100 years ago today, author and journalist George Orwell was born. We’ll spend the hour hearing excerpts from his classic work 1984. The book introduced the terms "Big Brother," "thought police," "newspeak" and "doublethink." We’ll also hear clips from President Bush, Attorney General John Ashcroft, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Fox New’s Bill O’Relly, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Sen. Robert Byrd and broadcast footage of Donald Rumsfeld meeting with Saddam Hussein in 1983.
But we begin at the Pentagon, yesterday. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told reporters: "I don’t know anybody that I can think of who has contended that the Iraqis had nuclear weapons… I don’t know anybody in any government or any intelligence agency who suggested that the Iraqis had nuclear weapons. That’s fact number one."
Well we thought of someone who suggested otherwise, his boss, President Bush:
"The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. Saddam Hussein has held numerous meetings with Iraqi nuclear scientists, a group he calls his 'nuclear mujahideen' — his nuclear holy warriors… Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof — the smoking gun — that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud."
That was Bush speaking last October in Cincinnati days before Congress voted to give him the authority to wage a preemptive attack.
Now we will turn to another George, George Orwell who wrote about the rewriting of history.
He was born Eric Arthur Blair in India June 25, 1903. He moved to England in 1907 and would eventually become one of the country’s most heralded writers. It was not until 1933 when he took the name George Orwell. He fought fascism in the Spanish civil war. During the early 1940s he worked as a journalist and editor for the BBC, the Observer and the Manchester Evening News. He published Animal Farm in 1945 and 1984 four years. He died on January 21, 1950 at the age of 46
Orwell’s most famous book, 1984 is a warning about a futuristic totalitarian government that controls the public by spreading propaganda, monitoring citizens, changing language and rewriting history. In 1984 Oceania is in perpetual war. The enemy may regularly change but the state is always at war. And there seems to be no end.
Today we will broadcast portions of excerpts of 1984 read by Charles Morgan and June Foray and produced by Paul Vangelisti over a quarter of a century ago for Pacifica Radio. Special thanks to Brian Dishazor and Mark Torres at the Pacifica Archive.
- A dramatic reading of 1984 read by Charles Morgan and June Foray and produced by Paul Vangelisti for Pacifica Radio in 1975.
- Excerpts of recent clips featuring clips President Bush, Attorney General John Ashcroft, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Fox New’s Bill O’Relly, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Democracy Now!’s Jeremy Scahill and footage of Donald Rumsfeld meeting with Saddam Hussein in 1983.