Saturday, February 28, 2004

Censorship, plainly defined. Need any more proof that the Bush administration has utter contempt for the First Amendment? The New York Times reports today that the Treasury Department "has warned publishers that they may face grave legal consequences for editing manuscripts from Iran and other disfavored nations, on the ground that such tinkering amounts to trading with the enemy."

The story, by Adam Liptak, continues:

Adding illustrations is prohibited, too. To the baffled dismay of publishers, editors and translators who have been briefed about the policy, only publication of "camera-ready copies of manuscripts" is allowed.

The Treasury letters concerned Iran. But the logic, experts said, would seem to extend to Cuba, Libya, North Korea and other nations with which most trade is banned without a government license.

Nahid Mozaffari, an expert on Iranian literature, tells Liptak: "A story, a poem, an article on history, archaeology, linguistics, engineering, physics, mathematics, or any other area of knowledge cannot be translated, and even if submitted in English, cannot be edited in the US. This means that the publication of the PEN Anthology of Contemporary Persian Literature that I have been editing for the last three years would constitute aiding and abetting the enemy."

Democracy Now did a segment on this last Tuesday.

"It does not reflect the facts of his service." Even after all that's been reported, the Boston Globe's Walter Robinson finds that the White House is still puffing George W. Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard.

Bush flack Dan Bartlett says it will be corrected. But it hasn't been as of this morning. The State Department site that Robinson points to contains the same language that he reports in his article:

George W. graduated from Yale in May of 1968 with a major in history. Two weeks before graduation, he went to the offices of the Texas Air National Guard at Ellington Air Force Base outside Houston to sign up for pilot training. One motivation, he said, was to learn to fly, as his father had done during World War II. George W. was commissioned as a second lieutenant and spent two years on active duty, flying F-102 fighter interceptors. For almost four years after that [uh, no] he was on a part-time status, flying occasional missions to help the Air National Guard keep two of its F-102s on round-the-clock alert.

A disgrace.

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