Last month, in response to an avalanche of public criticism, a Biden administration official announced that it was scrapping its short-lived Disinformation Governance Board — a modern-day version of an Orwellian “Ministry of Truth.”
In addition, the Department of Homeland Security accepted a letter of resignation from Nina Jankowicz, the board’s chairman, while explaining that public perception of the Board was “grossly and intentionally mischaracterized.”
A DHS spokesman claimed: “It was never about censorship or policing speech in any manner. It was designed to ensure we fulfill our mission to protect the homeland, while protecting core Constitutional rights.
However, false attacks have become a significant distraction from the department’s vitally important work to combat disinformation that threatens the safety and security of the American people.”
Similarly, two weeks earlier on May 1 Mayorkas told CNN’s Dana Bash, without equivocation, that the board would not monitor American citizens.
“The board does not have any operational authority or capability,” he said. “What it will do is gather together best practices in addressing the threat of disinformation from foreign state adversaries from the cartels and disseminate those best practices to the operators that have been executing in addressing this threat for years.”
Within the last couple of days other details came out suggesting that:
- The board was designed specifically to target the thoughts, words, ideas and speech of Americans in violation of the First Amendment;
- There’s every reason to believe that the board may still be in existence but operating under the radar; and,
- Jankowicz may still be running the show.
Late last week Republican Sens. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Chuck Grassley of Iowa received documents from a DHS whistleblower indicating the agency, including its Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, its spokespersons and Jankowicz, had all lied from the beginning about the board’s purpose and scope.
Hawley indicated that the materials he and Grassley received “reveal that DHS drafted plans for the Disinformation Governance Board as early as September 2021 and explored the possibility of partnerships with Big Tech companies like Twitter to assist in their efforts.”
In spite of the administration’s denials, the whistleblower documents revealed:
- The Disinformation Governance Board was originally conceived in part to monitor domestic speech regarding “conspiracy theories about the validity and security of elections” and “disinformation related to the origins and effects of COVID-19 vaccines or the efficacy of masks.”
- DHS planned for a partnership with Twitter to suppress disfavored content and planned a meeting with Twitter executives exploring the concept.
- The Disinformation Governance Board charter was drafted in January 2022 and personally signed by Secretary Mayorkas on February 24, 2022. The document states that the charter goes into effect immediately upon the Secretary’s signing of the document.
- Despite the Secretary’s assertion that the Board had not yet begun its work, a planned meeting with social media executives appears to have been staffed by Nina Jankowicz.
- DHS officials appear to have prepared legislation to codify a “Rumor Control Program of the Department of Homeland Security to Counter Misinformation, Disinformation, and Malinformation,” including a public-facing website known as “Rumor Control.”
That was on Wednesday. Later last week former President Barack Obama made a call for more censorship in order to “detoxify our discourse.”
Ironically, he voiced his approval for censorship at the 2022 Copenhagen Democracy Summit.
“Finally, as we do all these things, we have to take steps to detoxify our discourse, particularly the scourge of disinformation and conspiracy theories [and] hate, online that has polluted our political discourse,” Obama said.
And in late May, after DHS claimed to have dissolved the board, Jankowicz tweeted that “the spread and effects of disinformation on American society have only worsened and become entrenched in domestic politics.”
She added: “This is the type of work I had hoped to do at DHS, and the type of work the USG sorely needs to invest in. This is the type of work that I have built my career on — not a few contextless tweets. And this is the type of work I will continue in the public sphere.”
After she was reminded of DHS claims that the board would stay clear of domestic politics, Jankowicz claimed she was referring to “raising awareness of the falsities coming out of the Kremlin” and there was “no ‘combating’ domestic sources anywhere in the mix.”
If there’s anything we’ve learned from this administration, it’s that if they say they want to take away your rights, you’d better believe them. And if they claim they’re protecting our freedoms, assume they’re lying.
The purpose of the First Amendment’s freedom of speech protections is to arrive at the truth. It’s only by spirited debate and the free exchange of ideas that that this can be accomplished.
Censorship results in one person or entity — the censor — deciding what is true for the rest of society.
If it’s truly disinformation they want to tackle, remove the gags, trash the restrictions and let freedom ring.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He is also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter who can often be found honing his skills at the range. Read Dorstewitz's Reports — More Here.
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