This is neither a joke nor an exaggeration. Everything we’ll cover here has already passed both Houses of the US congress and was signed into law by Barack Obama on December 23, 2016. You can find the entire 969 page bill here (PDF). I’ll be quoting (in italics) from Section 1287.
This new organ of the state, called the “Global Engagement Center” is of immense scope. Here are some particulars:
It will address all information – from anyone – that might affect “national security,” a term which is not defined, meaning that it can be defined however it suits the people in charge.
… to recognize, understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining United States national security interests.
It is authorized to work with deep state players and their networks of power, which again, are not specified.
Analyze relevant information… from United States Government agencies, United States allies and partner nations, think tanks, academic institutions, civil society groups, and other nongovernmental organizations.
It will be promoting its own versions of truth.
… support the development and dissemination of fact-based narratives and analysis to counter propaganda…
It will do this through a network of sycophants and partners, none of whom are named.
… 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…
To support local independent media…
They’ll be running their own surveillance.
Maintain, collect, use, and disseminate records… for research and data analysis of foreign state and non-state propaganda…
It’s funding isn’t really specified, but significant numbers are used.
If amounts authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available to carry out the functions of the Center… for fiscal year 2017 are less than $80,000,000, the Secretary of Defense is authorized to transfer, from amounts authorized to be appropriated by this Act for the Department of Defense for fiscal year 2017, to the Secretary of State an amount, not to exceed $60,000,000, to be available to carry out the functions of the Center…
The department will be spreading a lot of money to a wide range of sycophants and partners.
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…
It is authorized for eight years.
The Center shall terminate on the date that is 8 years after the date of the enactment of this Act.
It is setup to take over Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia, and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks.
If the Chief Executive Officer determines at any time that Radio Free Asia is not carrying out the functions described in this section in an effective and economical manner, the Board may award the grant to carry out such functions to another entity.
… may condition annual grants to RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Asia, and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks on the consolidation of such grantees into a single, consolidated private, non-profit corporation…
The states will be forced to remain in lock-step.
No State or political subdivision of a State may establish, enforce, or continue in effect any provision of law or legal requirement that is different from, or is in conflict with, any requirement or authority applicable under this Act…
The safeguards are non-specific and toothless.
The Inspector General of the Department of State and the Foreign Service shall respect the journalistic integrity of all the broadcasters covered by this Act and may not evaluate the philosophical or political perspectives reflected in the content of broadcasts.
What This Means
Here, in summary, is what this means:
The US State Department – more or less the seat of the deep state – will be opening a Ministry of Truth, version 1.0, beginning “180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.” That is, by June 21, 2017.
This outfit will work through networks of power more than government offices. That means that its actions will come at us from behind a blind. No one will be able to point to a face that can be blamed. The players will be scattered, their actions dispersed; they won’t be publicly seen or named.
An unknown amount of money will be spent on this. $80,000,000. per year should be considered a minimal figure.
Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia, and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks – along with their budgets – will be rolled into this department at some point. If not at first, almost certainly at the first good opportunity. (That is, when the populace is frightened and/or distracted.)
I should add that salvation via the Trump administration should be considered a wild long-shot at best. The entire intelligence apparatus will be strongly behind this. The heads of the NSA, CIA, DIA, the Pentagon, and a dozen others will be telling Donald and his boys that it means life or death. And beside, it’ll already be in place; it won’t be Trump’s fault.
I hasten to remind anyone leaning that way to remember the words of Lord Acton. Every time we’ve forgotten them, they’ve come back to bite us:
And remember, where you have a concentration of power in a few hands, all too frequently men with the mentality of gangsters get control. History has proven that. All power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Neither Trump nor his people bear the nature of angels. The bureaucrats at the State Department don’t either, nor do their NGOs, think thanks, academics and business partners. Power will do what it always does.
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