File under disappeared information:
Chomsky (or as I like to call him, Noam) talks about the declassification of classified documents [Turning the Tide: Classified Documents / Accountability], and mentions in passing the Reagan administration destruction of documents relating to the overthrow of democratically elected governments in Iraq and Guatemala.
Sometimes it turns out on independent investigation by serious historians that the record has been seriously falsified by omission. Occasionally there are administrations that have such extraordinary hatred of democracy that they simply destroy crucial records rather than allow the feared and despised public to know what their government is doing, even decades later.
The most extreme example is the folks who are now running Washington, in their Reaganite phase, and are now described by the press and commentators as “Wilsonian idealists” pursuing their Leader’s “messianic vision” of bringing democracy for the world, the evidence being that his speech writers declare this to be true. When in office in the 1980s, they refused to release — and perhaps destroyed — records of the overthrow of the elected governments of Iran and Guatemala in 1953, 1954, opening the way in both cases to decades of vicious state crimes. That violation of standard practice was so extreme that the State Department historians, quite a conservative lot, resigned in public protest. I can’t recall another case like it.
… Now, where did I put those files? oh yeah: the memory hole. Well, maybe not those files in particular, but lots of other disappeared information.
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