Saturday, March 10, 2007

Free Speach Threat: Bush Administration Says Scientists Can't Discuss Polar Bears

The fascists in the Bush administration have issued a gag order that halts free discussion by scientists and other government officials on the role of global warming in threatening the survival of polar bears.

In a memo obtained by groups working on the listing of the polar bear as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act, the fascist pricks in the Bush administration now require that all government travel requests "potentially involving climate change, sea ice, and/or polar bears" be accompanied by a memorandum "including a statement of assurance that these individuals understand the administration's position on these issues."

From the New York Times:

    Over the past week, biologists and wildlife officials received a cover note and two sample memorandums to be used as a guide in preparing travel requests. Under the heading “Foreign Travel — New Requirement — Please Review and Comply, Importance: High,” the cover note said:

    “Please be advised that all foreign travel requests (SF 1175 requests) and any future travel requests involving or potentially involving climate change, sea ice and/or polar bears will also require a memorandum from the regional director to the director indicating who’ll be the official spokesman on the trip and the one responding to questions on these issues, particularly polar bears.”

    The sample memorandums, described as to be used in writing travel requests, indicate that the employee seeking permission to travel “understands the administration’s position on climate change, polar bears, and sea ice and will not be speaking on or responding to these issues.”

The order comes as the Department of Interior held the last of three public hearings on its proposal in Barrow, Alaska on Thursday.

"We need leadership, not censorship on global warming," said Andrew Wetzler, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Endangered Species Project. "We rely on our government scientists and officials to be honest brokers with the public and on important issues. This directive restricts their ability to do their jobs," Wetzler said.

The proposal to protect polar bears under the Endangered Species Act was issued in response to a petition and law suit filed by NRDC, the Center for Biological Diversity, and Greenpeace.

Click here to view the US Fish & Wildlife-Alaska site on polar bear research. Polar bears live only in the Arctic and are totally dependent on sea ice for all of their essential needs, including hunting their prey of ice seals. The rapid warming of the Arctic and melting of sea ice poses a threat to polar bears, which could become the first mammal to lose 100 percent of its habitat to climate change as Arctic sea ice is predicted to disappear by the end of this century if global warming is not reversed.

Source: NRDC press release

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