Information: Bush Puts It Where the Sun Don’t Shine

Karen J. Greenberg, co-editor of The Torture Papers: The Road to Abu Ghraib, has a great piece on Bush administration secrecy up on (courtesy of Tomdispatch). She describes eagerly awaiting two new government reports on detainee policy, both promising to contain important new information. “Imagine my disappointment,” she writes:

Blackened page followed blackened page; introductory sentences led nowhere; subsection titles introduced nothing; elaborating details were rendered invisible along with most of each report’s conclusions. If one were to treat the pages of each report like a flip-book, visually the story line would be a solid mass of black.

Tom Engelhardt, in an introduction to the piece at Tomdispatch, points out that the Bush administration’s “most essential ‘sunshine’ policy” is this: “if at all possible, offer nothing to anyone, any time, anywhere, for any reason,” a point Greenberg develops:

Withdrawal of information has been a deeply rooted tactic of the Bush administration. The urge not to tell, never to reveal, has been at the heart of its approach to government, whether what’s at stake is court records, statistics on Iraq, or information about detainees. In 2001, 8 million government documents were classified per year. That number has now expanded to 16 million. Moreover, the rate of declassification has decreased significantly. On average, only one-sixth as many documents are declassified each year as during the Clinton administration.

Read the piece in full here.