April 1, 2002
By Christian Dewar
When the local media reported that a pastor from New Mexico
had burned Harry Potter books for promoting satanism, most
people probably dismissed this as an isolated act by a provincial
religious zealot. But the media overlooked a more sinister
book burning that threatened one candidate's run for the presidency.
The book, 'Fortunate Son' by J.H. Hatfield is a well researched,
extensively documented account of the life of George W. Bush.
A scathing portrayal, Hatfield wrote about Bush's lackluster
academic career, his three known arrests, his alcoholism,
the failure of all of his oil companies and the 'crony capitalism'
that allowed him to become rich by insider trading and quid
pro quos with powerful family friends.
This book was especially damaging to Bush because of the
examination of the family influence that allowed Bush to join
the Texas National Guard despite a long waiting list and avoid
service in Vietnam. It reports his frequent absences from
duty, his alleged AWOL and his release from duty two years
before the end of his committment. The author interviewed
sources who claim Bush was busted for possession of cocaine
and that a sympathetic judge expunged the record as a favor
to his father.
When the book was printed, tremendous pressure was brought
to bear on St. Martin's, the publisher, to destroy the copies.
Reports of the author's arrest and conviction were leaked
to the press in an effort to smear him, nevermind that this
was irrelevant to whether the book was factual or not. Never
addressing the substance of the charges against Bush, the
attack focused on killing the messenger.
St. Martin's panicked and vowed to turn the books into furnace
fodder. Fortunately, the new publisher, Soft Skull press picked
up the book despite being sued. It is now possible to buy
the book and readers can decide for themselves whether the
book is credible or not.
The degree of secrecy in the Bush administration is unprecedented.
They have taken steps to withhold records of previous presidents
(including records of his father's involvement in Iraqgate,
Iran-Contragate, the October Surprise, the S&L scandal, etc.)
as well as Dubya's own records as the governor of Texas. His
attorney general instructed government agencies to thwart
the release of records under the Freedom of Information Act.
Cheney is blocking the release of records of meetings formulating
energy policy. They have sought to prevent the release of
accounts of corrupt FBI contacts with Boston mafia figures
and reporters are black listed for writing less than flattering
accounts of the president.
Bush's obsession with secrecy extends to the internet. His
campaign bought up dozens of domain names such as bushsucks.com,
bushblows.com, etc., in an effort to deny these to critics
who might satirize his official site. The campaign sued one
such site, gwbush.com. Bush commented on this saying, "There
ought to be limits to freedom." Known to be thin skinned,
Bush has had peaceful demonstrators arrested.
Readers probably noticed that the Pentagon announced and
then denied that it was setting up The Office of Strategic
Influence to plant disinformation in the foreign press in
order to present a more favorable view of U.S. policy. This
would most likely be illegal and most assuredly would have
leaked back to the domestic media. The Bush clan also hired
a former Madison Avenue executive to peddle this improved
view as she had promoted Uncle Ben's Rice.
U.S. propaganda against it's own citizens is not new. Carl
Bernstein reported on the CIA's Operation Mockingbird during
the 1970's. He discovered that the CIA had over 400 assets
planted in the American press as reporters, stringers, editors,
etc. Former director William Colby was quoted as saying, "The
CIA owns everyone of significance in the major media."
The plan was referred to as Operation Wurlitzer because the
CIA could play the press like the instrument of that name.
During the Reagan-Bush years, government officials planted
stories to make the Contras seem more benign. Reports of massacres
and atrocites by U.S. backed troops were covered up. Some
of the very same officials who perpetrated these lies have
assumed high level posts in the new administration including
Otto Reich, Admiral Poindexter, John Negroponte and Elliott
In the current "War on Terrorism," the press has
been neutered. Journalists have been forbidden to accompany
U.S. troops and have had to content themselves with regurgitating
whatever Rumsfeld spews forth at press conferences. One reporter
who was investigating civilian casualties was told by U.S.
soldiers that he would be shot if he continued. There have
been reports of our troops encouraging soldiers of the Northern
Alliance to harrass reporters.
After the tragedy of 9/11, much of the world mourned with
the U.S. and stood behind our efforts to bring the perpetrators
to justice. If the United States is on the side of truth and
right, if we stand on the side of the angels, why does this
administration wish to operate in secrecy? Why does Bush feel
that we have to feed the world "black propaganda"
and lies to foster goodwill towards our country?
He apparently believes that we should become a nation of
mushrooms: kept in the dark and fed bullshit.