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20 May 2012

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stanleyhenning

This is among the most frightful measures I've seen in my life to date. I'm speaking as a former instructor in the US Army PSYOP School, Fr. Bragg, NC; PSYOP Staff Officer in the US-Korea Combined Forces Command; and PSYOP Staff Officer in the US Pacific Command. Since then I have watched with considerable unease over the years as some influential PSYOP "leaders" have sought to push the envelope to include so-called "information operations" directed at our fellow Americans. To allow this would be to say "Goodbye America". In fact, we need more Americans to stand up and be heard, but not controlled by a government operated program designed to "inform" us and lull us into more disasters like Iraq and Afghanistan, just to mention the latest misadventures. We need thinkers who question not brainwashed yes-men.

Basilisk

This is a REALLY bad idea. With the good ol' Internet and the rather credulous nature of a large sector of the populace, we will soon see travesties Orwell could never have imagined.

mbrenner

Is the presumption that the American people are not now subject to government propaganda? It seems to me that throughout the 9/11 decade, we have recived little more than propaganda on a wide array of critical issues - foreign and related domestic ones. I foresee little practical significance to whether this amedment passes or not. Only that the rest of the world will have further reason to disdain us for our pretence and out hypocrisy.

stanleyhenning

As a follow on, yes, the Congress should have stood up and prevented both the Iraq and Afghanistan debacles instead of stand on the sidelines. In the final analysis,
Congressmen and women should speak as intelligent, questioning individuals,
not a herd of ideologically group oriented wall ornaments. This is the very reason why I have been urging for a serious, individually oriented Civics program in our public schools. Yes, Democracy does require a society of well-informed, thinking individuals, not "information program" fed drones.

Thaumaturgist

Sorry, this isn't much different from what we have today. No matter how independent the tv channels are, they all rely on the same source, for their coverage of that source, whether it's DA, State, or the White House. To figure out what's going on, we rely on FDR's model of competing agencies, each with their special pleadings in the media and the lobbies of Congress. Will the new bill give State or DOD or CIA extra funds to manipulate public opinion? If not, the amendment is not going to make much of a difference.

turcopolier

mbrenner and Thaumaturgist

Today's and yesterday's propagandization of th eamerican peopple is nothing compared to what would happen under this law. Today, we have the half-assed partisanship of the MSM for sensation. their own sophomoric causes and the Zionist project. The government has sought to use that by threatening the loss of access if the media does not "cooperate." The Bush/Cheney admiistration was brazen in doing that. Under this law the Military and CIA will DIRECTLY write and place propaganda to control American opinion. They don't need mor emoney. They already have the people and structures. They were created for foreign audiences but will work just as well domestically. Like Henning I was trained as a propaganda officer. This is a big change. pl

Alba Etie

War is peace & peace is war ..I wonder who benefits from this ? Which large corporation will make profit off selling lies to We the People ?

The Twisted Genius

PL, Basilisk and Stanley Henning are absolutely right to be alarmed by this legislation for all the reasons they mentioned. I've spent more than a decade dealing with the information operations crowd of both the DoD and the CIA varieties. I don't want them plying their trade on the U.S. populace, much less my family and friends. They have a lot of tricks and a lot of resources at their disposal. Without restrictions, they would be a dangerous lot... especially given the gullible nature of a large segment of the American public, as Basilisk pointed out. They've obviously already worked their voodoo on Smith and Thornberry.

VietnamVet

Colonel,

Congressmen Thornberry and Smith, not to mention Allen West and their cohorts, see the writing on the wall. The only way to keep cutting oligarchs’ taxes and bombing Yemen, Somalia and the Hindu Kush and to invade Iran is to end Social Security and Medicare. That requires propaganda and a cop/MP for every 40 citizens.

If the oligarchs and their minions get their way, the Greek Unrest is a foretaste of the fate of the Western World.

505thPIR

Viewing this in isolation would be a mistake. PL you have recently written a historically based/researched trilogy. I'd love to read, if only a short story, how you would imagine a possible United States should a government use all the new "legal" means at its disposal that have been obtained since 911. Your perspective and ability to connect the dots would be savvy stuff indeed!

mbrenner

Colonel

Isn't there the possibility that 'official' propaganda would be more recognizeable as agitprop? Government propaganda is nowhere very skilled and subtle. Look at our efforts on Iraq, Afghanista, Pakistan. We're hated in all those places and viewed negatively around the world because of our clumsy public affairs outreach. An intelligent government by cabal would leave things exactly as they are.

turcopolier

mbrenner

A taste for argumentation for its own sake is the mark of your profssion. pl

WP

I concur with505thPIR on the need for you to write a "fiction" piece about how the current legal and surveillence infrastructure might look if someday the U.S. govern turned evil.

Paul Deavereaux

Lucky my views on gun ownership are still evolving.

optimax

To let the CIA and military feed the populace propaganda "with extreme prejudice" will effectively spell the end of America's experiment as a democratic republic. When you combine this law with Christopher Hitchen's real fear that the NDAA will allow the government to designate him or any other journalist a terrorist for simpley exploring and writing about the enemy, if deemed showing support for the other side, with the fact that government will, under this new law, be able to define reality and any objections to their virtual reality as criminal; we will have entered the realm of a completely authoritarian state--the state controlling both actions and thoughts.

Why stop at mere words? A high-tech virtual Second Coming of Christ would be the apothesis of mind-control. And quite entertaining.

Stanly Henning's civic course should also include the study of advertising and propaganda techniques. "Knowledge is power."

turcopolier

Joel

Snottiness is not allowed and neither are you, kid. pl

turcopolier

WP

No thank you. I am interested in more basic questions of history and human nature. You don't like my novels? Not didactic enough for you? pl

optimax

Never tell an artist what to create.

Greg Tingey

Does this include the extremist christian propaganda already being forced on to US Air force trainees?

rjj du Nord

How do the sponsors justify such an action.

What do they say and what are their real motives? Is it just the usual long spoon use? Always raises suspicions of SPISSAT (smarmy-predilection-induced susceptibility to strong arming) sometimes called the Lindsay Graham Syndrome.

confusedponderer

I vividly recall the utter hostility from some Americans (often, but not exclusively, right wingers) that I encountered during 2002/2003 when I dared voice doubt about the case for war in Iraq in conversations.

That war fever was whipped up then by the Bush administration and their partisans using mostly private outlets. They were so thorough that still a sizeable percentage of the US population believe in preposterous nonsense like that Saddam did have WMD when the US invaded, or that he had “strong links” with al Qaeda.

When the government starts to really get into the propaganda business and to stir the pot on propaganda it will be much worse.

On the other hand, FOX News viewers probably won't note any difference.

confusedponderer

Beware, ever since 9/11 shooting up propaganda billboards and bullhorns and billboards and other similar acts of vandalism against government property have been reconsidered and are probably now regarded as domestic terrorism.

r whitman

Pat:
This was attempted before by thye USG. While you were off fighting in Vietnam, the Johnson administration tried to propagandize the American public. MSM exposure of this led to the "Credibility Gap". Both the MSM and the general population at the time automatically assumed that any USG pronouncement on the Vietnam war was a lie.

Just the mere mention of "Credibility Gap" could destroy any USG information. It was code words for Government Bullshit.

turcopolier

r whitman

That was child's play compared to what you would see now. The lesson on VN best absorbed (far better than the COIN silliness) was the nothion thst the war was lost in the US to the North Vietnamese and their US 5th Column. Many absorbed the idea that "information ops" and "kinetic ops" are equally potent. For that reason, structures have been built and doctrines written. Hell, the Army now has a basic officer branch for propaganda. "Credibility Gap?" Have you heard anyone say that clearly and strongly in th emedia in the last ten years. Thst was WITH the present restrictions. Why do you think the miltary is pressing to remove these restrictions. The CIA? Hah! pl

DanM

A state department "public diplomacy" expert's argument on why this is a good thing for us: http://mountainrunner.us/2012/05/smith-mundt-modernization-ac/#.T7orHcX0_dm

Full text of the bill: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:H.R.5736:

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