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A New "Ministry of Truth"?

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posted on Feb, 22 2017 @ 06:57 PM
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Following Trump’s election to the Presidency, a good number of establishment figures are in a tizzy about the idea of information warfare and countries or groups interfering in elections. Now they’re all talking about taking action, some of it drastic.

An article in the Daily Beast published earlier this month talks about giving $160 million to “fight propaganda state actors through a little-known interagency office housed at the State Department called the Global Engagement Center (GEC)”. The article goes on:


Bipartisan Russian sanctions legislation, proposed last month by Sens. Ben Cardin and John McCain, would expand it even further, dedicating an additional $100 million for the GEC and others to support objective Russian-language journalism, counter “fake news,” and support research on the effects of information warfare.

The interagency office, when it enters operation later this year, will mark the first centralized counter-propaganda pushback against the Russians since the 1990s, when the Cold War seemingly left such counter-propaganda obsolete.

The GEC will track foreign propaganda campaigns, analyze the tactics, and counter them through a series of grants to overseas journalists, civil-society organizations, and private companies.

“By directly countering false narratives and empowering local media and civil societies to defend themselves from foreign manipulation, this legislation will help support our allies and interests in this increasingly unstable world,” Senator Portman told The Daily Beast.

The grants would go to independent organizations. For example, websites like Bellingcat and StopFake.org—which provide access to truthful information and counter false Russian narratives in Ukraine—would be eligible for these resources.


The Washington Post had a story about a Czech unit countering Russian propaganda.

It goes on. But what is really worrying is how far some are taking this.

The now former US director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper, called for a new U.S. Information Agency (USIA) “on steroids”.

During the Cold War the USIA was basically the main propaganda vehicle for the US. It controlled The Voice of America, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, the Fulbright Program, and a bunch of newspapers, magazines, and on and on and on. Wikipedia has basic article on it, detailing the agency’s mission:


”to understand, inform and influence foreign publics in promotion of the national interest, and to broaden the dialogue between Americans and U.S. institutions, and their counterparts abroad". The United States Information Agency (USIA) was established "to streamline the U.S. government's overseas information programs, and make them more effective". The United States Information Agency was the largest full-service public relations organization in the world, spending over $2 billion per year to highlight America’s view, while diminishing the Soviet’s side through about 150 different countries.

Its stated goals were:

•To explain and advocate U.S. policies in terms that are credible and meaningful in foreign cultures;
•To provide information about the official policies of the United States, and about the people, values and institutions which influence those policies;
•To bring the benefits of international engagement to American citizens and institutions by helping them build strong long-term relationships with their counterparts overseas;
•To advise the President and U.S. government policy-makers on the ways in which foreign attitudes will have a direct bearing on the effectiveness of U.S. policies.


Since then, people from the US government and think tanks have taken to their papers and columns in the news to talk about the idea and give it serious consideration. Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s pick for Vice President, published an opinion piece on CNN pushing for it:


In a Senate Armed Services Hearing on January 5, National Intelligence Director James Clapper said that we need a strong agency "that deals with the totality of the information realm...in all forums and to include social media." He alluded to the once-venerable US Information Agency, which promoted American values during the Cold War but dissolved in 1999.

I agree with Director Clapper. We must brace ourselves for continued attacks in the information realm and prepare to fight back using non-traditional tools. Congress should explore making fundamental changes to how our government is currently organized to tackle the challenges of the digital age. A solution could be a re-invigorated US Information Agency or something entirely new. Regardless, it's time to "move on" to this stage of modern warfare before it's too late.


(CONTINUED BELOW)
edit on 22-2-2017 by Geheimnis because: Minor typos




posted on Feb, 22 2017 @ 07:01 PM
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One of the latest articles discussing the idea goes even further. It appears in The National Interest, a prominent establishment intellectual magazine on “realist” international affairs and foreign policy. Titled “Time to Restore the U.S. Information Agency”, the article’s author argues for a recreated USIA that engages both abroad and domestically:


A recreated USIA faces an arduous task: to figure out how to engage a modern global audience, protect the nation from—and counter—influence campaigns, and dissuade foreign actors from interfering in the business of U.S. institutions.


And


Finally, the new USIA must resolve the most difficult problem of the Information Era: in an environment filled with propaganda, gossip, conspiracies, and falsehoods, how can the U.S. maintain a consistent narrative regarding itself? To this, perhaps the answer lies less in attempting to force a narrative and more in creating context; one in which the American message can exist.

Like it or not, the uncomfortable truth is that partaking in information warfare is an absolute necessity in the present world. Inevitably, this means engaging in not only defensive actions, such as countering disinformation, but also in responding in kind. An adherence to the truth is indeed of the highest of aspirational ideals, but in the modern context such a moral stance is not necessarily the wisest means of protecting lives and national interests. As other actors are cultivating information-manipulation outfits, the U.S. cannot afford to be left behind; it has a duty to safeguard itself and confront threats. Ultimately, the new USIA should not compete with other levers of American power and policy—it should complement them.


And unlike most of the other writers on this idea, this author actually goes the distance by proposing an idea of what the new USIA would look like. He describes a specialized quasi-military unit and incorporates the idea of memetic warfare:


A recreated USIA faces an arduous task: to figure out how to engage a modern global audience, protect the nation from—and counter—influence campaigns, and dissuade foreign actors from interfering in the business of U.S. institutions?

Likewise, how should it be structured, given the complexity of its task and its need for a diverse set of experts? The new era of informational warfare is not just the domain of reporters and propagandists, but also of a variety of other specialists, including intelligence analysts, social media gurus, psychologists, linguists, and more.

One possible and particularly interesting model originates from a 2005 paper by Major (now Lieutenant Colonel) Michael B. Prosser, where he argues for the weaponization and deployment of memes. Memes, as defined by Prosser, are “bits of cultural information transmitted and replicated throughout populations and/or societies.” In Prosser’s words:


…memes are metaphysical, express ideas and replicate for any number of reasons. A suggested logic progression is as follows: Memes influence ideas, ideas influence and form beliefs. Beliefs generate and influence political positions combined with feelings and emotions, eventually producing actions, which inform and influence behavior. Using this logic procession, any attack upon an ideology must consider an assault on a central or transcendent ‘idea’ or group of ideas as means of achieving success. Memes as ideas are then ‘in play’ as tools (or means) to attack ideologies.


To maximize the usage of memes, Prosser proposes the creation of a specialized organization—the “Meme Warfare Center,” or MWC—designed to advise and provide memetic warfare options to engage enemies in the informational battlefield. He describes this hypothetical organization as “at first an amalgamation of all elements of US national power, essentially a joint interagency formation with either a senior military or civilian leader.” This MWC would possess subdivisions charged with meme (information) generation, targeting, inoculation, analysis and assessment, and more. What sets this proposed organization apart from existing Information Operations, writes Prosser, is that the latter focuses on enemy “forces and formations,” while the MWC would “intentionally [target] noncombatants and seeks to provide a nonlinear method of cultivating or supplanting ideas favoring the Joint Force.” In other words, the MWC focuses on winning over a broader audience by directly challenging information and ideological bases. Overall, this sounds like a solid starting point for the realization of a recreated USIA.


So to summarize: there seems to be an appetite to create a specialized agency whose job is to disseminate advanced propaganda aimed towards all audiences, even friendly.

What do you guys think? Are we going to see a sort of deep state plot to use the current information warfare mania as a way to establish this new sort of agency?



posted on Feb, 22 2017 @ 07:10 PM
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a reply to: Geheimnis

I guess I shouldn't really be surprised I've never heard of this "Global Engagement Center", especially considering it is part of the State Department, and seems to be "the faction" chosen to supposedly combat propaganda, but nonetheless.. this is a new one for me.

Time to start researching.

Here is the State Dept. website for GEC (for starters): www.state.gov...



posted on Feb, 22 2017 @ 07:14 PM
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So to summarize: there seems to be an appetite to create a specialized agency whose job is to disseminate advanced propaganda aimed towards all audiences, even friendly. What do you guys think? Are we going to see a sort of deep state plot to use the current information warfare mania as a way to establish this new sort of agency?
So coming out of the covert operations to a more overt operation ...This too shall fail ...



posted on Feb, 22 2017 @ 07:20 PM
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a reply to: Geheimnis

Didn't see a word about the CIA in this. Folks think the just snoop and poop and run op's in combat zones. Truth is they are anywhere information is being deciminated. In fact anyone has to wonder who knows if all main info bodies are not controlled by central.



posted on Feb, 22 2017 @ 07:22 PM
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It is actually the Goebells Engagement Center.

They spelled Goebells wrong.



posted on Feb, 22 2017 @ 07:37 PM
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a reply to: Geheimnis

Awesome thread. Good work. S & F.

Perhaps they will try to impose guidelines, qualifications, and so on. That usually leads to a screening process, which TPTB use to make sure only the right candidates join their side.

Please show your credentials to the solemn refrigerator-sized man.



posted on Feb, 22 2017 @ 08:10 PM
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a reply to: Geheimnis

Don't forget the Ministry of Propaganda, "We tell people what they should think" MSNBC.



posted on Feb, 22 2017 @ 09:02 PM
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a reply to: FamCore

I think they started it last year, and ATSMediPro broke it when it was announced last year. The thread in my sig expands on that project under NDAA 2012 and 2017 to go even further to show how far they plan on taking the propaganda over the coming years. Check it out.
edit on 2-22-2017 by worldstarcountry because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 22 2017 @ 09:07 PM
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well the previous administrations laid the groundwork to revitalize these areas. just last december they passed the "Countering Disinformation And Propaganda Act" which makes it legal for them to censor or block anything they deem goes against whatever agenda the govt wants to push. and i believe back in 2012 or 2013 the NDAA made it legal to disseminate propaganda to the american people again, paid for by the taxpayer. so if u think the repubs are different then the democrats, think again.



posted on Feb, 23 2017 @ 07:39 PM
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So I did some further research but instead of the organizations I looked at the people advocating this. Turns out the author of the National Interest article, according to his own LinkedIn page, worked for the Potomac Foundation and may have been taught by its President at Georgetown Univeristy. We already have a thread here on ATS here.

No idea how I missed this before.



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