1. The U.S. and Costa Rican Democracy
2. "The Evil Scourge of Terrorism"
3. Heroes and Devils
4. The "Peace Process" in the Middle East
5. The Best Defense
6. La Prensa
7. "The Courage to Preserve Civil Liberties"
8. The Continuing Struggle
As noted in
chapter 5, the Costa Rican system established by the 1948 coup led by José (Don Pepe) Figueres satisfied the basic conditions required by U.S. global policy and ideology. Figueres aligned himself unequivocally with the United States. His government provided a favorable climate for foreign investment, guaranteed the domestic predominance of business interests, and laid a proper basis for repression of labor and political dissidence if required, even outlawing the Communist Party in its 1949 Constitution. Still, the United States remained dissatisfied.
Suspicions about Costa Rica were voiced early on, as the intelligence reports already cited indicate.2 In 1952, the CIA warned that Guatemala "has recently stepped-up substantially its support of Communist and anti-American activities in other Central American countries," one prime example being the alleged gift of $300,000 to Figueres, then a candidate for election. The situation in Guatemala itself, of course, was regarded as "adverse to US interests" because of the "Communist influence...based on militant advocacy of social reforms and nationalistic policies identified with the Guatemalan Revolution of 1944," which initiated the ten-year democratic interlude terminated by the CIA coup. Worse yet, the "radical and nationalist policies" of the democratic capitalist government, including the "persecution of foreign economic interests, especially the United Fruit Company," had gained "the support or acquiescence of almost all Guatemalans." The government was proceeding to create "mass support for the present regime" by labor organization and agrarian reform and "to mobilize the hitherto politically inert peasantry" while undermining the power of large landholders. Furthermore, "Guatemalan official propaganda, with its emphasis on conflict between democracy and dictatorship and between national independence and `economic imperialism,' is a disturbing factor in the Caribbean area"; the background for the judgment is Washington's support for dictatorships and its natural fear of independent democratic tendencies. Also disturbing was Guatemalan support for "the `democratic' elements of other Caribbean countries in their struggles against `dictatorship'." The 1944 revolution had aroused "a strong national movement to free Guatemala from the military dictatorship, social backwardness, and `economic colonialism' which had been the pattern of the past," and "inspired the loyalty and conformed to the self-interest of most politically conscious Guatemalans." Hence "Neither the landholders nor the [United] Fruit Company can expect any sympathy in Guatemalan public opinion." A "Commie display of strength" at a "gigantic May Day celebration" was particularly distressing, given what intelligence perceived to be their leading role in these ominous developments.3 It was feared that Figueres might lend himself to similar Commie schemes.
American Ambassador Robert Woodward reported to Washington in 1955 that the Figueres government is "controversial" and not entirely reliable. True, Figueres had just "expressed appreciation for the activities of the United Fruit Company" and had "dislodged the commies from their powerful position" in the pre-coup government. But he "made himself suspect when he continued to support the Arbenz regime in Guatemala long after it was dominated by communists"; that is, long after this capitalist democracy was targeted for elimination by the CIA.
As yet, "the commies have presented no grave problem" in Costa Rica, Ambassador Woodward continued, noting that "the Constitution outlaws the Communist Party." But the commies represent "a potential danger" because they have not been rooted out of "the laboring class," and the suspect government "has made no move to stamp out the movement completely," as a solid commitment to democracy would require. With the "communists" not eliminated entirely, there might be problems in controlling banana workers and other dangerous elements. Who can tell when these subversives might try to organize to struggle for their rights? Thirty years later, the Twentieth Century Fund warns of the problems "brought on by the radicalization of the banana unions under Communist leadership," including "a lengthy strike in 1984 which resulted in violence -- and several deaths." These and other problems had led the United Fruit Company "to turn some of its acreage over to palm oil -- a less labor-intensive crop," so that such difficulties would not arise.4
Furthermore, Ambassador Woodward continued, the security forces "are handicapped in arresting communists because of the protection afforded the individual in the Costa Rican Constitution." But despite these unfortunate deviations from democracy, "it should not be too difficult to suppress communist publications," even though this risks "the hue and cry of the comrades against suppression of freedom of expression"; and "the application of limited force" should also be possible if we can provide the government with adequate intelligence and help them convince the public that "communism constituted a present menace." This public relations effort requires that the public be "conditioned" to "the use of force by the authorities," by means of "a strong propaganda campaign." Again, we see the importance of necessary illusions to lay the groundwork for the effective use of violence.
The policy recommendations, then, are that "the government should be urged to maintain closer surveillance over communists and prosecute them more vigorously" (by means that remain censored), and "the government should be influenced to amend the Constitution to limit the travel of communists, increase penalties for subversive activities and enact proposed legislation eliminating communists from union leadership," while the U.S. Information Agency programs "to condition the public to the communist menace" should be maintained. The United Fruit Company, which dominated much of the economy, should proceed to bring Figueres "to the point where he will become a Hemisphere-wide public relations agent for the Company." That should not be difficult, because he is already becoming "the best advertising agency that the United Fruit Company could find in Latin America."
To carry these efforts further, the Ambassador recommended that the United Fruit Company be induced to introduce "a few relatively simple and superficial human-interest frills for the workers that may have a large psychological effect." These recommendations should put to rest the calumny that the United States government lacks concern for the working class and the poor.
Ambassador Woodward's advice to United Fruit recalls a private communication of Secretary of State John Foster Dulles to President Eisenhower on how to bring Latin Americans into line with U.S. plans for their future as providers of raw materials and profits for U.S. corporations: "you have to pat them a little bit and make them think that you are fond of them."5
The State Department perceived "weaknesses" in Costa Rica "in the detection and investigation of communist activity" and "the absence of legal authority to move against communists." Another problem was the inadequate resources of the security services, who "can, therefore, contribute little to the surveillance and control of the international communist movement." While the media "make extensive use of news and special articles" from the U.S. propaganda services, more can be done in this regard to "encourage confidence in democracy and free enterprise" -- the two being operationally equivalent -- and to overcome the current "lackadaisical...attitude of the government toward [the] suppression" of communists. The State Department recommended convincing the government to take measures to "Limit the international movement of communists, Increase penalties for communist activities, Eliminate communists from union leadership, Restrict communist propaganda," while continuing U.S. propaganda programs "to increase public support for anti-communist measures."
In short, the United States should foster democracy.
It should not be assumed that these are only the thoughts of the Republican Eisenhower administration. If anything, the Kennedy liberals were even more concerned to ensure that democratic forms remain within appropriate bounds.6
In later years, Don Pepe continued to serve the cause of the United States, as standard bearer of the Free World, while advocating probity in government, class collaboration, and economic development sensitive to the needs of business and foreign investors. In the Kennedy period he enlisted secret funding from the CIA for projects of the "Democratic Left," and dismissed later revelations of CIA funding as "silly and adolescent" while praising the CIA for the "delicate political and cultural tasks" it was performing "thanks to the devotion of the liberals in the organization." He particularly valued the contributions of Jay Lovestone and other U.S. labor bureaucrats, who had compiled an impressive record of undermining the labor movement in Latin America and elsewhere with CIA assistance.7 He supported the Bay of Pigs invasion, anticipating "a quick victory by the democratic forces which have gone into Cuba," and later expressed his regrets for their "lamentable" defeat. He was concerned only that that his enemy Trujillo be deposed first, after which the Dominican Republic could be used as a base against Castro. When the Johnson administration invaded the Dominican Republic to prevent the re-establishment of the constitutional government under the democratic capitalist reformer Juan Bosch, under a series of fabricated pretexts including the usual rhetoric about takeover by Communists, Don Pepe reacted with ambivalence, pleading for understanding of Johnson's actions which, he held, were necessary, to avoid his impeachment.8
As the United States geared up for its attack on popular organizations and social reform in Central America in the 1980s, Costa Rica continued to cooperate, but with insufficient enthusiasm from the Reaganite perspective, particularly under the Arias government. Arias accepted the basic norms, lauding Washington's terror states as "democracies," condemning the Sandinistas for failing to observe the regional standards to which the U.S. clients conform, and assuring the press that "I told Mr. Shultz that the Sandinistas today are bad guys, and you are good guys, that they have unmasked themselves" by the repression at Nandaime.9 But this level of support for U.S.-backed terror did not suffice for the jingoist right, offended by the fact that Arias joined general Latin American opinion in opposing overt U.S. violence in the region. In September 1987, according to the Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA), he was summoned to the White House to receive a "stern lecture" from Reagan, prepared by Elliott Abrams, warning him not to appeal directly to Congress to terminate contra aid. In previous months, delay of aid to Costa Rica and other pressures had served as a warning of what might be in store. When Arias responded with critical remarks about U.S. policy, COHA reports, "the outraged Reagan was heard to exclaim as Arias took his leave, "Who is that dwarf?" Since then, Arias has "not had the nerve to step over that limit established for him by Washington," risking the loss of the U.S. economic aid that maintains "the illusion of prosperity" that "is critical to preservation of the country's increasingly fragile democracy."10
Meanwhile, José Figueres became a nonperson -- apart from ritual invocation of his name in the course of media denunciations of Nicaragua -- because of his completely unacceptable reactions to the Sandinista revolution and the U.S. terrorist attack against Nicaragua, as discussed earlier. It is recognized that he "is still probably the most popular and powerful individual in the country," but he is "an erratic thinker and personality" -- as shown now by his defense of the Sandinistas and "vociferous" opposition to "U.S. intervention against the Marxist Managua regime."11 It is only reasonable, then, that the American public should be protected from the confusion that might be sown by exposure to the thoughts of the leading figure of capitalist democracy in Central America.
Costa Rica's external debt tripled from 1977 to 1981, and has since almost doubled to over $4 billion, with new loans of $500 million in 1988 and a trade deficit of $200 million a year. Current debt to private banks amounts to $200 million in interest alone, but though payment is largely suspended, the international lending institutions keep the funds flowing. "Costa Rica has lost the ability to determine its own economic future," the San José journal Mesoamerica concluded in mid-1988, reporting that real wages had fallen 42 percent in the preceding five years, as prices increased while subsidies for food and medicine were reduced or eliminated. The infant mortality rate had risen sharply in certain areas, primarily because of the economic crisis and increasing hunger, according to the University of Costa Rica's Institute for Health Research. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) demanded further cuts in social spending, lowering of the minimum wage, and cutting of government employees, "thus jeopardizing what had been one of the most enlightened social service programs in Latin America," Mesoamerica reports. Once self-sufficient in agriculture, Costa Rica is now importing staples as it shifts to largely foreign-controlled exports, including export crops, in line with traditional IMF-World Bank-USAID directives, a familiar recipe for disaster in Third World countries. "Arias's pro-big business economic strategy," COHA observes, may turn large numbers of once self-sufficient farmers to wage laborers on agribusiness plantations while profits are largely expatriated, "a major change of philosophy in a country that has had a strong state-directed welfare orientation."12
There is also growing civil unrest. Landless campesinos led by priests have occupied abandoned land, leading to arrests and forced expulsion. A report of the Human Rights Commission of Costa Rica documents dozens of complaints of illegal expulsion and abuse of authority during the past two years, including several assassinations, implicating the security forces, especially the Rural Guard, in violence against campesinos. Father Elías Arias, a priest imprisoned with 100 squatters, stated that "Costa Rica urgently needs land reform, but the legislators are reluctant to carry out this type of reform which is against their own self-interest. Instead of helping the campesinos, they have been protecting the property of John Hull," the wealthy U.S. landowner and CIA asset who was actively involved in the attack against Nicaragua from Costa Rican bases.13
Through the 1980s, Costa Rica was able to defer these problems thanks to rising U.S. aid, understood to be conditional on its general support for U.S. objectives in the region. It is only the enormous aid flow that has kept "Costa Rica's standard of living from plummeting even more disastrously and its society from collapse," Sanders observes, noting that it is possibly second only to Israel, a unique case in terms of foreign sustenance, in per capita foreign indebtedness. "Only the massive flow of American aid...staves off catastrophe." The economic problems have been enhanced by massive capital flight and self-enrichment by the private sector. There are, he warns, severe dangers of a "nationalistic backlash that can be exploited by troublemakers, particularly by the far left," encouraged by the evil Sandinistas leering across the border. This threat is less ominous than before; the crippling of the Nicaraguan economy and the "political oppression of the Sandinista regime" may have "inoculated the Costa Ricans for the time being against a shift to the left" -- at least, those Costa Ricans who can see what Big Brother has in store for them.14
Leaving nothing to chance, the United States has been supporting "parallel structures in Costa Rica, especially within the security services," COHA alleges, citing U.S.-backed military and paramilitary training programs and frequent reports, one verified personally by a COHA staff member in January 1988, of "U.S.-sponsored clandestine arms deliveries to...private paramilitary groups" associated with right-wing organizations and the Civil Guard, with Washington connections in the background.15
José Figueres observed that "the persecution of the Sandinistas is just one element of this trend" under the Reaganites that he deplored. "Another is the effort to undo Costa Rica's social institutions, to turn our whole economy over to the businesspeople, and to do away with our social insurance, our nationalized bank, our nationalized electric utility -- the few companies we have that are too large to be in private hands. The United States is trying to force us to sell them to so-called private enterprise, which means turning them over to the local oligarchy or to U.S. or European companies. We're fighting back as best we can," with uncertain prospects.16
There is a standard device to whip the domestic population of any country into line in support of policies that they oppose: induce fear of some terrifying enemy, poised to destroy them. As discussed in
chapter 5, "the evil scourge of terrorism" was a natural choice for this role in the early 1980s, as the United States sought to concoct an enemy weak enough to be attacked with impunity but sufficiently threatening to mobilize the general population in support of the Reaganite expansion of state power at home and violence abroad. The threat waned when it became necessary to face the costs of these policies a few years later. The media rallied enthusiastically to the enterprise.18
The meaning of the term "terrorism" is not seriously in dispute. It is defined with sufficient clarity in the official U.S. Code and numerous government publications. A U.S. Army manual on countering the plague defines terrorism as "the calculated use of violence or threat of violence to attain goals that are political, religious, or ideological in nature. This is done through intimidation, coercion, or instilling fear." Still more succinct is the characterization in a Pentagon-commissioned study by noted terrorologist Robert Kupperman, which speaks of the threat or use of force "to achieve political objectives without the full-scale commitment of resources."19
Kupperman, however, is not defining "terrorism"; rather, "low intensity confict" (LIC), a form of international terrorism, as the definition indicates and actual practice confirms. LIC is the doctrine to which the United States is officially committed and which has proven its worth in preventing successful independent development in Nicaragua, though it faltered in El Salvador despite its awesome toll. It must be emphasized that LIC -- much like its predecessor, "counterinsurgency" -- is hardly more than a euphemism for international terrorism, that is, reliance on force that does not reach the level of the war crime of aggression, which falls under the judgment of Nuremberg.
There are many terrorist states in the world, but the United States is unusual in that it is officially committed to international terrorism, and on a scale that puts its rivals to shame. Take Iran, surely a terrorist state, as government and media rightly proclaim. Its major known contribution to international terrorism was revealed during the Iran-contra scandal: namely, Iran's perhaps inadvertent involvement in the U.S. proxy war against Nicaragua, a topic of much attention by the media, which succeeded in not noticing this uncomfortable though perfectly evident fact. The U.S. commitment to international terrorism reaches to fine detail. Thus the proxy force attacking Nicaragua is directed to attack agricultural cooperatives -- exactly what we denounce with horror on the part of Abu Nidal. In this case, the directives have explicit State Department authorization and the approval of media doves. The U.S.-organized security forces in El Salvador follow the same policy.20
"Terrorism is a war against ordinary citizens"; "the terrorists -- and the other states that aid and abet them -- serve as grim reminders that democracy is fragile and needs to be guarded with vigilance." So George Shultz thundered at the very moment of the U.S. terrorist attack against Libya. "Negotiations are a euphemism for capitulation if the shadow of power is not cast across the bargaining table," he added, also condemning those who advocate "utopian, legalistic means like outside mediation, the United Nations, and the World Court, while ignoring the power element of the equation." The sentiments are not without precedent in modern history.21
It has required considerable discipline on the part of the "specialized class" to maintain its own studied ignorance while denouncing the terrorism of others on command and cue.
We learn just how impressive this achievement has been when we turn to the major examples of the plague. To avoid making the task of exposure too easy, let us put aside the extraordinary outburst of terror throughout Central America in the 1980s -- overwhelmingly state-directed international terrorism, given the crucial U.S. role, hence an instance of the major crime of the period, according to the rhetoric of the 1980s, in fact by far the most extreme example.
Consider the year 1985, when media concern over terrorism peaked. The major single terrorist act of 1985 was the blowing up of an Air India flight, killing 329 people. The terrorists had been instructed in their craft in a paramilitary camp in Alabama run by Frank Camper, where mercenaries were trained for terrorist acts in Central America and elsewhere. According to ex-mercenaries, Camper had close ties to U.S. intelligence and was personally involved in the Air India bombing, allegedly a "sting" operation that got out of control. On a visit to India, Attorney-General Edwin Meese conceded in a backhanded way that the terrorist operations originated in a U.S. terrorist training camp, in statements that were barely reported in the press.22 Any connection of a terrorist to Libya, however frail, suffices to demonstrate that Qaddafi is a "mad dog" who must be eliminated.
Turning to the Middle East, the primary locus of international terrorism according to state doctrine and the media, the major single terrorist act of 1985 was a car-bombing in Beirut in March that killed 80 people and wounded 200. The target was the Shi'ite leader Sheikh Fadlallah, accused of complicity in terrorism, but he escaped. The attack was arranged by the CIA and its Saudi clients with the assistance of Lebanese intelligence and a British specialist, and specifically authorized by CIA director William Casey, according to Bob Woodward's account in his book on Casey and the CIA.23
It follows that the United States easily wins the prize for single acts of international terrorism in the peak year of the official plague. The U.S. client state of Israel follows closely behind. Its Iron Fist operations in Lebanon were without parallel for the year as sustained acts of international terrorism, and the bombing of Tunis (with tacit U.S. support) wins second prize for single terrorist acts, unless we take this to be a case of actual aggression, as was determined by a U.N. Security Council resolution, with the U.S. abstaining.24
In 1986, the major single terrorist act was the U.S. bombing of Libya -- assuming, again, that we do not assign this attack to the category of aggression. This was a brilliantly staged media event, the first bombing in history scheduled for prime-time TV, for the precise moment when the networks open their national news programs. This convenient arrangement, which the media pretended not to comprehend, allowed anchor men to switch at once to Tripoli so that their viewers could watch the exciting events live. The next act of the superbly crafted TV drama was a series of news conferences and White House statements explaining that this was "self-defense against future attack" and a measured reaction to a disco bombing in West Berlin ten days earlier for which Libya was to blame. The media were well aware that the evidence for this charge was slight, but the facts were suppressed in the general adulation for Reagan's decisive stand against terrorism, echoed across the political spectrum.
Media suppression began from the first moment, when the journalists at the televised press conference loyally averted their eyes from evidence readily at hand that raised very serious doubts about the claims they were hearing, such as the report from Berlin, half an hour before the U.S. attack on Libyan cities, that U.S. and West German officials had no evidence of Libyan involvement in the disco bombing in Berlin, only "suspicions," contrary to administration claims of certain knowledge ten days earlier; at the TV press conference, none of the intrepid members of the White House press corps asked how it could be that Washington had certain knowledge ten days earlier of what remained unknown to U.S. and West German intelligence. Within weeks, it was published prominently in Germany -- and in obscure publications here -- that the West German police intelligence team investigating the bombing had no knowledge, and had never had any knowledge, of any "Libyan connection." Again, the facts were suppressed, even by journalists interviewing the high German officials who were providing the information to anyone who wanted to hear. Further evidence about U.S. government lies was published abroad but silenced here apart from marginal publications. Thus, the dramatic stories of high administration officials about the alert called in West Berlin after the alleged Libyan "intercepts," which failed by only fifteen minutes to save the victims at the bombed disco, were revealed to have been complete fabrication; no alert had been called, West Berlin police informed the BBC. It was finally conceded quietly that the charges of Libyan involvement had little if any substance, though they continue to be presented as fact; thus, the Business Week Pentagon correspondent writes that "by ordering the 1986 bombing of a West Berlin disco in which two American servicemen were killed, Qadaffi provoked a violent response -- a massive air raid"; the practice is quite common. But despite the occasional concession in the small print that there is no basis for the tales that are still widely relayed, no conclusions were drawn about the U.S. bombing itself, hitting civilian targets, with about 100 reported killed in "retaliation" for a bombing in which two people had been killed, one an American serviceman. Nor were conclusions drawn about the conscious media collusion in this act of large-scale terrorism, which goes well beyond what is sampled here.25
In this case too, the discipline of the specialized class has been impressive throughout, particularly when we bear in mind that the media had been subjecting themselves to disinformation campaigns concerning Libya from the first months of the Reagan administration,26 recognizing each time that they had been "fooled," but eagerly returning to savor the experience on the next round.
For 1986 too the United States appears to win the prize for international terrorism, even apart from the wholesale terrorism it sponsors in Central America, including what former CIA director Stansfield Turner describes as our "state-supported terrorism" in Nicaragua.27
The full range of terrorist actions by the United States and its clients in the 1980s is remarkable. In Central America alone, tens of thousands of murdered, tortured, and mutilated victims can be charged directly to the account of the Reaganites and their accomplices. It is therefore only to be expected that Reagan should be lauded for his contribution to the cause of human rights, one of his major "triumphs," we read in the New Republic -- without great surprise, considering the meaning of the phrase "human rights" in a journal that urged Reagan to support state terror in El Salvador "regardless of how many are murdered, lest the Marxist-Leninist guerrillas win." At the liberal extreme, editor Hendrik Hertzberg lists the "things about the Reagan era that haven't been so attractive, like sleaze, homelessness, Lebanon [meaning, presumably, dead Marines, not dead Lebanese and Palestinians], yuppie scum," and other forms of ugliness and lack of taste. Tens of thousands of tortured and mutilated bodies in Central America do not qualify as "not so attractive."28
International terrorism is, of course, not an invention of the 1980s. In the previous two decades, its major victims were Cuba and Lebanon.
Anti-Cuban terrorism was directed by a secret Special Group established in November 1961 to conduct covert operations against Cuba under the code name "Mongoose," involving 400 Americans, 2,000 Cubans, a private navy of fast boats, and a $50 million annual budget, run in part by a Miami CIA station functioning in violation of the Neutrality Act and, presumably, the law banning CIA operations in the United States.29 These operations included bombing of hotels and industrial installations, sinking of fishing boats, poisoning of crops and livestock, contamination of sugar exports, blowing up of civilian aircraft, etc. Not all of these actions were directly authorized by the CIA, but we let no such niceties disturb us when condemning officially designated terrorist states.
Several of these terrorist operations took place at the time of the Cuban missile crisis of October-November 1962. In the weeks before, Raymond Garthoff reports, a Cuban terrorist group operating from Florida with U.S. government authorization carried out "a daring speedboat strafing attack on a Cuban seaside hotel near Havana where Soviet military technicians were known to congregate, killing a score of Russians and Cubans"; and shortly after, attacked British and Cuban cargo ships and again raided Cuba among other actions that were stepped up in early October while Congress passed a resolution "sanctioning the use of force, if necessary, to restrain Cuban aggression and subversion in the Western Hemisphere" and voted to withhold aid from any country trading with Cuba. At one of the tensest moments of the missile crisis, on November 8, a terrorist team dispatched from the United States blew up a Cuban industrial facility after the Mongoose operations had been officially suspended. In a letter to the U.N. Secretary General, Fidel Castro alleged that 400 workers had been killed in this operation, guided by "photographs taken by spying planes" (referring to testimony by the captured "leader of a group of spies trained by the CIA and directed by it"). This terrorist act, which might have set off a global nuclear war, was considered important enough to merit passing reference in a footnote in an article on the missile crisis in the journal International Security, but no media attention, to my knowledge. Attempts to assassinate Castro and other terror continued immediately after the crisis terminated, and were escalated by Nixon in 1969.30 There is no known example of a campaign qualifying so uncontroversially as terror that approaches this one in scale and violence.
Turning to the second major example of the pre-Reagan period, in southern Lebanon from the early 1970s the population was held hostage with the "rational prospect, ultimately fulfilled, that affected populations would exert pressure for the cessation of hostilities" and acceptance of Israeli arrangements for the region (Abba Eban, commenting on Prime Minister Menachem Begin's account of atrocities in Lebanon committed under the Labor government in the style "of regimes which neither Mr. Begin nor I would dare to mention by name," Eban observed, recognizing the accuracy of the account).31 Notice that this justification, offered by a respected Labor Party dove, places these actions squarely under the rubric of international terrorism by any reasonable definition, unless, again, we consider them to fall under the more serious crime of aggression -- as of course we would if an enemy state were the agent of the crimes.
Thousands were killed and hundreds of thousands driven from their homes in these terror attacks. Little is known about them because it was a matter of indifference that Arabs were being murdered and their villages destroyed by a Western state armed and supported by the United States. ABC correspondent Charles Glass, then a journalist in Lebanon, found "little American editorial interest in the conditions of the south Lebanese. The Israeli raids and shelling of their villages, their gradual exodus from south Lebanon to the growing slums on the outskirts of Beirut were nothing compared to the lurid tales of the `terrorists' who threatened Israel, hijacked aeroplanes and seized embassies." The reaction was much the same, he continues, when Israeli death squads were operating in southern Lebanon after the 1982 Israeli invasion. One could read about them in the London Times, but U.S. editors were not interested. Had the media reported the operations of "these death squads of plainclothes Shin Beth [secret police] men who assassinated suspects in the villages and camps of south Lebanon," "stirring up the Shiite Muslim population and helping to make the Marine presence untenable," there might have been some appreciation of the plight of the U.S. Marines deployed in Lebanon. They seemed to have no idea why they were there apart from "the black enlisted men: almost all of them said, though sadly never on camera, that they had been sent to protect the rich against the poor." "The only people in Lebanon they identified with were the poor Shiite refugees who lived all around their base at the Beirut airport; it is sad that it was probably one of these poor Shiites...who killed 241 of them on 23 October 1983." If any of these matters had been reported, it might have been possible to avert, or at the very least to comprehend, the bombing in which the Marines were killed, victims of a policy that "the press could not explain to the public and their information officers could not explain to the Marines themselves" -- and which is now denounced as unprovoked Arab terrorism by George Shultz and the commentators who admire his "visceral contempt for terrorism."32
The effect of removing Egypt from the conflict at Camp David was that "Israel would be free to sustain military operations against the PLO in Lebanon as well as settlement activity on the West Bank," Israeli strategic analyst Avner Yaniv observes ten years later; the point was obvious at the time, but remains an unacceptable insight in the euphoria about American "peace-making."33 Predictably, then, Israeli terror in Lebanon continued after the Camp David agreements, probably escalating, though reporting was so scanty that one cannot be sure. There was enough to know that Palestinians and Lebanese suffered many casualties. Sometimes the Israeli operations were in retaliation or alleged retaliation; often there was no pretext. From early 1981, Israel launched unprovoked attacks which finally elicited a response in July, leading to an exchange in which six Israelis and several hundred Palestinians and Lebanese were killed in Israeli bombing of densely populated civilian targets. Of these incidents, all that remains in the collective memory of the media is the tragic fate of the inhabitants of the northern Galilee, driven from their homes by katyusha rockets.34
After a cease-fire was arranged under U.S. auspices, Israel continued its attacks. The Israeli concern, according to Yaniv, was that the PLO would observe the cease-fire agreement and continue its efforts to achieve a diplomatic two-state settlement, to which Israel and the United States were strongly opposed. In the following year, Israel attempted with increasing desperation to evoke some PLO response that could be used as a pretext for the planned invasion of Lebanon, designed to destroy the PLO as a political force, establish Israeli control over the occupied territories, and -- in its broadest vision -- to establish Ariel Sharon's "New Order" in Lebanon and perhaps beyond. These efforts failed to elicit a PLO response. The media reacted by urging "respect for Israel's anguish" rather than "sermons to Israel" as Israel bombed targets in Lebanon with many civilian casualties.35 Israel finally used the pretext of the attempted assassination of Ambassador Argov by Abu Nidal -- who had been at war with the PLO for years and did not so much as have an office in Lebanon -- to launch Operation Peace for Galilee, while the New York Times applauded the "liberation of Lebanon," carefully avoiding Lebanese opinion. "Calling the Lebanon War `The War for the Peace of Galilee' is more than a misnomer," Yehoshafat Harkabi writes. "It would have been more honest to call it `The War to Safeguard the Occupation of the West Bank'." "Begin's principal motive in launching the war was his fear of the momentum of the peace process."36
It was clear enough at the time that the perceived threat of the PLO was its commitment to a political settlement and renunciation of terror. PLO terror, in contrast, was no problem, in fact was desirable as a means for evading political settlement.
The United States backed these policies; accordingly, the actual reasons and background for them are completely foreign to the media, which assure us that the U.S.-Israeli search for peace has been thwarted by PLO terror. After the Israeli invasion, with perhaps 20,000 or more civilian casualties, Israeli terrorist actions in Lebanon continued, as they do today, though these are no part of "the evil scourge of terrorism." We may occasionally read that Lebanese farmers "working in fields near Ain Khilwe were killed when the Israeli planes dropped incendiary bombs," but nothing is suggested by this casual observation in the final sentence of a brief article on the shelling of the refugee camp at Rashidiye by Israeli gunboats, the day after forty-one people were killed and seventy wounded in the bombing of the refugee camp at Ain Khilwe.37 Other terrorist attacks against Arabs, even against U.S. installations in Arab countries and a U.S. vessel in international waters with many casualties (the U.S.S. Liberty), are also readily absorbed when the agent is a client state.
In the light of such facts as these, how is it possible for scholars and the media to maintain the required thesis that the plague of the modern age is conducted by the Soviet-based "worldwide terror network aimed at the destabilization of Western democratic society," as proclaimed by Claire Sterling, who, Walter Laqueur assures us, has provided "ample evidence" that terrorism occurs "almost exclusively in democratic or relatively democratic countries"? How is it possible for the media to continue to identify Iran, Libya, the PLO, Cuba, and other official enemies as the leading practitioners of international terrorism? The answer is simplicity itself. It is only necessary, once again, to recall "the utility of interpretations." Terrorism is terrorism only when conducted by official enemies; when the United States and its clients are the agents, it is defense of democracy and human rights.
The media are not called upon to defend the doctrine, only to adhere to it. The scholarly literature has a more demanding task. As an example, consider the contributions of the highly regarded terrorologist Walter Laqueur38 -- a respected scholar whose insight into international affairs is illustrated by his declaration elsewhere that "unlike the Soviet Union, the U.S. does not want to convert anyone to a specific political, social, or economic system."39
A primary concern of Laqueur's scholarly study of terrorism is "international state-sponsored terrorism." His study contains many innuendos and charges about Cuban sponsorship of terrorism, with little pretense of evidence. But there is not one word on the U.S. terrorist operations against Cuba. He writes that in "recent decades...the more oppressive regimes are not only free from terror, they have helped to launch it against more permissive societies." His intent, of course, is to imply that the United States, a "permissive society," is one of the victims of the plague of international state-sponsored terrorism, while Cuba, an "oppressive regime," is one of the agents. What in fact follows from his statement is that the United States is a "more oppressive regime" and Cuba a "more permissive society," given that the United States has undeniably launched major terrorist attacks against Cuba and is relatively free from terror itself. The careful selection of evidence and allegations is designed to prevent understanding of these simple facts.
Employing the same doctrinal filters, Laqueur states that the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon was a response to PLO "attacks against Israel"; the actual facts of the matter, as we have seen, are radically different. In earlier years, he asserts, the PLO "stormed Damour," killing "some 600 civilians," after they had decided, for no suggested reason, to support the Lebanese National Movement against the Maronites. The terrorist attacks of the Israeli-backed Maronites that drew the PLO into the civil war and led to the retaliatory terror at Damour pass without mention; rather, Laqueur writes that "even if [the PLO] had kept scrupulously neutral, which they certainly did not, their mere physical presence would have...acted as a provocation." He does not elaborate on how they might have kept "scrupulously neutral" after murderous attacks on Palestinians and Lebanese allied with them.40 But just as a propaganda agent for the United States will see no U.S. terror against Cuba, only Cuban support for terror, so an Israeli propagandist understands that the task is to demonize the PLO and thus to provide implicit justification for continued Israeli control over the occupied territories -- what Laqueur calls "the Left Bank."
Laqueur observes that terrorism "has been a factor of some importance in El Salvador and Guatemala," referring not to the awesome display of state terrorism orchestrated and backed by the United States but to guerrilla terror -- real, but not remotely comparable to the "international state-sponsored terrorism" that he evades when the agents are the wrong ones for his purposes. Laqueur mentions that six Americans "perished in the civil war in El Salvador." They are not further identified, but he presumably has in mind the four American churchwomen raped and murdered by the Salvadoran National Guard supported by the U.S. and directed by General Vides Casanova, who was promoted to Defense Minister under the Duarte government in the "fledgling democracy"; and two Americans working on land reform, assassinated in a restaurant by soldiers under orders from officers of the National Guard and the chief of staff, who were never charged. None of these facts are mentioned, and they occasion no thoughts on the source of terrorism in that traumatized country. One might also ask whether the phrase "perished in the civil war" does justice to the element of "international state-sponsored terrorism" in these atrocities. But if the task is to provide a cover for U.S.-backed atrocities so that they can proceed with impunity while demonizing enemies of the state, facts can be dismissed as a mere annoyance.
Laqueur refers to Sheikh Fadlallah, though not to the CIA-initiated car-bombing in March 1985 that killed eighty civilians in a failed effort to assassinate him. Car-bombs in Lebanon and elsewhere are within the scope of his concept of terrorism. Thus "the car-bomb attacks against US marines in the Lebanon" fall within the canon of terrorism, but the car-bomb attack initiated by the CIA that was the major single act of international terrorism in the Middle East in the peak year of the plague does not. Similarly, the use of letter-bombs and "a primitive book-bomb" is discussed, but there is no mention of the sophisticated book-bomb used by Israeli intelligence to kill Egyptian General Mustapha Hafez in Gaza in 1956, at a time when he was responsible for preventing Palestinian Fedayeen from infiltrating to attack Israeli targets.41 Laqueur's review of the use of letter-bombs also does not include the testimony of Ya'akov Eliav, a commander of the terrorist group headed by the current Prime Minister of Israel, Yitzhak Shamir (Lehi, the "Stern gang"). In a 1983 book, Eliav claims to have been the first to use letter-bombs. Working from Paris in 1946, he arranged to have seventy such bombs sent in official British government envelopes to all members of the British cabinet, the heads of the Tory opposition, and several military commanders, marked "personal and secret" so that the intended victim would open them himself. In June 1947, he and an accomplice were caught by Belgian police while attempting to send these letter-bombs, and all were intercepted.42
Laqueur refers to North Vietnamese-guided terrorism in South Vietnam in the late 1950s and early 1960s, avoiding the basic facts of the matter, available in any reputable scholarly study: that Hanoi authorized violence only after several years of pleas by southerners who were being wiped out by the U.S.-Diem terrorist assault that had decimated the anti-French resistance, that "the government terrorized far more than did the revolutionary movement" and well before violence was authorized in response to U.S.-sponsored terror, and that this authorization of force came long after the United States and its client had undermined the Geneva Accords that established a temporary demarcation line between North and South Vietnam.43
Laqueur also discusses narco-terrorism on the part of Soviet-bloc countries, notably Laos, which even grows opium, an extreme proof of Soviet iniquity, the reader is to understand. He concedes that "there were some rumours -- and perhaps more than rumours -- about links between the production of drugs in the `golden triangle' in South-east Asia and various local warlords and insurgencies." But his discussion of narco-terrorism carefully skirts the leading role of the CIA in the drug trade, particularly in Laos and the golden triangle. The facts would be useless for the intended goals, so they are again consigned to the memory hole and Laos becomes an example of Soviet-backed narco-terrorism. One must at least admire the audacity. Laqueur is not the only scholar to voice concern over a possible Soviet role in the drug trade. To mention another, Oxford history professor Norman Stone, warning that the West should not be carried away by Gorbachev's trickery, refers ominously to "the alleged Soviet involvement in the drugs trade, to demoralise the West," but not to the well-established U.S. government involvement in the drug trade since shortly after World War II.44
Terrorism in the Western democracies became a problem in the 1960s, Laqueur continues, when "political violence became intellectually respectable...in some circles," and the terrorist groups, mostly left-wing, launched a "terrorist wave" with foreign support. He does concede that right-wing terrorism existed, even noting that "the terroristic outrages which involved most victims in Europe," one in Munich and two in Italy, "were not carried out by left-wing groups" -- his way of saying that this was right-wing terror. He adds that "the Munich bomb had almost certainly exploded inadvertently," so presumably the right is at least partially exculpated; left-wing bombs always aim directly at civilians. Despite the fact that the worst terror in Europe was attributable to the right wing, "it could still be argued," he goes on, that right-wing terror "was far less frequent and systematic." This serviceable argument is facilitated by entirely ignoring the exploits of right-wing extremists, for example in Italy, where fascist elements integrated with the military and the secret services may have almost come within reach of taking over the state during a period of "terrorist outrages" for which the right was largely responsible.45
Left-wing terror in the United States, apart from Blacks, was apolitical, Laqueur explains. It grew from "the crisis of identity, suburban boredom, the desire for excitement and action, a certain romantic streak -- in short terrorism as a cure for personality problems." So Laqueur has determined, doubtless on the basis of profound psychological study of the participants. In particular, this was true of the Weathermen. Surely they were merely suffering from "personal hangups" enhanced by "immense intellectual confusion" and "an absence of values," not reacting to such trivialities as the treatment of Blacks, the U.S. wars in Indochina, or the kinds of values exhibited by the Laqueurs who supported aggression and massive atrocities until they became too costly to the perpetrator, or simply kept their silence.46
A problem in dealing with terrorism is that the media provide such a favorable image to the terrorists, whom they so admire. Thus, "the attitude of television to terrorism has spanned the whole gamut from exaggerated respect to sycophancy," apparently not including a critical word. As throughout, evidence is eschewed in favor of obiter dicta that are useful for ideological warfare.
There "has been no Western equivalent of terrorism of the kind practised by the various Abu Nidals and Carlos" and other official terrorists; surely nothing like the car bombing in Beirut in March 1985, the attacks on agricultural cooperatives in Nicaragua, or the achievements of Operation Mongoose in Cuba, for example. Rather, "state-sponsored terrorism" is directed against democratic societies. The reasons for the abstention from terrorism on the part of the United States and its allies is that "the Western countries are status-quo orientated" and "want to prevent insurgencies and other forms of destabilization." This explains why the United States has been so scrupulous in preserving the status quo in Cuba, Chile under Allende, and Nicaragua, among many other cases, and has refrained from intervention and other forms of destabilization throughout its history. Furthermore, the Soviet Union can make use of proxies "such as Cuba or Bulgaria," but America "has no such substitutes," and is therefore reduced to rank "amateur[ism]" in comparison with the "professionals" of the Soviet bloc. The United States cannot turn to the neo-Nazi generals of Argentina, or to Taiwan, Israel, and other client states to aid the contras (perhaps that was the lesson of the Iran/contra hearings) or to support state terrorism in Guatemala, and is thus unable to compete with its Soviet opponent.
If international terrorism increases, this highly regarded expert advises, "the obvious way to retaliate is, of course, to pay the sponsors back in their own coin," difficult as such legitimate response may be in the Western societies that find it so hard to comprehend that others do not share their "standards of democracy, freedom and humanism." Legitimate response does not, however, include the bombing of Washington and Tel Aviv, thanks to the familiar utility of interpretations.
It is necessary to recall that all of this is taken quite seriously in the media and general intellectual culture. In reality, Laqueur's scholarship, not untypical of the genre, is an ideological construction, only occasionally tainted by the world of fact. Not surprisingly, it is highly welcomed for its contribution to establishing the images required for state propaganda. The media can then refer to the scholarly literature and call upon the practitioners of the art for solemn commentary and advice, as they serve their own function.
As the authors of children's tales understand, life is simple when there are heroes to admire and love, and devils to fear and despise. One goal of a well-crafted propaganda system is to dull the mental faculties, reducing its targets to a level at which they will respond with appropriate enthusiasm to slogans carrying a patriotic message. Accordingly, the cast of characters in international affairs includes heroes, who stand for freedom, democracy, reform, and all good things, and devils, who are violent, totalitarian, and generally repellent. Most of the players are irrelevant, part of the background scenery. Entry into the two significant categories is determined by contribution to elite interests, or harm caused them.
Iran provides an interesting example.48 Nationalist currents developed during and after World War II as Britain and the Soviet Union jockeyed for influence, and the United States extended its presence as part of its growing role in the region, control over oil being a major factor. U.S. pressures were instrumental in expelling the Soviet Union from northern Iran at the Soviet border in 1946. The oil resources of the country remained a British monopoly, though the British were wary of U.S. intentions. The nationalist movement crystallized around Muhammad Mossadeq, whom James Bill describes as "an old-fashioned liberal," "a beloved figure of enormous charisma to Iranians of all social classes."49 Mossadeq became Prime Minister in 1951, heading the nationalist bloc, committed to the nationalization of Iranian oil. By 1953, the United States agreed with Britain that he had to go. A CIA coup overthrew the parliamentary regime, restoring the Shah. One consequence of the coup was that U.S. oil companies took 40 percent of the Iranian concession, part of the general takeover of the world's major energy reserves by the United States.50 The Shah remained in power, with constant U.S. support that reached an extraordinary level in the Nixon-Kissinger years, through 1978, when he was overthrown by a popular mass movement.
Our assumptions would lead us to predict that Mossadeq would pass from insignificance to the devil category as the United States determined to overthrow him, while the Shah, generally supportive of U.S. goals, would be a hero until the Peacock Throne began to totter, at which point other devils would arise. In brief, that is the story told by William Dorman and Mansour Farhang in their review of press coverage of Iran over this period.51
When Mossadeq became Prime Minister in 1951, the United States was "generally supportive of Iranian demands" concerning oil policy, Dorman and Farhang observe, perhaps because "U.S. officials saw an opportunity to gain a foothold for American companies at the expense of British interests." Correspondingly, the press "portrayed Iran's position in relatively evenhanded terms." But after nationalization, the U.S. government reversed its stand, and "a new frame began to take shape in the press." "Over about a two-year period, then, Mossadeq's portrait would change from that of a quaint nationalist to that of near lunatic to one, finally, of Communist dupe." In fact, he remained an anti-imperialist nationalist seeking to maintain Iran's independence. It was U.S. plans, not Mossadeq, that had changed; the media shifted course, hardly a step behind state policy.
The New York Times observed that there are lessons to be learned from the restoration of the Shah in 1953 and the establishment of the U.S. concession. Crucially, "Underdeveloped countries with rich resources now have an object lesson in the heavy cost that must be paid by one of their number which goes berserk with fanatical nationalism," attempting to control its own resources. "It is perhaps too much to hope that Iran's experience will prevent the rise of Mossadeghs in other countries, but that experience may at least strengthen the hands of more reasonable and far-seeing leaders."52 A sage warning from the independent media.
As the United States geared up to overthrow the Mossadeq government, his media image deteriorated and he was routinely condemned as a dictator. The Shah, however, was virtually never described in such terms as long as his power held. From his restoration by the CIA coup in August 1953 until the revolution of 1978, the New York Times used the phrase once, referring to the Shah as a "benevolent dictator" in 1967, and "did not publish a major story on human rights violations in Iran" during the period when the Shah was identified by Amnesty International and others as one of the worst human rights violators in the world. During the year of revolution in 1978, Dorman and Farhang found one reference to the Shah as a dictator, and that in a positive context, when a Washington Post editorial wondered why he did not use the power available to him as "a dictator" to suppress the population even more violently.
Though Mossadeq's "style of rule was far more democratic than anything Iran had known," Dorman and Farhang observe, and surely more so than that of the Shah, it was Mossadeq who was called an "absolute dictator" while the Shah was a benevolent progressive reformer who "demonstrated his concern for the masses" (New York Times). "It is no exaggeration," they continue, "to say that the Times demonstrated more concern for Iran's constitutional system during the single month of August 1953 [when the U.S. was moving to "save" it by a military coup] than it would during the following quarter of a century." A familiar tale.
A plebiscite called by Mossadeq was denounced by the New York Times as "more fantastic and farcical than any ever held under Hitler or Stalin." A plebiscite conducted by the Shah ten years later "under far more questionable circumstances," with a 99 percent vote in favor of the Shah, was lauded by the Times as "emphatic evidence" that "the Iranian people are doubtless behind the Shah in his bold new reform efforts." The Shah's fraudulent elections were lauded with equal enthusiasm.
While the Times was fully aware of the CIA role in the 1953 coup within a year, Dorman and Farhang conclude, seventeen years went by before the fact received passing mention. "Clearly Mossadeq was the single most popular leader until the rise of Khomaini," they observe, but for the U.S. press, it was clear that "the great majority of Iranians all but worship" the Shah (Washington Post). While strikes in Poland received enthusiastic applause, Dorman and Farhang could find not "a single editorial or column" that "commented favorably on the strikes" in Iran at the same time in the course of the popular uprising against the Shah.53
The fall of the Shah elicited the first serious concern in twenty-five years for civil and human rights in Iran, with impassioned congressional and media commentary and the first Senate resolution condemning repression; "longtime apologists for the shah and his government" such as Senators Jacob Javits and Henry Jackson were particularly outspoken in condemnation of human rights violations -- after the brutal tyrant was deposed.54 The media reaction was the same.
In these respects, the pattern is virtually identical to Nicaragua. From 1960 through 1977, the New York Times had three editorials on Nicaragua (1963, 1967), and even the final paroxysm of terror in 1978-79 received little comment. Other media coverage was similar, as we have seen. Through the 1980s, the pattern changed dramatically as "for the first time" Nicaragua came to have "a government that cares for its people," in the words of the unreportable José Figueres in 1986. In accordance with the dictates of the State Department Office of Latin American Public Diplomacy, the Sandinistas are totalitarian monsters who must be removed or at least "contained," as we "restore democracy" and defend human rights in fulfillment of our mission -- miraculously activated on July 19, 1979.
The pattern is characteristic. These quick transitions and their obvious cause scarcely arouse a second thought, another illustration of the effectiveness of indoctrination among the educated classes.
The sudden discovery of human rights problems in Iran in 1979, as the U.S. client was displaced, had other consequences. Reviewing media coverage of the Kurds, Vera Beaudin Saeedpour observes that "beginning in 1979, the Kurds of Iran captured the attention of the Times" as they took up arms against the Khomeini regime.55 Subsequent press coverage treated the Kurdish problem as "a variable in the power struggle." The basic question was whether whether U.S. interests would benefit or suffer if Iran were to be dismembered; coverage of the rights and travail of the Kurdish people rose or fell according to this criterion.
There is, however, another condition under which repression of the Kurds becomes a legitimate issue of concern: if it can be exploited to support Israeli power. Thus, Times columnist William Safire has written favorably of Kurdish aspirations for autonomy and respect for their culture, then coming to the point: "PLO leader, Yasir Arafat, who wants not only sovereignty in the West Bank but claims all of Israel, has embraced the Ayatollah in Iran" and does not defend the Kurds; and the "Soviet-backed" Iraqis are equally hypocritical, attacking the "non-Arab Kurds" but calling for independence for Palestinian Arabs. "Kurdish rights are ignored wherever PLO supporters are lionized," Safire concludes, also a common theme in the New Republic and other publications of the Israeli lobby.
Safire "championed the Kurds of Iraq" from 1976, Saeedpour observes, writing of the betrayal of the "non-Arab Kurds" and the hypocrisy of Arabs who "talk of `legitimate rights' of Palestinians" but "fall silent at the mention of the Kurds." In 1980, he advocated arming the Kurds against the regime in Iran. Even Israel has done nothing for the suffering Kurds in Iran and Iraq, he protests. "Yet to this day," Saeedpour continues, "Mr. Safire has produced not a single essay on the Kurds in Turkey," where they have been subject to extreme repression under the U.S.-backed regime (and Israeli ally). Only their fate in enemy Iran and Arab Iraq evokes indignation and humanitarian concern.
Coverage of the Kurds in Iraq received brief notice in 1975 when the cynical manipulation of their struggle by Nixon and Kissinger, and their abandonment to Iraqi terror when they were no longer needed, was revealed in the leaked secret report of the House Pike Committee. Since then, Iraqi terror against the Kurds has been an intermittent theme, largely insofar as their plight can be exploited as an anti-Arab weapon. And the repression of Kurds in Iran occasionally arises as an issue in the context of U.S. strategic interests.
Harsh treatment of the Kurds in Turkey, a U.S. ally, has no such value or utility. Coverage is therefore markedly different, as Saeed-pour shows. In Turkey, Kurdish separatism is not to be advocated; indeed there are no Kurds, our Turkish ally alleges, and even use of the language is criminal. The media adhere closely to the Turkish government perspective. Though there was some limited notice of anti-Kurdish repression after the U.S.-backed military coup of 1980, subsequently the Kurds were denounced as "Marxist and terrorist" while the brutal Turkish state was presented as a "secular democracy" beleaguered by terrorism. The tales spun about the KGB-Bulgarian plot to kill the Pope, using a Turkish fascist transmuted by the propaganda system into a Communist agent, helped establish this image. The "acquiescence of the American press in the Turkish interpretations of events," Saeedpour writes, is shown in the reports on Turkish attacks against Kurds in Iraq in cross-border raids, allegedly in retaliation against "unidentified aggressors." Similar reports on violence in Kurdish areas of Turkey, based on Turkish news agencies, imply that Kurds are killing Turks. The press, echoed by some scholars, alleges that the Kurds in Turkey do not support the "militants," a claim that "borders on the absurd," Saeedpour comments, since for a Turkish Kurd to avow such support would be "tantamount to committing suicide." Kurdish opinion cannot even be sampled in a country where their ethnic identity is illegal.
In short, atrocities against the Kurds, and their search for self-determination, are proper themes -- but only when they are useful for other ends.
The task of "historical engineering" has been accomplished with singular efficiency in the case of the Arab-Israeli conflict, arguably the most hazardous issue in world affairs, with a constant threat of devastating regional war and superpower conflict. The task has been to present the United States and Israel as "yearning for peace" and pursuing a "peace process," while in reality they have led the rejectionist camp and have been blocking peace initiatives that have broad international and regional support. This remained the case as 1988 came to an end with the diplomatic flurry discussed in
chapter 4, to which we return.
From the late 1960s there has been a substantial consensus in favor of a political settlement on the internationally recognized (pre-June 1967) borders, with perhaps minor modifications. In the early stages, the terms of this broad consensus were restricted to the rights of existing states, and were, in fact, very much along the general lines of official U.S. policy as expressed in the Rogers plan of December 1969. By the mid-1970s the terms of the consensus shifted to include the concept of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with recognized borders, security guarantees, and other arrangements to safeguard the rights of all states in the region. At this point, the PLO and most Arab states approached or joined the international consensus. Prior to this, the consensus was strictly rejectionist, denying the right of self-determination to one of the two contending parties, the indigenous population of the former Palestine.
To avoid misunderstanding, I should stress that I am departing from standard convention and am using the term "rejectionist" with its actual meaning, referring to the position that rejects the right of self-determination of one of the contending parties. Thus, I am not adopting the conventional usage, which applies the term "rejectionist" only to those who deny the right of self-determination to Jews. The strictly racist conventional usage is designed to fortify, by tacit assumption, the doctrinal requirement that Palestinians lack such rights. Note also that evaluation of the status of such rights, in one or the other case, is a separate matter, which I do not address here.
The United States has been opposed to all of the arrangements of the international consensus, both the earlier plan that conformed to official U.S. policy and offered nothing to the Palestinians, and the later nonrejectionist alternative that recognized the parallel rights of both Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs. The United States preferred to block a political settlement that might have been feasible, and (rhetoric aside) to fund and support Israeli expansion into the territories. Both major political groupings in Israel have always adamantly opposed any political settlement that does not grant Israel effective control over the resources and much of the land in the occupied territories; they differ only in the modalities of this rejectionist stance, which denies the right of self-determination to the indigenous population.57 The U.S. administrations have generally supported the position of the Israeli Labor Alignment, which calls for a form of "territorial compromise" that would satisfy these basic demands. U.S.-Israeli rejectionism has been so extreme that Palestinians have even been denied the right to select their own representatives for eventual negotiations. Thus, the United States and Israel have adopted a position comparable to the refusal in 1947 to allow Jews to be represented by the Zionist organizations in the negotiations of that time, a position that would have been regarded as a reversion to Nazism had it been put forth.58 One would be hard put to find any questioning in the media of the U.S.-Israeli position in this regard, a fact of no small interest for those intrigued by the primitive nature of contemporary Western culture.
The media have had the task of presenting extreme rejectionism as accommodation and the soul of moderation, and suppressing the efforts of the Arab states and the PLO to advance a nonrejectionist settlement, depicting the PLO in particular as violent extremists. These responsibilities have been fulfilled with dedication, skill, and great success.59
U.S. efforts to derail a political settlement can be traced to 1971, when the administration opted for Kissinger's policy of "stalemate" and backed Israel's rejection of a full-scale peace proposal by President Sadat of Egypt that was framed in terms of the international consensus and official U.S. policy. These events therefore had to be excised from history. Consequently, standard doctrine holds that that it was only six years later, in 1977, that "Egyptian President Anwar Sadat broke through the wall of Arab rejectionism to fly to Jerusalem and offer peace to Israel in the Israeli Knesset"60 -- on terms less acceptable to Israel than those of his rejected proposal six years earlier, which offered nothing to the Palestinians. It would be difficult to discover anyone who is willing to break ranks on this crucial doctrine of the propaganda system.
In the years between, the October 1973 war had taught Kissinger and the Israeli leadership that Egypt could not simply be dismissed with contempt, as had been assumed in the mood of post-1967 triumphalism. They therefore moved to the next best policy of excluding the major Arab deterrent from the conflict so that Israel would be free, with U.S. support reaching phenomenal levels, to integrate the bulk of the occupied territories and attack its northern neighbor while serving the United States as a "strategic asset." This policy was consummated -- whatever the intentions of the participants might have been -- at Camp David in 1978-79. In this context, Sadat's 1977 peace initiative was admissible.
An associated doctrine is that Sadat's "break with Arab rejectionism" in 1977 remains unique. It is therefore necessary to expunge from the record such events as the session of the U.N. Security Council in January 1976, when the United States vetoed a resolution advanced by Jordan, Syria, and Egypt, supported by the PLO and even "prepared" by it according to Israel, which called for a two-state diplomatic settlement in the terms of the international consensus, with territorial and security guarantees. On the rights of Israel, the proposal of the Arab "confrontation states" and the PLO reiterated the wording of U.N. Resolution 242, calling for "appropriate arrangements...to guarantee...the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of all states in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries." This is the first of many endorsements of U.N. 242 by the PLO, with the backing of the major Arab states.
These facts are unacceptable. Accordingly, they quickly disappeared from official history and have remained unmentionable. The same is true of the unanimous endorsement by the Palestine National Council (PNC) in April 1981 of a Soviet peace proposal with two "basic principles": (1) the right of the Palestinians to achieve self-determination in an independent state; (2) "It is essential to ensure the security and sovereignty of all states of the region including those of Israel." It has also been necessary to suppress a series of initiatives over the years by the PLO and others to break the diplomatic logjam and move towards a two-state peaceful settlement that would recognize the right of national self-determination of Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs, regularly blocked by U.S.-Israeli rejectionism.
The general Washington-media position has been that Palestinians must be satisfied with Labor Party rejectionism, which grants Israel control over the occupied territories and their resources, while excluding areas of dense Arab settlement so that Israel will not have to face the "demographic problem," a term devised to disguise the obviously racist presuppositions. In these areas, the population will remain stateless or be administered by Jordan. These options are overwhelmingly rejected by the people of the territories, but that fact is deemed irrelevant on the traditional principle that people who are in our way are less than human and do not have rights.
During these years, the rejectionist stand of the United States has been taken as a historical given in the media and the intellectual community generally, hence not subject to discussion. Thus, Times correspondent Thomas Friedman writes that Arafat "has to face the choice of either going down in history as the Palestinian leader who recognized Israel in return for only, at best, a majority of the West Bank or shouldering full responsibility for the Palestinians' continuing to get nothing at all."61 These are the only choices, for the simple and sufficient reason that only these options are permitted by the United States. In a Times Magazine article of October 1984 deploring the growing strength of "extremists, and all those in the Middle East who reject compromise solutions," Friedman places primary blame on the Arabs, particularly Yasser Arafat: "By refusing to recognize Israel and negotiate with it directly, the Arabs have only strengthened Israeli fanatics like Rabbi Kahane, enabling them to play on the legitimate fears and security concerns of the Israeli public," which still has "a majority for compromise." This was a few months after Arafat had quite explicitly called for negotiations with Israel leading to mutual recognition, a call officially rejected by Israel, dismissed without comment by the United States, and unreported in the New York Times, which even refused to publish letters referring to it.62 But no matter: Arafat's call for negotiations and mutual recognition is an "extremist" refusal "to recognize Israel and negotiate with it directly," and the refusal of the Israeli Labor Party to consider this possibility is moderation and search for compromise. Pursuing the familiar conventions, Friedman writes that "it took Anwar Sadat to bring out the moderate in Moshe Dayan and Menachem Begin," referring not to his rejected peace offer of 1971, which is ideologically unacceptable and therefore does not exist, but to the less forthcoming proposals of 1977, admissible to the historical record because they were issued after the United States and Israel had recognized that their larger goals were unattainable.63
For the Times editors, the willingness to accord both contestants equal rights is defined as "rejectionism"; that is, nonrejectionism is rejectionism, another example of the utility of interpretations. It is fair, they say, to criticize "Israel's hard-fisted repression," but it is necessary "to complete the record" and recall the background reasons, specifically, the "sterile rejectionism" of the Palestinians, and the Arabs generally, which leaves Israel little choice. Deploring the "intransigence" of "the Arab heads of state" in June 1988, the editors write that "while they didn't reject the Shultz peace plan outright or insist on Palestinian statehood, they hardened their stance on the need for Israeli withdrawal from all occupied territories." This is unfortunate: "Rejectionism is a formula for endless paralysis." "Rejectionism" here means not rejection of the right of one or the other of the contending national groups to self-determination, but rather rejection of the Shultz peace plan, which denies this right to the Palestinians but is moderate and forthcoming by definition, because it is advanced by the United States. The editors call upon "the West Bankers," who "have been ill-used by PLO exiles and their let's-pretend declarations" calling for Palestinian self-determination, to go beyond "defying occupying soldiers" and "to take the harder step," that is, to accept the U.S.-Israel conception of peace without Palestinian self-determination. The editors even state that "Israel can't be blamed because Palestinians spurned Security Council peace plans"; for example, the two-state Security Council resolution supported (or "prepared") by the PLO in January 1976, and vetoed by the United States -- but nonexistent, because inconsistent with ideological requirements.64
The attitude is reminiscent of a stubborn three-year-old: I don't like it, so it isn't there. The difference is that in this case, the three-year-old happens to be the information services of the reigning superpower.
The option of a nonrejectionist settlement that accords Palestinians the same human rights as Jews does not exist, because the United States and Israel oppose it; that is a simple, unchallengeable fact, the basis for further discussion. Similarly, it has been taken for granted that the Palestinians, unlike the Jews, do not have the right to select their own representatives, a particularly extreme form of rejectionism. The "peace process" must be crafted so as to protect these principles from scrutiny and awareness. Success has been brilliant, as I have documented at length elsewhere.65
As the quasi-official Newspaper of Record, the New York Times must be more careful than most to safeguard the preferred version of history. As already noted, when Yasser Arafat issued a call for negotiations leading to mutual recognition in April-May 1984, the Times refused to print the facts or even letters referring to them. When its Jerusalem correspondent Thomas Friedman reviewed "Two Decades of Seeking Peace in the Middle East" a few months later, the major Arab (including PLO) initiatives of these two decades were excluded, and attention was focused on the various rejectionist U.S. proposals: the official "peace process." Four days later, the Times editors explained that "the most important reality is that the Arabs will finally have to negotiate with Israel," but Yasser Arafat stands in the way "and still talks of an unattainable independent state" instead of adopting a "genuine approach to Israel" to "reinforce the healthy pragmatism of Israel's Prime Minister Peres" by agreeing to accept King Hussein as the spokesman "for West Bank Palestinians" -- regardless of their overwhelming opposition to this choice, irrelevant in the case of people who have no human rights because they stand in the way of U.S. designs. That Peres's "healthy pragmatism" grants Israel control over much of the territories and their resources is also unmentioned. Shortly after, in yet another review of the "peace process" under the heading "Are the Palestinians Ready to Seek Peace?," diplomatic correspondent Bernard Gwertzman asserted -- again falsely -- that the PLO has always rejected "any talk of negotiated peace with Israel."66
Note that Gwertzman need not ask whether Israel or the United States is "ready for peace." For the United States, this is true by definition, since "peace" is defined as whatever Washington is prepared to accept. And since the Israeli Labor Party, with its "healthy pragmatism," is basically in accord with U.S. rejectionism, it too is automatically "ready for peace."
The commitment to falsifying the record on this crucial matter reaches impressive levels. On December 10, 1986, Friedman wrote that the Israeli group Peace Now has "never been more distressed" because of "the absence of any Arab negotiating partner."67 A few months later, he quoted Shimon Peres as deploring the lack of a "peace movement among the Arab people" such as "we have among the Jewish people," and saying that there can be no PLO participation in negotiations "as long as it is remaining a shooting organization and refuses to negotiate."68 Recall that this is almost three years after the Israeli government's rejection of Arafat's offer for negotiations leading to mutual recognition.
Six days before Friedman's article on "the absence of any Arab negotiating partner," a headline in the mass-circulation Israeli journal Ma'ariv read: "Arafat indicates to Israel that he is ready to enter into direct negotiations." The offer was made during the tenure of the "healthy pragmatist" Shimon Peres as Prime Minister. Peres's press advisor confirmed the report, commenting that "there is a principled objection to any contact with the PLO, which flows from the doctrine that the PLO cannot be a partner to negotiations." Labor party functionary Yossi Beilin observed that "the proposal...was dismissed because it appeared to be a tricky attempt to establish direct contacts when we are not prepared for any negotiations with any PLO factor." Yossi Ben-Aharon, head of the Prime Minister's office and Yitzhak Shamir's political adviser, explained that
There is no place for any division in the Israeli camp between Likud and the Labor Alignment. There is in fact cooperation and general understanding, certainly with regard to the fact that the PLO cannot be a participant in discussions or in anything... No one associated with the PLO can represent the issue of the Palestinians. If there is any hope for arrangements that will solve this problem, then the prior condition must be to destroy the PLO from its roots in this region. Politically, psychologically, socially, economically, ideologically. It must not retain a shred of influence... The Israeli opposition to any dealings with the PLO will lead to the consequence that it will weaken and ultimately disappear... This depends to a considerable extent upon us. For example, no journalist may ask questions about the PLO or its influence. The idea that the PLO is a topic for discussion in the Israeli press -- that is already improper. There must be a consensus here, and no debate, that the PLO may not be a factor with which Israel can develop any contact.69
None of this was reported in the mainstream U.S. media, though Friedman was alone in using the occasion to issue one of his periodic laments over the bitter fate of the only peace forces in the Middle East, which lack any Arab negotiating partner.
Friedman's services are much appreciated. The Times promoted him to chief diplomatic correspondent, and in April 1988, he received the Pulitzer Prize for "balanced and informed coverage" of the Middle East, of which these are a few samples. This is his second such award. He received the first for his work in Lebanon, but he observed that at that time the pleasure was marred because the award came just after the bombing of the American Embassy in Lebanon, at "a moment very much bittersweet." This time, however, the award was "unalloyed, untinged by any tragedy," an interesting reaction on the part of a journalist covering Jerusalem and the occupied territories, where apparently everything had been just fine in the preceding months of violent repression of the Palestinian uprising.70
On the occasion of his receipt of the Pulitzer Prize, Friedman had several long interviews in the Israeli press,71 in which he repeated some of the fabrications he has helped establish, for example, that the Palestinians "refuse to come to terms with the existence of Israel, and prefer to offer themselves as sacrifices." The tone of racist contempt is no less noteworthy than the falsehood. He went on to laud his brilliance for having "foreseen completely the uprising in the territories" -- which will come as something of a surprise to his regular readers -- while writing "stories that no one else had ever sent" with unique care and perception; prior to his insights, he explained, Israel was "the most fully reported country in the world, but the least understood in the media." Friedman also offered his solution to the problem of the territories. The model should be south Lebanon, controlled by a terrorist mercenary army backed by Israeli might. The basic principle must be "security, not peace." Nevertheless, the Palestinians should not be denied everything: "Only if you give the Palestinians something to lose is there a hope that they will agree to moderate their demands" -- that is, beyond the "demand" for mutual recognition in a two-state settlement, the longstanding position that Friedman refuses to report and consistently denies. He continues: "I believe that as soon as Ahmed has a seat in the bus, he will limit his demands."
The latter phrase is interesting. One can imagine a similar comment by a southern sheriff in Mississippi thirty years ago ("give Sambo a seat in the bus, and he may quiet down"), though it is hard to believe that a U.S. reporter could make such a statement today about any group other than Arabs. In fact, anti-Arab racism is prevalent in respectable circles in the United States, a matter to which we return.
After being promoted to chief diplomatic correspondent of the Times in recognition of his achievements in having provided "balanced and informed coverage" of the Middle East, Friedman turned to the broader responsibilities of this new position, informing the reader, for example, that in Central America, "after eight years of a failed Reagan Administration approach, Washington has one realistic option -- to seek change through the diplomatic initiative opened by the leaders of Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras" -- and opposed throughout, we are of course to understand, only by the totalitarian Sandinistas.72 It is impressive to see how little effort it takes for the well-trained intellectual to learn the lines. Another Pulitzer Prize doubtless awaits.
A year after Shimon Peres's rejection of "direct negotiations," the Hebrew press in Israel headlined Arafat's statement that "I am ready for direct negotiations with Israel, but only as an equal among equals," and Shimon Peres's report that "the PLO is ready for direct negotiations with Israel without an international conference."73 Israel again rejected the offer. A few days later, Arafat reiterated the PLO call for "an independent Palestinian state in any part of the territory of Palestine evacuated by the Israelis or liberated by us," adding that this state should then form "a confederation with the Jordanians, the Egyptians, the Syrians, and why not, the Israelis."74 Again, the North American reader was spared knowledge of these facts.
On January 14, 1988, Arafat stated that the PLO would "recognize Israel's right to exist if it and the United States accept PLO participation in an international Middle East Peace conference" based on all U.N. resolutions, including U.N. 242.75 Once again the New York Times refused to publish Arafat's statement, or even to permit letters referring to it -- though the facts were buried in an article on another topic nine days later. Arafat had expressed a similar positions many times, for example, a few months earlier in an interview in the New York Review of Books, and in a September speech at a U.N. Nongovernmental Organization (N.G.O.) meeting, also unreported in the Newspaper of Record, in which he called for an "International Conference under the auspices of the United Nations and on the basis of international legality as well as of the international resolutions approved by the United Nations relevant to the Palestinian cause and the Middle East Crisis, and the resolutions of the Security Council, including resolutions 242 and 338."76
In March 1988 the New York Times at last permitted readers a glimpse of the facts,77 but in an interesting manner. A front-page headline read: "Shamir and Arafat Both Scornful of U.S. Moves for Mideast Peace." Two stories follow on the villains who scorn the peace process. One deals with Yitzhak Shamir, who says that "The only word in the Shultz plan I accept is his signature"; the other, with Yasser Arafat, who repeats his endorsement of all U.N. resolutions including 242 and 338, once again accepting Israel's existence in return for withdrawal from the occupied territories and calling for Palestinians to be represented in negotiations through their chosen representatives.78 George Shultz soberly and honorably pursues the peace process; the extremists on both sides scorn his efforts.
In a similar vein, the press reported in 1984 that the Israeli Supreme Court would permit "two extremist political parties" to run in the elections, one of them Rabbi Kahane's Kach party, which "advocates the eventual expulsion of all Arab residents of Israel and the West Bank of the Jordan River," and the other, the Progressive List, which "wants Israel to recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization and form a Palestinian state on the West Bank" -- the two forms of extremism.79
In April 1988, Arafat again endorsed partition, referring explicitly to the principle of a two-state political settlement, not the borders of the original U.N. Resolution of 1947. The next day, Defense Minister Rabin (Labor) announced that Palestinians must be excluded from any political settlement, and that diplomacy can proceed only "on a state-to-state level." A few days earlier, Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir (Likud) had informed George Shultz that "U.N. Resolution 242 does not contain territorial provisions with regard to Jordan," meaning that it excludes the West Bank; the government of Israel is thus on record with a flat rejection of U.N. 242, as understood anywhere else in the world. In February, the Platform Committee of Herut, the core of the governing Likud coalition, had reiterated its longstanding position that the right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel, including all of Jordan, is "permanent" and "not subject to any higher authority," though they do not "propose to go to war on Amman," at least now. Deputy Prime Minister Roni Milo (Likud) had announced earlier that "we have never said that we renounce our right to [Jordan], though in the context of negotiations with Jordan we might agree to certain concessions in Eastern Transjordan," granting Jordan some of its current territory (the reference is presumably to the largely uninhabited desert areas). Later in April 1988, the Labor Party once again adopted a campaign platform rejecting Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories, and Rabin clarified that the plan was to allow 60 percent of the West Bank and Gaza Strip to be part of a Jordanian-Palestinian state, with its capital in Amman. Both major Israeli political groupings thus confirmed their extreme rejectionism, though in their characteristically different guises. The respected Israeli diplomat Abba Eban, an advocate of the Labor Party variety of rejectionism, comments on "the awkward fact that the Israeli government does not support [U.N. 242] at all"; specifically, "there is no trace of [resolutions 242 and 338] whatever in the Israeli coalition agreement because the Likud negotiators in 1984 resisted the Labour proposal to include 242 as one of the sources of Israeli governmental policy."80
All of this passed without notice in the mainstream press.81 The press did, however, report that George Shultz, pursuing his "peace mission" in Jordan, announced that the PLO or others "who have committed acts of terrorism" must be excluded from peace talks, which would leave the bargaining table quite empty and surely would exclude the speaker. He also "explained his understanding of the aspirations of Palestinians," Times reporter Elaine Sciolino wrote, by citing the example of the United States, where he, Shultz, is a Californian, and George Bush is a Texan, but they have no problem living in harmony. The Palestinian aspirations into which he shows such profound insight can be handled the same way.82
At the Algiers meeting of the Arab League in June 1988, the PLO circulated a document written by Arafat's personal spokesman Bassim Abu Sharif, submitted to the major U.S. media and reported in a cable to the State Department on June 8. The document once again explicitly accepted U.N. resolutions 242 and 338, explaining why the PLO will not accept them in isolation. The reason, long understood, is that "neither resolution says anything about the national rights of the Palestinian people, including their democratic right to self-expression and their national right to self-determination." "For that reason and that reason alone," Abu Sharif continued, "we have repeatedly said that we accept Resolutions 242 and 338 in the context of the U.N. Resolutions which do recognize the national rights of the Palestinian people." The same considerations are what underlie the insistence of the United States and Israel that the PLO accept U.N. 242 and 338 in isolation, thus implicitly abandoning their right to self-determination. The Abu Sharif statement was published in the small democratic socialist weekly In These Times. The Washington Post refused publication. The New York Times published excerpts as an opinion column, accompanied by a front-page news story headlined "An Aide to Arafat Comes Under Fire: Hard-Line Palestinian Groups Criticize the Adviser's Call for Talks With Israelis." The article focuses on the condemnation of Abu Sharif by George Habbash's Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and groups that oppose the PLO, barely mentioning the contents of the proposal. It is possible that the Times withheld publication until they could frame the story in this manner.83
Recall that it was after all of this that the Times editors condemned the "sterile rejectionism" and "intransigence" of the Palestinians and the Arabs generally, in their June 13 editorial cited above. A few weeks later, Faisal Husseini, a leading West Bank moderate, was again placed under administrative detention, this time for publicly advocating the Abu Sharif proposal at a Peace Now meeting, a fact too insignificant to merit a story in the Times (see below). Peace Now's association with Husseini in mid-1988 could be interpreted as indicating oblique support for the nonrejectionist two-state proposal that Husseini advocated, though subsequent Peace Now statements make this interpretation doubtful.84 Husseini had emphasized -- accurately -- that he was taking a position long advanced by the PLO. If Peace Now did intend to signal in an ambiguous way its support for something like Husseini's position, then we could conclude that for the first time, Israel has a nonrejectionist peace movement comparable to the PLO, apart from the margins of the political system. These words, though accurate, would be virtually incomprehensible in respectable political discourse in the United States.85
The events of late 1988 again revealed the utility of this extensive government-media campaign to eliminate Arab and PLO initiatives from the historical record while depicting U.S.-Israeli efforts to derail a political settlement as "the peace process" and their rejectionism as moderation. As noted in the text, the Palestine National Council, meeting in Algiers, called for an international conference based on U.N. Resolutions 242 and 338 (which recognize Israeli rights but say nothing about the Palestinians) along with the Palestinian right of self-determination. One might have imagined that this very clear reaffirmation of the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians would have raised some problems for U.S.-Israeli rejectionism. The expected PNC announcement did, in fact, arouse such fears. They were expressed, for example, in a headline in the more dovish segment of the American Jewish press reading "Israel girding itself for Arab peace offer," all pretense that Palestinian moves towards peace would be welcome having been abandoned as the dread moment approached.86
But the fears of peace were quickly put to rest as the PNC peace proposal passed through the media filter. For the editors of the New York Times, it was simply "the same old fudge that Yasir Arafat has offered up for years," a "wasted opportunity," another refusal to abandon "the rejectionist formulas." Once again, a clear nonrejectionist stance is "rejectionism" because it does not accord with the U.S.-Israeli position rejecting Palestinian national rights. With regard to the PLO's reiteration of the position on terrorism endorsed by the entire world apart from the United States, Israel, and South Africa this is just "the old Arafat hedge," the editors scornfully observed.87
A few weeks later, the ever-annoying Arafat stated explicitly in Stockholm that the PNC declaration had "accepted the existence of Israel as a state in the region," reiterating in a joint declaration with American Jews that the PLO affirms "the principle incorporated in those United Nations resolutions that call for a two-state solution of Israel and Palestine" and calls for an international conference "to be held on the basis of U.N. Resolutions 242 and 338 and the right of the Palestinian people of self-determination without external interference." The Times again reacted with contempt, as did both major Israeli political groupings and the U.S. government. The editors explained that once again, "the endorsement of Resolutions 242 and 338 also contains vague allusions to other U.N. declarations, not excluding those that impugn Israel's legitimacy." That statement is flatly false: the only U.N. resolutions to which Arafat made reference are 242, 338, and those that recognize the right of the Palestinians to self-determination. The editors also reiterated the official position that Arafat did not go far enough in "rejecting terrorism," meaning that he did not join the U.S. government and the Times in their splendid isolation off the spectrum of world opinion, a simple matter of fact that the Newspaper of Record has refused to publish.88
The Times editors went on to say that the PLO "seems to have crept closer to accepting Israel's right to exist" though "how far the P.L.O. has moved is hard to tell." The U.S. must therefore stand fast, and "keep the pressure" on Arafat "for more clarity." Their meaning is transparent. Only when the Palestinians explicitly and without equivocation abandon their claim to human and national rights, in accord with State Department-Times directives, will their position be sufficiently clear to merit consideration.
The Los Angeles Times described the Algiers declaration as "the first official hint of a PLO interest" in abandoning their claim for "sovereignty over the whole of Palestine," though "it would be stretching things to use any word stronger than `hint' to describe what came out of the PLO meeting in Algiers." The PLO proposals for a two-state settlement incorporating the right of all states to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries, negotiations leading to mutual recognition, etc., for well over a decade, do not qualify as "hints" because they have been excised from the historical record. Particularly troublesome, the editors continue, was that "the PLO's proclamation doesn't define the boundaries of a Palestinian state"; Israel's refusal to do the same from its founding has never been troublesome. The Washington Post, anticipating the PNC statement, was hopeful, because "for the first time reasonable people can ask if Palestinians are at least moving toward peace"; fair enough, on the assumption that historical facts do not exist if they would compel us to acknowledge unpleasant truths about ourselves.89
Among columnists, the spectrum extended from doves who described the Algiers declaration as "a clumsy but potentially significant move" (Judith Kipper of the Brookings Institution), to George Will, who explained that the German word for "two-state settlement" is "Endloesung, meaning `final solution'." At the dovish extreme, Anthony Lewis applauded this move "in a constructive direction" even though the resolution "was not as clear as we would like," and the PLO must still be excluded from negotiations because of its failure to "unambiguously renounce all terrorism" -- that is, to join the United States and Israel (and, of course, South Africa) in defiance of the world. Boston University history professor Allen Weinstein, president of the Center for Democracy, questioned whether we can trust Arafat's alleged "moderation." We can test it, he suggested, by calling upon him to order a unilateral pause in the Palestinian uprising (Intifada) "as a valuable good faith gesture in shaping future US response to the legitimate demands of the Palestinian people"; Weinstein does not indicate what the United States and Israel would then do to meet these "legitimate demands," or why they did not respond to them prior to the Intifada.90
One of the most intriguing reactions was in the Christian Science Monitor, which has been unusual in its occasional willingness to recognize that Palestinians too might have human rights, including the right to national self-determination that is accorded to Israeli Jews. The Monitor presented two columns: the president of the American Jewish Committee presented the case for denying a visa to Arafat and thus sending a message to the PLO that "it must stop trying to destroy Israel," while Monitor correspondent Scott Pendelton, representing the opposite pole of expressible opinion, urged Shultz to reconsider the decision to bar Arafat from speaking at the United Nations. After all, Pendelton argued, "with the United States' encouragement, PLO moderation had been learning to crawl. Our ultimate aim, supposedly, was to help it to walk." Facts aside, the racist arrogance of the formulation is worthy of note. Pendelton goes on to sketch the outlines of a fair settlement. Since "our primary concern is Israel's security," the only question is: "How far can we go toward addressing Palestinians' grievances?" The basic principle, then, is that the indigenous population simply does not have the human rights of Jews. "Giving Palestinians something to lose would guarantee their good behavior," Pendelton urges, adopting the Thomas Friedman stance. So they ought to be granted some kind of "state," but "Israel should expect to retain military bases in the West Bank and Gaza, overflight rights, and lots more stuff"; this "stuff" remains unspecified, except that it will allow Israel to "walk away with everything it needs" in addition to peace. As for the Palestinians, they should understand that if they "so much as look funny at Israel, we'll step back and let Israel annex your new state and drive all you people into the sea." "If Arafat agrees to such a brutally blunt condition," then he will have made a statement of "honest intentions" that is clear enough for us, the advocate of the doves concludes.91
In short, sheer unalloyed rejectionism throughout, laced with racist contempt for the lesser breeds. The entire spectrum is a counterpart to extremist elements among the Arabs.
Much attention is given throughout to the reaction of American Jewish leaders and organizations. The doves among them described Arafat's explicit acceptance of Israel in a two-state settlement as "a further small step on the road, though there were reasons to fear that the expressed attitudes would not survive a political settlement" (Arthur Hertzberg). The director of the Anti-Defamation League criticized Arafat's statement as "encumbered" and "conditional," when what is needed is "utter clarity" (Abraham Foxman). The chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations" described Arafat's declarations as "a thinly disguised version of the same old propaganda line" and dismissed his acceptance of Israel as a "meaningless" recognition of existing reality; his desire to destroy Israel is "unmitigated," and that is all that counts (Morris Abram).92 In short, the only satisfactory step for the Palestinians is national suicide, with "utter clarity." The meaning of these positions is not discussed.
In Israel, Peace Now reacted to these developments by taking a "new position" that "has surprised many," the Israeli press commented: namely, Peace Now published an advertisement calling for negotiations with the PLO, thus abandoning the extreme form of rejectionism that denies the Palestinians even the right to select their own representatives for negotiations. Peace Now did not, however, move towards a political position of the sort that the PLO had advanced in January 1976 and repeatedly since, calling for a peaceful two-state political settlement. The Peace Now ad asserted falsely that "in Algiers the PLO abandoned the path of rejection...and adopted the path of political compromise"; that step had been taken thirteen years earlier when the PLO backed (or, if the president of Israel can be believed, "prepared") the proposals rejected by Israel and the United States, and that step had yet to be taken by Peace Now. The ad urged that Israel "speak with the PLO" to determine "if the PLO has really adopted the path of peace as declared in Algiers." The advice is sound, except that it omits the major question: has Israel, or Peace Now, finally adopted the path of peace? Peace Now spokesman Tsali Reshef stated that "It isn't we who have undergone a transformation so much as the PLO," with its "revolutionary change" in Algiers, recognizing U.N. 242 and a two-state settlement. The change in Algiers was anything but revolutionary, as the record clearly indicates. What had changed was that Peace Now had now separated itself slightly from Labor Party rejectionism, moving along with mainstream opinion -- which, a few months later and after no further change of any significance in the PLO position as we will see, registered support for negotiations with the PLO by a margin of 54 percent to 44 percent.93
While one can, quite properly, point to ambiguities in PLO formulations, to their corruption, deceit, foolishness, and terror, that shameful record is praiseworthy in comparison with that of the Israeli Labor Party and Peace Now, which still had not reached the level of commitment to a peaceful settlement articulated by the PLO and the "confrontation states" well over a decade earlier.
Notably missing from the discussion in the U.S. media was any suggestion that the United States or Israel should depart from their clear and unambiguous rejection of Palestinian rights, or should renounce terrorism.94 There is no thought that denial of Palestinian self-determination is a form of "Endloesung." The only question that may be considered is whether the Palestinians have moved far enough towards our position, which is by definition the right one, therefore unquestioned. The doves say that the Palestinians are learning, and we should reward them for their painfully slow progress; the hawks warn that it is all fraud and delusion. The more forthcoming argue that for the first time the Palestinians have made sounds that reasonable people might listen to, departing from the "old Arafat fudge": namely, endorsement of a two-state settlement based on the right of self-determination of both peoples, the call for negotiations and mutual recognition, and the other proposals that do not even qualify as "hints." The tough-minded refuse to concede even that. A well-crafted history is a powerful instrument.
December 1988 brought a series of events that provide yet another dramatic indication of the ability of the media to adapt instantaneously to the needs of state propaganda. The media consensus, as expressed by the editors of the New York Times, is that in mid-December the PLO underwent a "seismic shift of attitude," for the first time "advanc[ing] towards a serious negotiating position." Recognizing that the PLO had now met all U.S. demands, Washington made the "momentous decision" to talk with them. It is now "reality time" in the Middle East, Thomas Friedman added; whether there will be any progress depends "in large part on how the P.L.O. leadership responds to the dose of reality they are expected to get in their talks with United States diplomats."95
Let us now turn to what actually occurred.
We must, first of all, not overlook the broader context. The Palestinian uprising from December 1987 undermined the assumption that the Palestinians could simply be disregarded. Their resistance was becoming costly to Israel on many levels, a threat to its services to the United States and perhaps even to its social and economic integrity. Israeli rejectionists of both Labor and Likud began to recognize that the Palestinians could not be as easily suppressed as they had supposed, joining a few others who had already come to this conclusion. U.S. analysts were drawing the same conclusions. The rejectionism of the U.S. intellectual community, overwhelmingly dominant, also was beginning to erode, accelerating as the costs of the Intifada to Israel became clear. Even some of the leading hatchet men, who for years had been denouncing advocates of a political settlement as left fascists, self-hating Jews, and the like while producing a steady stream of apologetics for Israeli repression and atrocities, began to fashion for themselves a role as long-term advocates of a political settlement and critics of Israel's lack of compassion (typically blaming the Likud government and exculpating Labor, which has a comparable record, worse in some respects).96 Israel's costly failures in Lebanon from 1982 had led to a similar reassessment, as had Arab military successes in the October 1973 war, which made it clear that the Arab states could not simply be ignored and that it would be best for Israel and the United States to arrange a Sinai settlement. Some change in policy towards the Palestinians, at least at a symbolic level, was therefore likely, on the basis of a reassessment of costs. Against this background, it was becoming increasingly difficult to maintain the illusions that had served for so long. Correspondingly, from early 1988 Arab peace initiatives began to be reported, however deceptively, and to elicit some kind of limited reaction.
Turning to the events of December 1988, after the November Algiers declaration the United States refused to permit Arafat to address the U.N. General Assembly in New York, in clear violation of law. The Assembly session was moved to Geneva, where Arafat essentially repeated the positions already articulated. Washington's response was that Arafat had not met its conditions, which were, once again, clearly stated:
- "Acceptance of Resolutions 242 and 338"
- "Recognition of Israel's right to exist"
- "Rejection of terrorism in all its forms"
These U.S. positions must be adopted by the PLO "clearly, squarely, without ambiguity," the State Department continued. The media endorsed this stand. The New York Times Magazine ran a cover story entitled "The Ambiguous Yasir Arafat," and others deplored his evasiveness as well. The concept of "ambiguity" was explained by John Chancellor of NBC: "The trouble with Yasser Arafat is that his native language seems to be ambiguity. He never quite says what you want him to say."97 How unreasonable.
Recall what is at stake in the three conditions. Resolutions 242 and 338 call for the right of all states in the region to "live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries." This condition had been endorsed by the PLO in January 1976 in those very words, and repeatedly since. But the PLO had always added a "qualification." It also insisted upon those U.N. resolutions that recognize the right of the Palestinians to national self-determination in a state alongside of Israel. The first of the State Department requirements is that the PLO abandon this "qualification," thus abandoning the right to self-determination.
The second point is a bit different. No state in the international system is accorded an abstract "right to exist," though states are accorded the right to exist in peace and security. The difference is fundamental. Thus, the United States explicitly denies the "right to exist" of the Soviet Union in its present form (as demonstrated, for example, in Captive Nations Week, or in high-level planning documents such as NSC 68). But it agrees that the U.S.S.R. has the right to be free from foreign attack or terror, that is, to live in peace and security. For the Palestinians to agree to Israel's abstract "right to exist" would be for them to accept not only the fact but the legitimacy of their dispossession from their land and homes. That is why Israel and the United States insist on this precise wording. "It is essential that these words be spoken," a State Department Middle East expert asserts. It is not the "existence" of Israel but the "right" of existence that is at issue, National Security Adviser Colin Powell insists: "It's the right of Israel to exist that is the essential acknowledgement that we need."98 Israel naturally agrees. The U.S. media and intellectual community do so as well, for only such total humiliation and renunciation of even abstract rights on the part of the Palestinians will justify the attitudes that intellectual circles had displayed towards them for many decades.
The third point we have already discussed. It is not sufficient for the PLO to take the position on terrorism held by virtually the entire world; it must join the United States, Israel, and South Africa off the spectrum of world opinion, clearly and unambiguously renouncing the right of people to struggle for self-determination against racist and colonialist regimes or foreign occupation. Again, the media agree with near unanimity, while continuing to suppress the fact that this is precisely what is at issue.
The alleged reasons for the U.S.-Israeli stand are "security"; only if Arafat says the magic words will Israel be secure, according to government-media doctrine. The absurdity is transparent. Suppose that Arafat were to waltz into the Knesset wearing a yarmulke and singing Hatikva, proceeding to pledge undying loyalty to the State of Israel while condemning Palestinians as undeserving sinners, temporary visitors in the Land of Israel who will be eternally grateful if the rightful owners of the entire land grant them the gift of a mini-state in the West Bank and Gaza. Israel's security would not be enhanced one iota. Security is based on facts, not words. In fact, the idea that the Palestinians threaten Israel's security can hardly be taken seriously; if the longstanding PLO proposals for a two-state diplomatic settlement were accepted, it would be the Palestinian state that would face security problems, contained within the traditional tacit alliance between Jordan and Israel, the regional superpower. Israel doubtless faces severe security problems, in part of its own making because of its rejection of the possibilities for diplomatic settlement since 1971. But the Palestinians pose a security threat only in that Israel's capacity to defend itself against really dangerous enemies will doubtless erode as its military forces are trained not to fight wars but to break the bones of children. The threat is understood by Israeli military specialists, and is one reason why the Intifada is leading them to reconsider the wisdom of holding the territories. One well-known military historian, Martin van Creveld, observes that "What used to be one of the world's finest fighting forces is rapidly degenerating into a fourth-class police organization. To realize the way such a force will fight when confronted by a real army, one need look no further than the Argentinians in the Falkland Islands."99
The issue of Arafat's refusal to pronounce the words written for him by the State Department -- what the media term his "ambiguity" -- is not at all "frivolous," as the editors of the Washington Post rightly assert while misstating the reasons.100 If the PLO were to accept the State Department position clearly and unambiguously, it would fall into a diplomatic trap. It would then have renounced its right to national self-determination (the "qualification" to 242), accepted the legitimacy of everything that had happened to the Palestinians in the past, and renounced any right to struggle for self-determination -- for example, the right to endorse popular committees in a "liberated village," or the right to approve if the inhabitants of the village throw stones at army units invading to prevent such attempts at self-government and to arrest, torture, beat, or kill the perpetrators of such crimes. PLO agreement to these terms would be a substantive achievement for U.S.-Israeli rejectionism. It would mean that if the Palestinians made any move towards self-determination, or even spoke words to that effect, they could be accused of reneging on their solemn commitments, proving that they are mere barbarians as the United States and Israel had always known, and abandoning any rights whatsoever. They could then be "driven into the sea" or the desert, in accordance with the prescriptions of the doves, as we have seen. Whatever Israel and the United States now choose to do to them would be legitimate, after this demonstration of their worthlessness. The weapon would always be available, held in reserve, if the PLO were to accept the demands of the U.S. government and the media.
By mid-December 1988, the U.S. government was becoming an object of ridicule outside of the United States for its insistence that Arafat not only accept the positions long regarded as reasonable in the international community, but pronounce the exact words written for him by the State Department. Boxed into an untenable position, Washington turned to the usual technique of the powerful: the "Trollope ploy" (see chapter 4, note 40): When the adversary refuses to accept your position, pretend that he has done so, trusting the media to fall into step. In the world of necessary illusions, then, the adversary will indeed have accepted your position, and you may proceed as if that had happened, punishing him as required for any departure from the solemn commitments that you have invented for him. An added benefit is the psychological satisfaction derived from the claim that Third World nuisances have been humiliated, while in return we now grant them the great gift of admission to the master's chambers for some meaningless conversation. Furthermore, these pretenses have the practical advantage of reinforcing the doctrine that a stern and uncompromising stance is the only way to deal with the lesser breeds. Recall the reinterpretation of the diplomatic defeat of the United States in August 1987 as a proof that our resort to violence finally compelled the reluctant Sandinistas to accept U.S. terms. The actual facts are quite irrelevant if the information system can be trusted to obey and if its power to mold opinion is sufficient in the countries that matter (the Western allies). This is the device that Nixon and Kissinger used to destroy the Paris peace agreements in 1973, and that the Reagan administration adopted to undermine the Esquipulas Accord. In fact, it is virtually a reflex, and it typically works like a charm.
Adopting this procedure, the State Department announced that in a news conference in which he said nothing new of any moment, Arafat had finally accepted the U.S. position on all three issues, so that now, in our magnanimity, we would agree to talk to the PLO (and to inform them, politely, that Palestinians have no rights or claims). As more perceptive analysts recognized, this "sudden and dramatic reversal of US policy...got the Reagan administration out of a corner into which it had been painting itself" as the administration "snatched the slender straw of Arafat's press conference in Geneva as an elegant way out of an increasingly untenable position."101 The standard media interpretation was, however, quite different: the U.S. had not changed its position at all; rather, firmness had paid off and forced the ambiguous Mr. Arafat to accede to Washington's just demands, proving that the U.S. should continue to "hang tough," as the Washington Post editors put it.
The news columns of the New York Times reported that "State Department officials declined to speculate about what may have convinced Mr. Arafat to embrace the American formula after so many years of refusing to do so." Over and over, they reiterated that the PLO had met the U.S. terms "by renouncing terrorism, recognizing Israel's right to exist and accepting important United Nations resolutions on the Mideast." The Washington Post praised the Reagan administration for having "scored an unexpected diplomatic coup by drawing the Palestine Liberation Organization into formal acceptance of the state of Israel." There was much derision of "Palestinian semantics." The story was that Arafat had tried to evade the stern U.S. requirements, but finally succumbed, there being no further escape. Thus, after much squirming, Arafat had finally spoken the words that gave the PLO the privilege of an invitation to lunch with U.S. officials. This "stunning breakthrough" is a triumph of U.S. diplomacy, the Times editors announced, admonishing Secretary Shultz to "hold Arafat responsible" for any "violence within Israel and the occupied territories." The Boston Globe editors asserted that "Yasser Arafat has spoken the words he had to say in order to meet American conditions for open contacts with the PLO," including "his belated declaration of Israel's right to exist in peace and security." "Henceforth," the editors warned, "the PLO can be held to the pledges he made." Columnists added that the United States should persist in the "tough approach" that had "got Mr. Arafat this far along by repeating the same three conditions year in, year out"; this steadfastness should force Mr. Arafat the rest of the way, to accommodating the "legitimate interests" of Israel and Jordan by abandoning even marginal claims for self-determination (Daniel Pipes). Thomas Friedman spelled out "reality": Arafat had finally recognized "Israel's right to exist," and must now talk to the Israelis just as Sadat, "during his first negotiations with Israel after the 1973 war," finally understood that Egypt "would have to talk to Israel directly and in language that Israelis would find sincere" (recall that Egypt had offered a full peace treaty in 1971, recognized as such officially by Israel, but rejected because the Labor government felt that they could gain territorial concessions by holding out, as they frankly explained). As the U.S. proceeds to administer a "dose of reality" to the PLO, Friedman continued, it should advise the Palestinians to "agree to a two-month cease-fire in the uprising, in exchange for Israeli agreement to allow them to hold municipal elections." Note that it is the Palestinians who must "agree to a cease-fire" in the occupied territories, from which the reader is to understand that it is the Palestinians who have been "firing" on the Israeli army.102
Subsequent commentary proceeded along the same lines, virtually (or perhaps even completely) with no exception. President Bush, in his first news conference, explained that we agreed to "communicate" with the PLO (but not "deal with" them, as he hastened to emphasize, correcting a slip of the tongue), because of "their acceptance of three principles," those we had formulated for them; "As long as they stay hooked and stay committed to those three principles, we will have quite appropriate meetings with the P.L.O." What has changed is that the PLO has "dramatically I'd say -- agreed to the -- to the principles that are part of our policy," saying the magic words. Times correspondent Joel Brinkley, along with many others, went further, adding that "Yasir Arafat, the P.L.O. leader, is saying openly for the first time that he wants to solve the Palestinian problem through negotiation," a real breakthrough, an offer that the U.S. and the world have "tentatively accepted." Recall that Brinkley's comment is quite accurate in the world of necessary illusion that the Times has so carefully crafted over many years; Arafat's repeated proposals to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict through negotiation exist only in the irrelevant world of reality, from which readers of the Times have been scrupulously protected.103
Turning to the facts, which quickly disappeared from the scene as anticipated, in his magic words Arafat recognized "the right of all parties concerned in the Middle East conflict to exist in peace and security, and, as I have mentioned, including the state of Palestine, Israel and other neighbors, according to the Resolution 242 and 338"; thus he "accepted the state of Israel" in the terms he had offered thirteen years earlier, and repeatedly since, with the same "qualifications" as always and with no endorsement of Israel's abstract "right to exist." He "renounced" terrorism in all its forms (the State Department had insisted only on "rejection"), while he and other officials made it clear in accompanying statements that the PLO "would not abandon either attacks on military targets in Israel or the year-old uprising in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip."104
In short, Arafat repeated the former PLO positions. The only changes were that whereas in January 1976 (and often since) the PLO adopted the wording of U.N. 242, endorsing the right of all parties "to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries," Arafat now spoke of their right "to exist in peace and security"; the change is zero. As before, he insisted on the "qualification" that the Palestinians have the right of self-determination, clearly referring to "the State of Palestine" alongside of Israel. He refused to accept Israel's abstract "right to exist," on which the U.S. had insisted as the crucial point. Instead of "condemning" and "rejecting" terrorism as before (see
chapter 4), he "renounced" terrorism, while retaining the internationally recognized right of struggle for self-determination against racist and colonialist regimes and foreign occupation.
The version presented by the State Department and the media is false in virtually every particular. That fact, however, makes not the slightest difference. The necessary illusions have been established. Accordingly, Arafat can be held to the "pledges" that he has not made, and the Palestinians can be punished if they fail to live up to these solemn commitments. Note again the close similarity to the techniques adopted to undermine the Esquipulas Accord, among other familiar cases.
Seeking to extract what advantages one might from these developments, William Safire expatiated on the crucial difference between the words "condemn" and "renounce." True, he conceded, Arafat had previously "condemned" terrorism (as well as "rejecting" terrorism, he fails to add), but now he had followed our orders and "renounced" it, tacitly conceding that he had previously endorsed it. From the point of view of the security of Israel -- Safire's alleged concern -- or any other issue of possible human significance, the difference is so small as to be near invisible. What impresses Safire, however, is that the United States has imposed a satisfying form of humiliation on the victims of U.S.-Israeli repression and rejectionism, righteously forcing them to concede that they, and they alone, have sinned.105 At the other extreme of the acceptable political spectrum, Paul Berman urges Israel to "take your enemy's watery words and dig a moat for them, and...try to seal your enemy behind a channel of his own promises. By making him repeat his words endlessly, and linking big words to tiny measurable commitments, and the tiny to the large." There has been progress, "if only that Arafat's lies flow today in a better direction than when he was dazzling his own people with news of the secular democratic state to come," Berman continues, while extolling Abba Eban (the "grand veteran of Israeli Labor," and long-time advocate of its rejectionism) and Irving Howe ("easy and weighty, socialism's truest voice," long known for silence over Israeli atrocities or denial of them, and venomous denunciation of Daniel Berrigan, the New Left from Palo Alto to Scarsdale, and an array of other villains whose crime was to tell truths that he preferred not be heard). Neither Safire nor Berman, nor the spectrum between, call upon Israel and the United States to "renounce" their terrorism and their rejection of any political settlement; there are no injunctions that these regimes must be sealed behind a channel of their own promises, compelled to repeat their words of contrition and renunciation endlessly, and to direct their lies along a better course. And the necessary illusions about the diplomatic history remain firmly in place. The imperial arrogance and racist contempt for those in our way are as striking as the easy dismissal of unacceptable fact.106
While all eyes were focussed on Palestinian ambiguity, the press reported that "soldiers raiding the West Bank village of Deir al-Ghusun" shot and killed an Arab, among the many who were killed and wounded in a new outburst of Israeli violence with daily killings. To further underscore the U.S.-Israeli attitude towards terrorism, the U.S. vetoed a Security Council resolution deploring a large-scale Israeli armed attack near Beirut. Shimon Peres, praised in the media as Israel's leading dove, explained that there is no Palestinian partner for negotiations and that Palestinians have no right of national self-determination because Israel determines that their cultural relations with Jordan bar any "notion of artificially dividing the Palestinian people" -- though Israel will allow the people of the West Bank and Gaza "free and secret elections" without Israeli interference, once they abandon in advance the one principle that they would uphold, with near unanimity, in free elections. Israel formed a coalition government based on the familiar demands of both major political groupings: "No talks with the P.L.O. for sure, no Palestinian state between Jordan and the Mediterranean, and no retreat to the 1967 borders." The coalition agreement also called for up to eight new settlements a year in the occupied territories, with U.S. funds.107
There are no ambiguities here. Similarly, the media remain unwavering in their services to derailing any possible peace process as long as Washington persists in its own unambiguous rejectionism.
One aspect of this service is suppression of the position of the United States after the spectacular achievement of U.S. diplomacy. According to the Israeli press, Washington advised Israel to stop requesting that the United States terminate its dialogue with the PLO because these requests "only add significance to the dialogue." Defense Minister Rabin expressed his great satisfaction with the dialogue in late February because it was a delaying action, intended to grant Israel at least a year to suppress the Intifada by "harsh military and economic pressure." This interpretation is reinforced by the protocols of the first meeting between the United States and the PLO in Tunis. These were leaked to the Egyptian journal Al-Mussawar, which is close to President Mubarak, and published in translation by the Jerusalem Post, which could hardly contain its pleasure over the fact that "the American representative adopted the Israeli positions." U.S. Ambassador to Tunisia Robert Pelletreau stated two crucial conditions: the PLO must call off the Intifada, and must abandon the idea of an international conference, accepting the U.S. demand for direct negotiations between the PLO and Israel (which Israel, incidentally, refuses). With regard to the Intifada, the U.S. position is that
Undoubtedly the internal struggles that we are witnessing in the occupied territories aim to undermine the security and stability of the State of Israel, and we therefore demand cessation of those riots, which we view as terrorist acts against Israel. This is especially true as we know you are directing, from outside the territories, those riots which are sometimes very violent.108
The U.S. position, then, is that the Palestinian uprising is terrorism aimed at destruction of Israel, and the PLO must order it to cease. Once the Intifada is brought to a halt, matters will revert to the situation that prevailed before, when the U.S. government cheerfully supported and lavishly funded Israel's brutal repression of the population and its steps towards integration of the territories within Israel, while the media systematically avoided the ongoing atrocities, praised the "benign" occupation, and hailed the occupiers as "a society in which moral sensitivity is a principle of political life" (New York Times, right after the Sabra-Shatila massacres); and the left-liberal intelligentsia praised this "ebullient democracy" striding towards democratic socialism (Irving Howe) while slandering those who called for a political settlement and had the impudence and temerity to observe, quite inadequately, that all was not quite as delightful as was being depicted.109
With regard to direct negotiations, the matter is hardly more subtle. The international community supports a political settlement; the United States does not. Therefore, the international community must be excluded from any role, because it would be an irritant, pressing for the kind of political settlement that the U.S. has rejected for many years. More generally, as we have seen in other contexts too, the international community must be excluded as much as possible from interfering on U.S. turf -- much of the world, including the Middle East -- though the U.S. is willing to turn to it when preferred methods of exercising control have failed. In "direct negotiations," without the interference of those who might press for peace, Israel can continue (with U.S. support) to reject any proposal for meaningful negotiations or political settlement, even if Israel can be brought to take part in the charade.
The "dose of reality" administered to the PLO is, therefore, very much along the lines of what the Times chief diplomatic correspondent thought necessary, and conforms exactly to the demands of Israeli rejectionism, as the Jerusalem Post editors exulted. The United States has succeeded, once again, in throwing a wrench in the "peace process" and blocking the prospects that appeared to be developing, much to the consternation of Washington and Tel Aviv.
All such matters must be excluded from discussion in the media, and are, even in the glare of publicity over the remarkable and spectacular U.S. diplomatic achievements of December 1988.
While the United States won a major diplomatic and propaganda victory, forces may be set in motion that Washington cannot control, exactly as in the other cases we have discussed. The world is not as easily managed as the media. That, however, is another topic.
This is only a brief sample of a very large record. One has come to expect such services on the part of the New York Times, which, Boston Globe Middle East correspondent Curtis Wilkie observes, "has historically been Israel's chief conduit for news for American consumption."110 But the pattern is far more pervasive, virtually exceptionless.
I mentioned earlier that one should not dismiss the undercurrent of racism that runs through the discussion of the Israel-Arab conflict. That is the meaning of the tacit assumption that the indigenous population does not have the human and national rights that we naturally accord to the Jewish immigrants who largely displaced them. The assumption is rarely challenged, or apparently even perceived. That is true when the denial of Arab rights is merely presupposed, and remains so even when the expression of racist attitudes is crude and explicit. A number of examples have been mentioned. It would be an error to think of them as merely scattered cases.
Consider, for example, a New York Times Magazine article by Thomas Friedman entitled "Proposals for Peace," outlining his ideas about a peaceful resolution of the Arab-Israel conflict. He begins by introducing "an elderly curmudgeon named Sasson," a representative of "the Israeli silent majority." The article asks what will convince this silent but reasonable ordinary man -- whose alleged views turn out to be remarkably like Friedman's -- to agree to a political settlement. "Sasson is the key to a Palestinian-Israeli peace settlement," Friedman holds. Two proposals are offered that might satisfy Sasson; these are presented as speeches by some Israeli political figure who would be farsighted enough to listen to Friedman's advice. One is Friedman's south Lebanon proposal, already discussed: place the territories under the control of a mercenary force backed by Israeli might, and warn the Palestinians that if "they put one of ours in the hospital, we'll put 200 of theirs in the morgue," and Israel will "obliterate" whatever the Palestinians construct if they threaten Israel "in any way." The second is a "diplomatic solution" along the lines of Labor Party rejectionism, with enough power deployed to convince Israelis "to ignore Palestinian poetry" that they do not like.111 Again, the familiar racist arrogance.
Notably missing is any Palestinian Sasson, or indeed any recognition that it might matter what Palestinians think or want. The discussion of proposals for peace is based on the assumption that all that matters is what is good for the Jews. Friedman takes great pains to explain to American readers Jewish attitudes into which he feels he has much insight: the attitudes of Sasson, or Ze'ev Chafets, the American-born former director of the Israeli Government Press Office, sympathetically portrayed as he calmly explains that his son would drop a nuclear bomb on the Rashdiye refugee camp "without a second thought" if he felt that Israel's security were threatened. There is no indication that Friedman understands anything about the Palestinians, or cares to. They are a nuisance that Israel cannot get rid of, and for its own good, Israel should give Ahmed a seat on the bus to shut him up. That ends the discussion.
The racism is often not subtle at all. We read that Times correspondent Stephen Kinzer is offended by the willingness of the Sandinistas "to express solidarity with Palestinians, M-19s, and other Third World detritus" (Joe Klein); replace "Palestinians" with "Jews" and no one will fail to recognize the echoes of Der Stuermer. The same reaction would be elicited by a complaint that New York is "underpopulated," meaning that it has too many Blacks, Hispanics, and Jews and too few WASPs; but there is no reaction to a reference to the "underpopulated Galilee," meaning that it has too many Arabs and too few Jews (Dissent editor Irving Howe in the New York Times). Liberal intellectuals express no qualms about a journal whose editor reflects on "Arab culture" in which "no onus falls on lying," on a "crazed Arab," but "crazed in the distinctive ways of his culture. He is intoxicated by language, cannot discern between fantasy and reality, abhors compromise, always blames others for his predicament, and in the end lances the painful boil of his frustrations in a pointless, though momentarily gratifying, act of bloodlust" (New Republic editor Martin Peretz). Comparable statements about "Jewish culture" would be recognized as a reversion to Nazism. Gary Hart was forced to terminate his presidential candidacy because of alleged indiscretions, which did not include his withdrawal of money from a bank when he learned it had Arab investors: "`We didn't know it was an Arab bank,' said Kenneth Guido, special counsel to the Hart campaign. `We got him (Hart) out of it as soon as we knew'." Nor was Walter Mondale accused of racism when he returned campaign contributions he had received from Arab-Americans or, in one case, a woman with an Arab-American surname, "for fear of offending American Jews," the Wall Street Journal reported; or when he accepted the endorsement of the The New Republic. Change a few names, and the meaning of these facts is evident enough. In the New York Times, William Safire condemns "the world's film crews" for their coverage of "a made-for-TV uprising of a new `people'...in Israel's West Bank"; such derision of Jewish resistance to comparable abuses would be unthinkable, apart from neo-Nazi publications, but this passes without notice. It is pointless to discuss the journal of the American Jewish Committee, considered one of the most respectable voices of conservative opinion, where a lead article seethes with bitter scorn about "the Palestinian Arabs, people who breed and bleed and advertise their misery"; this is "the obvious key to the success of the Arab strategy" of driving the Jews into the sea in a revival of the Nazi Lebensraum concept, the author of these shocking words continues. We may, again, imagine the reaction if a respected professor at a major university were to produce the same words, referring to Jews.112
There is no space to comment here on the vicious racist depiction of Arabs in novels, television, cartoons and cinema, or the crucial support in the American Jewish community for Rabbi Kahane, who is commonly denounced as a Nazi in Israeli commentary, and for other groups within Israel that are only marginally less extreme in their intentions with regard to the Arab population and attitudes towards them.
Those who express their fear and concern over manifestations of anti-Semitism among Blacks and others might be taken seriously if they were to pay even the slightest attention to what is said by their friends and associates. They do not.
The matter of racism and the Arab-Jewish conflict is more complex. The anti-Arab racism that has become so familiar as to be unnoticed has been accompanied by apparent concern over anti-Semitism; that the qualification is accurate is evident from a closer look at the revision that the concept of anti-Semitism has undergone in the process. There have long been efforts to identify anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in an effort to exploit anti-racist sentiment for political ends; "one of the chief tasks of any dialogue with the Gentile world is to prove that the distinction between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism is not a distinction at all," Israeli diplomat Abba Eban argued, in a typical expression of this intellectually and morally disreputable position.113 But that no longer suffices. It is now necessary to identify criticism of Israeli policies as anti-Semitism -- or in the case of Jews, as "self-hatred," so that all possible cases are covered.
The leading official monitor of anti-Semitism, the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai Brith, interprets anti-Semitism as unwillingness to conform to its requirements with regard to support for Israeli authorities. These conceptions were clearly expounded by ADL National Director Nathan Perlmutter, who wrote that while old-fashioned anti-Semitism has declined, there is a new and more dangerous variety on the part of "peacemakers of Vietnam vintage, transmuters of swords into plowshares, championing the terrorist P.L.O.," and those who condemn U.S. policies in Vietnam and Central America while "sniping at American defense budgets." He fears that "nowadays war is getting a bad name and peace too favorable a press" with the rise of this "real anti-Semitism." The logic is straightforward: Anti-Semitism is opposition to the interests of Israel (as the ADL sees them); and these interests are threatened by "the liberals," the churches, and others who do not adhere to the ADL political line.114
The ADL has virtually abandoned its earlier role as a civil rights organization, becoming "one of the main pillars" of Israeli propaganda in the U.S., as the Israeli press casually describes it, engaged in surveillance, blacklisting, compilation of FBI-style files circulated to adherents for the purpose of defamation, angry public responses to criticism of Israeli actions, and so on. These efforts, buttressed by insinuations of anti-Semitism or direct accusations, are intended to deflect or undermine opposition to Israeli policies, including Israel's refusal, with U.S. support, to move towards a general political settlement. The ADL was condemned by the Middle East Studies Association after circulation of an ADL blacklist to campus Jewish leaders, stamped "confidential." Practices of this nature have been bitterly condemned by Israeli doves -- in part because they fear the consequences of this hysterical chauvinism for Israel, in part because they have been subjected to the standard procedures themselves, in part simply in natural revulsion.115
Anti-Semitism, in short, is not merely conflated with anti-Zionism, but even extended to Zionists who are critical of Israeli practices. Correspondingly, authentic anti-Semitism on the part of those whose services to Israeli power are deemed appropriate is of no account.
These two aspects of "the real anti-Semitism," ADL-style, were illustrated during the 1988 U.S. presidential campaign. The Democratic Party was denounced for anti-Semitism on the grounds that its convention dared to debate a resolution calling for a two-state political settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In contrast, when an array of Nazi sympathizers and anti-Semites were exposed in August 1988 in the Bush presidential campaign, the major Jewish organizations and leaders were, for the most part, "curiously blasé about both the revelations and Bush's response to them," largely ignoring the matter, John Judis comments.116 The New Republic dismissed as a minor matter the "antique and anemic forms of anti-Semitism" of virulent anti-Semites and Nazi and fascist sympathizers at a high level of the Republican campaign organization. The editors stressed, rather, the "comfortable haven for Jew-hatred on the left, including the left wing of the Democratic Party," parts of the Jackson campaign, and "the ranks of increasingly well-organized Arab activists," all of whom supported the two-state resolution at the Party convention and thus qualify as "Jew-haters."117
The point is that the ultra-right Republicans are regarded as properly supportive of Israel by hard-line standards, while the Democratic Party reveals its "Jew-hatred" by tolerating elements that believe that Palestinians are human beings with the same rights as Jews, including the right of national self-determination alongside of Israel. Following the lead of the major Jewish organizations, the Democrats carefully avoided the discovery of anti-Semites and Nazis in the Republican campaign headquarters and the continuing close links after exposure.
The same point was illustrated by the revelation, at the same time, that the Reagan Department of Education had once again refused federal funds for a highly praised school history program on the Holocaust. It was first rejected in 1986 "after a review panel member complained that the views of the Nazi Party and the Ku Klux Klan were not represented." Republican faithfuls charged the program with "psychological manipulation, induced behavioral change and privacy-invading treatment" (Phyllis Schlafly); citing "leftist authorities" such as New York Times columnist Flora Lewis, British historian A.J.P. Taylor, and Kurt Vonnegut; being "profoundly offensive to fundamentalists and evangelicals"; and even being "anti-war, anti-hunting" and likely to "induce a guilt trip." A senior Education Department official attributed the rejections to "those on the extreme right wing of the Republican Party." In 1986 and 1987, this particular program had been "singled out for a refusal." In 1988, when the program "was the top-rated project in the category [of history, geography, and civics], created by then-Education Secretary William J. Bennett," the entire category was eliminated.118
But "the extreme right wing of the Republican Party," whatever its attitudes towards Nazis and the Holocaust, is adequately pro-Israel. There was no detectable protest, and the issue did not arise in the last stages of the election campaign.
The cheapening of the concept of anti-Semitism and the ready tolerance for anti-Arab racism go hand-in-hand, expressing the same political commitments. All of this, again, is merely "antique and anemic anti-Semitism."
Media services to Israel have gone well beyond praising the "benign" occupation while Palestinians were being subjected to torture, daily humiliation, and collective punishment; suppressing the record of Israeli terror in Lebanon and elsewhere and its conscious purpose of blocking steps towards political accommodation on the part of the PLO; hailing the "liberation of Lebanon" in 1982; and properly engineering the historical record on such matters as diplomacy and terror. The media have also been "surprisingly uncurious" on the Israeli nuclear threat, as observed by Leonard Spector, specialist of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on nuclear proliferation. They remained so even after ample evidence had appeared on Israel's nuclear forces and its testing of a nuclear-capable missile with range sufficient to "reach the Soviet Union." In 1984, Spector's Carnegie Foundation study of nuclear proliferation identified Israel as "by far the most advanced of eight `emerging' nuclear powers, surpassing the nuclear capabilities of earlier contenders such as India and South Africa," the Los Angeles Times and Boston Globe reported.
The Globe headline read: "Israel may have 20 nuclear arms, report says." The New York Times report of Spector's study by Richard Halloran the same day is headlined "Nuclear Arms Races in Third World Feared." It mentions Israel once, namely, in having helped to reduce the danger of nuclear proliferation by bombing the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981. Spector's 1987 study on nuclear proliferation was reported in the Boston Globe on page 67, in the Amusements section, under the headline "Report says Israel could `level' cities," quoting him as saying that Israel may have acquired enough nuclear weaponry "to level every urban center in the Middle East with a population of more than 100,000." The New York Times report by Michael Gordon the same day makes no mention of Israel. It opens by warning of Libyan efforts to acquire a nuclear capacity, then turns to suspicions about Pakistan, Iran, and India.119
The London Sunday Times revelation of Mordechai Vanunu's testimony on Israel's nuclear arsenal with an across-the-page front-page headline on October 5, 1986 was barely noted in the U.S. press. The New York Times eliminated a brief wire service report from its national edition, publishing a few words on Israel's denial of the charges the next day, and other major journals were hardly different. Reviewing media coverage, Nabeel Abraham found "no editorials or commentaries, pro or con,...on Israel's new status as the world's sixth nuclear power" in the following six months, and only a few news references, mostly downplaying the story or fostering doubts about its authenticity (citing Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, November 9).120
Also unmentioned was an interesting observation by the scientific head of France's atomic energy establishment during the period when France helped Israel build its nuclear weapons plant in Dimona, reported in the London Sunday Times on October 12, 1986. He commented that
We thought the Israeli bomb was aimed against the Americans, not to launch it against America but to say "if you don't want to help us in a critical situation we will require you to help us, otherwise we will use our nuclear bombs"
-- a conception of some potential interest to the American public, one might think, particularly in the light of its earlier roots, going back many years.121
Vanunu's abduction by Israeli intelligence and his secret trial in Israel also received little notice. When his trial opened three weeks after the London Sunday Times had prominently reported the details of his abduction in Europe, the New York Times reported only that "it is still not entirely clear how Mr. Vanunu, who disappeared from London last September, was brought back to Israel to stand trial."122
There are many similar cases of protection of Israel in the media, some already discussed; to add another, consider the September 1987 statement by Foreign Ministry Director General Yossi Beilin (a Labor dove) that Israel's sanctions against South Africa are "symbolic, psychological," and will not hurt the $240 million yearly trade between the two countries, unreported in the New York Times.123 South Africa too benefits from selective attention. Thus, when a South African naval force attacked three Russian ships in the Angolan harbor of Namibe in June 1986, sinking one, using Israeli-made Scorpion missiles, there was no mention in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, the news weeklies, or other journals listed in the magazine index; the Washington Post published only a 120-word item from Moscow reporting Soviet condemnation of the attack, on page 17.124 The reaction might have been different if a Libyan naval force had attacked U.S. commercial vessels in the port of Haifa, sinking one, using East German-made missiles.
Despite the extraordinary protection the media have afforded Israel since 1967, and the demonizing of its enemies, many are not satisfied and bitterly condemn the media for their unfair treatment of Israel and their tilt towards the PLO and the Arabs generally (see
appendix I). These attacks then lead to thoughtful reflections on the "double standard" that Israel must suffer and the reasons for it. This is a virtual reflex when some Israeli atrocity, such as the war in Lebanon or the violent repression of the Palestinian uprising from December 1987, becomes impossible to overlook, so that the media present a glimpse of what they generally dismiss or deny while continuing to ignore (or sometimes falsify) the background and causes.
The arguments offered on the "double standard" are often startling. In the Jerusalem Post, Eliahu Tal ("perhaps Israel's leading mass communicator") describes the work he is completing in cooperation with the Anti-Defamation League that shows how Israel is losing the propaganda war because of the "anti-Israel bias and double standards" of the media and the "clever trick" devised by Arab propagandists: "deliberately using women and kids as targets for the camera" -- a remark reminiscent of the insight in Commentary about "the Palestinian Arabs, people who breed and bleed and advertise their misery."126 Another typical refrain is that those who do not live in Israel and suffer its problems at first hand are dishonest and unfair when they interfere with its affairs by criticizing its policies -- though they are permitted to laud and admire Israel in public, and there are no similar strictures with regard to criticism of the PLO or the Soviet Union on the part of people who do not live in refugee camps or in Leningrad. Also exempt from the doctrine are the extreme pressures on Israel from the American Jewish community, even blocking formation of a functioning government for several weeks after the November 1988 Israeli elections and significantly influencing its character, when it seemed that the government might change the wording of its Law of Return in a manner unacceptable to diaspora Jewry.
The reaction to media coverage of Israel makes a certain kind of sense: attack is always the best defense, particularly when one can expect to control the terms of the discussion, and charges, however outlandish, will be granted a certain credence.
A number of examples have already been discussed. Another typical case is an ABC TV "news viewpoint," moderated by Peter Jennings.127 In accordance with the regular pattern, two positions are represented: the media are attacked as too adversarial, unfair to Israel in this case; and they are defended as doing a creditable job under difficult circumstances. There is barely a nod given to the possibility that they might be guided by a different bias. In a question from the audience, media analyst Dennis Perrin asked ABC Israel Bureau Chief Bill Seamans why the media continue to claim that the PLO refused to recognize Israel's rights in the face of a series of statements by Arafat, which he cites, "calling for mutual security guarantees and mutual recognition." Seamans's response is that Arafat "has not made a clearcut, definitive statement recognizing Israel's right to exist," but has always added qualifications. Panelist Howard Squadron of the American Jewish Congress then dismisses Perrin's comments as "utter nonsense," and there the matter ends.
Seamans's comment is quite accurate: Arafat has added the qualification that Palestinians should have rights comparable to those accorded Israeli Jews. It is also true that U.S.-Israeli statements have no taint of ambiguity, being unfailingly rejectionist. That stand, by definition, conforms to the requirements of peace, moderation, and justice, so nothing need be said about it.
But no review of the actual facts can be expected to diminish the drumbeat of criticism of the "pro-PLO" media, which, in a major "scandal," have accorded the PLO "moral and political prestige" (Leon Wieseltier) and have provided the organization with "its stellar media presence" (Daniel Pipes). The adulation of the PLO and the unfair double standard imposed on defenseless Israel are to be explained, perhaps, on the basis of "the irrational attitude of the Western world toward Jews" that lies "deep in the psyche" of Christian civilization, so Israeli President Chaim Herzog ruminates.128
Such perceptions have a familiar ring. The regime of the Shah received overwhelmingly positive coverage, but that did not prevent him from charging the Western media with a "double standard for international morality: anything Marxist, no matter how bloody and base, is acceptable; the policies of a socialist, centrist, or right-wing government are not." Similarly, in internal government discussions on the eve of the overthrow of the government of Guatemala in 1954, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles "expressed very great concern about the Communist line being followed by Sydney Gruson in his dispatches to the New York Times," which President Eisenhower then described as "the most untrustworthy newspaper in the United States." CIA director Allen Dulles "pointed out some very disturbing features of Sidney Gruson's career to date" and the assembled dignitaries decided "to talk informally to the management of the New York Times" -- successfully, it appears; Gruson was sent to Mexico after Allen Dulles communicated to the top Times management suspicions that Gruson and his wife, Times columnist Flora Lewis, were Communist agents or sympathizers, asking the Times to remove him from Central America during the coup. This was during a period when the Times and other media were being spoon-fed appropriate material by the public relations specialists of the United Fruit Company, though, as its PR director Thomas McCann later wrote: "It is difficult to make a convincing case for manipulation of the press when the victims proved so eager for the experience."129
One finds similar perceptions among respected political figures, scholars, and journalists. Zbigniew Brzezinski writes that "it is scandalous that so much of the conventionally liberal community, always so ready to embrace victims of American or Israeli or any other unfashionable `imperialism,' is so reticent on the subject" of Afghanistan. Surely one might expect liberals in Congress or the press to desist from their ceaseless labors on behalf of the PLO and the guerrillas in El Salvador long enough to notice some Soviet crimes; perhaps they might even follow Brzezinski to the Khyber Pass to strike heroic poses there before a camera crew. Political scientist Robert Tucker writes that "numerous public figures in the West, even a number of Western governments [...have] encouraged the PLO in its maximalist course" of "winner-take-all," that is, destruction of Israel; he too fails to cite names and references, for unsurprising reasons. One of the most audacious examples was a media triumph by journalist William Shawcross, who succeeded -- easily, given the serviceability of the thought -- in establishing the doctrine that there was relative silence in the West during the Pol Pot atrocities, when there was in fact a vast chorus of indignation, and that this silence was attributable to the formidable left-wing influence over media and governments that is so striking a feature of Western society. My co-author Edward Herman and I were even granted magical powers in Shawcross's construction: he cited alleged comments of ours that went to press in February 1979 and appeared the following November as the source and agency of this influence from 1975 through December 1978.130 None of this affected the respectful reception for these thoughtful insights in the slightest.
A variant is that the universities have been taken over by Marxists and (other) left-wing fascists. Commenting on the "new generation" in the field of Soviet studies, University of Massachusetts sociologist Paul Hollander, a fellow of the Harvard Russian Research Center, writes that "many academics of this generation believed that no social-political system could be worse than their own... For them, it was easier to discern political pluralism in the U.S.S.R. than in the U.S." Historian John Diggins sees Marxism as having "come close to being the dominant ideology in the academic world." New York University historian Norman Cantor deplores the failure of the Reaganites to overcome the dominance of academic life by "the radical left," who "indoctrinate" the children of the middle class "in European socialist theory." This is a symptom of the deeper failure to develop "a comprehensive rightist doctrine," he explains. The "ingredients" for such a doctrine existed "in interwar European Fascism," but "recourse to this intellectual reservoir was never attempted" because of the "discrediting of intellectual Fascism by World War II, Vichy, Mussolini, Nazism and the Holocaust" -- which, we are apparently to understand, had nothing to do with the heritage of intellectual Fascism. What a shame that the Reaganites missed the opportunity to revive these valuable ideas.131
There are many similar examples, specifics invariably omitted for understandable reasons. It is superfluous to comment on the relation to reality of such pronouncements about the left-wing takeover of the academic world (or perhaps the whole world). It may well be, however, that they are seriously intended; apparently they are respectfully received. The point is that to those who demand strict obedience to authority, even the slightest sign of independence of thought is enough to evoke the fear that all is lost.
Through the 1980s, Nicaragua has been quite unusual in the openness of its society in a time of crisis. Hostile journalists who are hardly more than agents of the great power attacking Nicaragua travel and report freely throughout the country.133 Bitterly anti-Sandinista U.S. officials and other advocates of the U.S. terrorist attack are permitted to enter and deliver public speeches and news conferences, calling for the overthrow of the government, and to meet with the U.S.-funded political opposition, segments of which declare the same ends and barely conceal their support for the contras. Domestic media that identify with the attack against Nicaragua and serve its purposes, and are funded by the foreign power attacking the country, have been subjected to harassment, censorship, and periodic suspension; but neither they, their editors and staff, nor opposition figures with the same commitments have faced anything remotely like the repression of media and dissidents in the U.S.-backed "fledgling democracies," and the record compares favorably with that of other U.S. allies or the United States itself, surprising as the conclusion may be to people who have not sought to determine the facts.
Furthermore, in a most remarkable display of arrogance and willful ignorance, none of this is so much as noticed in the United States. Similarly, it is considered obviously appropriate -- and therefore requires no comment or even reporting in the national media -- for the United States to impose barriers to freedom of travel unknown in a weak and tiny country under U.S. attack: to bar entry of tortured mothers from El Salvador who have been invited to speak in small towns, or opposition parliamentarians from Nicaragua who oppose contra aid, or critics of the Vietnam war, years after it terminated.
Since its reopening in October 1987 under the Esquipulas Accord, the opposition journal La Prensa has made little effort to disguise its role as an agency of U.S. propaganda, dedicated to overthrowing the government of Nicaragua by force. The journal publishes bizarre tales about Sandinista atrocities (comparing the Sandinistas to the Nazis), virtually calls for resistance to the draft, and is full of praise for the contras, who are portrayed as freedom fighters in the Reagan style.134
I reviewed La Prensa from its opening in October 1987 through December 23.135 There is no pretense of meeting minimal journalistic standards. Rather, the journal follows the standard procedures of U.S. psychological warfare to a degree that is almost comical, presenting a general picture along the following lines.
The background theme throughout is that there is a close analogy between the current conflict and the struggle against Somoza. In the current conflict, the Sandinistas (FSLN) play the role of Somoza, but they are much worse, because at least he was a native Nicaraguan while the Sandinistas are agents of Soviet imperialism (the U.S. is a benevolent, if sometimes confused outsider). The contras are the guerrillas fighting Somoza, and the internal opposition is the opposition to Somoza, with La Prensa taking up the mantle of the journal with the same name of the Somoza years. For the most part the theme is insinuated; sometimes it is directly expressed, under such headlines as "Threats of FSLN Recall Somocism" (Dec. 15). The Sandinistas, the new Somoza clique, attack, torture, rob, and exploit the people, living a life of luxury while the people starve under their oppressive rule. The United States is almost entirely missing from the picture, though it does provide heroes: for example, avid contra enthusiast Jeane Kirkpatrick, who declares in the lead story of October 12 that "Nicaraguans are not alone," she is with them; and Elliott Abrams, who calls for "total democratization, or indefinite struggle" (Oct. 23, Nov. 11). Other heroes include the U.S. Senate, which provided $250 million for "democratic institutions" in Nicaragua, including La Prensa (Oct. 7); and parts of the U.S. press, for example, the editors of the Baltimore Sun, who call for contra aid as a "sensible and modest" means to maintain the "anti-Sandinista resistance" (Dec. 17). The visit of U.S. congressmen supporting the contras, with applause and ovations in public meetings, is hailed as a "historic moment" in the struggle for freedom (Dec. 16, 18).
The complementary aspect of this CIA construction is that the people "unanimously" oppose the Sandinistas, denouncing Ortega "unanimously" (all social classes, etc.) for failing to comply with the accords, all of this being reminiscent of the similar conditions under the Somoza dictatorship (Nov. 6). Ortega is also denounced for insulting Reagan (another hero) and American soldiers who died in foreign wars (including those who helped "liberate the USSR from Hitler," the editors add, in an interesting version of history). Through early December we read that peasants complain about Sandinista injustice, townspeople about the oppressive Sandinista officials, mothers about sons in prison and the army, prisoners about torture and terrible conditions, workers about suffering and oppression. There are fires, accidents, disasters, inflation, rampaging soldiers, protests against military service. Campesinos protest that government agencies are not selling them bread, there is hunger, they are too poor to buy on the black market. And so on, with no variation. In short, a picture of unmitigated oppression of the general population who unanimously oppose the foreign-imposed dictatorship, which tortures the suffering people for no reason apart from their own greed and service to their foreign master, while profiting from the drug racket (Nov. 24).
The line is precisely as laid down by the U.S. Embassy. Thus, compliance with the peace accords is defined strictly in the terms determined by the United States. The lead headline on October 30 reads "FSLN says no to peace," with an AFP story reporting that the FSLN refuses to dialogue with the civilian leadership of the contras and will maintain the emergency until the aggression stops -- both steps in conformity with the accords, as already discussed.136 The United States has defined the matter differently, and for La Prensa, as for the U.S. media, that is where it ends.
A summary review of the peace accords (Dec. 4) is entirely negative, blaming everything on the Sandinistas. There is only one good feature of the developments since August: the cease-fire negotiations "have legitimized the Nicaraguan Resistance" (the contras) and thus permitted the internal opposition to enter into "open negotiations with the Nicaraguan Resistance without danger of delegitimizing themselves." The program of the contras "coincides fully with the position of the fourteen political organizations of the civilian opposition in the national dialogue."
Throughout, La Prensa identifies with the contras, often quite openly. In an interview with Pedro Joaquín Chamorro on "his experience as a member of the Nicaraguan Resistance" (Dec. 12), he is identified as "the co-director of La Prensa who has chosen to fight from outside the country against the Sandinista dictatorship"; he was at the time a member of the CIA-established "civilian directorate." The interview describes his struggles in support of democracy and his international awards for his valiant struggle against the Sandinista dictatorship. He took the decision "to conduct the civic conflict at a different level, in a different context." In short, there is no difference between La Prensa and the contras, apart from tactical decisions.
Similarly, a November 13 article states that the Sandinistas "have recognized the contras" by agreeing to cease-fire talks. Conservative Party leader Mario Rappacioli, the same day, states that the agreement to negotiate with the contras through Cardinal Obando amounts to "recognition of their legitimacy," and makes the contras a "legitimate part of the Nicaraguan community with all rights," a matter of "enormous significance." The contras now have the right to act politically within Nicaragua, and the opposition can openly identify with them without delegitimization. In short, the internal opposition has been pro-contra all along, but now can be so openly, because of this "recognition of the contras" by the Sandinistas.
On November 30, contra leader Adolfo Calero is asked to comment on these remarks of Rappacioli, in an interview. He strongly supports them, and suggests that "the principal political currents that exist in Nicaragua" (which he identifies as the opposition political parties, the Sandinistas not being a political element but rather a foreign-imposed dictatorship) should work together with the contras for democracy and free elections; this is quite in line with Pedro Joaquín Chamorro's expressed view that after the contra victory, the Sandinistas should have no "representation in the governing junta" in the "democracy" that will be established.137 The contras and the internal opposition have the same objectives, Calero continues, and La Prensa obviously endorses this position, again identifying itself with the contras, in fact, their most extreme terrorist element. On December 3, the Secretary-General of the Social Christian Party makes the same point, emphasizing that the Resistance proposals correspond to those of the fourteen internal opposition groups.
It was hardly accurate for Stephen Kinzer to report subsequently that "For the moment, at least, it seems that virtually any criticism will be tolerated in Nicaragua as long as it does not endorse the one point of view that is still officially taboo: support for the contras."138 Such support had been quite open in La Prensa and in statements of the political opposition. It is scarcely imaginable that any Western democracy would tolerate a newspaper, or an internal opposition, that openly identifies with the proxy army of a foreign power attacking the country from abroad, maintained in the field with constant supply flights violating the national territory.
The war is barely covered in La Prensa, though this was a period of heightened contra attacks against civilians as the U.S. desperately sought to undermine the Esquipulas Accord by escalating the war. Sometimes fighting is reported with a twist that implies that the area is under attack by the Sandinistas, terrifying the population (lead headlines, Nov. 18; "Bombing terrifies peasants," Dec. 19; etc.). There are also allegations of use of cluster and phosphorus bombs against contras in Honduras. I found no mention of the increase in CIA supply flights, except obliquely in the context of the report of Ortega's O.A.S. speech in November.
All of this is not dissimilar to reporting in the United States. In fact, at times La Prensa is more honest. Thus, as we have seen, the New York Times simply falsified Ortega's and Calero's reference to supply flights; La Prensa reported it accurately. On December 17, there is an editorial condemning the United States for sending advanced F-5 jet fighters to Honduras; this was not condemned, in fact not even reported, in the New York Times -- right at the moment when they were denouncing the Sandinistas in article after article for allegedly requesting vintage 1950s jet interceptors to defend their territory from the illegal flights by the CIA and the U.S. military that provide arms and intelligence for contras attacking "soft targets."
La Prensa reported the facts more or less accurately when the Interior Ministry stated that "Radio Católica may broadcast news, but must apply for the legally required permission for the program and register the name of its director, the broadcast time and other information."139 In contrast, Stephen Kinzer reported falsely that "a spokesman for the Interior Ministry had no comment," in an article headlined "Sandinistas Ban Station's Plan for Radio News" which opens by stating that "the Government today forbade Nicaragua's newly reopened Roman Catholic radio station to broadcast news." Two days later, Kinzer reported falsely that "the Government refused to allow the newly reopened Roman Catholic radio station to broadcast news. The Government has given no indication as to whether it intends to open up broadcasting to dissenting views, although this is required by the peace agreement." In a Sunday "week in review" column three days later, Kinzer asserted falsely that "the Interior Ministry forbade the church radio station to broadcast news," again refusing to report the Ministry statement. The false claim was also reiterated by his colleague James LeMoyne.140
Presumably, those who prepare the material for La Prensa understand that the journal must maintain some degree of credibility within Nicaragua if the project of disinformation and disruption is to succeed. Within the United States itself the contraints are much weaker.
While the tribulations of La Prensa receive extensive and anguished coverage in the United States and Europe, the media elsewhere in Central America merit little attention; being firmly under right-wing control through the workings of the market guided by state terror when needed, they raise few problems for dedicated defenders of freedom of the press.
Harper's editor Francisco Goldman published a review of the Central American press in August 1988.141 As others have observed, he writes that in Guatemala and El Salvador, censorship is hardly necessary: "you have to be rich to own a newspaper, and on the right politically to survive the experience. Papers in El Salvador don't have to be censored: poverty and deadly fear do the job." Correspondingly, the security forces are immune from any criticism, though political figures who do not completely conform to the agenda of the right-wing business class and oligarchy are fair game, often with "hallucinatory disinformation" of the sort familiar as well in Nicaragua's La Prensa. Journalistic standards are abysmal. The war and terror barely exist. Apart from "multi-page, technicolor sports supplements..., these newspapers seem made up almost entirely of society pages: the whole country dresses well and spends all its time floating from one baby shower to another."
In Honduras too, "the army is above criticism or investigation." And in keeping with the status of Honduras as a client state under effective military rule, "Honduran reporters have long been banned from firsthand reporting in the southern chunk of their country occupied by the contras."
Elsewhere we learn that American reporters are allowed in, but choose not to report on the hundreds of thousands of people starving to death or the many driven from their homes, despite pleas from the Church and relief workers. Rather, they report on the state of the "democratic resistance," which has "staged a number of scenes for their benefit" and provides them with footage that provides "more exciting news segments" and that creates "a good impression of the contras," including faked battle scenes, supply drops, and mining (with actual mines later laid by the CIA). It was also "a common tactic of the FDN [contras] to take reporters on a tour through the countryside, telling them that they were travelling through Nicaragua, when often they were still in Honduras." Another device was "to draw parallels with the Salvadoran guerrilla opposition" so as "to confuse the public, and make FDN forces appear roughly equivalent to the Salvadoran guerrillas" while concealing the fact that they were a CIA "proxy army...working for American goals." These and other mechanisms of media manipulation are described by Edgar Chamorro, the CIA-selected press spokesman for the contras, in his unmentionable study of how the U.S. media were handled.142
"Nicaragua at this moment has the freest print media in Central America," Goldman continues; its media have been incomparably freer than those in El Salvador and Guatemala through the 1980s, if only because journalists do not have to fear the retribution of the security forces. The Sandinista journal Barricada's "generally suffocating earnestness bears some relation to reality: there's often a real attempt to explain perhaps inexplicable Sandinista policies here (if no room to refute them)...with the occasional light touch thrown in to remind readers that even party militants are irrepressibly Nicaraguan." Examples, in fact, are not uncommon in Barricada, though in three months of La Prensa I found no such departures from its mission. La Prensa is "relentlessly ideological, propagandistic, one-sided, sensationalistic, negative and even dishonest." It is also unique: La Prensa, "alone of all the Central American newspapers can print whatever it wants against its country's `ruling power'," though it "seems no more enlightened, or enlightening, than Guatemala's Prensa Libre or any of El Salvador's politicking rags." Reviewing some fabrications about Sandinista atrocities, Goldman observes that no other newspaper in Central America could long survive after "leveling such accusations against its national army." One can hardly ignore the fact that "La Prensa has been cozy with our efforts (CIA, National Endowment for Democracy, Ollie North) to topple the Nicaraguan government." In reality, it is not only in Central America that such a newspaper would not long survive, under such conditions. An analogue in the history of the Western democracies is not easy to find; I know of none.
Accordingly, in the pages of the Washington Post and New York Times, La Prensa is a paragon of virtue, Nicaragua is a repressive dictatorship that bars freedom of expression, and the free press in democratic El Salvador represents all points of view.143
In Costa Rica, the government has a system of obligatory press licensing condemned by the Inter-American Human Rights Court in 1985. President Arias disagreed with the ruling that state licensing limits freedom of expression, and refused to comply with it. Though the media are free from censorship or state terror, "in practice, however, Costa Ricans often can obtain only one side of the story, since wealthy ultraconservatives control the major daily newspapers and broadcasting stations."144 In particular, the major journal La Nación and others have been engaged in a feverish anti-Sandinista campaign of distortion and disinformation -- with considerable effect, according to the unreportable José Figueres.145
La Prensa uses rather crude methods in portraying the government as the new Somoza regime opposed unanimously by the population that it robs and oppresses. In the United States, the project of "demonizing the Sandinistas" in accord with the directives of the Office of Latin American Public Diplomacy is conducted in a more subtle way. One device is careful selection of sources. A Stephen Kinzer article on the opening of La Prensa and the Catholic Radio station in October 1987 presents a sample of public opinion: the proprietress of a store "in a poor section of town" who says that "Truth is what I want, and La Prensa is the truth"; a banana vendor who predicts that the journal will soon be closed "and we'll be under twice as much pressure as before"; a laborer reading La Prensa aloud to friends who is saving it for his grandchildren; a truck driver who hasn't read a newspaper since La Prensa was suspended but doubts that this good fortune will last. In short, the People, United.
The device recalls standard Communist Party Agitprop. Given the poll results (which Kinzer did not report) indicating that support for all opposition parties combined amounts to nine percent, less than one-third that of the support for the Sandinistas (and much less than the personal approval for President Ortega), one might suppose that there would be some other reactions, but if so, they are unreported -- just as no opinions were quoted when La Epoca opened in Guatemala or when it was destroyed by terror a few weeks later, or when the independent Salvadoran press was demolished by murder and violence, the agents being the security forces backed by the U.S. government, Congress, the media, and the intellectual community quite generally.146 In some variants, the voices of "the people" are counterbalanced by quotation of some government official, again helping to establish the required image of the oppressive government versus the suffering population.
In fact, readers of the Times could plausibly conclude that support for the Sandinistas is virtually non-existent, outside of the government itself. In a sample of forty-nine Kinzer articles from the signing of the peace accords in August 1987 through mid-December, I found two references to the possible existence of such people. One is in paragraph eighteen of one of the many articles condemning the Sandinistas on the matter of amnesty, where a mother of a Sandinista soldier killed in action is quoted as opposing amnesty for "the people who killed our sons." A second is in an insert in a survey of the land crisis in Central America, quoting cooperative members who express appreciation for land reform measures.147 The articles are largely devoted to diplomatic maneuverings and the tribulations of the internal opposition, who are presented as the true voice of Nicaragua. One learns next to nothing about the country, not an untypical feature of media coverage.
The procedure of highly selective sourcing is second nature even among journalists who take some pains to keep independent of government propaganda. Thus Roy Gutman of Newsday, in a book critical of Reagan administration policy in Nicaragua as flawed and incompetent, reconstructs the events of a highly controversial rally at Chinandega in 1984, when the CIA-subsidized candidate Arturo Cruz was allegedly harassed by Sandinista mobs. This was taken to be a critical event demonstrating Sandinista intransigence, if not totalitarian commitment, by Cruz adviser and contra lobbyist Robert Leiken, who was the New York Review of Books and New Republic commentator on Nicaragua, and by Reaganite propaganda generally. In a footnote, Gutman states that his account is based on interviews with Cruz and five other members of the U.S.-backed political opposition, the U.S. Ambassador and the National Security Adviser, and an unnamed senior U.S. official in Central America.148 Not surprisingly, his account -- stated as fact, with no qualifications -- is very favorable to Cruz and critical of the Sandinistas. Such practice would arouse a storm of protest and derision if the choice of sources were reversed, in an account unfavorable to the U.S. and its clients. In this case, it passes completely without notice on the part of reviewers who praise Gutman's critical and independent stance -- a judgment that is correct, relative to the permissible spectrum.
In yet another variant, a Times photograph of a November 7, 1987 rally in Managua on the completion of the first period of the accords carries the caption: "Nicaraguans cheering President Daniel Ortega Saavedra as he announced that his Sandinista Government would agree to indirect negotiations with the contras on a cease-fire." The reader is to understand, then, that the people of Nicaragua are overjoyed over what the accompanying story by James LeMoyne depicts as a major victory for the contras and the United States.149 The people are indeed cheering, but, to judge by the signs and T-shirts, they are enthusiastic Sandinista supporters. Peter Ford, who covered the rally, reported that "the tens of thousands of Sandinista supporters in Revolution square offered no response when the President announced...talks with the contra leadership," and other steps highly touted here were "met with a baffled silence," though his defiant challenge to "aggression against the Nicaraguan people" received "enthusiastic applause."150 The Newspaper of Record chose to convey a different image.
Similarly, in a sarcastic report on how "in an effort to persuade Congress to defeat President Reagan's request for new aid to the contras, the Sandinista Government has mounted a campaign of good deeds," Kinzer writes that "the Government's campaign against contra aid is receiving strong support from one quarter -- the estimated 2,000 Americans who live in Nicaragua" (my emphasis). He proceeds to quote a number of Americans working in Nicaragua, the insinuation being obvious, though Kinzer knows that opposition to contra aid is overwhelming; the polls that he did not report, after long claiming that polls are illegal, show 85 percent opposed to contra aid and 9 percent in favor -- perhaps the same 9 percent that supported all opposition parties.151
In El Salvador, where the image to be conveyed is the opposite, the method of sampling is reversed. Thus, in discussing growing anxiety in El Salvador, James LeMoyne quotes government officials, an army officer, a young businessman, an unidentified visitor, the guests at "a dinner of upper-class businessmen and their wives," a painter "in his spacious studio," and an American official -- but no one in the slums, refugee camps, or villages, who might have rather different concerns in the "fledgling democracy." Their actual concerns can be discovered outside the bounds of the Free Press, in public opinion surveys and responses to the Church-organized National Debate, unreported as we have seen.152
Rather similar conceptions of "the people" are often to be found in domestic reporting. Clyde Farnsworth reports from Washington on the U.S. embargo against Nicaragua, which "Appears of Little Effect," the headline assures us; in reality, it achieved its predicted effect of destroying private enterprise and reducing the economy to bare survival, but the Party Line requires that all problems be attributed to Sandinista incompetence and malevolence. "Those opposing the embargo," Farnsworth reports, say that it will not achieve U.S. goals. But all agree that the sanctions "will be in place a long time," because "by and large leading multinational companies have not been affected." "No important domestic [U.S.] constituency has been seriously hurt by the trade rupture, and therefore no one is arguing strenuously that it be mended" (my emphasis). Here the phrase "no one" is to be understood in the conventional sense of "no one who counts." A great many people were calling for ending of these -- literally murderous -- measures, not on grounds of harm to themselves, and doing so quite strenuously. They continued to do so after the embargo was declared unlawful by the World Court to no effect and with little notice. But they do not conform to the dictates of the powerful, so they fall under the category of nonpersons for the independent media.153
A related technique is selective quotation of such figures as Oscar Arias. He receives wide coverage when he denounces the Sandinistas. Sometimes, however, he joins José Figueres beyond the pale. During the government-media campaign to focus the peace accords on negotiations between what the Times calls the two Nicaraguan "factions," Stephen Kinzer reported that neither side shows a "willingness to compromise," noting Ortega's insistence that "the negotiations would cover only technical aspects of how the contras would lay down their weapons and receive supplies while they prepare to stop fighting" -- exactly as required by the peace accords, he failed to add. He did not report Arias's view that "the agenda should be restricted to reaching a ceasefire. It will not be a political dialogue in which you can introduce any topic." Kinzer is, of course, aware that "the Central America peace accord signed in August does not require governments to negotiate political matters with armed groups," as he had observed a few weeks earlier, but these facts were quite regularly omitted in commentary on Sandinista "intransigence."154
The vast array of daily examples of the relatively subtle means employed to establish the required version of reality should not obscure the more direct contributions, as in the fabrications about Nicaraguan support for Colombian terrorists or the case of Radio Católica, and numerous others. To take merely one additional case, consider Kinzer's report on the attempted assassination of contra leader Edén Pastora at La Penca on May 30, 1984. In his June 1 report of the bombing, Kinzer quoted Pastora as blaming the Sandinistas. Pastora, however, says that he blamed the CIA: "I never said it was the government of Nicaragua. I would feel ashamed if I had said that."155
James LeMoyne's reporting in the Times provides many other examples, some already discussed.156 Another is his report of the contra attacks on three mining towns in northeastern Nicaragua in late December 1987, close to the contra supply lines from Honduras. This account appeared while great efforts were being made to depict the contras as a serious military force with growing political appeal. LeMoyne was one of several journalists flown to the site. His version of the incident, which happened to accord with the requirements of State Department propaganda, was challenged in a story by journalist Mark Cook, who was in the same party. Cook's account found no media outlet, but parts appeared in a column by Alexander Cockburn. LeMoyne responded to the criticisms by "someone named Mark Cook" (whom he knows perfectly well) in a long letter, citing eyewitnesses who, he claimed, substantiated his account. These sources, however, explicitly denied LeMoyne's version of what had happened and what they had said.157
LeMoyne's reporting from El Salvador, where the priorities are reversed (we support the "democratic" government and oppose the terrorist guerrillas), is no less suspect. I have already mentioned a number of examples, including his loyalty to State Department propaganda on the "symmetry" between the contras and the FMLN in El Salvador, which he claims, could hardly survive without the constant flow of (undetectable) arms from Nicaragua; and his attempts to conceal and downplay state terror either by refusing to report it, or attributing it to right-wing extremists, or describing it as a response to the guerrilla terror on which he focuses attention. To demonstrate the political weakness of the Salvadoran guerrillas, LeMoyne reported that the 1988 May Day parade of the UNTS labor federation declined sharply from 40,000 in 1986 to "perhaps 3,000 supporters." He had given the figure of about 20,000 in attendance, not 40,000, in his report of the 1986 march, and journalists from AP, UPI, PBS Frontline (public TV), and the newspaper of the Jesuit University estimated the crowd at 20,000, not 3,000, in 1988, up from half that in 1987. LeMoyne's story also avoided the fact that the army blocked major roads to keep campesinos away and the violent government attacks on labor in preceding months, including bombing of the UNTS office two days before the march. An accurate headline would have read "Support for Rebel-Linked Union Doubles Despite Army Scare Tactics," Alexander Cockburn observes, reviewing these facts.158
The systematic evasion of government repression is the most striking feature of LeMoyne's reporting on El Salvador, but his accounts of guerrilla atrocities also merit some skepticism. Direct evidence is rarely offered, and attempts to check his stories raise questions, to say the least. In the course of its campaign to prove that the guerrillas were disrupting the 1988 elections in El Salvador, the State Department circulated a February 29 story by LeMoyne in which he reported that "villagers say guerrillas publicly executed two peasants...because they had applied for and received new voter registration cards... According to the villagers, the guerrillas placed the voting cards of Juan Martin Portillo and Ismael Portillo in their mouths after executing them as a warning to others not to take part in the elections."
In this case there was an independent investigation by journalist Chris Norton, who discovered that the incident never happened. It was "invented by a Salvadoran army propaganda specialist...who placed it with one of his contacts in the local Salvadoran media," from which LeMoyne lifted the story without attribution. The State Department then included the Times story in a pre-election booklet to highlight the guerrilla "campaign of intimidation and terrorism." The booklet was mailed to Congress, newspaper editors, and other opinion makers. The Church human rights office had sent a team to investigate the story, reporting that only one of the two men pronounced dead actually exists while the other is alive and well, according to local sources. We thus have an army allegation, probably fabricated, converted into an authoritative account of guerrilla terrorism via the New York Times, then circulated as State Department propaganda.159
Yet another example appears in a letter to the New York Times Magazine, where Ines Murillo, a Honduran victim of torture, responds to LeMoyne's version of the interview with her that was the basis for an article of his on torture. She notes a series of distortions and falsehoods, which "have caused great damage to me and my family" and "could be used to justify the kidnapping, disappearance and assassination of hundreds of people" in Honduras, a rather serious matter. LeMoyne's response takes up none of her specific points.160
Such particular examples can be placed alongside of the systematic crusades, such as LeMoyne's contributions to undermining the Esquipulas accords and the history of the "ample evidence" for Sandinista arms to the Salvadoran guerrillas on which they relied for survival, already discussed.
What reaches the general public, and establishes the framework of interpretation and discussion, is the version of the facts presented by the Kinzers and the LeMoynes; the refutations and the crucial omissions can be discovered only by those who look beyond, no easy task.
The message is: caveat emptor, particularly when a journal is so fervently committed to some cause: in this case, the cause of "demonizing the Sandinistas" and protecting the U.S. terror state of El Salvador.
In discussing the chasm between the real and professed concerns for freedom of expression among political commentators in
chapter 5, I compared the reaction to the legal structures and practices in the enemy state of Nicaragua and in the state that dwarfs all others in the scale of U.S. aid and support, "the symbol of human decency," as the New York Times editors described it while soldiers and settlers were conducting pogroms in villages and refugee camps under the official policy of "force, might, beatings." It is the State of Israel, Supreme Court Justice William Brennan observes, that "provides the best hope for building a jurisprudence that can protect civil liberties against the demands of national security" and may provide us with "the expertise to reject the security claims that Israel has exposed as baseless and the courage to preserve the civil liberties that Israel has preserved without detriment to its security."
Some examples of the Israeli record, and the U.S. reaction to it, have already been reviewed. A closer look provides further insight into the real attitudes towards freedom of expression among those most outspoken in condemning official enemies.
Israeli censorship is very broad. Wiretapping by the military and censorship of mail are routine and unconcealed. People report actual interruption of telephone calls by censors; one letter of mine reached the addressee with the word "nivdak" ("inspected") stamped on the envelope, with a date. Press censorship extends far beyond security matters, including coverage of what are termed "hostile organizations," water supplies, road conditions, loans to Israel, nuclear research, border settlements, and aerial photographs; it also covers previously published material.162
Censorship is particularly harsh in the occupied territories, where it reaches such extremes as banning notices and press releases of the respected human rights group Law in the Service of Man (Al-Haq) and articles describing its human rights work, on grounds that these are "likely to disturb the public peace"; arrest of union leaders for pamphlets educating Palestinians about their work rights, and closing of print shops on grounds of the need "to guarantee public safety" (General Amram Mitzna, July 28, 1987); detention of journalists without charge, or expulsion; the jailing of a Palestinian artist for having painted a picture that uses the colors of the Palestinian flag; and so on. Similar measures are applied in East Jerusalem, annexed by Israel and theoretically subject to Israeli laws. Telephone connections are often cut and distribution of journals banned as a means of collective punishment and control of information. When the Palestine National Council issued its independence declaration in Algiers in November 1988, the government cut telephone and power lines to the West Bank and Gaza to prevent access by radio or television and banned public celebrations, while the U.S. media scoffed that the declaration was aimed at the American public. On that occasion, the government also censored news broadcasts within Israel to protect the public from hearing the Algiers declaration and Arafat's statements, at the request of Defense Minister Rabin, though Israeli Television did present Arabist Ehud Ya'ari to rebut the banned material.163
Arab journalists are routinely arrested and imprisoned for months without charge, sometimes in the grim prison camp Ketziot-Ansar 3 in the Negev. Often the arrests appear to be capricious. One among the many Arab journalists imprisoned was Nahida Nazzal, a resident of the village of Kalkilya (subject to regular terror and curfew). She was arrested in the Jerusalem office of Al-Awdah, where she wrote on society and family matters. She had dealt with no political topics and had never been involved in any political activities. After five months' imprisonment under terrible conditions, she still had no idea what the charges might be. There may well be none; the intent is probably general intimidation. A particular target is journalists, lawyers, and others who have been in contact with Israeli doves and who seek political settlement. On the other hand, fundamentalist religious leaders who circulate rabid anti-Semitic propaganda are left untouched, the residue of a policy of support for uncompromising religious fundamentalist elements in preference to secular nationalists who seek political settlement. In 1988 the Institute for Family Welfare in El-Bireh, which had operated for twenty years, was closed by the security forces, and its sixty-five-year-old chairperson, Samikha Khalil, was arrested and charged with "incitement against the state, an attempt to influence public opinion in a way which will cause harm to peace and public order, and possession and distribution of hostile material." The specific charges submitted to the military court of Ramallah were that in ceremonies within her institution she had made a "V" sign and that she had "made speeches in which she emphasized the connection between the Palestinian people and its land with the hope of the establishment of an independent Palestinian state." She was also accused of participating in the writing of a book entitled Intifadah, which was not published, and having in her possession a copy of a widely circulated Cyprus journal.164
The measures of coercion and control are applied without mercy, as in the case of Mahmoud al-Hatib, editor of the Jerusalem journal Al-Shaab, a "gifted journalist" expelled in 1974, Pinhas Inbari reports. His sons founded the Jerusalem journal Al-Mithaq, since closed by the state authorities, a journal that was critical of the policies of Israel, Jordan, and the PLO. Al-Hatib lived in Amman, where he had "refrained from any political activity in the hope that someone would have pity upon him" and permit him to see his family again. In November 1987, he was allowed to return to his home in Jerusalem for a week when his wife died. He was then again expelled to Jordan, where "the old father lives isolated and alone, without a family," unable to visit his children in Jerusalem, who are also forbidden to visit him. All appeals were rejected.165
Within the pre-1967 borders, draconian laws also apply, usually against Arabs as in several cases already mentioned, and sometimes against Jews as well, including banning of theatrical productions in recent years. It has long been predicted that the repressive practices of the harsh military occupation would spill over to Israeli Jews as well, and as Palestinian resistance increased, the signs began to appear. In March 1987, the American-Israeli Civil Liberties Coalition addressed a letter to Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir protesting "the closing of the Alternative Information Center [by police in West Jerusalem on February 16], the suspension of [its publication] News from Within, the arrest of its staff, and the extended incarceration of [editor] Michael Warshavsky," at first "in solitary confinement without reading or writing materials." The letter noted further that "it is probably not irrelevant that Michael Warshavsky is married to Lea Tsemel, one of the two women Jewish lawyers who regularly represent Palestinians, and that the Center disseminated otherwise unavailable information about government actions in the territories to the Israeli and foreign press." The Israeli Embassy in Washington responded to inquiries on the matter with letters claiming that the Center "cynically used the masquerade of `journalism' solely to obfuscate its intelligence-gathering function on behalf of the notorious `Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine,' the PLO terrorist gang led by George Habash." The closure of a "terrorist front" and its director are "not an infringement of `civil liberties.' No one has a civil liberty to assist in the violent destruction of the State of Israel." The actual charge was that Warshavsky arranged for the typesetting of a PFLP manuscript "advising members of the PFLP how to withstand detention and security service interrogations" (i.e., torture) and articles for "PFLP periodicals illegally distributed in the territories," and others unspecified; and that he had in his possession unspecified documents of the PFLP.166 Prosecution is pending as I write. Closure of the offices merited brief notice in the New York Times.167
In 1988, the Hebrew journal Derech Hanitzotz was shut down and its editors arrested. Bail was denied on grounds that they had "crossed the borders of the national consensus" (Judge Barak), as distinct from the soldiers of the Givati Brigade who had beaten Hani al-Shami to death or near-death in his home but were released, not having crossed these borders. Its Arabic-language sister journal was also closed. Its editor, Ribhi al-Aruri, was adopted as an Amnesty International "prisoner of conscience" after he was given six months' detention without charge and interrogated with torture, he alleges; the detained Jewish editors also allege torture and inhuman treatment.168
One of the charges against the editors is "contact with a foreign agent," illegal under Israeli law. In June 1988, four Israeli Jews were convicted under this law, charged with having conducted a political discussion with Palestinians in Rumania. The court agreed that the meeting was solely "devoted to the subject of peace," but held that "a country in a state of emergency has [the] right" to curtail citizens' rights by barring political discussion on reaching peace with members of an organization designated as "terrorist."169 Discussions of political settlement are, in fact, considered particularly threatening.
In accord with the same logic, Israel once again sentenced the Palestinian intellectual Faisal Husseini to six months in prison without trial in July 1988 immediately after he had appeared as the principal speaker at a meeting organized by Peace Now exploring the possibilities for a peaceful settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict, and only hours before a scheduled meeting with Peace Now activists to implement the proposals discussed. The Israeli press observed that Husseini, the leading (unofficial) spokesman for the PLO in the occupied territories and one of the most respected Palestinian intellectuals, surely appeared with prior PLO authorization. At the Peace Now meeting, Husseini endorsed the two-state settlement proposal advanced by PLO spokesman Abu Sharif and called for "mutual recognition of the two sides," proposing that the Palestinians create a demilitarized state in the currently occupied territories. The New York Times did not consider these events significant enough for a news story, but they did run a picture with a caption reporting his arrest and the closing of the Arab Studies Center that he directed.170
This was Husseini's third administrative detention in two years. The first was a week after a meeting with Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky, whom Husseini had approached on a civil rights issue. The second was shortly after a meeting with Likud activist Moshe Amirav, with whom Husseini prepared a plan for a peaceful political settlement. Professor Yehoshua Porath, Israel's leading specialist on Palestinian nationalism, commented that Husseini and his Center were alone among Palestinian intellectuals and institutions in seeking contact with Israeli research institutions and scholars and calling for cooperation among Israelis and Palestinians. The government reaction is typical of the official response to the threat of moderation and political settlement.171
One will learn virtually nothing about these matters here, and they do not affect the doctrine that Israel and the United States can find no Palestinians who share their deep commitment to peace.
The Husseini-Sharansky interchange merits further attention. Husseini approached Sharansky to ask his assistance in the matter of Akram Haniye, editor of the Jerusalem journal Al-Shaab, who had been ordered expelled from the country by the military authorities. The expulsion was protested by the International Red Cross and the twelve countries of the European Community, which condemned Israel's actions as a breach of international law. Not Sharansky, however. After coming under attack by the Israeli right for meeting with Husseini on the Haniye matter, Sharansky published advertisements expressing his "full confidence" in the actions of the Israeli government and security forces, including the expulsion of the editor. He endorsed these actions as "in no way a violation of human rights" and as furthering "the highest goals of humanity in preserving the nation of Israel and in combating a pestilence that threatens all civilised people"; the wording is interesting, considering the memories it will evoke in the minds of every Jewish reader. A few weeks later he described Israel as "an absolutely free society." The same week, he received the "Jewish Settlement in the Gaza District Award" at Yeshivat Hesder Yamit, a right-wing military-religious school named after the town of Yamit, established by Israel in northeastern Sinai after thousands of Bedouins were expelled, their homes, schools, lands, cemeteries, and mosques destroyed; on the contribution of these institutions to military terror, see p. 210. At the ceremony, Sharansky called for "freedom to settle anywhere in Israel," meaning the occupied territories.
On arriving in Israel after nine years of courageous resistance in Soviet prisons, Sharansky had assured the press that "his broad concern for human rights remains undiminished" and "his sensitivity to human rights...would inevitably lead him to study closely their observance here." With regard to the Arabs, he said that "whether we want them or not, there are many Arabs in Israel, and I think we must, from time to time, try to talk to them" -- a good indication of what was to come. A reviewer in the New York Times praises his "high spirited and generous faith" and his "political engagement to include the cause of human rights everywhere," where "everywhere" presumably is intended to include the place where he lives. The proposal to appoint him as Israel's ambassador to the United Nations aroused much acclaim. He would be "an inspired choice," the editors of the New Republic felt: "He may be the single most morally alert public figure of our time, and he is keenly alert to the grievance of the Palestinians."172
Whatever one's judgment may be about Israeli law and regular practice, one thing is clear. If Nicaragua were to follow the legal principles and regular practice of the state of Israel under far less threatening circumstances, the internal political opposition would have been jailed or expelled long ago and all their publications closed. If four anti-contra Nicaraguan dissidents were convicted, sentenced, and fined "for violating a law that bars contacts with the contras" after a meeting abroad to discuss the possibilities of a peaceful political settlement, the New York Times might have thought that the matter deserved more than the buried hundred-word item devoted to exactly these events, with "Nicaragua" and "contras" replaced with "Israel" and "PLO"173 Much the same is true of the other examples cited, and many more like them.
Similarly, if Nicaragua were to bomb a contra radio station in a refugee camp deep inside Honduras, "firing 30 missiles in 15 sorties over two hours," killing three people and bringing the death toll from such bombings to sixty for 1988 through mid-August, the Times might devote more than the 190 words it used to describe exactly these events, except that it was Israeli jets bombing "a site in Mieh Mieh [refugee camp in Lebanon] used as a transmitter by the Voice of Palestine, a P.L.O. radio station" that "broadcasts reports designed to incite what the Israeli [spokesman] called `terrorist activity' in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip"174 -- that is, the Intifada, which has been remarkable for how little violence has been elicited by the extreme brutality of the occupying military forces, and which is, furthermore, an extraordinary expression of courage, integrity, and the will for freedom. The comparison is far from exact; the Voice of Palestine is not a Soviet-run station so powerful as to dominate the airwaves in the occupied territories and much of Israel, and the "terrorist activity" of the Intifada falls somewhat short of the behavior of those who proudly designate themselves "the sons of Reagan" when they swoop down upon civilian settlements to murder, pillage, torture, rape and kidnap. Nevertheless, in this case there was no notice or reaction.
It is, of course, unthinkable that Israel would permit free entry by journalists and political figures from the PLO and the Arab states, in sharp contrast to the practice of the "totalitarian Sandinistas." Nor has anything similar ever been tolerated by the United States, even under far lesser threat. The demands upon Nicaragua that are standard in U.S. commentary conform to libertarian standards that are appropriate, in my view, though held by virtually no one, surely not by those who indignantly invoke them in the media in the case of official enemies, as the simple test of sincerity discussed earlier conclusively demonstrates. The application of these standards to Nicaragua by Western elites has been a display of crude hypocrisy, yet another tribute to the effectiveness of thought control and the vulgarity of the intellectual culture.
Such considerations are off the agenda in U.S. commentary. Thus, in a departure from the Washington line, Stephen Kinzer observes that
during the recent negotiations in Managua, contra leaders dominated the radio airwaves, appearing on morning and evening news programs and giving live statements as the talks proceeded. They were jubilantly received at La Prensa's offices. That would have been unthinkable until a few months ago, and would be unheard of in a truly Marxist regime.175
We are to assume, then, that it would be standard procedure in Western democracies under attack by the terrorist forces of a superpower, or even far lesser threat -- an evident absurdity.
Quite generally, no notice is given and no concern aroused in the case of repression in the Western democracies of a sort that arouses much ire when conducted in Nicaragua, under threat of destruction. In 1988, when congressional liberals and media doves were berating the Sandinistas for harassment of the media and political opposition, and calling for escalation of the military attack if this display of communist totalitarianism does not cease forthwith, the government of France, under no threat, "prohibited the sale, circulation and distribution" of a Basque book on grounds that it "threatened public order," and banned publication of the journal El-Badil Démocratique that supports Algerian dissidents on grounds that "this publication might harm the diplomatic relations of France with Algeria." The director of the Basque journal Abil was sentenced to twenty months in prison by the French courts for having published an "apology for terrorism," while the Spanish courts fined a Basque radio station for having broadcast insults to the King on a call-in radio show and the government brought three activists of a political group to trial on charges of "publication, circulation and reproduction of false information that might disturb public order," among many other cases of punishment of public statements and cancellation of peaceful demonstrations.176 Such events do not arouse the civil libertarian passions of Western elites, or call for harsh retribution by the guardians of democratic principles.
As intimated by the remarks of Justice Brennan cited earlier, freedom of speech is by no means a deeply entrenched tradition even in the United States, which by comparative standards is quite advanced in this regard.178 The same is true of other rights. Half a century ago, the anarchist writer Rudolf Rocker observed that
Political rights do not originate in parliaments; they are rather forced upon them from without. And even their enactment into law has for a long time been no guarantee of their security. They do not exist because they have been legally set down on a piece of paper, but only when they have become the ingrown habit of a people, and when any attempt to impair them will meet with the violent resistance of the populace.179
History provides ample warrant for this conclusion.
As is well known, even the right to vote was achieved in the United States only through constant struggle. Women were disenfranchised for 130 years, and those whom the American Constitution designated as only three-fifths human were largely denied this right until the popular movements of the past generation changed the cultural and political climate. While the franchise has slowly been extended through popular struggle, voting continues to decline and to become a concomitant of privilege, largely as a reflection of the general depoliticization of the society and the disintegration of an independent culture challenging business dominance, along with popular groupings to sustain it. What formal participation remains is often hardly more than a gesture of ratification with only limited content, particularly at the higher levels of political power.
The same is true of freedom of speech. Though these rights appear to be granted in the First Amendment, as interpreted in practice the grant was limited. At its libertarian extreme, the legal doctrine remained that of Blackstone, reiterated in 1931 by Chief Justice Hughes in a decision regarded as a landmark victory for freedom of expression: "Every freeman has an undoubted right to lay what sentiments he pleases before the public; to forbid this, is to destroy the freedom of the press; but if he publishes what is improper, mischievous or illegal, he must take the consequence of his own temerity." Prior restraint is barred, but not punishment for unacceptable thoughts.180
In a review of "the history and reality of free speech in the United States," David Kairys points out that
no right of free speech, either in law or practice, existed until a basic transformation of the law governing speech in the period from about 1919 to 1940. Before that time, one spoke publicly only at the discretion of local, and sometimes federal, authorities, who often prohibited what they, the local business establishment, or other powerful segments of the community did not want to hear.
He is referring not to the more subtle means of control that I have been discussing throughout, but to the legal right of freedom of speech, a fragile construct that has not withstood the test of even very limited threat falling far short of crisis.181
A measure of the weight of concern over freedom of speech is given by the fact that from 1959 to 1974 the Supreme Court dealt with more First Amendment cases than in its entire previous history, the process of establishing these rights in the law having begun seriously after World War I. The Sedition Act of 1798 was not tested in the Courts until 1964, when it was declared "inconsistent with the First Amendment." Justice Brennan's opinion in this case overturned a decision in which the New York Times was condemned for having published an advertisement sponsored by a civil rights group that allegedly defamed the police commissioner of Montgomery, Alabama. Thus in 1964, for the first time, the Supreme Court "made explicit the principle that seditious libel -- criticism of government -- cannot be made a crime in America and spoke in this connection of `the central meaning of the First Amendment'."182 Commenting on this decision, Harry Kalven observes that seditious libel is "the hallmark of closed societies throughout the world" and its status in law "defines the society"; if "criticism of government is viewed as defamation and punished as a crime," then "it is not a free society, no matter what its other characteristics."183 By that reasonable measure, the United States passed one of the crucial tests of a "free society" as the bicentennial celebration of its Declaration of Independence approached.
The Espionage Act of 1917 made it a federal crime during times of war to "willfully make or convey false reports or false statements with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the military or naval forces of the United States or to promote the success of its enemies," to "willfully cause or attempt to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty" in the armed forces or to "willfully obstruct the recruiting or enlistment service of the United States."184 In 1918 more offenses were added, including "uttering, printing, writing, or publishing any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language, or language intended to cause contempt, scorn, contumely or disrepute as regards the form of government of the U.S., the Constitution, the flag, the uniform of the Army or Navy, or any language intended to incite resistance to the U.S. or promote the cause of its enemies."185
Postmaster General Albert Burleson, charged with the responsibility of purifying the mails, announced that no one could write "that this government got in the war wrong, that it is in it for wrong purposes, or anything that will impugn the motives of the Government for going into the war. They can not say that this Government is the tool of Wall Street or the munitions-makers" or "campaign against conscription and the Draft Law." His decisions were consistently approved by the courts, which held that "We must in good faith and with courage accept the reasons which the authorities have deemed sufficient to justify war" (Judge Aldrich, District of New Hampshire). Burleson barred a pamphlet on the suffering under British Rule in India, and removed from a Catholic journal a statement by the Pope in which he said that "no man can be loyal to his country unless he first be loyal to his conscience and his God." Washington's Committee on Public Information, the government propaganda bureau, was permitted "to circulate the official portrait of Lenin," but the Rand School in New York was not allowed "to circulate Lenin himself," among many other cases.186
This state repression was accompanied by extensive mob violence on the part of a public inflamed by jingoist appeals and encouraged by state authorities.187 The same period saw severe weakening of unions and political organizations, sentencing of presidential candidate Eugene Debs (in 1919) to ten years' imprisonment for a pacifist speech, internment of the conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra for declining to play the national anthem, barring of dozens of newspapers from the mails, and so on, all of this minor in comparison to Woodrow Wilson's "Red Scare."188
There were some 2,000 criminal prosecutions for unacceptable dissent. Reviewing these, Harvard Law School professor Zechariah Chafee observed that
the courts treated opinions as statements of fact and then condemned them as false because they differed from the President's speech or the resolution of Congress declaring war... [I]t became criminal to advocate heavier taxation instead of bond issues, to state that conscription was unconstitutional..., to urge that a referendum should have preceded our declaration of war, to say that war was contrary to the teachings of Christianity. Men have been punished for criticizing the Red Cross and the Y.M.C.A.189
"None of the Espionage Act convictions was reversed by the Supreme Court on First Amendment grounds," Kairys observes.
This extraordinary assault on freedom of expression, it should be recalled, took place at a moment when the country had incomparable wealth and growing power, and faced no threat.
In a 1943 review, the ACLU praised the "state of civil liberty" during World War II in contrast to World War I, when governmental and other pressures "resulted in mob violence against dissenters, hundreds of prosecutions for utterances; in the creation of a universal volunteer vigilante system, officially recognized, to report dissent to the FBI; in hysterical hatred of everything German; in savage sentences for private expressions of criticism; and in suppression of public debate of the issues of the war and the peace."190 But this positive evaluation of the state of civil liberty during World War II should be tempered in the light of the (Court-approved) dispatch of 110,000 Japanese-Americans to concentration camps; the 1940 Espionage Act and Smith Act,191 initiation of repressive activities of the FBI that persisted at a high level for at least thirty years; government strike-breaking and destruction of the Socialist Workers Party; full-scale martial law in Hawaii barring trial by jury, habeas corpus, and other due process rights; jailing of dozens of people for such seditious acts as counselling draft opposition; barring of dissident press from the mails and seizure of newspapers and other publications; surveillance of all international message traffic under wartime censorship; brutal treatment of conscientious objectors, etc.192 Meanwhile, left-liberal opinion called for restricting the Bill of Rights to "friends of democracy" and "exterminating" the "treason press," while Reinhold Niebuhr stressed the "greater measure of coercion" required during a national emergency and approved infringements on "the freedom of organizations to spread subversive propaganda" and community drives "to eliminate recalcitrant and even traitorous elements."193
All this was at a time when opposition to the war was minuscule, the United States was by far the richest and most powerful state in the world, and its national territory had not been threatened with attack since the War of 1812.
The opinions of Holmes and Brandeis after World War I constituted the first significant break in the pattern of state control of expression, but in a limited way. In 1919, Justice Holmes formulated the "clear and present danger" test, regarded as a significant victory for civil liberties. The doctrine is hardly a forthright defense of freedom of speech, particularly when the circumstances are considered. In this opinion, Holmes affirmed the conviction of a Socialist Party leader whose crime was to have distributed a leaflet to draftees criticizing World War I and urging them to challenge their conscription, which he alleged to be unconstitutional, on legal grounds and by legal means. It was not until 1969 that the Supreme Court held that the "clear and present danger" test was inadequate, adopting instead the criterion of direct incitement for the banning of speech by the state.194
Implicitly endorsing the perspective outlined by Rocker in the remarks quoted above, Kairys makes the important point that "the periods of stringent protection and enlargement of civil rights and civil liberties correspond to the periods in which mass movements posing a credible challenge to the existing order have demanded such rights," that is, have demanded the enforcement of the theoretical right to free expression: primarily the left, labor, and other popular movements, again in the 1960s.
To this analysis, one should add that dominant classes have their own reasons to oppose state power that might infringe on their rights, and will often protect the rights of which they are the primary beneficiaries. Others, particularly those who share privilege, will then benefit as well from these constraints on state power, including dissidents. In a well-functioning capitalist society, everything becomes a commodity, including freedom; one can have as much as one can buy, and those who can buy a lot have every reason to preserve an ample supply.
Throughout, I have been keeping largely to the liberal side of the spectrum, which tends to endorse at least the abstract right of freedom of expression, and to the more subtle -- though very effective -- measures of control of thought and expression that result from the normal workings of the sociopolitical system. But as American history to the present shows with great clarity, there is a persistent strain of opposition to the entire concept of freedom of speech and association. We see this clearly in the experience of the World Wars and the postwar repressions, the wave of political firings in the universities to try to hold back the challenge to elite authority that arose in the 1960s, the FBI COINTELPRO operations that peaked during the liberal administrations of the 1960s and the quite limited concern evoked when they were exposed during the furor over Watergate, and much else. We see it again in the vulgar jingoist rhetoric of the Bush presidential campaign of 1988 (the demand that the state should force children to pledge allegiance to the flag, for example, vigorously endorsed by many opponents of freedom in the mainstream), in the significant impact of religious fundamentalism, and other noteworthy phenomena.
There also continue to be those who are not satisfied with the kind of popular vigilantism sponsored by the government during World War I, and who want the state itself to register and identify those thoughts that it is impermissible to think. It is important to bear in mind that they are by no means regarded as quasi-fascist extremists. To illustrate, I will review only one interesting recent example.
Consider historian Guenter Lewy, whose concept of the writing of moral-historical tracts, highly praised as "sophisticated and profound," is misrepresentation of documents, uncritical regurgitation of government claims, and dismissal of annoying facts that contradict them, and whose concept of morality is such as to legitimate virtually any atrocity against civilians once the state has issued its commands.195 Writing on the "basic ground rules" required for the marketplace of ideas to function properly, he assures the reader of his support for freedom of speech and free exchange of ideas, and then outlines just how these values are to be understood. His basic conception is that because of the threat of subversion, the inadequacy of private vigilantism, and the limits imposed upon the state authorities, the state must find novel means to protect the public from contamination by subversives and to "energize the democratic forces." Without the intrusion of the state to keep the marketplace fair and the contest equal, he holds, the "democratic forces" of the mainstream lack the means to "counteract falsehoods propagated by extremist groups" and their "deception."196
The problems that trouble Lewy arose as state and popular vigilantism declined by the late 1950s. The country "completely lost interest in the issue of communist subversion," Congress "called for abandoning the term `subversion'," and "Attorney General Edward H. Levi confined the domestic intelligence function of the FBI to activities that involve a violation of federal law." It is doubtful, he warns, that the FBI "is keeping adequate track of [groups other than the Communist Party] that act directly or indirectly under the direction of Cuba, Nicaragua, Communist China, or other hostile states" (quoting "a well-informed student of the subject").
Since the 1960s, Lewy continues, "the United States has had to cope with the New Left," a broad category in his account, and apparently not part of the United States; "the United States" is implicitly identified with the state authorities who have to "cope with" improper thoughts and must have the means to do so.
Resolutely addressing the problems posed by the tolerance and naive liberalism of the post-McCarthy era, the state must take action against "the ever-changing scene of loosely organized groups" that constitute the New Left. These organizations, Lewy asserts, have a "hidden agenda" which "makes them subversive and therefore unacceptable." "Rather than acknowledge their espousal of Cuban-style Communism or their solidarity with Marxist-Leninists in Central America, New Left groups pretend to defend peace and justice and talk of a progressive social and economic order. Some speak of using a Marxist paradigm though in fact they are fully committed to Communism (or Marxism-Leninism, the currently fashionable term that appears to sound more benign)." Open espousal of Marxism- Leninism is "unacceptable" in a democratic society, even "subversive," and those who conceal this "hidden agenda" are even more dangerous. It may be, he concedes, that some New Leftists "act from a deep alienation more than from allegiance to communism, but this is irrelevant from the viewpoint of surveillance" by the state authorities. That these subversives might have some motives other than hidden allegiance to Communism or psychic disorders is plainly inconceivable. Presumably, then, New Leftists who condemn Marxist-Leninist theory and practice in a manner far more serious and searching than will be found in Lewy's pronouncements must be laboring to conceal their "hidden agenda."
Such techniques of Straussian interpretation, discerning hidden agendas whatever actual texts may say, is a most useful device for the guardians of authority and propriety. These methods provide an automatic "proof" for virtually any desired conclusion. If the conclusion is unsupported by any textual evidence, or even directly refuted by the texts, that merely shows that the authors are even worse criminals, not merely pursuing their evil ways but attempting to conceal them by pretense and cunning. We must not be misled by the trickery of these sly dogs, readily unravelled by the mind of the commissar. By Lewy's logic, it would be child's play to demonstrate that he and his publishers are agents of the Third Reich, working to reverse its unfortunate defeat.
Some of these subversives, Lewy continues, are virtual foreign agents. He quotes sociologist James Q. Wilson on the "maddeningly difficult" problem of determining which "dissident groups" fall into this category; when, for example, should it include someone "who travels to a foreign country to receive training, or who accepts foreign money to cover the expenses of his organization, or who secretly collaborates, without pay, with foreign powers in the pursuit of their policy objectives?" The tasks of the commissar are indeed daunting. One doubts, incidentally, that Lewy and Wilson have in mind the more obvious cases that fall within their paranoid constructions, American Zionists, for example.
Yet another problem, in Lewy's view, is that the FBI "now ignores the entire range of subversive activities that are neither illegal nor linked to a foreign power." The "United States" is thus deprived of means previously available to "cope with" enemies who are so deceitful as to operate within the law, and who are "politically dishonest by hiding one's true political aims or knowingly planting lies and disinformation." Prominent in this category are the church-based groups and others that opposed the Vietnam war and are carrying out similar "calculated political deception" with regard to our crusade for freedom in Central America. The "lies and disinformation" of these subversive elements in the service of their hidden agendas or foreign masters "may poison the marketplace of ideas and damage a democratic society more seriously than the overt advocacy of forceful overthrow." A serious problem indeed, for those committed to "democracy."
"Private initiatives" to control these subversives and foreign agents are inadequate to the awesome task, Lewy concludes. This is so despite the contributions by groups that "expose leftist-sponsored manipulation," including the John Birch Society, "the American Security Council, established in the mid-fifties to help corporations check the political background of potential employees" (evidently a worthy objective in a free society), and "Lyndon Larouche, founder of the U.S. Labor party."197 It is therefore necessary for the state itself to assume the "valid undertaking" of "throwing light on subversive designs."
The state must become directly engaged in a form of "consumer protection" to ensure that the public will "know when an individual or organization is in effect an agent of a foreign state" and to protect the public "against deception in the marketplace of ideas." "Ideas should compete openly and honestly," but "with full information available about the motives of those who would sway the body politic," information that must be provided by the state authorities. The state, then, must register what is True and identify those who deny Official Truth as subversive if not foreign agents, exposing their hidden motives and deceitful practice, and letting the public "know when an individual or organization is in effect an agent of a foreign state." In this way, it can guard against "subversion of the democratic process."
Given that the state is all-knowing and wise, we need not be concerned that it will err in its formulation of Official Truth and exposure of "deception," "subversive designs," "disinformation" and other devices of those who pursue their malicious "hidden agendas" while publicly professing a concern for peace, justice, international law, human rights, and other values. And those who are devoted to (a certain conception of) democracy must therefore accord the state the right, even the duty, to conduct this enterprise.
But identification of hidden foreign agents and subversives who dare to question what the state determines to be True does not suffice. Lewy urges that the state also maintain surveillance and "gather information on potentially subversive groups," thus enabling it to "protect citizens from falsely labelled ideas as it does already protect them from falsely labelled commercial products" (to be sure, "without infringing on individual rights," in his conception of such rights, at least). He suggests the model of the West German Basic Law of 1949, which permits state authorities to "focus the glare of publicity on anti-democratic political forces -- an innovative and successful feature of West Germany's `militant democracy' that bears a closer look." While the FBI "probably" cannot use such techniques as robbery, break-in, and electronic surveillance freely, it can still find means "to publicize the activities of extremists" and thus "check the machinations of the enemies of the democratic system before they constitute a `clear and present danger'."198
To guarantee the workings of the free market, there must be "accurate labels on the package" (quoting Morris Ernst), and it is the responsibility of the state to provide these labels for ideas. It is necessary to expose the hidden Communist agenda of such segments of "the radical left" as Clergy and Laity Concerned about Vietnam, which secretly sought "victory for North Vietnam" and "worked to create a political climate in which the United States was seen as the aggressor and perpetrator of evil in Vietnam," conclusions which must be labelled by the state authorities as False, because Lewy asserts them to be false. Departing from his general procedure, Lewy actually provides evidence for his charges about the hidden agenda of Clergy and Laity Concerned and the Washington-based Indochina Resource Center. The evidence is that "Fred Halstead, a member of the (Trotskyite) Socialist Workers Party and one of the movement's leading figures, revealed after it was all over that `our central task...was to put maximum pressure on the U.S. to get out of Vietnam'" and thus "help the Vietnamese revolution." Halstead and the SWP said exactly the same thing, quite openly, long before "it was all over," indeed always; and Clergy and Laity Concerned, the Indochina Resource Center, and other "New Left" criminals will be intrigued to learn that Halstead was one of their leaders -- or will at least feign surprise, in pursuit of their hidden agenda.
Similarly, those who "allege that the Sandinistas are democratic socialists and dedicated to Christianity...are not staking out another legitimate political position but are manipulating a falsehood," and such misdeeds must be exposed by the state authorities, to protect democracy and the free market of ideas; the state "consumer protection" agency must act, for example, when Conor Cruise O'Brien, in the Atlantic Monthly, deceitfully pretends to discern Christian elements in the Sandinista revolution. The same is true of those who "deny or minimize Soviet-bloc support for the Marxist-Leninist guerrillas of Central America" (joining ex-CIA analyst David MacMichael and the International Court of Justice, among other subversives) while "decrying U.S. aid for the democratic regimes" of Central America, just as their predecessors claimed "to seek peace while surreptiously working for a communist victory" in Vietnam (the entire New Left). Among those pursuing such subversive designs in secret are the liberal lobbying group Coalition for a New Foreign and Military Policy, the research organization NACLA, Women's Strike for Peace, and others who try to conceal their "hidden agendas" with their "machinations." All such elements should be identified by the state authorities in "an American report on extremism and subversion irrespective of whether they have formal links with the Soviet Union or other communist regimes."
To a totalitarian, Lewy observes, "an opponent is by definition subversive" (quoting Jean François Revel). This point, at least, is accurate, as he demonstrates throughout, apparently unwittingly.
Such thoughts elicit neither contempt nor ridicule. Rather, they appear in the respected journal of the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia edited by Daniel Pipes, with a distinguished board of editors.
I have mentioned only one case, admittedly extreme. But there are substantial currents that resonate to such sentiments, and other forms of attack on free expression are all too easily illustrated. The victories for freedom of speech that have been won are far from stable.
Still, there have been victories. In other domains as well, there is detectable progress in the guarantee of fundamental human rights, difficult as it may be to pronounce such words in the century that has given us Hitler and Stalin, agonizingly slow as the process may be. There remains a long path ahead, and without constant vigilance and popular determination, there is no "guarantee of security" for what has already been attained.
197 Among their dramatic exposures is the fact that Marcus Raskin of the Institute of Policy Studies and I are "terrorist commanders" who, working with the CIA, the KGB, and other cohorts, control the international terror network, planned to set off atom bombs in American cities to disrupt the bicentennial, etc., while our colleagues such as the Queen of England control the international drug racket, linked with international Zionism and other nefarious elements. All of this, of course, is "hidden agenda," though penetrable by the skilled investigator.
198 Emphasis added.
1 Addendum to p. 113.
2 Unless otherwise indicated, the material that follows is drawn from Foreign Relations of the United States, 1955-7, VII, 2ff., 198f.
3 "Memorandum by the Director of Central Intelligence (Smith) to the Under Secretary of State (Bruce), Dec. 12, 1952; NIE-84, May 19, 1953. FRUS 1952-1954, vol. IV, 1055, 1061ff.
4 Sol W. Sanders, The Costa Rican Laboratory (Twentieth Century Fund, Priority press, 1986).
5 Feb. 26, 1953; cited by Stephen G. Rabe, Eisenhower and Latin America (North Carolina, 1988, 33).
6 See pp. 67-8 and references of note 58.
7 See Tom Barry and Deb Preusch, AIFLD in Central America (Resource Center, Albuquerque, 1986); Daniel Cantor and Juliet Schor, Tunnel Vision (South End, 1987); Al Weinrub and William Bollinger, The AFL-CIO in Central America (Labor Network on Central America, Oakland, 1987). See also references of Turning the Tide, 273, note 61.
8 Ameringer, Don Pepe.
9 Richard Boudreaux, Los Angeles Times, Aug. 5, 1988.
10 COHA "News and Analysis," Aug. 18, 1988.
11 Sanders, Costa Rican Laboratory.
12 LaFeber, Inevitable Revolutions; Mesoamerica, July 1988; Central America Report, Nov. 1988; COHA's Washington Report on the Hemisphere, Nov. 23, 1988. See also Donald Dye, In These Times, Nov. 23, 1988. Some of the figures are reported to be only estimates because in the early 1980s external debt was declared a state secret.
13 Linnea Capps, Links, Central America Health Report (NCAHRN), Summer 1988. On Hull, see Leslie Cockburn, Out of Control (Atlantic Monthly Press, 1987). Hull was arrested in Costa Rica in January 1989 and held for questioning in connection with his alleged role in narcotics and weapons smuggling; Stephen Kurkjian, Boston Globe, Jan. 14, 1989.
14 Sanders, Costa Rican Laboratory.
15 COHA "News and Analysis," Aug. 18, 1988.
16 Interview, World Policy Journal, Spring 1986.
17 Addendum to pp. 114.
18 See sources cited in note 25, chapter 5, for much more extensive discussion and specific references where not given here.
19 US Army Operational Concept for Terrorism Counteraction (TRADOC Pamphlet No. 525-37, 1984); Robert Kupperman Associates, Low Intensity Conflict, July 30, 1983. Both cited in Michael Klare and Peter Kornbluh, eds., Low Intensity Warfare (Pantheon, 1988, 69, 147). The actual quote from Kupperman refers specifically to "the threat of force"; its use is also plainly intended.
20 See Culture of Terrorism, 77, and my article in Z Magazine, January 1988.
21 Shultz, "Moral Principles and Strategic Interests," U.S. Department of State, Current Policy No. 820, speech of April 14, 1986.
22 Pirates and Emperors, 136; Cockburn, Out of Control, 26.
23 Woodward, Veil (Simon & Schuster, 1987, 396f.).
chapter 5. Recall that aggression is a far more serious crime than international terrorism.
25 For details, see my "Libya in U.S. Demonology," Covert Action Information Bulletin, Summer 1986, expanded in Pirates and Emperors, chapter 3; William Schaap, CAIB, Summer 1988. Dave Griffiths, Business Week, Sept. 19, 1988. Though no credible information about the terror attack at the disco has been forthcoming, suspicions have been voiced in Germany that the bombing at this Third World bar, killing a Turkish woman and a Black GI (later a second Black American soldier died), may have been drug-related or even perhaps a Klan operation.
26 The first exposure of a "disinformation" campaign was in Newsweek, Aug. 3, 1981.
27 Turner, testimony before House Subcommittee on Western Hemispheric Affairs, April 16, 1985, cited by Peter Kornbluh in Walker, Reagan vs. the Sandinistas.
28 Fred Barnes, TNR, May 30, 1988; editorial, TNR, April 2, 1984. For a longer excerpt see Turning the Tide, 167-68; and notes, on the efforts by editor Hendrik Hertzberg to evade the facts. Hertzberg, TNR, Feb. 6, 1989. Recall also the laudatory comments on Reagan's dedication to human rights during the propaganda exercises at the Summits, already discussed.
29 Raymond L. Garthoff, Reflections on the Cuban Missile Crisis (Brookings Institution, 1987, 17).
30 Ibid., 16f., 78f., 89f., 98; International Security, Winter 1987-88, 12. For more on these terrorist operations, see the references of chapter 5, note 25; also U.S. Army Captain Bradley Earl Ayers, The War that Never Was (Bobbs-Merrill, 1976); Warren Hinckle and William Turner, The Fish is Red (Harper & Row, 1981); William Blum, The CIA (Zed, 1986); Morris Morley, Imperial State and Revolution (Cambridge, 1987).
31 Jerusalem Post, Aug. 16, 1981; see Fateful Triangle, chapter 5, sections 1, 3.4, for further quotes, background, and description.
32 Glass, text of talk at Middle East Studies Association Conference, Los Angeles, Nov. 4, 1988, published in Index on Censorship (London), January 1989.
33 Yaniv, Dilemmas of Security, 70. The October 1973 war brought home the lesson that Egypt could not be disregarded. The U.S. then turned to the obvious strategy: remove it from the conflict. See my 1977 article reprinted as chapter 11, Towards a New Cold War. Camp David consummated this strategy.
34 See Towards a New Cold War and Fateful Triangle on the events, and Pirates and Emperors on how they have entered into memory. For a brief review from an expert Israeli perspective, see Schiff and Ya'ari, Israel's Lebanon War. It is difficult to know just what their original manuscript might have contained, since much was excised by the Israeli censor; 20 percent according to Ehud Ya'ari, 50 percent according to a "respected correspondent" cited by Middle East historian Augustus Richard Norton of the West Point Military Academy (Kol Ha'ir, Feb. 10, 1984; Middle East Journal, Summer 1985).
35 Editorial, Washington Post, April 22, 1982; see Fateful Triangle for further background; and Yaniv, op. cit., for justification of these operations. See also
appendix I, section 2, above.
36 Harkabi, Israel's Fateful Hour, 100-1. See
appendix I, section 2.
37 NYT, Sept. 7, 1987.
38 Laqueur, The Age of Terrorism. Citations that follow are from pp. 8, 91-92, 218, 215, 139, 166, 232, 141, 106, 21-22, 291-92, 204, 262, 245, 296-97, 310, 300.
39 Laqueur and Charles Krauthammer, New Republic, March 31, 1982.
40 On the facts, and the numbers game, see
appendix I, section 2.
41 Ehud Ya'ari, Egypt and the Fedayeen (Hebrew) (Givat Haviva, 1975, 27f.), a study based on captured Egyptian and Jordanian documents. At the same time, Salah Mustapha, Egyptian military attaché in Jordan, was severely injured by a letter-bomb sent from East Jerusalem, presumably from the same source; ibid.
42 Israeli military historian Uri Milshtein, Hadashot, Dec. 31, 1987, referring to Eliav's 1983 book Hamevukash.
43 See, among others, Jeffrey Race, War Comes to Long An (California, 1972, 197, and particularly chapter 3).
44 See Alfred W. McCoy et al., The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia (Harper & Row, 1972). For some recent discussion, see Jonathan Kwitny, The Crimes of Patriots (Norton, 1987). Stone, "Is the Cold War really over?," Sunday Telegraph (London), Nov. 27, 1988.
45 On these matters, also virtually ignored in the U.S. media, see Herman and Brodhead, Rise and Fall of the Bulgarian Connection, 81f.
46 For critical discussion of the Weathermen at the time, see Harold Jacobs, ed., Weatherman (Ramparts, 1970).
47 Addendum to p. 120.
48 On U.S.-Iranian relations, see James A. Bill, The Eagle and the Lion (Yale, 1988).
49 Ibid., 55-56.
50 The maneuverings are of some interest; see Towards a New Cold War, 313f.
51 Dorman and Farhang, The U.S. Press and Iran. Quotes below are from this book, unless otherwise indicated.
52 Editorial, NYT, Aug. 6, 1954; for a longer quote and more context, see Towards a New Cold War, 99, and the discussion there and in chapter 11.
53 U.S. Press and Iran, 33ff., 123, 164, 91f., 120, 54, 148, 157. For an insider's account of how the Times looked the other way on the CIA role in the coup, and on "sanitizing" copy on Vietnam in which he was personally involved as a senior rewrite editor, see John Hess, Grand Street, Winter 1989. Hess's interesting comments reveal illusions of their own, however. Thus he writes that while Times correspondents David Halberstam and Neil Sheehan originally criticized the conduct of the U.S. war in Vietnam on tactical grounds, they "graduallycame to see the war as evil in itself, and they helped to persuade many fellow Americans that it was." In reality, they were far behind not only the peace movement (which did the work that they failed to do) but even the majority of their fellow Americans in this regard, and at least their published criticism remained well within the dove-hawk consensus that adopted unquestioningly the basic doctrines of the propaganda system.
54 Bill, op. cit., 283-84.
55 Saeedpour, "Kurdish Times and the New York Times," Kurdish Times (Brooklyn), published by Cultural Survival, Summer 1988. Other journals are also sampled.
56 Addendum to p. 122.
57 There has been a most remarkable campaign in the United States to justify this stance by denying that the Palestinians are more than recent immigrants, occasioned by a book by Joan Peters that received almost unanimous applause in a euphoric reception among American intellectuals. For discussion of this most illuminating episode of recent intellectual history, which actually merits much closer study, see essays by Norman Finkelstein and Edward Said in Said and Hitchens, Blaming the Victims. Finkelstein's important study exposing the fraud, which was well known early on in the propaganda campaign, was unpublishable in the United States. It was only after the book appeared in England, and was utterly demolished by reviewers (in part, relying on Finkelstein's unpublishable analysis), that its American enthusiasts, or at least the less audacious among them, broke ranks and dropped the matter, some claiming falsely that they had not known before about the fraud that was being perpetrated with their assistance. This is a revealing story that has yet to be properly told.
58 Like any historical comparison, this one is inexact in some ways. To mention only the most obvious discrepancy, and the one least likely to be recognized, support for the PLO among the Palestinians, by all available evidence, is far beyond support among Jews for the Zionist organizations in the mid-1940s.
59 For further details and the background factors, see Fateful Triangle; Pirates and Emperors; and my articles "The Palestinian Uprising," Z Magazine, May 1988, and "The U.S. and the Middle East" (see
chapter 3, note 23). The latter also reviews some important documentation from the Israeli diplomatic record. See the same sources for references, where not cited below.
60 Mary Curtius, Boston Globe Magazine, Aug. 14, 1988. The example is more interesting than most, because Curtius is an independent and knowledgeable Middle East correspondent. For a sample of many other cases, see Fateful Triangle, chapter 3, 2.4.2. Major journals have even rejected letters to the editor correcting false statements on this matter.
61 Friedman, NYT, Aug. 7, 1988.
62 For details, see Pirates and Emperors, chapter 2, note 58 and text, and sources cited.
63 Friedman, "The Power of the Fanatics," NYT Magazine, Oct. 7, 1988.
64 Editorial, NYT, June 13, 1988.
65 See references of note 59.
66 NYT, March 17, 21; June 2, 1985.
67 Peace Now had never clearly separated itself from Labor Party rejectionism. On its unclear and vacillating positions, considerably misunderstood in the United States, see below.
68 Friedman, NYT, Dec. 10, 1986; March 27, 1987.
69 Yitzhak Ben-Horin, Ma'ariv, Dec. 4; Ma'ariv, Dec. 5; Eyal Ehrlich, Ha'aretz, Dec. 19, 1986.
70 AP, April 1, 1988. In the New York Times, these events were reported accurately by John Kifner, a fine journalist for many years, and by other media, in the early months of the uprising.
71 "The Man who Foresaw the Uprising," Yediot Ahronot, April 7; Hotam, April 15.
72 Friedman, NYT News in Review, Jan. 29, 1989.
73 Hadashot, Jan. 7, 1988; Ha'aretz, Dec. 31, 1987.
74 Interview, Nouvel Observateur, Jan. 7, 1988.
75 AP, Jan. 15; Toronto Globe and Mail, Jan. 15, 1987; also published in several local newspapers in the United States.
76 NYRB, June 25, 1987. U.N. English translation, quoted in The Other Israel, Newsletter of the Israeli Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, Nov.-Dec. 1987.
77 To be precise, the PLO support for the nonrejectionist political settlement vetoed by the United States at the United Nations in January 1976 was reported (NYT, Jan. 27, 1988), but then disappeared from history.
78 NYT, March 12, 1988.
79 "Israeli Supreme Court lets two extremist parties run," Christian Science Monitor, June 29, 1984.
80 Ha'aretz, April 12; Jerusalem Post, April 13; Shamir, Ha'aretz, April 7; Herut, Dorit Gefen, Al-Hamishmar, Feb. 29, 1988; Milo, then chairman of the Likud bloc in the Knesset, Maariv, Jan. 3, 1984; Globe and Mail, April 26; Rabin, Tony Banks, Jane's Defence Weekly, May 7; Eban, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 3, 1988.
81 See my articles in Z Magazine, May, July 1988. I found no other mention.
82 Sciolino, NYT, April 6, 8, 1988.
83 In These Times, June 22, distributed several days earlier; New York Times, June 22, 1988. In subsequent weeks, there were continued indications of controversy within the PLO over the Abu Sharif initiative.
84 As of 1988, Peace Now -- unlike the PLO -- had never proposed a nonrejectionist peace settlement. Individuals associated with the group have done so, while others (notably Abba Eban) maintained an association with it while clearly advocating Labor Party rejectionism (see, e.g., his "The Central Question," Tikkun 1.2, 1986). As of April 1988, leading activists in Israel were unable to provide me with a single textual example of support for a two-state settlement, and I can find none. Funding literature of November 1988 cites Peace Now's willingness to "talk to Palestinians" who advocate a nonrejectionist political settlement, so that other Palestinians can be "encouraged to renounce violence and fend off rejectionists." But there is not a word to indicate that Peace Now joins their Palestinian interlocutors (specifically, Faisal Husseini) in adopting a nonrejectionist position. See below for further confirmation of this conclusion.
85 In the intellectual climate in the United States, often semi-hysterical on these matters, it is perhaps worth adding that the review of the factual record does not entail that the PLO is an admirable organization. In fact, it has proven over the years to be incompetent, corrupt, foolish, and often murderous, particularly in the early 1970s. These are matters that I have often discussed for the past twenty years. They have no relevance in the present connection, just as the long record of Zionist violence was not relevant to evaluating the right of Jews to be represented by the Zionists in 1947, or their right to national self-determination in Palestine.
86 Jewish Post and Opinion, Nov. 16, 1988.
chapter 4. Editorial, NYT, Nov. 16, 1988.
88 Editorial, Dec. 8, 1988; Steve Lohr, "Arafat says P.L.O. Accepted Israel, NYT, same day; official statement, same day.
89 Editorials, LAT, Nov. 16, WP, Nov. 15, 1988.
90 Will, BG, Nov. 20; Kipper, Lewis, NYT, Dec. 1, 1988; Weinstein, BG, Dec. 4, 1988.
91 CSM, Dec. 8, 1988.
92 Peter Steinfels, Dec. 8, 1988.
93 Aryeh Dayan, Kol Ha'ir, Nov. 25; Peace Now advertisement, Nov. 23; poll, Yediot Ahronot, Dec. 23, 1988.
94 An exception is a column by William Raspberry, pointing out that Israel's commitment to terror continues unabated and that "the real sticking point for Israel is not PLO `ambiguity' but insistence that the Palestinians no less than Israelis have a right to a homeland" (WP, Dec. 14, 1988). With regard to terror, the same can be said about the United States. It is difficult to overlook the fact that this near-unique recognition of reality was written by one of the few Black columnists in the United States.
95 Editorial, NYT, Dec. 21, 1988; Friedman, "Reality Time in Mideast," NYT, Dec. 19, 1988. On Friedman's version of "reality," see below.
96 On the actual record of apologetics for Israel and venomous attack on anyone who departed from the party line, quickly effaced from history when the conditions of respectability changed, see Peace in the Middle East?, chapter 5; Fateful Triangle, 146f., 263f., 378f. Some of the transitions are startling.
97 State Department conditions, NYT, Dec. 14; Marie Colvin, NYT Magazine, Dec. 18; Chancellor, NBC evening news, Dec. 13, 1988, reported to me by Marilyn Young. For a succinct legal analysis of the U.S. obligations to the U.N., see Alfred P. Rubin, CSM, Dec. 15, 1988.
98 Richard Strauss, BG, Dec. 14; Charlotte Saikowski, CSM, Dec. 15, 1988.
99 On the early stages of the Israel-Jordan alliance, see Avi Shlaim, Collusion across the Jordan (Columbia, 1988). Van Creveld, Jerusalem Post,, Feb. 1, 1989.
100 Editorial, WP Weekly, Dec. 19, 1988, lauding Shultz for having "hung tough on the principled conditions of 1975" and for denying Arafat a visa, a "useful signal." The editors state that "the 1975 conditions were drafted at a time when Israel had a government prepared to exchange territory for peace if there were a negotiating partner." The facts, however, are that Israel's Labor government explicitly refused to deal with any Palestinians on any political issue, and the U.S. and Israel rejected the land-for-peace offer at the U.N. Security Council. See Fateful Triangle, and for more detail on the Israeli government attitude at the time, Towards a New Cold War, 267f. Israel's reaction to the U.N. session was a gratuitous bombing of Lebanon, with over fifty killed. The U.S. reaction was to veto the resolution. The media reaction has been to deny the facts, as in this editorial.
101 H.D.S. Greenway, BG, Dec. 15; see also Randolph Ryan, BG, Dec. 16, 1988, the only example I found where the elementary facts about the State Department conditions are recognized.
102 Alan Cowell, NYT, Dec. 19; Robert Pear, NYT, Dec. 15; editorial, WP Weekly, Dec. 19; "Palestinian Semantics: Arafat's Changing Words," NYT, Dec. 15; editorial, NYT, Dec. 16; editorial, BG, Dec. 16; Pipes, "How the U.S. Should Handle Arafat," Dec. 20; Friedman, "Reality Time," NYT, Dec. 19, 1988. On the facts concerning the 1971 negotiations, which Friedman has always suppressed or denied, see Fateful Triangle, chapter 3.
103 Bush News Conference, NYT, Jan. 28; Brinkley, Jan. 29, 1989.
104 "Palestinian Semantics," NYT, Dec. 15; Alan Cowell, NYT, Dec. 19, 1988.
105 Safire claims that "Mr. Arafat, by accepting the hated word renounce, promised to cut out what his organization had been doing in the past," by which he apparently means that Arafat promised to cut out what he, Safire, considers to be terrorism. That, however, plainly does not follow; it only follows that Arafat promised to cut out what he, Arafat, considers terrorism. The issue turns again on the right of struggle for self-determination against colonialist and racist regimes and foreign occupation, accepted by the entire world apart from the United States and Israel. Safire's contorted argument misses this point and thus collapses.
106 Safire, NYT Magazine, Jan. 1; Berman, "What is a Jew?," Village Voice, Jan. 3, 1989. On Howe's actual role over many years, see the references of note 96.
107 BG, Dec. 19; NYT; Peres, Op-Ed, NYT, Dec. 21; John Kifner, NYT, Dec. 20, 1988. On casualties, see Daoud Kuttab, Middle East International, Jan. 20, 1989, citing figures of thirty-one killed (including children) from mid-December to mid-January, the highest monthly total since the preceding March, and 1,000 injured. The horrifying details are regularly reported in the Hebrew press. See, for example, Yizhar Be'er, Kol Ha'ir, Dec. 30, 1988, reporting the results of an intensive investigation of the "day of slaughter" in Nablus on December 16, two days after Arafat allegedly said the magic words. For some details, see my article in Z Magazine, March 1989.
108 Hadashot, Feb. 14; Rabin, Nahum Barnea, Yediot Ahronot, Feb. 24; JP, Jan. 6, 1989. Emphasis in JP. It is not impossible that U.S. and Israeli intelligence actually believe that the Intifada was initiated by the PLO and is directed by it. There is ample evidence from the documentary record of the incapacity of intelligence, the national political police, or the political leadership to comprehend the reality of popular movements and popular struggles. The idea is simply too threatening, and cannot be faced or comprehended. It is also necessary to bear in mind the ideological fanaticism that often colors intelligence reports and the higher-level interpretation of them, also amply documented.
109 See references cited earlier; NYT, Nov. 6, 1982.
110 Wilkie, BG, Dec. 1, 1985.
111 NYT Magazine, Oct. 30, 1988.
112 Klein, "Our Man in Managua," Esquire, Nov. 1986; Howe, NYT Book Review, May 16, 1982; Peretz, New Republic, Aug. 29, 1983, May 7, 1984, among many examples; Brooks Jackson, Wall Street Journal, March 23, 1984; Matt Moffett, WSJ, Aug. 30, 1984; Safire, NYT, Sept. 5, 1988; Ruth Wisse, Professor of Yiddish Literature at McGill University, Commentary, May 1988.
113 Eban, Congress Bi-Weekly, March 30, 1973.
114 Nathan and Ruth Perlmutter, The Real Anti-Semitism in America (Arbor House, 1982); see Fateful Triangle, 14f., for more extensive quotes and discussion.
115 Colin Campbell, NYT, Jan. 30, 1985. See Fateful Triangle (11f.) and Pirates and Emperors (29f., 46n) for some references to the condemnations by Israeli doves of the hysteria, fanaticism, Stalinist-style methods and sheer cynicism that they see -- correctly, in my view -- as profoundly harmful to the interests of their country.
116 Seven were discharged from the Bush campaign after the revelations, four of them retaining their leadership positions in the Heritage Groups Council, the ethnic outreach arm of the Republican National Committee. See Russell C. Bellant, "Will Bush Purge Nazi Collaborators in the G.O.P.?," Op-Ed, NYT, Nov. 19, 1988.
117 Judis, In These Times, Sept. 28; New Republic, Oct. 3, 1988. See David Corn, Nation, Oct. 24, 1988, for more on the "haven" for "anti-Semites and fascist sympathizers" in the Republican party. Also Holly Sklar, Z Magazine, Nov. 1988; Charles Allen, Village Voice, Nov. 1, 1988. On the downplaying of the story by the New York Times, see FAIR, Extra!, Sept./Oct. 1988.
118 Ed Vulliamy, WP Weekly, Oct. 24-30. See also Christopher Kenneally, BG, Oct. 16; David Korn and Jefferson Morley, Nation, Nov. 7, 1988.
119 Spector, Op-Ed, NYT, March 17, 1988, noting that not a single question was raised to Prime Minister Shamir about this matter in his press conference in Washington and TV interviews; LAT-BG, NYT, Oct. 31, 1984; BG, NYT, Feb. 25, 1987.
120 Abraham, AAUG Mideast Monitor, April 1987.
121 See Fateful Triangle, chapter 7, section 4.2.
122 Sunday Times, Aug. 9, 16; NYT, Aug. 31, 1987. Also Jerusalem Post, Aug. 9, reporting the Sunday Times story. On media unwillingness to report "unflattering stories about Israel that are routinely covered" in the Israeli press, and the reasons for it, see Robert I. Friedman, Mother Jones, Feb.-March, 1987.
123 AP, Sept. 19, 1987.
124 Victoria Brittain, Guardian (London), June 6; Anthony Robinson, Financial Times, June 7; Economist, June 14, 1987; also BBC world service.
125 Addendum to p. 123.
126 See p. 316. Sarah Honig, JP Magazine, Sept. 23, 1988.
127 Transcript, ABC NEWS VIEWPOINT Show #1794, ABC, April 7, 1988. Coverage of South Africa and some other matters are also mentioned, but the focus is on coverage of Israel.
128 Wieseltier, New Republic, Sept. 23, 1981; Pipes, NYT, Aug. 3, 1988; Herzog, LAT, July 9, 1988.
129 Shah cited in Dorman and Farhang, The U.S. Press and Iran, 24; FRUS, 1952-1954, vol. IV, 1132, Memorandum of NSC discussion, May 27, 1954; Harrison E. Salisbury, Without Fear or Favor (Times Books, 1980, 479); Thomas P. McCann, An American Company (Crown, 1976, 47). See McCann and Turning the Tide, 164f., on Times coverage and commentary during the period.
130 Brzezinski, The National Interest (Fall, 1985); Tucker, Commentary, Oct. 1982. On Shawcross's intriguing construction and its influence, see Manufacturing Consent, chapter 6, section 2.8. The alleged quote was left unidentified and undated to obscure the evident absurdity of the charge and the fact that it was fabricated for the occasion. Ibid., for details.
131 Hollander, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 24, 1985; Diggins, NYT Book Review, Oct. 20, 1985; NYT Op-Ed, Aug. 22, 1988.
132 Addendum to p. 127.
133 The CIA-appointed press spokesman for the contras, Edgar Chamorro, describes Stephen Kinzer as "like an errand boy" for the Reagan administration, "building up those stories that fit in with Reagan's agenda," "just responding to what the White House is saying." In his monograph on the contras, the CIA, and the media, Chamorro describes cases in which correspondents readily accepted contra manipulation, and quotes James LeMoyne as telling him: "The contra leaders won't invite you on trips, won't take you into their camps, and won't talk to you, if your articles are too critical" (Interview, Extra! (FAIR), Oct./Nov. 1987; Packaging the Contras).
134 Michael Massing, Columbia Journalism Review, July/August, 1987. Also Update, Dec. 29, 1987 (Central American Historical Institute, Georgetown University, Washington).
135 Eleven issues were missing in this collection.
136 There is no report of the endorsement by the International Verification Commission (CIVS), a few days later, of the Sandinista position that the state of emergency can be maintained until the aggression ends.
137 AP, Nov. 24, 1986.
138 NYT, Jan. 31, 1988.
139 AP, Oct. 20, 1987; BG and La Prensa, same day.
140 Kinzer, NYT, Oct. 20, 22, 25; LeMoyne, Nov. 5, 1987.
141 "Sad Tales of La Libertad de Prensa," Harper's, Aug. 1988.
142 Chamorro, Packaging the Contras.
143 Though Goldman does not discuss the point, it is worth noting that by mid-1988 TV and radio in El Salvador were quite open to a range of positions, more so than the United States, I suspect, and that parts of the press would publish paid advertisements over a wide spectrum. The situation, of course, is radically different from Nicaragua, where a major journal, funded by the foreign power attempting to overthrow the government of Nicaragua, openly supports that effort.
144 Council on Hemispheric Affairs and The Newspaper Guild, A Survey of Press Freedom in Latin America 1985-1986 (Washington, Dec. 1986).
145 For discussion of many examples, see Mario Zeledón, ed., La Desinformación de la Prensa en Costa Rica: Un grave peligro para la Paz (Istituto Costarricense de Estudios Sociales, Costa Rica, 1987).
146 Kinzer, NYT, Oct. 3, 1987; on the polls, see p. 242.
147 "Full Amnesty Seen as Test for Managua," Sept. 10, 1987; "Life on a Cooperative: `A Little Better Off'," Sept. 7, 1987. On fact and fancy concerning political prisoners, see my article in Z Magazine, Jan. 1988.
148 Gutman, Banana Diplomacy (Simon and Schuster, 1988, 371).
149 NYT, Nov. 8, 1987.
150 Christian Science Monitor, Nov. 9, 1987.
151 Kinzer, NYT, Jan. 31, 1988.
appendix IV, section 5. LeMoyne, NYT, June 15, 1988.
153 NYT, Nov. 10, 1985.
154 Kinzer, Dec. 4; Jonathan Steele, interview with Arias, Guardian (London), Nov. 17; Kinzer, Nov. 15, 1987.
155 Michael Emery, San Francisco Bay Guardian, Dec. 3, 1988, quoting La Penca: Pastora, the Press and the CIA by Tony Avirgan and Martha Honey, reporting their two-year investigation of the bombing in which Avirgan was wounded and eight people were killed. "Ironically," Emery observes, "Honey's story on Pastora, citing the CIA pressure, had run on the front page of The New York Times May 31st ."
156 For many others, see Culture of Terrorism and my articles in Z Magazine, January, March 1988.
157 NYT, Dec. 25, 1987; Cook, "Nicaragua: the Show Goes On," ms., Managua, Dec. 28, 1987; Cockburn, Nation, Jan. 30, 1988. Letters, Nation, July 2/9, 1988. Background on this remote region, where the war had caused 17,000 people to seek refuge in the towns that were attacked and where the U.S.-run propaganda radio in Honduras is virtually the only source of information, appears in Excelsior (Mexico), Dec. 12, 1987; Central America NewsPak.
158 LeMoyne, NYT, June 26, 1988; Cockburn, Nation, July 30/Aug. 6, 1988.
159159. Chris Norton, Extra! (FAIR), July/August 1988. Alexander Cockburn, Nation, Aug. 27/Sept. 3, 1988, citing a story by journalist Marc Cooper, Los Angeles Weekly, May 27-June 2. After Cockburn's column appeared, the Times published an "editors' note" (Sept. 15) stating that the story "fell short of The Times's reporting and editing standards" because it gave the impression of firsthand interviewing while in fact it "was based on a report in El Mundo, a center-right newspaper, which attributed the information to the Salvadoran military command," and on "a representative of a leading human rights organization," unidentified and unmentioned in LeMoyne's story (and probably nonexistent), who allegedly said she believed the report to be true, later retracting this judgment. The editor's note refers to unnamed "freelance journalists in Central America" who determined that the story was false, and to the LA Weekly account. Interviewed by Newsday (Sept. 21), foreign editor Joseph Lelyveld said that the correction was motivated by Cockburn's story, which is not mentioned in the editor's note. He accused Cockburn of "waging a vendetta against LeMoyne." LeMoyne himself conceded that he was not in the country at the time, but on returning had "noticed a tremendous number of political killings, both by guerrillas and by what they call right wing death squads." On his falsification of the figures for the May Day rally, LeMoyne said his estimate "came from a member of a pro-guerrilla group" whom he would not name because Cockburn would denounce this alleged informant for having "betrayed the cause."
160 LeMoyne, "Testifying to Torture," NYT Magazine, June 5; letters, Sept. 18, 1988. See also Murillo's accompanying letter to the New York Times editors with further clarifications, in which she offers to appear for personal discussion to resolve the issues, printed in Honduras Update, June/July 1988. The Times Magazine editors deserve credit for publishing Murillo's letter. Often, journals do not permit the right of response to dissidents, even in response to direct personal attacks.
161 Addendum to p. 130.
162 See special, NYT, Oct. 26, 1988, where the facts are acknowledged in a story on the suspension of press credentials for three foreign correspondents who had reported operations of Israeli death squads in the occupied territories.
163 Al-Haq Newsletter, March/April 1987, July/August 1987; Marty Rosenbluth, "Harassing Palestinian unions," Middle East International, Nov. 7, 1987; Amnon Barzilai, "Danger: a Painter," Ha'aretz, Dec. 21, 1984. See also, among others, Shirley Eber, "Censorship in the Middle East," Third World Affairs, 1988, with many examples. Shyam Bhatia, Observer (London); Jerusalem Post, Nov. 17; Avigdor Feldman, Hadashot, Nov. 18; Daniel Williams, LAT, Nov. 20, 1988. See also Committee to Protect Journalists, Journalists Under Occupation (New York, 1988).
164 Irit Nahmani, Hadashot, Aug. 29, 1988; Khaled Abu-Tuama, Yerushalayim, Nov. 11, 1988. The policy of supporting fundamentalist extremists has come under severe criticism. Pinhas Inbari writes that Israel is making the same mistake in the occupied territories that it made in southern Lebanon, where "the sapping of Palestinian nationalism's strength led to the emergence of Islamic fundamentalism," a far more dangerous force. In the occupied territories, he warns, Israel may undermine the PLO, but "those who didn't want to talk with Arafat will have to do battle with Khomeini" (Al Hamishmar, Sept. 15, 1988).
165 Inbari, Al-Hamishmar, Nov. 27, 1987.
166 Appeal, Attorney Avigdor Feldman.
167 NYT, Feb. 18, 1987.
168 Oren Cohen, Hadashot, March 24; Peretz Kidron, Middle East International, May 14; AP, May 25; News from Within (Jerusalem), July 10, 1988.
169 Statement by the defendants, July 1988.
170 Aryeh Dayan, Kol Hair, Aug. 5, 1988; LAT, Aug. 1; NYT, Aug. 1; Joel Greenberg, Christian Science Monitor, Aug. 3; Geraldine Brooks, Wall St. Journal, Aug. 26, 1988.
171 Dayan, op. cit.; The Other Israel, Nov./Dec. 1987; Porath, Ha'aretz, Aug. 9, 1988.
172 Reuters, NYT, Nov. 13, 1986; EEC reaction, Manchester Guardian Weekly, Jan. 4, 1987; "Natan Sharansky Clarifies," advertisement, Jerusalem Post, Ma'ariv, Nov. 13, 1986; Interview with Louis Rapoport, JP, Dec. 5, 1986; Award, Samson Krupnick, Jewish Post & Opinion, Dec. 3, 1986; William Claiborne, Washington Post, Feb. 19, 1986; Robert Stone, NYT Book Review, June 5, 1988. New Republic, Feb. 27, 1989.
173 NYT, July 1, 1988.
174 Ihsan Hijazi, NYT, Aug. 10, 1988, 190 words.
175 NYT, April 24, 1988.
176 El Pais (Madrid), May 3; Egin (San Sebastian), June 28, August 2, June 22, July 24, 28, 1988.
177 Addendum to p. 131.
178 Without pursuing the matter, I should at least note here that in other industrial democracies, the situation is often far worse.
179 Rocker, "Anarchism and Anarcho-Syndicalism," in Paul Eltzbacher, ed., Anarchism (Freedom Press, 1960). This is excerpted from Rocker's important 1938 book Anarcho-Syndicalism (Pluto Press, London, 1989).
180 Hughes, in Near v. Minnesota, 1931, cited by Jerome Barron, "Access to the Press."
181 Kairys, "Freedom of Speech," in David Kairys, ed., The Politics of Law (Pantheon, 1982).
182 Jamie Kalven, editor's introduction to Harry Kalven, A Worthy Tradition: Freedom of Speech in America (Harper & Row, 1988); Brennan's opinion cited on p. 66. Note that Kalven's interesting book is mistitled; the actual tradition he surveys is far from worthy.
183 Ibid., 63.
184 "Espionage Act of 1917," reprinted in Harold L. Nelson, ed., Freedom of the Press from Hamilton to the Warren Court (Bobbs-Merrill, 1967, 247f.)
185 Cited by Kairys, op. cit.
186 Burleson, cited in introduction, Nelson, op. cit.; William Hard, New Republic, May 10, 1919, in Nelson, 253f.
187 For a review of hundreds of cases from April 1917 through June 1918, see the 1919 report of the National Civil Liberties Bureau, which became the ACLU a year later, reprinted in Nelson, op. cit., 307f.
188 Robert J. Goldstein, Political Repression in Modern America (Cambridge: Schenkman, 1978). See also
appendix II, section 2.
189 Chafee, Free Speech in the United States (Harvard, 1941), cited by Kairys, op. cit.
190 ACLU Review of the Year (to June 1943), reprinted in Nelson, op. cit., 264.
191 A "sweeping federal sedition law," Harry Kalven observes, making it a crime "to knowingly or willfully advocate, abet, advise, or teach the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying any government in the United States by force or violence," to organize or help to organize any group that teaches, advocates or encourages such doctrines or "to be or become a member of, or affiliate with, any such society, group, or assembly of persons, knowing the purposes thereof." The membership clause of the Smith Act was upheld by the Supreme Court in Scales v. United States in 1961. Kalven, op. cit.
192 Goldstein, Political Repression.
193 Ibid., citing the New Republic, New Leader, Nation; Fox, Reinhold Niebuhr, 293.
194 Richard Polenberg, Fighting Faiths (Viking, 1987, 367).
195 See the review of his America in Vietnam reprinted in Towards a New Cold War (co-authored with Edward Herman).
196 Lewy, "Does America Need a Verfassungsschutzbericht?," Orbis, Fall 1987.