Wednesday, 28 September 2016

freedom of disinformation act

The inquiring and persistent Matt Novak, writing for Gizmodo’s Paleofuture, brings us the Cold War curiosity called the United States Information Agency, superseded by the State Department’s Broadcasting Board of Governors, whose media and divisions were charged with the mission advocating US policies and values abroad—in other words, propaganda or counter-propaganda.
Perhaps the most memorable public-relations campaigns that the organisation ran is the still extant Voice of America radio service (although a 1976 act mandated that the content be fair and balanced and news-casters had to get a little more creative with their message amid human-interest allegories) and a series of spaghetti-Westerns produced covertly and at astronomical expense called Project Pedro meant to make the neutral, rather laissez-faire government of Mexico to take a stance against Communist ideologies infiltrating Latin America, but by way of introductions for the doctrinaire and indoctrinating USIA, there was also a fictitious by-line (nom de plume, nom de guerre), a prolific polyglot economist Guy Sims Fitch, that was a catchment for pro-American monetary policy and distributed to news outlets all over the globe, usually as cheerful op-ed pieces in praise of the wages of capitalism (maybe such shill articles today might be in praise of TTIP and the like)—except in domestic papers, that is. Novak’s FOIA filing to retrieve some information on those writers and editors that wrote under this pseudonym was foiled owing to a technicality that the successor intelligence agencies cite for secret identities, since there’s no way for government to confirm or deny the consent of anonymous, unidentified authors to having their private writing given public attribution.