George Bush’s Attempt to Silence the New York Times
Lawrence R. Velvel
It is beginning to look increasingly likely that the 2004 presidential election, like the 2000 election before it, was stolen for George Bush. In 2000 it was stolen in Florida (remember the elderly Jews for Buchanan and disfranchised blacks?) and in the Marble Palace in Washington. In 2004 it apparently was stolen in Ohio. Why is one not surprised that the Ohio Secretary of State responsible for the moral and perhaps legal crookedness of 2004, a right wing fundamentalist named Kenneth Blackwell, was a “principal electoral system advisor” to Katherine Harris in 2000 in Florida during the recount?
So Bush is President not just because of grave Democratic ineptitude, but also because of moral and possible legal crookedness. And now that this serially incompetent former drunk has been and is President by virtue of these machinations, he and various scumbags who do his bidding are trying to cripple the free press as much as possible. He and they are, defacto, accusing the press, particularly the New York Times, of treason for publishing the story about tracking money through Swift.
Now, as any steady reader of this blog knows, or as is known to a reader of the collection of these blogs called Blogs From The Liberal Standpoint: 2004-2005, there probably is nobody, but nobody, who is harder on the New York Times than this writer. National treasure that it nonetheless is, it is criticized here often and mercilessly, and richly deserves the criticisms. But the fact is that it has performed a public service by disclosing the Government’s secret activities like the NSA’s spying on Americans, the tracking of bank transfers, and other matters like secret renditions of prisoners for torture.
If one wants to consider the situation, one only has to think of the things we wouldn’t know at all, or might know far less about, if the Government had gotten its wish to keep its activities secret. Let’s start with the all time classic, the Pentagon Papers. The Government wanted them to be kept secret even though the Solicitor General who pushed its position in the Supreme Court later admitted -- it should have been to his deep shame -- that there was nothing in them that required secrecy. But, to then go directly to this war, and including Times reporters and its media “colleagues” like the LA Times, the Washington Post, The Boston Globe and others, the Government wanted to keep secret, and but for the press would have succeeded in keeping secret, torture and abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, Bush’s communicated desire for this, the killing of prisoners, CIA renditions for torture -- often facilitated by a secret CIA air arm, claims that the President is not subject to the law, horrific legal memoranda which attempted to legalize all these things, efforts to discredit people who were exposing the lies that took us into war, electronic spying on American civilians, tracking monies of Americans, “on the spot declassification” of information by Bush and/or Cheney for purely political purposes, covert military units created by Rumsfeld to be stationed in embassies abroad, a complete failure to listen to intelligence received secretly before the war from in-country Iraqis who made clear that there were no WMDs and who were in a position to know, and lots of other things that we know about only because the government’s desire to keep them secret did not succeed.
What we have in the current attack on the Times is “merely” typical. There is nothing new in it. As always, government wants to hide its misdeeds and serial incompetence and, to support this wish for secrecy, claims that disclosure of its actions will cripple its efforts to protect the country. The Government is particularly mad at the Times because, in fulfillment of the fundamental purpose of the First Amendment, the Times has been in the very forefront of revealing the misdeeds and continuing incompetence. So the serially incompetent former drunk, his crazed right wing buddies and henchmen (like Rove), and his ignorant followers in the citizenry are attacking the Times as hard as they can for alleged irresponsibility in order to frighten it and other media into future silence, and are even threatening to prosecute for the same purpose. The Governmental cretins also figure that this will benefit them politically because it will further arouse their wacked-out right wing supporters, and will at least temporarily persuade conservative people of better will, as so often occurs because those folks seem to have to learn the same lesson over and over and over and over again before they catch on to what is going on. (Cf. Lincoln’s you can fool some of the people all of the time.)
Well, there’s nothing to be done about it, I guess, except to let the serial incompetent and his nasty and evil right wing friends and his historically ignorant supporters rave on -- that is free speech, even if it is being practiced by particularly horrid members of what Mark Twain called our only native criminal class. But always to remember the real purpose underlying this exercise of free speech – underlying these claims of irresponsibility and even treason. Always to remember their true purpose of trying to discredit and silence a paper that has been in the forefront of revealing the Government’s morally evil and not infrequently legally criminal misconduct, plus its serial incompetence.
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