Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Is the US State Dept breaking the law?

Once upon a time when the law mattered and the Congress provided actual oversight, what the US State Dept did yesterday would have resulted in accountability -- legal accountability.

Once upon a time, Congress took it very seriously when a law they passed was broken by the Executive Branch.

The Voice of America is a propaganda effort by the US government.  From Crapapedia:

Smith–Mundt Act

Under § 501 of the Smith–Mundt Act of 1948, the Voice of America was forbidden to broadcast directly to American citizens until July 2013.[35] The intent of the legislation was to protect the American public from propaganda actions by its own government.[36] Although the VOA does not broadcast domestically, Americans can access the programs through shortwave and streaming audio over the Internet.

The Voice of America can't broadcast over US airwaves to US citizens.  Nor should it.

If it's banned from broadcasting over the US air waves to US citizens, I would assume it's also illegal for US government agencies to promote it to US citizens.

Note the State Dept seal, note the "Government Website."

Now let's note what it Tweeted yesterday.

Iraq: Is preparing for defeat in Mosul? Continued reports of Mosul resources being transferred to Syria 

Radio Iraq, like Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty,   the second news item promoted in the image,  is Voice of America.

It's forbidden from broadcasting over US airwaves to US audiences but it's okay for the State Dept to use its Twitter feed to amplify VoA to US citizens?

No, it's not.

The State Dept should issue an apology at the very least and implement strict guidelines on government bloggers because the law was broken -- spirit and intent -- and that's nothing to be dismissed or treated lightly.

A functioning Congress would demand something more than an apology.

A functioning Secretary of State would never have allowed that to happen.  But, as his no-show in Paris over the weekend demonstrated, John Kerry's struggling to grasp what his job details.

The following community sites -- plus the Guardian and Iraq Inquiry Digest -- updated:

  • The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.