Trump signed an Executive Order authorizing him to sanction anyone accused of “meddling” in the US’ elections.
Executive Order 13848 mandates that the President can freeze the assets of anyone “located, in whole or in substantial part, outside the United States”, including those who the US regards as “acting as an agent of or on behalf of a foreign government”, that the intelligence services determine within 45 days of any election had “interfered” in this process. The very vague activity of “covertly distributing propaganda and disinformation” that the US considers to have been done “with the purpose or effect of influencing, undermining confidence in, or altering the result or reported result of, the election, or undermining public confidence in election processes or institutions” is enough for anyone to fall within the purview of this legislation, meaning that it could easily be abused to function as a “dragnet” for “justifying” further restrictions on RT and other publicly financed Alt-Media outlets.
The US already regards Russia’s flagship international media company as being a “foreign agent”, and some of its employees who produce English-language content for distribution within the country are located outside of its borders. Moreover, the American Establishment smears its activities as constituting “propaganda and disinformation”, and government-linked “think tanks” regularly accuse RT of “undermining public confidence in election processes or institutions” because of its failure to comply with the “politically correct” notion of “American Exceptionalism” that undergirds the basis of the US’ domestic perception management operations. For all intents and purposes, Trump’s latest Executive Order could have very well been written by his advisors in the way that it was and with the particular language that was used in order to prepare for another crackdown against free speech.This realization speaks to the effectiveness that Alt-Media outlets like RT have had in getting Americans to reconsider many of the positions that they were indoctrinated for their entire lives to believe, especially concerning the supposed “infallibility” of their political processes. The US Establishment had hitherto relied on the de-facto monopoly that it achieved in the informational sphere through its tacit partnerships all across the domestic media spectrum in order to reinforce certain narratives that it believes have a so-called “national security” significance, which is why the Executive Order declares that foreign-linked “influence” operations “constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.” In practice, this means that any foreign-connected criticism of American affairs could well be on the way to being censored, including from US-based social media platforms.
The post presented is the partial transcript of the CONTEXT COUNTDOWN radio program on Sputnik News, aired on Friday Sep 21, 2018:
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