Did Obama sign a law to criminalize Alternative Media?

Humiliated by Hillary Clinton’s loss in the 2016 election, despite all the rigged polls and voting by illegals and the dead, the Obama administration and the mainstream media created boogeymen to blame: It’s the Russian government, the Alternative Media, and “fake news”!

All the more important that we in the Alternative Media are scrupulous in what we report and write.

On December 24, 2016, Investment Watch Blog (IWB) published a very alarming article by Sean Adl-Tabatabai titled “Obama Signs Christmas Bill Making Alternative Media Illegal“. Adl-Tabatabai writes (I supplied the red bold emphasis):

“President Obama has just quietly signed into law a bill that makes it illegal to run an alternative media website in the U.S.

On Friday, just two days before Christmas, Obama signed the ‘Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017′ bill into law.

Adl-Tabatabai then quotes an article by Aaron Kesel of Wearechange.org, complete with odd capitalized letters (I supplied the bold and red color for certain words for emphasis):

“This bill, as we reported previously, will ‘Criminalize ‘Fake News, Propaganda’ on the Web,’ a key piece of legislation meant to crack down on free speech and independent media. In Layman’s terms, the act will allow the government to crack down with impunity against any media outlet it deems ‘propaganda.’ […]

What does that mean for you if you are an independent journalist or blogger? You can read more here, but it means that for simply writing this and asking questions and pointing out that Obama always signs these bills around the holidays like I did in this poemif I am accused of ‘fake news’ or propaganda, I could face criminal charges.

In other words the stage is now set for the U.S. government to legally crack down on every media outlet that the they deem to be ‘foreign propaganda.’ The ministry of truth is setup. Welcome to 1984.”

Note that the embedded link in the words “Criminalize ‘Fake News, Propaganda’ on the Web” refers to the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017.

The problem is neither Investment Watch Blog nor Wearechange.org provides a link to the legislation in question, Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, nor do they provide the actual words, sentences and paragraphs from the bill which “criminalize fake news, propaganda on the web” and “make it illegal to run an alternative media website in the U.S.”.

So I went on the web to find the text of H.R. 6393: Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, which was passed by the House of Representatives on November 30, 2016. Here’s the link to H.R. 6393, so you can read it for yourself. To read H.R. 6393 in PDF format, go here.

Below is the summary of H.R. 6393: Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017:

“To authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2017 for intelligence and intelligence-related activities of the United States Government, the Community Management Account, and the Central Intelligence Agency Retirement and Disability System, and for other purposes.”

This is what I did:

  • I searched for these specific words: “criminalize”, “fake news”, “alternative media” and “propaganda”. I can’t find them in H.R. 6393.
  • I read the entire text of H.R. 6393: Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017.

The closest to what Investment Watch Blog and Wearechange.org claim is Section 501 (I supplied the bold red color):

Section 501. Committee to counter active measures by the Russian Federation to exert covert influence over peoples and governments(a) Definitions.–

In this section:

(1) Active measures by Russia to exert covert influence.–
The term active measures by Russia to exert covert influence means activities intended to influence a person or government that are 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, including the following:

(A) Establishment or funding of a front group.
(B) Covert broadcasting.
(C) Media manipulation.
(D) Disinformation and forgeries.
(E) Funding agents of influence.
(F) Incitement and offensive counterintelligence.
(G) Assassinations.
(H) Terrorist acts.

(b) Establishment.–
There is established within the executive branch an interagency committee to counter active measures by the Russian Federation to exert covert influence.

(c) Membership.–

(1) In general.–

(A) Appointment.–
Each head of an agency or department of the United States Government set out under subparagraph (B) shall appoint one member of the committee established by subsection (b) from among officials of such agency or department who occupy a position that is required to be appointed by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate.

(B) Head of an agency or department.–
The head of an agency or department of the United States Government set out under this subparagraph are the following:

(i) The Director of National Intelligence.
(ii) The Secretary of State.
(iii) The Secretary of Defense.
(iv) The Secretary of the Treasury.
(v) The Attorney General.
(vi) The Secretary of Energy.
(vii) The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
(viii) The head of any other agency or department of the United States Government designated by the President for purposes of this section.

(d) Meetings.–
The committee shall meet on a regular basis.

(e) Duties.–

The duties of the committee established by subsection (b) shall be as follows:

(1) To counter active measures by Russia to exert covert influence, including by exposing falsehoods, agents of influence, corruption, human rights abuses, terrorism, and assassinations carried out by the security services or political elites of the Russian Federation or their proxies.

(2) Such other duties as the President may designate for purposes of this section.”

Some in the Alternative Media see Section 501 — specifically the allusion to “agents of influence” — as reminiscent of a November 24, 2016 article in The Washington Post which cited “experts” who claim the Russian government had helped Donald Trump get elected, as well as a newly-founded and anonymous website, Is It Propaganda or Not? (PropOrNot), that posted a hit list of 200 alternative media websites that are alleged to be either witting or unwitting agents of Russia in spreading disinformation (“fake news”) and propaganda. The list includes WikiLeaks, Drudge Report, Zero Hedge, and small potatoes like Fellowship of the Minds. (See “FOTM made the List of 200 secret-Russian-agents websites!”)

That being said, it is one thing for the Washington Post to accuse bloggers of being Russian agents, it’s another thing entirely for the U.S. government to do so.

Nothing in the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 “criminalizes fake news, propaganda on the web” and “makes it illegal to run an alternative media website in the U.S.”. To do that, the U.S. government will have to:

  • Give evidence that an alternative media website is an “agent of influence” of and has a connection with the Russian government.
  • Criminalize, i.e., make it against the law to have a blog or website on the Internet. To do so would mean the government would have to violate the Constitution’s First Amendment provision of freedom of speech and of the press.

The same claim — that a newly passed law “criminalizes fake news, propaganda on the web” and “makes it illegal to run an alternative media website in the U.S.” — is also made about another law, S. 2943: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, which was passed by Congress (both houses) on Dec. 13, 2016. See TrailDust’s post of today, “While you celebrated Christmas – Obama stole the 1st Amendment“.

I’ll address S. 2943 tomorrow.

~Eowyn

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15 responses to “Did Obama sign a law to criminalize Alternative Media?

  1. The issue isn’t exactly what the law says or doesn’t say. It will be used to contact banks and ad networks to get them to stop doing business with anyone on the “hit list”.

    Like

  2. Dr. Eowyn, I should have looked to see if you were on the same track when I jumped on the ZeroHedge article today. Your scholarly research should be very helpful.

    What I see is the effort to criminalize a broad and unclear subject so it can be abused later by those who stand ready to attack our liberties. In his last days in office, Obama is likely to attempt any number of outrages against the Constitution. And this is right in that track, unless it is being misreported ZeroHedge.

    I will say this, January 20th will mark a watershed moment in world history. Obama will be out of the oval office, and Trump will be in. Thank God.

    Liked by 2 people

    • However, President Trump is ready to sign an executive order which will make all of Obama’s executive orders null and void, and I am certain he will take care of this garbage as well.

      Like

  3. Under Trump or any reasonable GOP Administration it will be no problem, but under the LibTARDs anything they don’t like is now blamed on the Russians.
    And if anyone is taken through the Lib controlled Federal Courts, they will lose.
    Like the Patriot Act was to give extra powers to law enforcement to fight Islamofascist Terrorists – OK, Americans went along with it.
    Obama got elected and redefined ” Potential Domestic Terrorist” as anyone the Lib/Progs don’t like – Gun owners, Combat Veterans, Pro-Life Christians, anyone that protests homosexuals in the military, Boy Scouts, or teachers, whatever. Anyone that opposes the Obamunist Agenda.
    Muslims are OK, but gotta watch the NRA!

    Who defines what is done by the “Russians”? Lib/Progs right now say that is anyone that opposes Hillary and likes Trump.
    What is funny is they call Russians and Putin “Communists” but they are ones that embrace Marxism, Fabian Socialism, and Saul Alinsky. All the real CPUSA and fellow-travelers are ardent Democrats now.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great ignorance of the obvious (no Russians needed) by liberals…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Here is my analysis; it is not whom it criminalizes that is the problem, it is the authorization for the government to work in a unified manner (under the State Department’s aegis) to publish to domestic audiences—us—the propaganda that previously was limited to international audiences. So if you did not trust media before, if you don’t know whether someone is real or a sock puppet, it could be our government using misleading media instead of honest debate.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. (1) Active measures by Russia to exert covert influence.–
    The term active measures by Russia to exert covert influence means activities intended to influence a person or government that are 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,

    Like

  7. Also see H.R. 8151, drafted by Sen’s. Portman and Murphy, and Tyler Dydun of Zero Hedge. This is an abomination, and President Trump must move to get it repealed ASAP.

    Like

  8. Listen up people-we are CITIZENS, not subjects; just because your government unconstitutionally gives itself power to do or regulate something doesn’t give that power legitimacy. This ‘law’ is an absolute violation of the 1st, 4th, 9th & 10th amendments.This abomination was written and passed by the Washington establishment as an effort to outlaw exposing their malfeasance. I’m confident this farce will be ultimately challenged and overturned.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Which bozos in congress wrote this and snuck it into the Defense Authorization Act? Obama may have been happy to sign it and/or to avoid vetoing a defense authorization bill, but he didn’t write it. I’d like to know who did?

    Like

    • I found this: Introduced by Congressmen Adam Kinzinger and Ted Lieu, H.R. 5181 seeks a “whole-government approach without the bureaucratic restrictions” to counter “foreign disinformation and manipulation,” which they believe threaten the world’s “security and stability.
      Also called the Countering Information Warfare Act of 2016 (S. 2692), when introduced in March by Sen. Rob Portman, the legislation represents a dramatic return to Cold War-era government propaganda battles. (The next paragraph goes on to say “U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) today announced that their Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act – legislation designed to help American allies counter foreign government propaganda from Russia, China, and other nations – has been signed into law as part of the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Conference Report. The bipartisan bill, which was introduced by Senators Portman and Murphy in March, will improve the ability of the United States to counter foreign propaganda and disinformation. . . .”).
      Here is the URL for the article from which I pulled these quotes: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-24/obama-signs-countering-disinformation-and-propaganda-act-law

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: Did Obama sign a law to criminalize Alternative Media? — Fellowship of the Mindsc | kommonsentsjane

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