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October 14, 1978 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1978-10-14

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Page 4-Saturday, October 14, 1978-The Michigan Daily

Eighty-Nine Years of Editorial Freedom
Vol. LIX, No. 33 News Phone: 764-0552
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan
Mr. Smith goes to Washington

The Snepp case:
Freedom of disinformation

-- --"

T HIS WEEK has been eventful for
, Zimbabwe. The Rhodesian Prime
Minister Ian Smith came to
Washington D.C. where he announced
he would meet with the leaders of the
Nationalist guerrillas. And back in
'Salisbury the transitional government
announced the end of race laws in that
country. In the surface it seems that
things are looking up for that country
where racism, while no longer legal, is
still the order of the day. It appears
that an all-out civil war may be
averted; after all Mr. Smith is willing
to talk with the guerrillas and the race
laws are no more. But a closer
examination will show that these
' events are a sad indication that the
. long-feared all-out guerrilla war in
Zimbabwe is inevitable and coming
First, the Smith visit to Washington
was-intended to draw support for what
'Smith calls his "internal settlement:"
That is a transitional government
including Smith and three moderate
blacks. This internal settlement does
i not include the black Patriotic
Liberation Front, led by Joshua
Nkomo and Robert Mugabe. The U.S.
and Great Britain are backing a
' settlement plan which would include
the PLF which has been conducting a
.s guerrilla war against the Smith
. government. For the first time, Mr.
Smith has agreed to sit down with the
PLF leaders on the condition that the
talks would be fruitful. Mr. Smith
would not elaborate on what he meant
by constructive.
Second, while Mr. Smith was in
Washington, his transitional
government released a well-timed
announcemen °f the end of the last
race laws in Zimbabwe -apparently a
major step in the right direction. While
ending overt discrimination and
segregation ., the four-person
m transitional government established
economic and cultural requirements
'which will ensure the maintenance of
the status quo. According to the
1 announcement, hospitals, education,'
"and housing would now be open to
blacks - at least those who could
. afford it. The problem is that the
average white has an annual income of
$9,240, or 11 times that of an average
In effect, blacks gained nothing. The
goverhment merely replaced one form
;of racism for another, albeit, less
conspicuous. The remarks of the white
co-minister of education and health in
Zimbabwe epitomize what effect the
new system of racial discrimination

will have. The minister, Rowan
Cronje, said the new requirements
were designed to "retain the high
standards to which both (whites and
blacks) have become accustomed."
An example of the new racism
espoused by the Smith regime is most
obvious in education. The government
will establish a tiered school system.
The high tuition schools - essentially
all white - will be open to blacks who
can first, afford the cost, second, live
in a prescribed area. The other two
tiers will consist of lower or no tuition
schools. Private schools, where who is
admitted is a decision made by the
owners, would still be permitted.
The end of the race laws will not
change anything in Zimbabwe. They
will not appease the PLF or the people,
they represent. If anything, they will
make those dissatisfied people more
ardent in their opposition to the Smith
regime. But the question is whether the
end of the race laws were ever meant
to appease blacks in Zimbabwe, or
were they intended to appease whites
in Great Britain and in the U.S., where
Smith is desperately seeking support
for his morally devoid cause.
It was not mere coincidence that the
end of the race laws was announced
when Mr. Smith was in Washington
D.C. That announcement along with
his new willingness to speak - not
negotiate - with the PLF is a carefully
calculated move intended to show that
Smith is no longer intransigent. Mr.
Smith's so-called conciliatory moves
only show again that he has no
intention to ever relinquish power to
the black majority in Zimbabwe. His
internal settlement plan is a complete
sham. Mr. Smith, is attempting to
preserve white control over Zimbabwe
behind a facade of moderate black
leaders who are no more
representative of the people than is
Mr. Smith.
Some have argued that Mr. Smith
should not have been allowed to enter
the U.S., just as he was not allowed to
enter Great Britain - his plane was
not even allowed to refuel there. For
the sake of free speech, we believe Mr.
Smith had every right to come to the
U.S. and speak his views. But until Mr.
Smith agrees to step aside and allow a
truly representative transitional
government which would lead to free
elections, he should find only steadfast
opposition here. Mr. Smith has
Zimbabwe on a one-way street to a
bloody civil war. The only reasonable
option remaining for Mr. Smith is to
allow majority rule in Zimbabwe.

WASHINGTON-Frank W. Snepp III, the
former CIA employe who wrote an
unauthorized book about the fall of Saigon,
used to spend a lot of time in Vietnam
currying contacts with members of the U.S.
press corps.
Those who knew him recall that he was
bright, well informed and accessible. These
attributes made him an irresistible news
source for many journalists.
Snepp's remarkable relationship with the
American press corps-and how he claims he
purposefully "disinformed" them-is the
most telling insight yet to come out of the U.S.
Justice Department's civil suit against the ex-
CIA agent for publishing his book "Decent
Interval" without official clearance.
that the Snepp case placed the First
Amendment on trial, because the government
was successful in asserting the right of
Under a U.S. District court ruling of June
21, Snepp's $60,000 in royalties were forfeited
as punishment for his allegedly violating his
agreement with the agency not to publish any
material without prior clearance.
However, a look at the documents
presented at the trial shows that another,
more serious threat to freedom of the press
exists. A part of the trial record consists of
transcripts of all the talk show interviews by
Snepp following publication of his book.
During the interviews he bragged about how
he had outsmarted and misled the U.S. press
corps. Snepp's claims raise questions about
the long-standing assumptions that have
prevailed about the role of the U.S. press in
the Vietnam war.
Until now, we have been ledsto believe that
the U.S. press corps was continually
undermining official policy and rejecting the
U.S. Embassy line in Saigon.
IF WHAT SNEPP says is true, this
assumption must be seriously reexamined.
It all began when Snepp appeared on CBS
Television's "60 Minutes" program a year
ago. He said that Graham Martin, the last
U.S. Ambassador in Saigon, "began planting
horror stories in the press around Saigon
concerning a possible bloodbath."
According to Snepp, the phoney booldbath
stories bolstered Martin's contention that a
panic in Saigon would ensue if evacuation
preparations began.
Asked: "To what degree was the press had
by the United States government in

Said Snepp: "Keyes Beech of the Chicago
Daily News, George McArthur of the Los
Angeles Times, Robert Shaplen of The New
Yorker, Bud Merrick of U.S. News and World
Report-all these reporters were favored
journalists. We would leak to them on a
selected basis, draw them into our trust and
into our confidence, and then we could shape

By William Drummond

on Tom Snyder's "Tomorrow Show" last Dee
7. Browne freely admitted that he became th
vehicle for communication between CIA
station chief Tom Polgar and the Provisional
Revolutionary Government. Browne
undertook the middleman's function with the
full knowledge of the New York Times, which
benefitted from his role because whatever, he
passed along also went into the news columns,
he said.
HOWEVER, ACCORDING to Snepp's logic,
the New York Times was also serving the
CIA's interests.

their reporting throug
because they trusted us."

h further leaks, "The informaton you (Browne) brought
across from the communist side did serve t
reinforce the Ambassador in his own illusion.
That's the only thing I say in the book, and
think it's an accurate statement," said Snepp.
The PRG's hints of a negotiated settlement.
m a r k a b le according to Snepp, played into Graham
with the Martin's hands, because the Ambassado
opposed any evacuation preparations.

Snepp 's


A -- --- - -- - -- - - - -

American press corps -
and how he claims he

them"''- ist

the most telling

insight yet to come out of
the U. S. Justice
Department's civil suit


nst the ex-CIA agent

for publishing his book
"Decent Interval" without
official clearance.
mentioned in his list of "favored" newsmen
was Malcolm Browne of the New York Times.
Said Snepp: "The (CIA) sources were giving
him disinformation, to use a Soviet term; and
he was printing disinformation."
Snepp's charges have so far gone largely
unrefuted. Keyes Beech, veteran Aria
correspondent of the now defunct Chicago
Daily News, confronted Snepp on another talk
show later and argued that the leaks he had
received from his CIA friend "happened to be
correct, almost down to the last detail..."
Malcolm Browne, who won a Pulitzer Prize
for his Vietnam reporting, confronted Snepp

The checks and balances that operate in
ordinary reporting do not come into play as
readily overseas, and in wartime it is very
hard to verify information, particularl
assertions as to enemy operations. At suc
times the movivation behind the story can b
more revealing than the substance of, the
story. It was the reluctance of some reporter.
to identify the CIA as their source tha
permitted Snepp and the agency to wage thein
disinformation campaign.
Although Snepp's accusations appear to be
overblown for the most part, his charges
contain enough substance to be worrisome.
For they suggest that the essential threat to
freedom .of the press hardly lies in
governmental frontal assaults through th
courts, wherethe Fourth Estate can take
pretty good care of itself. Instead, the real
threat lies in reporters and sources
*developing a relationship like the on
Malcolm Browne described between himsel
and the CIA station chief in Saigon: He called
it a "community of interests.'.
William Drummon was a foreign cor-
respondent for the Los Angeles Times
from 1971 through 1976. He is now a
general assignment reporter for the Times
in Washington, D. C. This article was
written for Pacific News Service.


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Editorials which appear without a by-line represent a con-
sensus opinion of the Daily's editorial board. All other editorials,
as well as cartoons, are the opinions of the individuals who sub. .
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Letters to the Daily


To the Daily:
The Michigan Student
Assembly (MSA) agreed Monday
night to go forward with its role in
the presidential selection
process. 'this participation,
however, is conditional upon
assurances that our role will be a
meaningful one rather than a
hollow ritual. As one member and
not as an official spokesman, I
would like to explain our action.
We do not see ourselves
competing with the faculty and
alumni for power. In the final
analysis, only the Regents have
real power. The best we as
students, faculty, and alumni can
do is make wise
recommendations for a president
and hope the regents respect our
collective judgements. The
Regents' plan , unless modified,

committee be established or that
formal lines of communication be
open among the interest groups.
This is absolutely essential to
decision making. The students
would not want to recommend a
candidate repugnant to faculty.
But we must know what the
faculty thinks. Similarly the
faculty needs our opinion. The
best way to achieve this would be
in a unified committee working
closely with each other, the
committee members would
realize that the other groups are
not bad people and are genuinely
concerned with presidential
quality. Cooperation would
replace competition.
Additionally, a small unified
committee is the best means of
maintaining confidentiality. The
proposed triumverate is a poor
alternative. It would be a useless
alternative - indeed a non-
alternative - if the committees
were to function in complete

for all groups involved. To make
intelligent recommendations, we
must know the candidates.
Candidates flown here to meet
the Regents should address the
search committees. We should
send delegations to meet
candidates. We should be able to
call long distance. All this costs
money, admittedly. We must
remember, however, that the
University spent $25,000 for
President Robben Fleming's
inauguration in 1967. Picking the
president is more important than
feting him.
These requirements are
reasonable. Without this
framework, there is no reason to
participate. And we will not.
-Jeffrey Supowit
MSA Law School
concern for
Palestinians also

contrary, I am keenly aware of
the tragedy of Palestinian
suffering and the reasonable
desire for a homeland. It is my
hope that the peace process set
off by Camp David will yield a
homeland for the Palestinians
within 5 years. the failure of the
PLO to recognize the Jewish
state, and to join in the politics of
institution building in the West
Bank and Gaza territories is why
I label the PLO as ". . . the
greatest single obstacle to
peace." As long as the PLO
retains its call for the destruction
of Israel, it remains outside .of
the exciting task of creating: a
homeland, and it voluntarily
relinquishes any legitimate cldirm
for leadership of Palestinian
nationalism. When a moderate
Palestinian leader declares that
an independent Palestine exists
tMe terrorist/guerrillas will
regret having rejected a
compromise solution for the
unrealistic dream of capturing

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