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The Washington Post and
the Road to Dictatorship

Recently, the Cybercast News Service reported (July 26, 2002) that a process server, attempting to serve Vice President Dick Cheney with a summons to appear as a defendant in a lawsuit, was threatened with arrest. The litigous conservative group Judicial Watch (JW) initiated the summons. According to JW a security staffer told the server that the White House would not receive the summons, and if were left it on the grounds they would arrest him.

Now, it is a federal crime to interfere with a process server's delivery of a summons. In addition, JW served (without incident) President Clinton, Vice President Gore and First Lady Hillary Clinton multiple times with summonses for lawsuits that they filed against them. This is an appalling response by the Bush administration, and certainly would have been well publicized had it been the Clinton White House.

Naturally, the Washington Post made no mention of this story.

A couple of days later, the House voted to give George Bush "fast-track" trade authority. In their coverage the Post informed us that, "the Bush administration plans to use [fast-track] to open markets around the world for US crops, machinery and other products (6/28/02, Washington Post)." So, what's fast-track all about? It means that when the President brings a trade bill to Congress, they can only vote to approve or deny it. The effect of this bill is to ensure that there will be far less participation from the public (and their representatives on Capital Hill) regarding the future of our economy. Thus, the White House has been granted almost dictatorial control over the future of how business will function in our society and the Post is assuring us this is a good thing.

To the Washington Post, the more "free trade" there is, the better off we'll all be. The day after Bush's fast-track triumph the Post editorialized that "trade liberalization is one of the few policies that just about all economists can agree to favor: It creates wealth; it reduces poverty; it is a positive-sum game (7/29/02, Washington Post). "[J]ust about all economists…"? Perhaps the Post has forgotten the catastrophe now taking place in Argentina, which has been following World Bank prescriptions of free trade to the brink of their abyss. However, there is no excuse for them to disregard the political figures from a broad political spectrum (e.g., from Ralph Nader to Patrick Buchanan) that oppose these free trade agreements.

These two examples, of the Post totally ignoring the story of the White House and the process server, as well as their denial that critics of our free trade agreements exist, are indications that this newspaper is not very concerned with informing their readers. The Post's daily function is to serve the interests of power.

War on Iraq

As most everyone knows, Bush is planning to attack Iraq. What most people don't know is that this proposed attack will be illegal. It will violate the UN Charter. It will also violate the governing UN Resolution (1154) on Iraq, which stipulates that only the Security Council, not the US by itself, will ensure the peace there.

It is coming at a time when the Middle East is already in major turmoil. The US-sponsored fiefdom controlling Saudi Arabia is in danger of falling, and the situation in the Occupied Territories remains extremely grim for the Palestinians.

The planned invasion of Iraq is anticipated to cause the Iraqi civilian population grave harm. Already, they're enduring the most severe post-war economic sanctions in human history. (UNICEF has estimated the sanctions have killed more than a million civilians, about half of whom were children.) They certainly cannot expect mercy from the Pentagon. For example, Pentagon documents obtained from Freedom of Information requests confirm that the Pentagon deliberately kept Iraq's water supply in bad shape in order to facilitate civilian suffering (Thomas Nagy, the Progressive, September, 2001). This action allegedly violated the Geneva Conventions, which is of no concern to our media.

Bush's dream of invading Iraq also comes while former UN arms inspector Scott Ritter claims that in 1998 his team verified a 90-95% level of disarmament from Iraq. And, former UN Assistant Secretary General, Hans Von Sponeck also says that he saw nothing but devastation regarding Iraq's alleged weapons sites. These concerns have been given so little attention by the mainstream media that the Bush administration hasn't had any real need to offer a challenge to them.

The Washington Post has been actively involved in assisting the Bush administration. For example, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami recently slammed the US for resorting to war at the drop of a hat. He also said that despite their recent wars with Iraq, Iran recognizes Iraq's territorial sovereignty. They do not endorse having the US decide who rules their neighbor. Khatami's remarks were widely distributed around the world-except in the US (of course). After the Iranian President spoke, the Washington Post reported that the Bush administration was giving up hope that it could "work" with Khatami (July 23, 2002, Washington Post). They began their commentary with the extraordinary statement that the Bush regime is "turning its attention to appealing directly to democracy supporters among the Iranian people." Yeah, right. To help make the sale for the White House, the Washington Post obligingly published a photograph of a young Iranian radical holding a sign that reads, "Down the USA." Sure, that's what Khatami said!

In Khatami's speech he admitted to the feeling that US bullying is making him feel he's "[living] in a very frightening situation today". In truth, the sight of the US using any pretext to drop bombs against any population that stands in its way is terrifying much of the world. In addition, our unwavering support for Israel as it continues it's insanely brutal occupation of the Palestinian people is also causing enormous anxiety outside the US. Internally, of course, there are the Washington Post and the New York Times leading the mainstream media in representing the views of power. So, most Americans do not fathom the frustration and rage that is being manufactured around the globe in our name. However, that rage exists. That anger is not going away. And, many of these people have very, very long memories.

On another subject the Washington Post has been ignoring, the Sydney Morning Herald speculated that the White House will suspend the US Constitution and implement martial law (7/27/02, Sydney Morning Herald). Folks, this is not beyond the realm of possibility. It appears to be where the mainstream media wants to take our country.

Scott Loughrey

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