The United States can now pivot its huge international propaganda operations toward the home front, according to RT. In 1948, the Smith-Mundt Act, also known as the US Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948 was one of the first and most serious pieces of Cold War legislation. The act was simple, it would create a number of broadcasting and media agencies outside of the US and use them to disseminate information about the virtues of capitalism and the superior nature of democracy and the American way of life. This, the “Cold Warriors” thought, would convince the people of war-torn Europe to choose American democracy to better themselves rather than Soviet communism. The only stipulation was that this peacetime propaganda machine could only be used overseas, until now.
As of July 2, Section 501 added to the the controversial National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) abolishes the stipulation that the United States must leave its propaganda over seas. It says:
the Secretary and the Broadcasting Board of Governors may, upon request and reimbursement of the reasonable costs incurred in fulfilling such a request, make available, in the United States, motion pictures, films, video, audio, and other materials disseminated abroad pursuant to this Act, the United States International Broadcasting Act of 1994 (22 U.S.C. 6201 et seq.), the Radio Broadcasting to Cuba Act (22 U.S.C. 1465 et seq.), or the Television Broadcasting to Cuba Act (22 U.S.C. 1465aa et seq.). Any reimbursement pursuant to this paragraph shall be credited to the applicable appropriation account of the Department of State or the Broadcasting Board of Governors, as appropriate.
That means that the pamphlets, films, magazines and radio programs the United States beams into Cuba and other countries to convince them of US superiority, will now become an avenue of media and entertainment inside the United States. An important question to ask is: why does the United States government think it needs to disseminate propaganda among its own citizens?
As public opinion continues to rebel against the systems of domestic and international surveillance, an operational domestic propaganda machine would become an important asset in pacifying the public in case of any more Snowden-esque revelations. Ask yourself: would a government truly encouraging free speech and the open ability for all people to criticize their government really need to to pump their citizens full of propaganda?
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