U.S. House of Representatives quietly passes bill targeting “Russian propaganda” websites

Global Research, December 03, 2016
Zero Hedge 2 December 2016

On November 30, one week after the Washington Post launched its witch hunt against “Russian propaganda fake news”, with 390 votes for, the House quietly passed “H.R. 6393, Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017“, sponsored by California Republican Devin Nunes (whose third largest donor in 2016 is Google parent Alphabet, Inc), a bill which deals with a number of intelligence-related issues, including Russian propaganda, or what the government calls propaganda, and hints at a potential crackdown on “offenders.”

A quick skim 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.
  • Covert broadcasting.
  • Media manipulation.
  • Disinformation and forgeries.
  • Funding agents of influence.
  • Incitement and offensive counterintelligence.
  • Assassinations.
  • Terrorist acts.

As ActivistPost correctly notes, 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.

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

As we reported last week, in an article that has been widely blasted, the WaPo wrote that “two teams of independent researchers found that the Russians exploited American-made technology platforms to attack U.S. 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 newspaper 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. Glenn Greenwald penned an appropriate response two days later in “Washington Post Disgracefully Promotes a McCarthyite Blacklist From a New, Hidden, and Very Shady Group.”

PropOrNot has pushed a conspiratorial thesis, without any actual proof, that the listed websites have been either used directly or covertly by the Russians to spread propaganda.

While the bill passed the House with a sweeping majority, it is unknown if and when the bill will work its way through the Senate and be passed into law, although one would think that it has far higher chances of passing under president Obama than the President-Elect. It is also unclear if it will be used to shut down websites anonymously characterized as “useful idiots” or subversive elements used in disseminating supposed Russian propaganda.

Those interested can read the full “H.R. 6393: Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017″ at the following location” bill that may soon proclaim much of the internet to be criminal “Russian propaganda” at the following link.

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Surveillance Valley: Why Google is eager to align itself with America’s military-industrial complex

It is surprising how many people still use gmail, including those involved in community advocacy and social and environmental issues. All data can be taken, and all email recipients recorded with data archives created. This puts everyone at such risk.

Other writers have reported how the U.S. government sends “relevant” information to private companies and industries, like the fracking industry, to thwart protests, etc. There are many other email services, including encrypted ones like Start Mail, that are far better choices.

By Yasha Levine / AlterNet
March 1, 2015

Is it wise for us to hand over the contents of our private lives to private companies?

The following is an excerpt from Yasha Levine’s ongoing investigative project, Surveillance Valley, which you can help support on KickStarter.

Oakland, California: On February 18, 2014, several hundred privacy, labor, civil rights activists packed Oakland’s city hall.

It was a rowdy crowd, and there was a heavy police presence. The people were there to protest the construction of a citywide surveillance center that would turn a firehouse in downtown Oakland into a high-tech intelligence hub straight out of Mission Impossible — a federally funded project that linking up real time audio and video feeds from thousands of sensors across the city into one high-tech control hub, where analysts could pipe the data through face recognition software and enrich its intelligence with data coming in from local, state and federal government and law enforcement agencies.

Residents’ anger at the fusion surveillance center was intensified by a set of internal documents showing that city officials were more interested in using the surveillance center monitor political protests rather than fighting crime: keeping tabs on activists, monitoring non-violent political protests and tracking union organizing that might shut down the Port of Oakland. It was an incendiary find — especially in Oakland, a city with a large marginalized black population, a strong union presence and a long, ugly history of police brutality aimed at minority groups and political activists.

But buried deep in the thousands of pages of planning documents was another disturbing detail. Emails that showed Google — the largest and most powerful corporation in Silicon Valley — was among several other defense contractors vying for a piece of Oakland’s $11 million surveillance contract. What was Google doing there? What could a company known for superior search and cute doodles offer a controversial surveillance center?

Turns out, a lot.

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Google gives new meaning to the term “Orwellian”; becomes the Ministry of Truth

Google has been invited into Iran. Does the Iranian government understand what this means —  in terms of privacy, in terms of Google’s CIA connections, in terms of the Internet of Things?

From No More Fake News, Reposted on Global Research
By Jon Rappaport, March 1, 2015

truth-the new hate speech

…if all records told the same tale — then the lie passed into history and became truth.” (1984, George Orwell)

The New Scientist has the stunning story (2/28/15, “Google wants to rank websites based on facts not links,” by Hal Hodson):

THE internet is stuffed with garbage. Anti-vaccination websites make the front page of Google, and fact-free ‘news’ stories spread like wildfire. Google has devised a fix – rank websites according to their truthfulness.”

Great idea, right?

Sure it is.

The author of the article lets the cat out of the bag right away with his comment about “anti-vaccination” websites.

These sites will obviously be shoved into obscurity by Google because they’re “garbage”…whereas “truthful” pro-vaccine sites will dominate top ranked pages on the search engine.

This is wonderful if you believe what the CDC tells you about vaccine safety and efficacy. The CDC: an agency that opens its doors every day with lies and closes them with more lies.

The New Scientist article continues: “A Google research team is adapting [a] model to measure the trustworthiness of a [website] page, rather than its reputation across the web. Instead of counting incoming links, the [ranking] system – which is not yet live – counts the number of incorrect facts within a page. ‘A source that has few false facts is considered to be trustworthy,’ says the team…The score they compute for each page is its Knowledge-Based Trust score.”

Right. Google, researchers of truth. Assessors of trustworthiness. Who in the world could have a problem with that?

Answer: anyone with three live brain cells.

Here’s the New Scientist’s capper. It’s a beaut:

“The [truth-finding] software works by tapping into the Knowledge Vault, the vast store of facts that Google has pulled off the internet. Facts the web unanimously agrees on are considered a reasonable proxy for truth. Web pages that contain contradictory information are bumped down the rankings.”

Right. Uh-huh. So Google, along with its friends at the CIA, will engineer a new and improved, greater flood of (dis)information across the Web. And this disinfo will constitute an overwhelming majority opinion…and will become the standard for measuring truth and trustworthiness.

Think about what kinds of websites will rise like foul cream to the top of Google page rankings:

“All vaccines are marvelously safe and effective, and parents who don’t vaccinate their kids should be prosecuted for felonies.”

“GMOs are perfectly safe. ‘The science’ says so.”

“The FBI has never organized a synthetic terror event and then stung the morons it encouraged.”

“Common Core is the greatest system of education yet devised by humans.”

“People who believe conspiracies exist have mental disorders.”

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