Sunday, August 21, 2011


A Soviet "nonperson" vanishes: commissar Nikolai Yezhov retouched after falling from favor and being executed in 1940.

The falsification of history via the doctoring of documents and photographs didn't begin in our modern computer era. In Stalinist Russia, it was commonplace for Soviet history to be rewritten with individuals who had somehow fallen afoul of Stalin removed from official photographs. In one noteworthy sequence, a photograph of Stalin with three revolutionary leaders is airbrushed and cropped and clipped until, one by one, those leaders disappear and only Stalin is left - conveying the message that Stalin carried the Russian Revolution by himself. Another photograph from the 1920s depicts a meeting of dozens of trade-union and Bolshevik leaders; by the late 1930s, all but a handful of them had been murdered at Stalin's orders.

For Joseph Stalin, photo retouching was a technique for controlling public perception and memory. People who vanished in real life - whether banished to the farthest reaches of the Soviet Union or eliminated by the secret police - vanished as well from photos, and even paintings. In many cases they were airbrushed out completely, in others their faces were clumsily blacked out with ink.

Now this creepy rewriting of history is being replicated by the current occupiers of our own Whitehouse; the Obama Administration; from Commentary magazine:

The Obama White House is gearing up for a Supreme Court case in which it will defend its refusal to list “Jerusalem, Israel” on the passports of Americans born in the Israeli capital. As part of its preparations the administration recently scrubbed all the captions on a White House photo gallery of Vice President Biden in the city, changing “Jerusalem, Israel” to “Jerusalem.” The optics of methodically erasing the word “Israel” from the White House webpage caused a predictable uproar.

The point of posting these two photos (above and below) is to show that, although the State Department refuses to say that Jerusalem is in Israel, even the White House website acknowledges this elementary truth. But not any more; within two hours of posting, the White House has apparently gone through its website, cleansing any reference to Jerusalem as being in Israel. Click on the photos to get a clear read on the respective captions.

They are attempting to literally "wipe Jerusalem, Israel off of the map" -S.L

. . . then, when the Washington Jewish Week’s Adam Kredo published an article claiming that the Bush administration had enforced an identical policy. Kredo cited a “search of the Bush White House’s archives” and photos of Laura Bush touring the Western Wall to conclude that the Bush White House webpage “never explicitly labeled [Jerusalem] as part of Israel.” . . . Obama’s defenders latched on to his article . . .

Elliot Abrams responded in a quote he gave to Jennifer Rubin, forcefully insisting that Kredo was “just wrong” and that the Bush White House “did not have a hard and fast rule that prohibited referring to Jerusalem” as part of Israel in documents and captions.

Basic Google searches are enough to show that Abrams is right and Obama’s defenders are flat wrong.

Sometimes Bush-era White House photos explicitly identified Jerusalem as being in Israel and sometimes they didn’t, just like sometimes they explicitly identified Tel Aviv as being in Israel and sometimes they didn’t. A naive “Jerusalem, Israel” Google search on the Bush White House archives is sufficient to turn up this 2002 photo of Vice President Cheney captioned as “a press briefing in Jerusalem, Israel.” It also turns up this photo labeled “Mrs. Laura Bush visits the Western Wall Tunnels… in Jerusalem, Israel.” That’s from the exact, precise, identical tour that Kredo linked to in order to “hammer home the point” that the Bush administration “never explicitly labeled [Jerusalem] as part of Israel.”

Getting beyond photo captions, Bush-era documents show that the previous White House was indeed able to correctly identify the city of Jerusalem as being inside the state of Israel. The record shows that the President even acknowledged that the Jerusalem consulate – the same one that won’t issue passports referencing “Jerusalem, Israel” – was located in Jerusalem, Israel. Bush’s statement nominating Jeffrey Feltman to be ambassador to Lebanon, for instance, explicitly described Feltman’s previous position as “Deputy Principal Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem, Israel.”

Read all the details of this incredible story HERE

It gets worse for Obama’s defenders, though, than merely being demonstrably wrong. It turns out that while they were insisting that the Bush administration consistently refused to reference “Jerusalem, Israel,” the Obama State Department was busy scrubbing documents in which Bush administration referenced “Jerusalem, Israel.” Straight down the memory hole. That’s kind of amazing when you pause and think about it, no?

The “Jerusalem, Israel” captions and statements from the Bush-era White House are digitally archived and frozen, and so beyond the administration’s reach. But Bush-era State Department reports are stored on the Obama State Department’s servers. Two old documents in particular – the State Department’s FY 2002 and FY 2003 Performance and Accountability Reports – come up quickly in searches. When they were originally written they both had appendices identifying the location of the Jerusalem consulate as “Jerusalem, Israel.” Some time in the last two weeks that location was changed to “Jerusalem.” Whoever made the changes even went back and scrubbed the old “hard copy” PDFs. You can do the compare and contrast yourself. Click on these links for scrubbed versions of FY 2002 HTML, FY 2003 HTML, FY 2002 PDF, FY 2003 PDF, and on these links for cached original versions of FY 2002 HTML, FY 2003 HTML, FY 2002 PDF, FY 2003 PDF.



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