The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), one of the most noxious abusers of civil liberties among the many arms of the U.S. Security State, has recently announced the formation of a “Disinformation Governance Board” meant to target and combat “internal activities related to disinformation that poses a threat to homeland security.”
Considering that spokespersons for the DHS have shamelessly spouted off Orwellian inversions such as the need “to protect the free speech, privacy, civil rights and civil liberties of all Americans” through the suppression of “disinformation,” it’s no wonder that factions across all lines of the political spectrum—from anti-war activists to constitution-touting Republicans—have united to condemn the decision as tantamount to establishing a “Ministry of Truth.”
The propagandists looking to usher in this new wave of censorship have spun out an insipid yet enthralling narrative for liberal onlookers: that marginalized communities, particularly “Hispanics,” would somehow benefit from empowering an arm of the security state to judiciously discern truth and purge falsity from collective view.
Let’s take a moment to recall exactly what kind of track record the DHS has on civil rights. Remember Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)? It’s the organization responsible for: raiding the homes of immigrant communities and deporting their families; creating the infamous “kids in cages” detention centers heralded as virtual concentration camps; and a litany of racial profiling and civil rights abuses for which they’ve been endlessly sued. It’s also directly overseen by the DHS. Really, the DHS itself hasn’t fared much better, having made protesters in Portland, Oregon “disappear” into unmarked vans while attacking journalists and demonstrators attending police brutality rallies.
“The Department of Homeland Security isn’t capable of acting consistently with the Constitution, and should no longer exist in its current state,” one American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) director Anthony D. Romero wrote in an article titled Dismantle the Department of Homeland Security. Its tactics are fearsome. “Its powers are too great, and it lacks the oversight and management to be effective.”
Little has changed within the DHS under the Biden administration, and the processes, bodies and decisions it harbors remain utterly opaque.
“Far too many unjust anti-immigrant policies remain, and thousands of immigrants are paying the price,” read one ACLU statement. “On Biden’s watch, Border Patrol agents are now attacking Haitian asylum-seekers and migrants in Del Rio, Texas—including small children.”
The fact that DHS spokespersons and government spooks are already spinning out narratives that conveniently sanitize the organization from all its horrific human rights abuses, while somehow authoritatively placing it as a credentialled adjudicator of what does or does not constitute “misinformation” or damage minority communities, tells you everything you need to know about the kind of outrageous and grotesque distortions of reality that the Disinformation Governance Board is fated to oversee.
“Indeed, the concept of ‘anti-disinformation expert’ is itself completely fraudulent,” award-winning-journalist Glenn Greenwald wrote. “This is not a real expertise but rather a concocted title bestowed on propagandists to make them appear more scholarly and apolitical than they are.”
“The function of this well-funded industry is to discredit dissent and justify its censorship by infusing its condemnation with the pretense of institutional authority,” Greenwald continued. “The level of historical ignorance and stupidity required to believe that U.S. Security State operatives are earnestly devoted to exposing and decreeing truth is off the charts.”
This decision by the current administration comes only days after ultra-billionaire Elon Musk’s shocking acquisition of the social media platform Twitter, with Musk vowing to make algorithms open-source and scale back censorship on the platform. Whether or not Musk will follow through remains to be seen, but the hysteria the acquisition has caused in Washington was exaggerated, immediate and palpable.
As reported previously by the Catalyst, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and a swathe of their Silicon Valley allies have been using the war in Ukraine as a pretense to aggressively deplatform anti-imperialist critics. The move to form a “disinformation board” only days after a major online platform is set to loosen its grip on the flow of information is, at the very least, a bit suspect.