Cross-posted in Making a Ripple.
George Orwell published 1984 in 1949. It was in this dystopia, that Winston Smith, the hero, leads his life working at the Ministry of Truth. Doublespeak is the standard at this government department, where Orwell relates that “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and Ignorance is Strength”.
As Orwell writes in Chapter 4, about the work that Winston does:
“What happened in the unseen labyrinth to which the pneumatic tubes led, he did not know in detail, but he did know in general terms. As soon as all the corrections which happened to be necessary in any particular number of The Times had been assembled and collated, that number would be reprinted, the original copy destroyed, and the corrected copy placed on the files in its stead. This process of continuous alteration was applied not only to newspapers, but to books, periodicals, pamphlets, posters, leaflets, films, sound-tracks, cartoons, photographs — to every kind of literature or documentation which might conceivably hold any political or ideological significance. Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct, nor was any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record. All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary. In no case would it have been possible, once the deed was done, to prove that any falsification had taken place. The largest section of the Records Department, far larger than the one on which Winston worked, consisted simply of persons whose duty it was to track down and collect all copies of books, newspapers, and other documents which had been superseded and were due for destruction.”
Too bad Orwell now has become more than a high school text for English classes.
It appears that it is now the model for this President who when facts don’t fit his views, he rewrites facts to fit his platform.
Most recently, about Global Warming.
One of the first pieces of evidence about a White House policy to rewrite facts to fit their opinions was reported in 2005, when Philip A. Cooney was reported to have rewritten global warming reports. He wasn’t even a scientist. He was a former lobbyist, who after getting dismissed, found a new job at Exxon within days of getting the boot.
“In handwritten notes on drafts of several reports issued in 2002 and 2003, the official, Philip A. Cooney, removed or adjusted descriptions of climate research that government scientists and their supervisors, including some senior Bush administration officials, had already approved. In many cases, the changes appeared in the final reports.
The dozens of changes, while sometimes as subtle as the insertion of the phrase “significant and fundamental” before the word “uncertainties,” tend to produce an air of doubt about findings that most climate experts say are robust.
Mr. Cooney is chief of staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the office that helps devise and promote administration policies on environmental issues.”
Then in 2006, there was the story about James Hansen who believes that global warming is accelerating. Mr. Hansen works at NASA where he studies global warming.
As reported in July, 2006:
“Those human changes, he says, are driven by burning fossil fuels that pump out greenhouse gases like CO2, carbon dioxide. Hansen has a theory that man has just 10 years to reduce greenhouse gases before global warming reaches what he calls a tipping point and becomes unstoppable. He says the White House is blocking that message.
“In my more than three decades in the government I’ve never witnessed such restrictions on the ability of scientists to communicate with the public,” says Hansen.
Restrictions like an e-mail Hansen’s institute received from NASA in 2004. “… there is a new review process … ,” the e-mail read. “The White House (is) now reviewing all climate related press releases,” it continued.”
That story continued:
“Dozens of federal agencies report science but much of it is edited at the White House before it is sent to Congress and the public. It appears climate science is edited with a heavy hand. Drafts of climate reports were co-written by Rick Piltz for the federal Climate Change Science Program. But Piltz says his work was edited by the White House to make global warming seem less threatening.
“The strategy of people with a political agenda to avoid this issue is to say there is so much to study way upstream here that we can’t even being to discuss impacts and response strategies,” says Piltz. “There’s too much uncertainty. It’s not the climate scientists that are saying that, its lawyers and politicians.”
“Asked what happens, Piltz says: “It comes back with a large number of edits, handwritten on the hard copy by the chief-of-staff of the Council on Environmental Quality.”
Asked who the chief of staff is, Piltz says, “Phil Cooney.”
Piltz says Cooney is not a scientist. “He’s a lawyer. He was a lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute, before going into the White House,” he says.
Cooney, the former oil industry lobbyist, became chief-of-staff at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Piltz says Cooney edited climate reports in his own hand. In one report, a line that said earth is undergoing rapid change becomes “may be undergoing change.” “Uncertainty” becomes “significant remaining uncertainty.” One line that says energy production contributes to warming was just crossed out.
“He was obviously passing it through a political screen,” says Piltz. “He would put in the word potential or may or weaken or delete text that had to do with the likely consequence of climate change, pump up uncertainty language throughout.”
So is it any surprise today that with the Democrats in charge of Congress, and Congressional oversight of this Administration being implemented that more cases of abuse should come to light?
As reported at the hearing:
“…two private advocacy groups presented a survey of government climate scientists showing that many of them say they have been subjected to political pressure aimed at downplaying the threat of global warming.
The groups presented a survey that shows 40 percent of the 279 climate scientists who responded complained that some of their scientific papers had been edited in a way that changed their meaning. Nearly half the 279 said had been told to delete reference to “global warming” or “climate change” from a report.
The questionnaire was sent by the Union of Concerned Scientists, a private advocacy group. The report also was based on “firsthand experiences” described in interviews with the Government Accountability Project, which helps government whistleblowers, lawmakers were told.
The groups’ report described largely anonymous claims by scientists that their findings at times at been misrepresented, that they had been pressured to change findings and had been restricted on what they were allowed to say publicly.
The survey involved scientists across the government from NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency to the departments of Agriculture, Energy, Commerce, Defense and Interior. In all the government employs more than 2,000 scientists who spend at least some time on climate issues, the report said.
The two advocacy groups said their research — based on the questionnaires, interviews and documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act — revealed “evidence of widespread interference in climate science in federal agencies.”
This is stuff right out of Orwell.
Rewriting facts to create doubt into accepted scientific observations. Censoring scientists from speaking to the press. Lies, Lies and more Lies.
We need more than a climate change in Washington! We need representatives who defend the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth!
Otherwise when we hear that sending 21,000 soldiers to Iraq in order to bring our soldiers home, we shall believe what we hear. Because truth will be meaningless, and war will be peace, and ignorance will be strength once more.
But this time, for real.