20:27 GMT +325 March 2017
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    US House of Representatives. (File)

    US Lawmakers Move to Criminalize ‘Fake News, Propaganda’ on the Web

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    The witch hunt for “fake news” and “Russian propaganda” has been kicked up a notch, after the House passed a bill quietly tucked inside the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, designed to crack down on free speech and independent media.

    Under "Title V—Matters relating to foreign countries,” the bill seeks 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.”

    It lists media manipulation as:

    • Establishment or funding of a front group.
    • Covert broadcasting.
    • Media manipulation.
    • Disinformation and forgeries.
    • Funding agents of influence.
    • Incitement and offensive counterintelligence.
    • Assassinations.
    • Terrorist acts.

    “It is easy to see how this law, if passed by the Senate and signed by the president, could be used to target, threaten, or eliminate so-called ‘fake news’ websites, a list which has been used to arbitrarily define any website, or blog, that does not share the mainstream media’s proclivity to serve as the Public Relations arm of a given administration,” Global Research reported.

    The frightening attack on speech and independent media was opposed by only 30 members of the House, including Tulsi Gabbard, Thomas Massie, and Justin Amash — who stated that he fought against it.

    "As long as the government engages in intelligence activities that violate our rights secured by our Constitution, any Intel Authorization bill should be opposed,” Justin Amash told Sputnik News.

    The bill must now pass through Senate, though a senior Rand Paul aide has told Sputnik News that the Senator is currently holding the intelligence bill for several reasons — and that they are looking at this specific issue very closely.

    “Curiously, the bill which was passed on November 30, was introduced on November 22, two days before the Washington Post published its Nov. 24 article citing ‘experts’ who claim Russian propaganda helped Donald Trump get elected,” Zero Hedge noted.

    The ‘experts’ the newspaper cited was a group called “PropOrNot,” although it have refused to name the experts behind the operation. The organization has promoted a Ukrainian hacker group on their Twitter feed.

    PropOrNot also listed over 200 websites that they accuse of peddling Russian propaganda, including extremely popular news websites on all sides of the political spectrum, including The Drudge Report, Zero Hedge, TruthOut, Sputnik News, and even WikiLeaks.

    Former presidential candidate Ron Paul’s website is also mentioned in many of the articles on so-called fake news, an issue that should be concerning to those who believe in free speech, including his son, Senator Rand Paul. The elder Paul has long been a vocal supporter of freedom of speech, as it is enshrined in the Constitution of the United States, and he and his supporters have repeatedly been the target of finger pointing and demonization.

    In 2012, a risk-assessment report from a Missouri-based fusion center stated that support for Ron Paul's presidential bid was a sign of membership in a “domestic terrorist group."

    “For purposes of this definition it does not matter whether the sites listed here are being knowingly directed and paid by Russian intelligence officers, or whether they even knew they were echoing Russian propaganda at any particular point: If they meet these criteria, they are at the very least acting as bona-fide ‘useful idiots’ of the Russian intelligence services, and are worthy of further scrutiny,” the so-called experts cited by PropOrNot state.

    Many of those listed on censorship hit lists are speaking out against the attempt to stop independent media.

    “Information is dangerous and with this new reactionary shift of people making ban lists of so called ‘fake news,’ it shows us how afraid they are of knowledge and differences of opinion that spur people to have an open mind,” Luke Rudkowski, the owner of We Are Change, one of the sites on the blacklist, previously told Sputnik News. “Information is very dangerous for the establishment status quo that tried to keep things the way they are.”

    The bill, Zero Hedge notes, will soon proclaim much of the internet to be “criminal Russian propaganda if it is allowed to pass.

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    Tags:
    Independent Media, Free Speech, Propaganda, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Press, Intelligence Authorization Act, House of Representatives, Rand Paul, Justin Amash, United States, Russia
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    • avatar
      Denis the Menace
      Anyone voting for this bill is guilty of treason, as it is an important part of the US Constitution, and as such, those that support it should resign their office.The have sworn to uphold the constitution. If they sign this into law, they are treasonous!!
    • avatar
      deshepherdishere
      Censorship and fascism has arrived. Soon the only news available on the net will be MSM. Google started that months ago with their listings policy.
    • avatar
      deshepherdishere
      Liberalism always acts for the minority against the majority. They are the promulgators of fake news.
    • avatar
      nonyank
      They need to start with themselves and the Whitehouse Disinformation office!
    • support
      American elected officials need to be randomly tested for substance abuse and if found to be abusers, referred immediately for treatment following transferring of their duties to a responsible adult.

      It is ridiculous that bank tellers and shop clerks are subject to random drug testing but not elected officials. Too much goofball powder, pills, booze and wacky tobaccy are what create this sort of salamander-brained legislation in the first place.
    • C Han
      Well a 100 years ago, information was propagated by books, now internet became the channel of information. Nazis burned books to prevent the truth, now web site will be restricted.
      The idea is to prevent the 'truth' of specific despotic elite to be challenged and they know it can because that is what they were doing for years to manipulate news leading to wars. They simply want tto prevent to become the victim.
    • avatar
      elsa.zardiniin reply todeshepherdishere(Show commentHide comment)
      deshepherdishere,

      Yeah. Internet is, or will soon be, privatized:

      fortune.com/2016/09/13/tech-congress-internet-privatization

      Bye bye internet.
    • avatar
      elsa.zardiniin reply toanne00marie(Show commentHide comment)
      anne00marie,

      Not really. Internet is, or will soon be, privatized:

      fortune.com/2016/09/13/tech-congress-internet-privatization

      Bye bye Internet.
    • avatar
      elsa.zardiniin reply totony p(Show commentHide comment)
    • avatar
      elsa.zardiniin reply toedover3(Show commentHide comment)
      edover3,

      Quite right. Which is the reason why Internet is already, or will soon be, privatized:

      fortune.com/2016/09/13/tech-congress-internet-privatization

      Bye bye Internet.
    • avatar
      elsa.zardiniin reply toThe Night Wind(Show commentHide comment)
      The Night Wind, Plus, the privatization of Internet:

      fortune.com/2016/09/13/tech-congress-internet-privatization
    • avatar
      paleo
      This is great news. Now all the BS artists in MSM can be arrested. Maybe they'll even issue a warrant for that bastard Soros.
    • avatar
      elsa.zardiniin reply toAnn(Show commentHide comment)
      Ann, If Internet will be available, which I doubt given its privatization:

      fortune.com/2016/09/13/tech-congress-internet-privatization
    • Gregory K
      We The American media will manipulate and do all of these as follow:
      Establishment or funding of a front group. Covert broadcasting. Media manipulation. Disinformation and forgeries. Funding agents of influence. Incitement and offensive counterintelligence. we America will continue on Assassinations and Terrorist acts against all Americans and not only here but elsewhere as well.
      American sheaples gov.
    • FlorianGeyer
      " Those that the Gods wish to destroy, they first make mad "

      Dictatorial nations have attempted to censor opinions for thousands of years and the medium term success rate is zero. Where people are enslaved a country dies.
    • avatar
      enrique_costas
      That includes fake news from the U.S. or from the U.K. Government like the one about the invasion of Iraq?
    • avatar
      Donny
      Holy Cow, they are running around and jumping all over the place. Today they had a draft of a resolution, a resolution and a vote on that resolution at the UN Security Council, all done in hours. btw: the resolution failed. They just passed a law in the House within 2 days.

      They making me dizzy-
    • avatar
      double bonus
      The criminal lawmakers who voted in favor of outlawing free speech
      are domestic enemies of the US constitution.
    • avatar
      Antares Prime
      Many of the things that bill has listed have nothing even to do with media. Since when is terrorism a form of media manipulation? Really.

      Most of the other things listed there are typical Cold war intrigue, not anything to do with media.

      And then there is the tautology that media manipulation is media manipulation. These plutocrats look like a bunch of floundering idiots, but what they are trying to do is deadly serious in terms of deepening the disinformation they are already foisting onto their own prople. Nauseating.
    • avatar
      Erik Trete
      * Media manipulation.
      * Disinformation and forgeries.

      Well, that should shut down just about all the US MSM starting with the Washington post.
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