Eric and Tony Blair


Timothy Garton Ash, the great opening secret police files, concludes on this thoughtful note:

It has been an odd experience for me, these last few weeks, living between Orwell's 1949, in the early years of the cold war, and 2003, in what may prove to be the early years of the war against terrorism. We are, I think, inching towards a little more open government. Orwell's list is a toe sticking out from under "the blanket". Yet at the same time, the war against terrorism means more power to the secret state, more official secrecy, and more attempts to pull the wool over our eyes through manipulating or intimidating the media. We need to be grown-up here: some secrecy is justified. There are people out there who want to kill us, and this may help to stop them. Since, however, the tendency of the state will always be to err on the side of secrecy and manipulation, we should always err on the other side, as Orwell magnificently did—with one exception, now fully revealed.

Link via Andrew Sullivan.


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  1. The list Orwell provided the government was a list of writers who couldn’t be trusted to create anti-communist propaganda. Surely, the USIA shouldn’t hire the likes of Noam Chomsky or Edward Said to present the American position to the world,and advising the USIA of the same isn’t immoral; how is Orwell’s action any different?

  2. Intelligence agencies often solicit information on false pretexts.

  3. very interesting, thanks

  4. “We are, I think, inching towards a little more open government. ”

    No we aren’t. We’re only inching towards a little more openness about old versions of our government.

  5. EMAIL:
    DATE: 01/25/2004 06:10:56
    After two years in Washington, I often long for the realism and sincerity of Hollywood.

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