Congressmen Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) and Adam Smith (D-Washington) have proposed an amendment to the NDAA that would remove a decades-old prohibition on the domestic distribution of pro-government propaganda.
In Greek mythology, the Hydra was a serpent-like beast that possessed many heads. Perhaps the most frightening quality of this fearsome amphibian was the fact that for each head that was cut off two grew in its place and the breath from these new heads were more poisonous than the one they replaced.
Such is the case with the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013. Just as constitutionalists are busy hacking at the deadly indefinite detention provisions that were codified in the 2012 version, the iteration being proposed for the next fiscal year contains elements that are perhaps more constitutionally lethal.
As we have reported, there were about 140 amendments to the bill that were considered along with the larger legislation. One of these allows the federal government to print pro-American propaganda for domestic distribution. Ostensibly, the purpose of the pamphlets is to combat al-Qaeda’s attempts to discredit the United States and its policy of delivering democracy via drone attacks.
Such materials were previously only broadcast overseas for the pleasure of foreign audiences but a provision in the “Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012" (H.R. 5736) would remove that restriction, making “available, in the United States, motion pictures, films, video, audio, and other materials prepared for dissemination abroad or disseminated abroad pursuant to this Act….”
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Photo: Big Brother's face looms from giant telescreens in Victory Square in Michael Radford's 1984 film adaptation of George Orwell's book, 1984.