Tuesday, July 09, 2013

History's Secrets

According to Steven Aftergood's Secrecy News website:
"A 1991 statute mandated that the State Department publish the documentary record of U.S. foreign policy (known as Foreign Relations of the United States, or FRUS) no later than 30 years after the events described. They were years behind when President Obama, still in his sunshine mode, hit the Oval Office and ordered State to complete the processing of the backlog of 25-year-old records awaiting declassification by the end of December 2013."

Tom Engelhardt writes, referring to the above, (See The Sunshine Presidency Takes History to a Dark Place)
Didn't happen, of course. And that, it turns out, is the least of it. A State Department historical advisory committee (HAC), a "panel of distinguished historians," has just weighed in with its own fears that "a substantial percentage of those records that have been reviewed by the NDC [National Declassification Center] have not been cleared for release to the public. In the opinion of the HAC, the relatively high number of reviewed documents that remain withheld from researchers and citizens raises fundamental questions about the declassification guidelines." The historians wonder, in fact, whether the majority of the FRUS volumes will ever see the light of day.

When I read Mr Engelhardt's piece Orwell's 1984 immediately sprang to mind:
"Do you realize that the past, starting from yesterday, has been actually abolished? If it survives anywhere, it's in a few solid objects with no words attached to them, like that lump of glass there. Already we know almost literally nothing about the Revolution and the years before the Revolution. Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street and building has been renamed, and every date has been altered. And that process is continuing day-by-day and minute-by-minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right. I know, of course, that the past is falsified, but it would never be possible for me to prove it, even when I did the falsification myself. After the thing is done, no evidence ever remains. The only evidence is inside my own mind, and I don't know with any certainty that any other human being shares my memories. Just in that one instance, in my whole life, I did possess actual concrete evidence after the event – years after it." (2.5.14, Winston to Julia)

I wonder what it is that's so incriminating to.......? Isn't that one likely reason documents are being kept from researchers? They are probably waiting for........to die. Fill in the blanks, dear reader!
"Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past," repeated Winston obediently.

"Who controls the present controls the past," said O'Brien, nodding his head with slow approval. "Is it your opinion, Winston, that the past has real existence?"


mike said...

Yes, Twilight, revisionists (amnesiacs?) abound. Now, as Orwell wrote, completely abolished. Much of the Osama Bin Laden data was recently obliterated from the Pentagon's files and no longer exists. It was transferred to the CIA, which is immune from the Freedom of Information Act.

"But secretly moving the records allowed the Pentagon to tell the Associated Press that it couldn't find any documents inside the defense department that AP had requested more than two years ago, and could represent a new strategy for the U.S. government to shield even its most sensitive activities from public scrutiny."


Politicians and governments are discovering amazing work-arounds to solve just about any secrecy dilemma.

“In a time of deceit telling the "truth" is a revolutionary act...Keep doing it.” Ziad Abdelnour

mike (again) said...

"President Obama is currently on a weeklong trip to Africa, where he will promote freedom, democracy, and economic opportunity. I guess he figured it hasn't worked here - so try it somewhere else." Jay Leno

Twilight said...

mike ~ Thanks - yes! Now what on earth could they wish to hide about the killing of Osama Bin Laden?
One would think that that would be"the cherry on their cake", something to brag about and publicise to the hilt. We are left to surmise, and there are plenty of scenarios for us to play with. They'd prefer that we surmise rather than be told the dreadful/shameful/completely different from the story broadcast/ truth, I guess.

They have no respect for us - simple as that.

LOL - "promoting freedom, democracy and economic opportunity" - yeah yeah yeah!

Marooned, marooned, marooned in a blizzard of lies
Marooned, marooned, marooned in a blizzard of lies
Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart
And you're in for a big surprise