Teachers Chose CIA Manual For Doublespeak Award
Nov. 23, 1985
PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ The National Council of Teachers of English, meeting here this week, has given its 1985 Doublespeak Award to the CIA for its training manual explaining how to ''neutralize'' Nicaraguan officials.
William D. Lutz, chairman of the council's Committee on Public Doublespeak, said Friday the manual was voted this year's ''most conspicuous example of language that is grossly deceptive, evasive, euphemistic, confusing or self- contradicatory.''
The CIA manual was prepared for rebels fighting the Nicaraguan government.
Philadelphia city officials were singled out for special mention for insisting that an ''entry device,'' and not a bomb, was dropped by police on the headquarters of the radical group MOVE May 13.
Doublespeak is the euphemistic language used by characters in the George Orwell novel ''1984.''
Lutz, head of the English department at Rutgers University, said the prize is in keeping with Orwell's intention of exposing gobbledygook in language.
The Pentagon won second prize for statements made by Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January.
''The Soviets demonstrated their defense against cruise missiles a couple of days ago when they shot down one of their errant missiles that was on its way into Finland,'' he said.
Dewey Claridge, former head of CIA clandestine operations in Latin America, won the third-place award for saying that CIA-backed contras who killed ''civilians and Sandinista officials in the provinces, as well as heads of cooperatives, nurses, doctors and judges,'' did not violate President Reagan's order forbidding assassinations.
''These events do not constitute assassinations because as far as we are concerned, assassinations are only those of heads of state,'' Claridge said. ''I leave definitions to the politicians.''
He also argued that Reagan's order could not apply to Nicaraugua because, ''after all, this is a war - a paramilitary operation.''
Marine Corps officials also received special mention for saying that six Marines died and 11 were seriously wounded when a helicopter had a ''hard landing,'' not a crash.