Belmont Club

Air Force None

The New York Post says that none of the photos taken during the VC-25 flyover of Manhattan will be released to the public, by order. “The $328,835 snapshots of an Air Force One backup plane buzzing lower Manhattan last week will not be shown to the public, the White House said yesterday. ‘We have no plans to release them,’ an aide to President Obama told The Post, refusing to comment further.”

Since the stated purpose of the flight, which nearly caused a panic in New York due its resemblance to the 9/11 attack, was to take publicity photographs of an Air Force One type aircraft over New York City, then that purpose has been defeated by the restriction. “The photos . . . are classified — that’s ridiculous,” Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., said. The NY Post speculates that the lid came on in order to avoid reminding the public of the fiasco. Time to move along, I guess.

The photograph shown below is commonly used to illustrate how things “vanish” under political pressure; the missing entity in this case being Nikolai Yezhov, the Evil Dwarf of NKVD notoriety. But ask yourself: how do you know for a fact that the alteration didn’t go the other way? That Yezhov wasn’t added into the picture?

We know the direction of change from collateral information and possibly from the picture itself, where imperfections in the retouching process still show Yezhov’s ghost in the altered photograph. Or do we?

In the walls of the cubicle there were three orifices. To the right of the speakwrite, a small pneumatic tube for written messages, to the left, a larger one for newspapers; and in the side wall, within easy reach of Winston’s arm, a large oblong slit protected by a wire grating. This last was for the disposal of waste paper. Similar slits existed in thousands or tens of thousands throughout the building, not only in every room but at short intervals in every corridor. For some reason they were nicknamed memory holes. When one knew that any document was due for destruction, or even when one saw a scrap of waste paper lying about, it was an automatic action to lift the flap of the nearest memory hole and drop it in, whereupon it would be whirled away on a current of warm air to the enormous furnaces which were hidden somewhere in the recesses of the building.

You never know about things which have gone down the memory hole.

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