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

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Karen J. Greenberg, co-editor of The Torture Papers: The Road to Abu Ghraib, has a great piece on Bush administration secrecy up on MotherJones.com (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.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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