.
Yet, when pressed by a journalist from the New Yorker on the technical patterns that led PropOrNot to label the Drudge Report a Russian propaganda outlet, the anonymous spokesperson could point only to a general “perception” of bias in its content. Drudge is a popular conservative, pro-Trump aggregated news website.
Some have suggested that PropOrNot is an Ukrainian effort to wage a disinformation campaign against Russia. PropOrNot has admitted publicly that the group includes Ukrainian-Americans.
Meanwhile, a website on the Darknet is collecting donations to allegedly help organize the assassination of both President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence.
Launched earlier this week, the website warns of the “political, environmental and social consequences” of a Trump presidency and urges readers to fund their cause.
“As you are all well aware, the consequences of having Donald Trump and Mike Prence as the leaders of the free world is extremely dangerous,” the webpage states. “The political, environmental and social consequences will change the United States for the worst.”
All rights reserved. You have permission to quote freely from the articles provided that the source (www.freewestmedia.com) is given. Photos may not be used without our consent.
Consider donating to support our work
Help us to produce more articles like this. FreeWestMedia is depending on donations from our readers to keep going. With your help, we expose the mainstream fake news agenda.
Keep your language polite. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in, for example, Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.
If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violations of any law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.
If your comments are subject to preview by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.
We reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.
Studies and observations on the relationship between climate and the Covid-19 pandemic are multiplying. A cold and dry climate create the worst conditions, while temperatures above 18 degrees and a humid climate slows down the virus some say.
The days of liberal hegemony may be numbered. John J. Mearsheimer, one of the most important and influential scholars of international relations in the world and distinguished professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, and one of the most famous exponents of the school of contemporary political realism, which has roots and tradition in Machiavelli and Hobbes, thinks so.
In Mexico, in the Sonora region, there is the largest lithium mine ever discovered so far in the world. Its probable reserves are estimated at 243,8 million tons and lithium carbonate, the mineral from which it is extracted the metal amounts to 4,5 million tons.
According to what has been formalized by the US Army's Combat Capabilities Development Command, the US military will be able to see the first enlistments made up of personnel which are half human and half machine, integrated into their military apparatus within ten years.
In the rural areas of Virginia, in the United States, citizens are clinging to guns and religion: They have voted overwhelmingly to declare their localities Second Amendment Sanctuaries.
While the political mainstream in the United States has turned its attention to the impeachment of Donald Trump, something else has been happening from a conservative perspective: an ideological civil war has broken out in the right-wing camp.
San FranciscoControversy has been following climate activist Greta Thunberg to San Francisco too. The American city is struggling with environmental issues, not the least of which is a human feces crisis on the streets currently plaguing inhabitants and terrible air quality.
According to a conservative activist group, CNN has no interest in reporting news. The network is focused solely on anti-conservative propaganda.
WashingtonThere is a strange coincidence regarding the recent whistleblower complaint filed by a CIA officer against President Trump and a revised complaint form.
New YorkMore than 500 scientists have contradicted the thesis of man-made climate change in a letter to UN Secretary-General António Guterres.