The 1st Amendment Is Under Attack By Congress

The 114th Congress doesn’t want to go out without slipping in serious constraints on the freedom of the press.  In fact, it appears this lame duck Congress is hell bent on forcing you to watch government controlled news outlets, and blacklisting or censoring all other non -conforming outlets.  Just in the last week, they have made two moves detrimental to freedom of the press and free speech.

S. 10, The Anti Semitism Awareness Act

Last week, without much press or discussion, the Senate just passed S. 10 A bill to provide for the consideration of a definition of anti-Semitism for the enforcement of Federal antidiscrimination laws concerning education programs or Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2016.  It goes to the House next. The vote was by Unanimous Consent so no record of individual votes was made.  If it passes the house it will be sent to the White House for Obama’s signature.  The #AntiSemitismAwarenessAct should be called the #NoCriticismOfIsraelAct since that is the purpose.

Jews for Peace wrote:

Instead of combating the right-wing antisemitism on the rise in the wake of the election, the problematic “Anti-Semitism Awareness Act” takes aim at campus activism for Palestinian rights by codifying criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic.


H.R. 6393, Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017

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.”

According to, Sec. 101 of this bill authorizes FY2017 appropriations for the conduct of intelligence and intelligence-related activities of:

the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI);
the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA);
the Department of Defense (DOD);
the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA);
the National Security Agency (NSA);
the Departments of the Army, Navy, and Air Force;
the Coast Guard;
the Departments of State, the Treasury, Energy (DOE), and Justice;
the Federal Bureau of Investigation;
the Drug Enforcement Administration;
the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO);
the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA); and
the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

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.

Here is the Reddit thread on this topic.  Here is a White House petition encouraging the US Senate to reject this bill.  Here is a petition to stop this nonsense.


Censorship Based on Fake News

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.  An article on Wall Street On Parade articulates the problem well.

A shadowy group called PropOrNot, that has not disclosed either its funders or its principals, has created a blacklist of 200 independent media web sites that it is calling tools of Russia. On the list are some of the most popular and widely read alternative media outlets like Naked Capitalism, Truthout and Truthdig, which regularly carry articles by some of the most knowledgeable and informed voices in America. Another popular site, CounterPunch, was originally on the list but has now been removed following what PropOrNot calls a “constructive conversation.” Reporter Craig Timberg of the Washington Post has come under withering criticism for amplifying the McCarthyite blacklist in a Thanksgiving Day article.

Equally disturbing, 200 university and college professors have been placed on a new Professor Watchlist being operated by Turning Point USA, a right-wing nonprofit run by 23-year old Charlie Kirk who spoke this year at the Republican National Convention. Kirk has raised well over $1 million from conservatives to spread the “free markets/small government” mantra at high school and university campuses (never mind that Wall Street’s “free markets” are just as corrupt today as they were heading into the 2008 epic financial crash).

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.

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.

The Senate bill S. 3017 is similar with regards to the Russian propaganda aspect:

Here is the list of so called Russian propaganda websites.

Russian Propaganda Targets All Americans

While Russian influence operations resemble a marketing effort in some ways, only a few dozen individual outlets (“sources”) actually produce large amounts of original propaganda content. That content is then echoed, extended, and amplified through an immense number of secondary sites (“repeaters”). Both source and repeater outlets target a wide range of audiences: US military veterans, Wall St. insiders and finance specialists, natural-food and health enthusiasts, goldbugs, African-Americans, white Americans, peace activists, religious people, 9/11-“truthers”, and politically-active Americans across and outside the political spectrum. For example:

Name Domain Primary Target Audience Interests Review Article Absurd Pro-Russia Content Source? Repeater?
Infowars / Alex Jones Conspiracy Example Example Major Major
Zerohedge Finance Example Example Major Major
True Activist Left-wing Example Example Minor Major
Natural News Health Example Example Major Major
Ending The Fed Right-wing Example Example Minor Major
Corbett Report Geopolitics Example Example Major Minor
Washington’s Blog General Example Example Major Major
Before It’s News General Example Example No Major
Ron Paul Institute Right-Wing Example Example Major Major
Hang the Bankers Finance Example Example Minor Major
The Activist Post Left-wing Example Example Major Minor
The Anti-Media Anti-Media Example Example Major Minor
Veterans Today Veterans Example Example Major Major
Southfront Military Example Example Major Major
Your Newswire General Example Example Major Major
America’s Freedom Fighters Right-wing Example Example Minor Minor
Global Research General Example Example Major Major
Paul Craig Roberts Left-wing Example Example Major Minor

The list is as ridiculous as that sounds. Watch James Corbett as he looks into the latest pathetic attempt by a flailing establishment to bolster their discredited mouthpiece media organs and counter the ascendant alternative media.

Naked Capitalism launched a campaign to get the Washington Post to retract and apologize.

Certainly the censorship of the dissenting voice concerns this writer.


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