New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - March 26, 1985, New Braunfels, Texas
4 New B< dun fete H&akiZcitung Tuesday, March 26,1985
James Kilpatrick writes about Jesse Helms and the media, see below
JAMES K. KILPATRICK
Dave Kraatr, General Manager Robert Jobatoa, Editor
James KilpatrickReporters find mix-up in expectations
Back m mid-January I ventured a few observations on the matter of Sen. Jesse Helms and CBS Since then we have had the Gelb affair at the State Department and the senator has made a speech that rattled the rafters A few additional observations are in order
Yo.; will recall that some months ago a group of North Carolinians, closely identified with S . Helms, founded Fairness in Media. Their avowed purpose was to bring pressure to bear on CBS. The senator urged his followers to buy 20 shares or more of CBS stock with a view toward gaining eventual control of the network. At that distant point. so the scenario went. a new CBS presdient would be able to rout out a liberal bias of CBS News A new corps of objective reporters and editors would be brought in. and at long last conservatives would get a fair shake.
The senator's audacity set off a splendid
flapping in journalistic dovecotes. Cartoonists had a great time. Dan Rather, deadpan, gravely reported the story on the CBS evening news. The flurry had just about subsided when Helms appeared on March I before a convention of conservative political action committees. He said that he sometimes wondered if he were on the same planet with reporters and editors w ho distort the news.
‘How can the major media be so wrong so often? The answer is obvious: They are profoundly out of sympathy with the ideals and goals of the American people. Of course, there are sound and honest journalists in all parts of the country. But the elite media — and you know who they are — are overwhelmingly produced by men and women who, if they do not hate America first, certainly have a smug contempt for American ideals and principles.”
Well, rn his crack about ‘ hating America,” Helms was tossing raw meat to the assembled tigers. At that point the senator got earned away. But in the rest of that paragraph Helms was precisely, painfully, on target.
I>et me cite one example only, and move one. Americans historically have admired military heroes: Washington. Grant. Pershing, Eisenhower, Halsey, MacArthur. They are though to embody the old virtue of patriotism But how do the liberal cartoonists perceive our military leaders? .AU the generals are fat; ah the admirals wear swords and tricorn hats: their chests are ablaze with ribbons that would dazzle the Vegas strip. They are subjects of ridicule. When Helms speaks of “smug contempt.” Helms strikes home.
The Gelb affair provides a contrast I>esiie Gelb. a top reporter for The Nev* York Times,
was for two years (1977-791 director of the State Department’s Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs. Last month he wrote an article about a contingent U S. plan to deploy nuclear weapons in Canada, Bermuda and Puerto Rico. His piece was the result of fair digging; the substance already had been reported abroad. The existence of such contingency plans is a fact of life rn even major nation No security was breached Nevertheless, the bureau's incumbent director. Lt. Gen John T Chain Jr.. blew his top He declared Gelb persona non grata to his staff. In ar. especially childish display, he ordered Gelb’s picture removed from a gallery of past directors, and he posted a notice accusing Gelb of willingly, willfully and knowingly publishing classified information “the release of which is harmful and damaging to the country "
Gelb is a major-league reporter Chain is a
bush-league bureaucrat. Chain was as wild in his accusations as Helms was accurate in
Both stories tell us something of the regrettable relationship that exists in the United States between so much of the government and so much of the press It is an adversarial relationship: us against them Here in Washington, and in state capitals as well, one finds reporters whose purpose is not simply to report the news, but rather to score points.
This hostility — the natural hostility of cats and dogs — poorly serves the public interest. In print or on the air, reporters have but one obligation — to report the news as fairly,
objectively and neutrally as they can, without bias of any sort. Helms is right to object when a reporter fails, and Chain was wrong to object w hen a reporter succeedsYour representatives
Gov. Mark White Governor s Office Room 200 State Capitol Austin, Texas 78701
Sen. Phil Gramm United States Senate Washington D C., 20510
Sen. Lloyd Bentsen United States Senate Room 240 Russell Bldg Washington, D C 20510
Sen John Traeger Texas Senate Capitol Station Austin, Texas, 78711
Rep Edmund Kuempel Texas House of Representatives P O Box 2910 Austin. Texas 78769
Rep. Tom Loeffler U S House of Representatives 1212 Longworth House Office Bldg Washington, D C. 20515
Rep Mac Sweeney (Guadalupe County) U S House of Representatives Washington, D C.. 20515Jack AndersonPentagon investigates slaughter in Honduras
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is secretly investigating the disturbing possibility that dozens of suspected leftists were murdered by Honduran military officers in a U S -funded program.
.Sources in Tegucigalpa told my associate Jon I^ee Anderson there is no evidence that U.S. officials were aware of the executions. In fact, Honduran sources emphasized that Americans involved in the program were deliberately kept in the dark That is one of the questions being pursued by the Defense Department.
The U.S.-funded program was supposed to curb the flow of arms from the Sandimsta regime in Nicaragua to leftist rebels in El Salvador. As such, the program was related to the CIA-run covert operation begun in 1981 to support the anti-Sandinista contras. ‘‘Arms interdiction" was the justification the Reagan administration gave when it persuaded Congress to put up the original $19 million for the secret war in Nicaragua.
Unlike the CIA’s clandestine operations, the U.S. aid to the Honduran government was aboveboard. The need to prevent “ex
port of armed subversion” by Nicaraguan has repeatedly been cited by the White House to explain the massive U.S. military presence in Honduras A reliable source in Tegucigalpa said there have been several cases of suspected leftists who had “disappeared” after detention by Honduran officers in charge of the arms-mterdiction program One source said that in the last month the Defense Department's investigation has focused on charges that the Special Operations Command, an elite Honduran
counterinsurgency force, was “involved in some of the disappearances."
Another source, a former special-operations member, told my associate that the outfit also operated * safe-houses" of its own, where it conducted interrogations of suspected leftists. Some of those arrested by the unit for interrogation “later ended up under earth," the source said,
In addition, this Honduran source said, the Special Operations Command trained and equipped some private, anti-communist paramilitary squads that operated on their own. “They did some of our dirty work for us," the former COE agent said The former COE man emphatically absolved U.S. military advisers of complicity in the disappearances of suspected leftists Though the Americans sometimes joined in the interrogations, he said, they were intentionally kept ignorant of the illegal executions.
“Our officers don’t trust the Americans." he explained The ex-agent implied that the Hondurans feared that if the American officers learned the truth about the executions, they would feel compelled to report them to the Pentagon — and then it would leak to Congress and the press, and U S funds for Honduran military would be endangered.
Most observers on the v erie agree that the arms-interdiction program in Honduras bas succeeded As early as 1932, sources said, the arms shipments to Salvadoran rebels through Honduras had shrunk to a trickle. This would explain why the Reagan administration lias changed its strategy and now demands that the Sandinistas cry “uncle!"
ITx: arms-interdiction justification may no longer exist Footnote: A Defense Department
spokesman had not responded to a request for comment by the time I went to press. Dusting off a treaty
Is the Genocide Convention finally going to
make it onto the Senate floor after 35 years7
It looks as if it might - possibly today. And even die-hard opponents of the Holocaust-inspired U.N. treaty concede that the prospects of Senate ratification are better tan they’ve ever been.
President Reagan, like every chief executive since 1950 — except Dwight Eisenhower — has endorsed the treaty. (Eisenhower held off to avoid inflaming nght-wing elements. I
The opposition now, led by Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., will insist on reservations or amendments bef we approving the treaty.
“Our main objective is that the treaty as it stands gives compulsory jurisdiction to the World Court over the sovereignty of the United States," Helms aide Dr. James Fueler told my reporter Mark Woolley.
Critics of the treaty have raised the possibility that the World Court could supplant the Constitution by forcing the United States to go to war with a nation that has been found by the international tribunal to have engaged in genocide. They have also expressed concern that American soldiers — or even police officers - could be hauled before the World t!ourt simply on a complaint that they were racially or ethnically motivated in the exercise id their duties.
But proponents, led by Sen. William Proxmire, D-Wis, point out that other nations have ratified Die convention, with reservations. Proxmire says:
“It is a human rights treaty...designed to ensure that all nations, consistent with their own constitutions, will do everything possible to prevent and punish criminals who attempt to cmmit the most lieinous crime — tile elimination of an entire national, ethnic, racial or religious group "
Sen Richard laigar, H-lnd., chairman of Ila* Foreign Relations Committee, also supports the treaty Chances are good that it will finally pass — with modifications.
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