Feb 14, 2022

Before Midterms, DHS Classifies Misinformation As Terrorism

A reasonable response to the chaos and confusion of the last two years is to question the government’s motives and systems. But, the U.S. government has deemed this type of skepticism as a form of domestic terrorism.
Before Midterms, DHS Classifies Misinformation As Terrorism

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Misinformation is domestic terrorism: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a terrorism advisory bulletin this week to address, among other threats, false or misleading narratives and conspiracy theories that “seek to... sow discord and undermine public trust in government institutions.”

  • The bulletin says that one key factor contributing to a “heightened threat environment” is the “widespread online proliferation of false or misleading narratives regarding unsubstantiated widespread election fraud and COVID-19.”
  • It goes on to state, without any examples or evidence, that these forms of mis- dis- and mal-information (MDM) inspired violent, extremist attacks last year.
  • The DHS is working with public, private, and foreign entities to identify and evaluate what it deems as mis- and disinformation spread online “that endorse[s] or could inspire violence.”

Gearing up for midterms: The bulletin states that the months preceding the midterms “could provide additional opportunities for these extremists and other individuals to call for violence...”

  • DHS claims that fake news about election fraud has also led domestic extremists to advocate for violence.
  • In response to the Jan. 6 riot that aimed to contest the 2020 election results, DHS Secretary Mayorkas committed the department to “… redouble our efforts, to fight hate, and to fight one of the greatest threats that we face currently on our homeland, which is the threat of domestic terrorism.”

Big picture: A reasonable response to the chaos and confusion of the last two years is to question the government’s motives and systems. But, the U.S. government has deemed this type of skepticism as a form of domestic terrorism.

  • By categorizing dissenting opinions as misinformation and censoring alternative viewpoints, the establishment seeks to delegitimize the concerns of the people and to create a monopoly of truth.
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