The New Propaganda War

Exclusive: Despite Western media dominance, the U.S. government wants to stop the world from hearing the “other side” on foreign disputes by “countering” or discrediting those voices, explains Jonathan Marshall.

By Jonathan Marshall

“[Russia] is conducting an intensive propaganda campaign directed primarily against the US and is employing coordinated psychological, political and economic measures . . . The ultimate object of this campaign is not merely to undermine the prestige of the US and the effectiveness of its national policy but to weaken and divide world opinion to a point where effective opposition to [Russian] designs is no longer attainable by political, economic or military means.”

With that justification, the Truman administration secretly authorized the start of covert operations by the CIA against America’s wartime ally, the USSR, in December 1947. It was one of the seminal decisions that launched the Cold War.

Secretary of State John Kerry denounces Russia's RT network as a "propaganda bullhorn" during remarks on April 24, 2014.

Secretary of State John Kerry denounces Russia’s RT network as a “propaganda bullhorn” during remarks on April 24, 2014.

Fast forward now to March 2016, when the “Countering Information Warfare Act of 2016” was introduced in the U.S. Senate — as if nothing has changed in nearly seven decades.

The bipartisan bill, co-authored by Senators Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, declares that the Russian government uses “disinformation and other propaganda tools to undermine the national security objectives of the United States and key allies and partners” and achieve “a destabilizing effect on United States allies and interests.”

It further asserts that “the challenge of countering disinformation” requires “a whole-of-government approach leveraging all elements of national power,” coordinated by the Secretary of Defense and Director of National Intelligence.

Last year, in the same spirit, the House Armed Services Committee sought to add $30 million to funding of the U.S. Special Operations Command to combat Russian and Islamist information operations. It accused Russia of challenging “the NATO system” by engaging in “propaganda, diplomatic and economic measures to . . ….

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