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Comparisons to George Orwell’s 1984 have abounded since governments around the world began their cruel, oppressive, and ineffective response to COVID-19. And while some claim that the U.S. is far from the dystopian world created by Orwell, the latest moves by the Biden administration seem as if they’ve been taken directly from the novel.
Earlier this week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a newly-created board that will focus on countering misinformation and disinformation. It’s called the “Disinformation Governance Board (DGB),” and it’s about as Orwellian as they come.
The Ministry of Truth
In the novel (published in 1949!), Orwell describes a dystopian future in which the government has almost full control over its citizens. The government is represented primarily by 4 ministries, which Orwell describes in Part 2, Chapter 9:
“The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy: they are deliberate exercises in doublethink.”
The Ministry of Truth (called “minitrue”) is the government’s propaganda wing. One of minitrue’s primary roles is to falsify historical records to present a new version of history that better serves the government’s needs.
The Ministry of Truth is involved with news media, entertainment, the fine arts, and educational books. Its purpose is to rewrite history and change the facts to fit Party doctrine for propaganda effect. For example, if Big Brother (the personification of Orwell’s fictional totalitarian regime) makes a prediction that turns out to be wrong, the employees of the Ministry of Truth correct the record to make it accurate.
Minitrue plays a role as the news media by changing history, and changing the words in articles about events current and past, so that Big Brother and his government are always seen in a good light and can never do any wrong. The content is more propaganda than actual news.
This sounds an awful lot like what Biden and DHS just announced.
The Disinformation Governance Board
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas spoke about the “just established” governance board during a congressional hearing on Wednesday, arguing it would help reduce domestic threats to the United States.
During the hearing, Ohio Congresswoman Lauren Underwood said that “foreign adversaries attempt to destabilize our elections by targeting people of color with disinformation campaigns.”
“A newer trend that we saw in the 2020 election and already in the 2022 midterms is that disinformation is being heavily targeted at Spanish-speaking voters, sparking and fueling conspiracy theories,” she added.
Mayorkas did not disclose any powers that would be granted to the dystopian-sounding board while addressing lawmakers on Wednesday. He explained that the board would work to tackle disinformation ahead of the November midterms, particularly in Hispanic communities.
But Mayorkas did say that the new board would come under the Biden-era Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships (CP3), which DHS says “seeks a resilient America where communities are united to help end targeted violence and terrorism.”
In February, the National Terrorism Advisory System issued a bulletin to “communicate information about terrorist threats” to the American public. The bulletin describes a “heightened threat environment” due to:
“…an online environment filled with false or misleading narratives and conspiracy theories, and other forms of mis- dis- and mal-information (MDM) introduced and/or amplified by foreign and domestic threat actors. These threat actors seek to exacerbate societal friction to sow discord and undermine public trust in government institutions to encourage unrest, which could potentially inspire acts of violence.”
This “misinformation” includes concerns about the safety and efficacy of the COVID shots, questions about the integrity of our elections, claims about collusion between the pharmaceutical industry and its regulators, insistence that lockdowns and mask mandates are unlawful, and assertions that the tech and media industries are actively waging a censorship and propaganda war.
(We know this because we’ve been censored, attacked, and threatened for virtually all of it.)
But the CP3 program does not grant powers to directly stop what the newly-created DGB deems “misinformation.” What it can do is issue financial aid to community programs aimed at preventing or removing information, host digital forums to “educate” community leaders, and publish resources to help communities combat the alleged misinformation.
Without the ability to directly censor information, the Disinformation Governance Board will have only 2 real options:
- Funnel money to organizations that are intent on censoring free speech;
- Facilitate a new wave of propaganda designed to discredit information that it deems “unsafe.”
It’s too early to know for sure, but our best guess is that this new federal entity will dramatically increase the levels of censorship and propaganda that are already at an all-time high in this nation.
One way to predict how the Disinformation Governance Board will operate is to look at its leadership…
Nina Jankowicz: Head of Biden’s Disinformation Governance Board
Nina Jankowicz is President Joe Biden’s pick to serve as executive director of the Department of Homeland Security’s new Disinformation Governance Board, so let’s take a look at what she stands for.
Shortly after the DHS announcement, Jankowicz confirmed her appointment by tweeting “Cat’s out of the bag: here’s what I’ve been up to the past two months, and why I’ve been a bit quiet on here. Honored to be serving in the Biden Administration @DHSgov and helping shape our counter-disinformation efforts.”
Cat’s out of the bag: here’s what I’ve been up to the past two months, and why I’ve been a bit quiet on here.
— Nina Jankowicz 🇺🇦🇺🇸 (@wiczipedia) April 27, 2022
Jankowicz has been a global fellow at the nonpartisan Wilson Center and an author whose research has focused on disinformation as well as Russia and the treatment of women online.
According to the Wilson Center, she studies “the intersection of democracy and technology in Central and Eastern Europe” and she was an adviser on strategic communications to the government of Ukraine during her time as a Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellowship.
She’s also the author of How To Lose the Information War: Russia, Fake News, and the Future of Conflict and How to Be a Woman Online: Surviving Abuse and Harassment, and How to Fight Back, which was published earlier this year.
The Russia “disinformation expert” previously called the laptop of President Joe Biden’s son Hunter a “Trump campaign product.”
This is causing questions over Jankowicz’s ability to accurately judge disinformation now that several sources have come out confirming the validity of Hunter’s laptop.
Jankowicz also suggested last week that she opposes the The First Amendment because she thinks it is bad for “marginalized communities” and called Elon Musk a “free speech absolutist” because he wants to make Twitter more open to all voices.
When stories about Hunter Biden’s laptop started emerging, several outlets, social media sites, and left-leaning disinformation experts claimed that it was just misinformation coming from Trump and others on the right.
In an October 2020 report, Jankowicz shared her skepticism of the contents of the laptop and the claims it belonged to Hunter:
“We should view it as a Trump campaign product,” she told the New York Daily News at the time.
Twitter repeatedly took down the Hunter Biden laptop story and prevented it from being spread on the platform.
Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson slammed Jankowicz on Wednesday as a “beacon of misinformation” over her dismissal of the laptop – and accused her of “furthering the false media narrative” with her series of tweets.
“The Biden Administration’s new anti-speech czar is apparently no fan of the @elonmusk Twitter acquisition. This is the person Joe Biden just put in charge of policing Americans’ speech. Using the power of the government,” he said in a retweet of Jankowicz’s comments on a Musk-led Twitter.
The Biden Administration’s new anti-speech czar is apparently no fan of the @elonmusk Twitter acquisition. This is the person Joe Biden just put in charge of policing Americans’ speech. Using the power of the government pic.twitter.com/7lkvhfnVey
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) April 27, 2022
Jankowicz, who has researched Russian disinformation tactics and online harassment, also previously praised Christopher Steele — the author of the since-discredited Trump-bashing dossier.
In August 2020, Jankowicz tweeted about the former British spy’s appearance on the Infotagion podcast, writing: “Listened to this last night – Chris Steele (yes THAT Chris Steele) provides some great historical context about the evolution of disinfo. Worth a listen.”
Steele’s fake dossier, which sparked the probe into whether former President Donald Trump or his campaign colluded with Russians during the 2016 election, was eventually debunked by special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Jankowicz has also been a vocal opponent of Twitter’s new owner. Billionaire Elon Musk, who just purchased Twitter, said that his aim is to make the social media platform a more open “digital town square.”
“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” Musk wrote in a statement upon the purchase approval.
Jankowicz spoke with NPR last week and questioned Musk’s purchase of the platform.
“I shudder to think about if free speech absolutists were taking over more platforms, what that would look like for the marginalized communities,” she said.
She said these groups are “already shouldering…disproportionate amounts of this abuse” and said free speech and lack of censoring on social media would make it worse.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki had no comment when asked about Jankowicz’s ability to head the disinformation board during Thursday’s media briefing – and denied even knowing who the new Executive Director of the Disinformation Governance Board was.
“I don’t have any comment on the laptop… And I don’t know who this individual is, so I have no comment on that specifically,” Psaki told reporters.
The Importance of Freedom
That the government wants to control the flow of information should terrify you; it certainly terrifies us. Led by a woke social justice warrior who has played an active role in spreading misinformation and who believes that freedom of speech is dangerous, this can only spell more trouble in the months and years ahead.
In fact, 1984 described exactly what the world could look like if the government was allowed to control the flow of information and rewrite history:
“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”
Two years ago, when we warned that lockdowns and mask mandates could lead to a totalitarian government, complete with medical ID badges, a social credit system, and absolute government control over media and tech, we were accused of the Slippery Slope fallacy.
But here we are.
America is currently laying the infrastructure for hate and dehumanization that weaponizes their agenda to “fact-check” and “debunk” any dissenting voices or free speech by tying it to terrorist threats or potential acts of violence.
If you think this will stop at a simple propaganda campaign, you’re mistaken. Not as long as people like YOU continue to share the truth and question the narrative that our would-be overlords are so aggressively pushing.
Once the government has adequately classified anyone who disagrees with them as rebels and terrorists, they can begin the detention of those citizens. When the majority of a population sees others as non-human threats to the nation, they’ll support any means necessary to remove them from society.
The slippery slope is real. The propaganda machine is running at full steam.
“Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.”
-George Orwell, 1984