Sunday, May 21, 2006

Bush administration’s newspeak, and another attack on the U.S. constitution…

"Newspeak" is the use of language in a deliberately ambiguous and contradictory way to mislead and manipulate the public. George Orwell first described the idea in the novel 1984. With the rise of international authoritarianism, conservative governments worldwide use "fighting terrorism" and "national security" to "chill" natural rights, such as "freedom of expression," which individuals in Western democracies have long enjoyed.

The method is simple: First, have an authoritative figure in the government, someone like Atty. General Alberto Gonzales, threaten prosecution for a crime that is described in ambiguous language. Second, have a government-controlled news agency, like Fox news, communicate the threat in clear language. And, a timid press already softened by false-patriotism and greed will do the rest. Silence!

On Sunday May 21, 2006, Fox news reported, "
Attorney General Says Reporters Can Be Prosecuted for Publishing Classified Leaks." Of course, when you wade through Gonzales's newspeak, the description of the crime is just vague enough to permit the Bush administration to say it wasn't trying to intimidate the press and yet achieve that effect.

"There are some statutes on the book," Gonzales said, which "if you read the language carefully, would seem to indicate that that is a possibility." Words like "read the language carefully," "would seem," and "is a possibility" are never used to describe a crime. Criminal acts must be clear; otherwise they are not considered crimes. Can you imagine saying, if read carefully, there is a statute that seems to define the crime of robbery? Or, use of a gun rob someone "would seem" to be illegal? Or, if you rob someone with a gun, prosecution "is a possibility."

Such a situation would be silly. You can't be prosecuted for a crime that is ambiguous, unless the fix in with the judge. Or unless, prosecution isn't the objective; rather, the objective is curtailing "freedom of expression."

While keeping the alleged illegal act vague, Gonzales makes the threat clear. Referring to prosecutions Gonzales said, "We have an obligation to enforce those laws. We have an obligation to ensure that our national security is protected." Words like "obligation," "enforce," and "national security," are strong words that communicate the intended threat. A timid press will get the message and remain silent to avoid the risk of prosecution.

When a government, like the Bush administration, violates the peoples' constitution, hasn't national security been compromised? And, when an authority figure, like Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales, facilitates the violation, isn't he aiding and abetting. Besides, didn't both Cheney and Bush leak classified information? If so, who's the criminal? You decide.

No comments: