Germany To Create “Fake News” Defense Center Ahead Of Upcoming Elections

Posted by on December 28, 2016 in Media & Arts with 0 Comments

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By Whitney Webb | True Activist

Since the Holidays began, the war on so-called “fake” news has heated up dramatically. A week before Christmas, Germany’s Justice Minister Heiko Maas announced that Germany would seek up to 5 years of prison time as a consequence for the publication of “fake” news or “hate speech” online. Only a few days prior, Chairman of Germany’s Social Democratic Party Thomas Oppermann told Der Spiegel that the German government would push Facebook to delete “offending” content within 24 hours by slapping them with a €500,000 ($523,320) fine if they failed to do so within that period. However, even Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is on record saying that less than one percent of Facebook content falls into the category of so-called “fake” news as “more than 99 percent of what people see [on Facebook] is authentic.” Given that “fake” news is a minor problem that is very unlikely to have any sort of resounding political impact, this Orwellian crackdown on content the state deems to be “fake” will undoubtedly place dissenting opinions in its crosshairs.

On December 23rd, it was the US’ turn to escalate the establishment’s vendetta against alternative media outlets and sources of information. Using the holiday weekend as cover, President Obama signed the “Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act” into law as it had been quietly tucked into the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2017. This law allows for the creation of what is essentially an interagency “Ministry of Truth” based at the State Department which will “coordinate and synchronize counter-propaganda efforts.” The interagency center will also offer grants to NGOs, think thanks, and “local journalists” who will assist in “counter-propaganda related work.” Considering that this “counter-propaganda center” will be run, in part, by the Department of Defense and the Intelligence community – both of which have pro-intervention (i.e. pro-war) agendas – it is highly likely that any and all information that argues against war or military action as the way to solve a particular problem could now be labeled “foreign propaganda” with relative ease.

However, with the holidays come and gone, the war against “fake” news rages on Germany as the 2017 German elections draw closer. Now, Germany has announced that it will be creating a “center of defense” against “fake” news. The Federal Press Office in the Chancellery will oversee the establishment of the “defense center”. An anonymous Interior Ministry staffer, speaking to Der Spiegel, revealed that the center will offer the “intensification of political education work” with groups who are believed to be susceptible to the “scourge” of fake news. These targeted groups will comprise chiefly “Russian-Germans” as well as “Turkish-speaking people.” Essentially, the information defense center will be targeting groups for “re-education” based on the state’s belief that certain ethnic groups are less likely to believe state-sanctioned and state-produced “news.” According to the report, the German government is hoping to negotiate the creation of the center “very quickly.”

Clearly, Germany is concerned about the rising criticism that current German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, is facing, led in part by both her handling of the refugee crisis as well as the wave of populism spreading throughout Europe as many more Europeans are openly questioning the European Union. Having noted Hillary Clinton’s spectacular failure in the 2016 Presidential Election, Merkel, along with other politicians affiliated with her rule, are well aware that alternative media sources that they do not control could have a strong impact on the upcoming elections that will likely not be in their favor. This war on “fake” news, in Europe and the US, is emblematic of the long-held belief of the Western political elite – that the people are not fit to make their own decisions or to choose how they are governed. If these government crackdowns on “fake” news continue, the people will not even be able to choose what they read and ignorance will be sold to the masses as a “strength,” just as Orwell predicted decades ago.

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