Last year PR Watch noted that since 9/11 Hollywood is working with the White House on US global propaganda efforts. Apparently some in Hollywood see film censorship as part of their patriotic duty. The New York Times reported this October that "a cataclysmic event can change the fate of a movie. One example is The Quiet American, the ... adaptation of Graham Greene's 1955 novel. ... Miramax executives worried ... [it] ...could be seen as a searing critique of United States imperialism.
The Homeland Defense Bill currently working its way through Congress adds a new exemption to the Freedom of Information Act, protecting the secrecy of information that companies submit voluntarily to the government. Supporters say the exemption makes it easier for companies to share information with the government to assist the "war on terrorism." Critics, like Rep.
"We know that secrecy by its very nature may affect the personality of its practioners," wrote the still-secret author of a 1977 secret study by the CIA, which noted that these "unintended psychological effects ... seem to diminish rather than enhance security." The author, whose study was finally declassified last month, pointed to the example of Pearl Harbor: "That most disastrous of intelligence failures was due in no small measure to the mishandling of compartmented intelligence.
OMB Watch, a nonprofit organization that monitors the White House Office of Management and Budget, has issued a working paper titled "The Bush Administration's Secrecy Policy: A Call to Action to Protect Democratic Values."
As chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Bob Graham (D-FL) sees classified government information that isn't released to the public. Based on what he's seen, he told CBS News, the Bush Administration appears to be selectively disclosing classified information based on politics rather than the requirements of national security. "There's been a pattern in which information is provided on a classified basis, and then what is declassified are those sections of the report that are most advantageous to the administration," Graham said.
"Tensions have escalated far beyond the inevitable grousing
between press secretaries and journalists, who said they
could not remember a White House that was more grudging or
In an effort to distance itself from the stench of its reputation as the world's worst tobacco company, Philip Morris recently changed its name to "Altria." To guard the new name against parodies, the company then sneakily bought up the domain name registration for "AltriaSucks.com." Bret Fausett,
"I'm astonished that anyone's astonished" at the failures of the American intelligence community to detect or prevent terrorism, writes information guru John Perry Barlow. "After a decade of both fighting with and consulting to the intelligence community, I've concluded that the American intelligence system is broken beyond repair, self-protective beyond reform, and permanently fixated on a world that no longer exists." How could it be otherwise, he asks, in institutions that were designed to be paranoid and secretive?
"I would say that the greatest threat to democracy right now in the United State is George Bush's casual use of propaganda, and sometimes lies, to advance his case against Iraq," Harper's publisher Rick MacArthur told Democracy Now's Amy Goodman. MacArthur is also author of "The Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War." Goodman asked MacArthur to revisit the elder Bush White House's control of the press corps during that administration's Persian Gulf War. Journalists then faced strict Pentagon control, including no freedom of movement and PR escorts at all times.