October 27, 2006



State secrets
by Jim Hightower

In repressive regimes, it's common for the authorities to run closed governments, and it’s also common for them to crack down hard on people who dare to try shining a little light on the government's actions.

Take China. On May 28, it was reported that authorities there were prosecuting a newspaper researcher for revealing in a published report that a certain Chinese official was about to resign as chief of the military. The researcher’s crime? Divulging "state secrets."

Thank goodness we don't live in such a repressive state, right? Yet, on this same day, it was also reported that the Bushites were trying to prevent two civil liberties groups from challenging the legality of Bush's ongoing program of spying on millions of Americans. In an extraordinary move, the government asked two federal judges to block these watchdog groups from exercising their constitutional right to go to court. Why? The Bushites claimed that merely defending the legality of their sweeping spy program could divulge "state secrets."

Then, the next day, it was reported that Bush's lapdog of an attorney general, Alberto "See No Evil" Gonzales, was warning journalists that they could be prosecuted just for reporting on big stories like Bush's secret spy program. Gonzales menacingly declared, "There are some statutes on the books which, if you read the language carefully, would seem to indicate that [prosecution] is a possibility." What would be the charge against reporters? Divulging "state secrets."

So, let's review: The Bushites secretly run an illegal and unconstitutional spy program against their own people. Then, when it's uncovered by reporters and challenged in court, the Bush-Cheney regime goes after the reporters and challengers, trying to hide its autocratic act behind the curtain of "state secrets."

How different are they from China's repressive regime?

Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Let’s Stop Beating Around the Bush, on sale from Viking Press. For more information, visit www.jimhightower.com


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