Last mission to repair the Hubble telescope Hubble space telescope discoveries have enriched our understanding of the cosmos. In this special report, you will see facts about the Hubble space telescope, discoveries it has made and what the last mission's goals are.
For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Bush squads stifle free speech
A Times Editorial
Published August 31, 2007
Had President George W. Bush been running the country in 1773 instead of King George III, the historically significant protest known as the Boston Tea Party might never have taken place. The patriots disguised as Indians would have been denied entry to the docks where the British ships laden with tea were moored, or surrounded and shouted down by royal "rally squads," or arrested by the king's police.
Sound ludicrous? Take a look at a 12-page document recently released by the White House with the title "Presidential Advance Manual." (It's available online at www.aclu.org with a search of the title.)
Stamped "Sensitive - Do Not Copy" on its cover, the manual instructs the president's staff on how to squelch legitimate protest at a presidential event. It was made public only after the American Civil Liberties Union subpoenaed documents in a lawsuit on behalf of two protesters who were arrested at a Bush speech. Parts of the manual are redacted, but plenty of details remain to paint a disturbing picture of the administration's disdain for dissent.
First, the manual instructs, try to spot any potential protesters outside the event so they can be denied admission tickets. Only a "trusted local volunteer" is allowed to distribute tickets, which should be given only to those involved in the event or "other groups extremely supportive of the administration." The word "extremely" is underlined in the manual so there is no mistake.
To prevent demonstrators who might have obtained a ticket from entering the event, organizers are instructed to turn back those who appear to have "folded cloth signs." If protesters still slip through, they are to be countered by "rally squads" loyal to the president, whose members could include "college/Young Republican organizations, local athletic teams and fraternities/sororities."
The rally squads are to use their own banners to shield the demonstrators' signs from "the main press platform." Should the demonstrators express themselves verbally, the manual goes on, "rally squads can begin and lead supportive chants to drown out the protesters (USA! USA! USA!)." For good measure, "one squad should be 'roaming' throughout the perimeter of the event to look for potential problems."
Of course prevention of free speech is always the best choice, according to the manual: "First, as always, work with the Secret Service and have them ask the local police department to designate a protest area where demonstrators can be placed, preferably not in view of the event site or motorcade route." Heaven forbid Bush hear a word of dissent.
The ACLU is representing two people who were arrested at a Bush speech when they refused to cover up their T-shirts printed with these messages: "Regime Change Starts at Home" and "Love America, Hate Bush." The man and woman were handcuffed and briefly jailed before police dropped the charges and apologized.
Hard to believe all of this is happening not in Putin's Russia or Castro's Cuba but in Bush's America, where secret squads suppress free speech lest someone hear a discouraging word.