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November 21, 1984 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1984-11-21

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4

OPINION

Page 4

Wednesday, November 21. 1984

The Michigan Daily

The CIA: E

By Brian Leiter
All those who participated in last
week's protest against the Central In-
telligence Agency deserve to be com-
mended for their successful
demonstration against an organization
which by the standards of both inter-
national and American law can only
fairly be described as "criminal." The
success of the protest is all the more
notable in that it occurred at a time
when the national atmosphere is
characterized by a complacency and
dishonesty of mind and spirit unknown
since the Truman-McCarthy years.
For the past quarter century it has been
the task of students along with society's
most brutally excluded (e.g. blacks) to
mobilize against crimes and lies of the
state. Under Reagan's reign of myth,
the CIA is as good a target as any to
begin with.
What is really quite stunning is the
reaction of many to the routing of the
recruiters. Regent Robert Nederlander
calls it " an outrageous violation of
rights." Regent Deane Baker
describes it as "an intolerable
situation." Frankly, I think such
language is somewhat strong and
melodramatic. What happened was
representatives of an organization that
has been instrumental in the murder of,
conservatively speaking, one million
people, were prevented from recruiting
University students. If I were a regent,
I should be quite relieved that Univer-
sity students were not getting involved
with such a group.
I SHOULD pause a moment to justify
the "one million" figure. I am talking
about murder committed by gover-
nments that were generally installed
and the supported by the United States
through the CIA and then trained and

sometimes directly assisted by the CIA.
Let me make the point about the
regents' moralistic comments another
way. During the past nine years, the
government of Indonesia, which came
to power in a CIA-backed coup in 1965,
has been using American military aid
and training to carry out the genocide
of the people of East Timor. Estimates
to date say probably 100,000 people
(one-sixth of the population) has been
killed. Fortunately, Indonesia has been
a gold mine for U.S. investors, thus
guaranteeing continued U.S. en-
thusiasm for the regime.
Now I would describe the situation in
Indonesia, and perhaps I am alone on
this, as an "outrageous violation of
rights" and "an intolerable situation."
I would assume that since Regents
Baker and Nederlander so freely apply
these phrases to what is clearly a minor
incident by comparison (the CIA
protest), that they were at the forefront
of protests against the U.S.-backed
genocide of the East Timorese. Their
moral indignation over the CIA protest
would be more than a little ironic if this
were not the case; surely genocide
poses a greater threat to freedom than
thwarting CIA recruitment.
BUT THE IRONY of the reactions
surrounding the protest continues.
President Shapiro plans to apologize to
the dozen or so students who were plan-
ning -to interview with the CIA. This
strikes me as quite remarkable. If I
were a student who had planned to in-
terview and it turned out that a hundred
of my peers were so incensed by this
organization that they drove the
organization fraffi campus, I would
wonder what was going on. I might go
look up the reports of the Church Com-
mittee hearings on the CIA; or I might
go read the Pentagon Papers; or I
might do some research in the

ida ngered
European press or in non-mainstream :
works by people like Gabriel Kolko and
Noam Chomsky. And having done all
this I would be quite stupefied if
anyone came to apologize to me; in
fact, I would probably sit down and.
draft a letter of thanks to the
protesters. (I am assuming, perhaps
incorrectly, that most Michigan studen-
ts are not pro-genocide or pro-torture
even when it is in the interests of the9
U.S. business community.)
And when all else fails, there is
always "free speech." Ruth Milkman, 0
editor of the law school newspaper,
clearly consumed by impatience over
her naive colleagues at the Daily (who R)JOdiE
supported the protest), writes that
"students may be misinformed about y
CIA activities. Thesolution is more in- j'
formation, uqt less7Students also have
a right to heam 'what the CIA has to
say." To read Milkman's letter one
would think that there is actually some Representatives
risk that the CIA viewpoint will go were forced to a
unrepresented. r
One would be lead to imagine, in fact, suggestion or docur
that the entire established media, in- that the United St
cluding such bastions of liberalism as backs murder, tori
The New York Times, does not faith- in the interest of th
fully tout the basic state line on business never su
American "imperialism;" one would York Times, let alo
imagine that almost every Reagan ut- media. Where arf
terance on foreign policy - which is advocates then?
then broadcast in media across the about "free speech
country - is not a sugar-coating on the CIA is least in need
latest CIA-backed campaign of terror In any event, the
or exploitation; one would imagine that stitutional protecti
the vice president of the United States designed to prote
is not the former head of the CIA and, government (read
not surprisingly, somewhat partisan to says). When the
that organization. and its agents
OF COURSE, in point of fact, the om- systematic and per
nipresence of the world view which to mobilize (qu
condones the CIA and American im- popular support f
perialism is quite stunning. And what der and terrorc
is also quite remarkable is that any foreign climates fa

or danger

ous?
It is a remarkable fact of human
history that people do not perceive the
crimes of their own state, only the;
crimes of their enemies. Any upstan-
ding American would tell you, quite
honestly and rightly, that Idi Amin was
an inhuman butcher. But how many
are aware that Idi Amin is a 4
light-weight by comparison to Lyndon
Johnson, Henry Kissinger, or Ronald
Reagan? Can Idi Amin claim to have
bombed out of existence several hun-
dred thousand defenseless peasants, as
Kissinger and Nixon did with the air
strikes against Laotian and Cambodian
peasants? Idi Amin only overthrew one
government (Uganda's); Lyndon John-
son has three to his credit: Brazil, the
Dominican Republic, and Indonesia
(which subsequently engaged in 4
brutality far beyond the means of
Amin). Idi Amin did not travel around
the world preaching democracy and
democratic rights while engaging in
slaughter; Ronald Reagan employs such
rhetoric regularly while actively
backing murderous and brutal regimes
in over a dozen countries - including
vigorous military support for
Guatemala and El Salvador, chosen in
1980 as the worst human rights violators
in Latin America (replacing America's
old friend, Argentina, at the top of the
list).
Protests, like the one against the CIA
recruiters, have as their greatest value
the focusing of public attention on the
myths which enshroud America's
foreign and domestic policy. The
historical record on these matters is
plain; the task is to bring it to light.
With four more years of "The Great
Prevaricator," the need for such Ec-
tivity will be unprecedented. Students
must rise to the challenige.
Leiter is a graduate student in law
and philosophy.

Daily Photo by KATE O'LEARY
s of the CIA and protesters shortly before the representatives
bandon their recruiting efforts in the MLB last Wednesday.

mentation of the fact
ates quite willingly
ture, and repression
e needs of American
irfaces in The New
ne the less "liberal"
e the "free speech"
If we are worried
h," I suspect that the
of our help.
fact is that the con-
on of free speech is
ct citizens from the
d it, that's what it
government itself
start lying in a
rsistent way in order
ite successfully )
or programs of mur-
designed to create
vorable to American

investment, then any effort to halt and
untangle this web of deceit is in the best
interest of truly free speech, free
thought, and freedom in general. We
would not regard the parrotting of
Soviet pronouncements on the invasion
of Afghanistan as an exercise in free
speech; there is no justification for
adopting a different attitude to those
who parrot the State Department line
on American foreign policy, whether
they be the CIA or Jeanne Kirkpatrick.
An astounding amount of untruth
issues forth from the media and the
government; at the same time, there is
almost no forum for an alternative
view. To invoke tolerance for the CIA
in such circumstances is an act of
cowardice. As a former professor of
mine once said, "Don't be so open-
minded that your brains fall out."

i

I

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Vol. XCV, No. 66

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
SANS clarifies proposal

NS CHM a~MaN of
The SeNam .FoReiGN
ReLcIBONS COMMJ'iTee,
t WOULD j"MeDiaTPLr
WiTHDpaw RecoOGN
OF "Nose c.ommies
IN CH Ma...

aLL as CONTROL
NeGOiaTi.
WjTN TH2
EVIL EMPi%3
va

T~N O'p

STOP

THe. ?MbIS OF YOUR
FoReiGN POL'ICY
5eNATOR RMS ~4?

DeVeLoPiNG
New McRT5
FOR TOaaCco
iN We
Th iRD WORLD.

4

4

4

A9p

STUDENTS AGAINST NUCLEAR
Suicide does not wish to recommend
that University students commit
suicide when life gets too hard to bear
and things are going badly. The group
is trying to get University Health Ser-
vice to stockpile suicide pills for op-
tional student use in the event of
nuclear war to emphasize the suicidal
nature of a society that stockpiles an
extensive arsenal of nuclear weapons.
There has been some confusion over
SANS' intentions that has hampered its
attempt to get the Michigan Student
Assembly to place the proposal on
April's student election ballot. SANS
has recently changed the proposal's
wording to clear up any possible
misconceptions University students
may have. The clarifications are
beneficial and should allow MSA to en-
dorse the proposal with confidence.
The measure originally read: "This
proposal is intended to provoke serious
thought and discussion of the urgent
need to put a halt to the arms race. We
believe that nuclear war threatens
thinking of life in terms of the future
and has the effect of negating choice."
The use of the term "arms race," in-
stead of "nuclear war" had the poten-
tial to imply that SANS wanted to put
a halt to the manufacture of all
weapons, nuclear or non-nuclear.
While this isn't a bad thought, in a
technical sense it was inaccurate since
the aim of SANS is to educate students
about nuclear war.

The phrase "negating choice"
however, was not inaccurate or
misleading. The potential for nuclear
was to occur takes away each
American citizen's power over his or
her own life. The few top officials who
may make the final decision to enter a
nuclear war have the power to decide
the fate of the rest of us. Thus, the
wording of this part of the proposal
does diminish SANS' message
somewhat. But if this enables more
people to understand the overall pur-
pose of the proposal, then it is worth
giving up the more abstract wording.
The new wording explicitly states
that, "The purpose of this request (for
suicide pills) is to stimulate serious
discussion surrounding the
catastrophic consequences of nuclear
war. This request does not in any way
endorse suicide except in a post
nuclear war situation."
Because it specifically refers to
nuclear war and explains that the
proposal should not be viewed as an
endorsement of suicide for reasons
other than nuclear war, the proposal is
much easier to comprehend.
Those who originally had reser-
vations about the wording of this
proposal should be assured of its con-
structive intentions. The Michigan
Student Assembly should endorse the
measure and allow students to vote on
it in April. Already the proposal has
launched meaningful discussions on
the moral consequences of the world's
extensive nuclear arsenal.

4

i
sTare e c"

T

.6

I

p181NPsA

U.

LETTERS TO THE DAILY
CIA doesn't deserve protection

1

To the Daily:
Nobody desires with any en-
thusiasm the spread of
totalitarianism. I accept the fact
that genuine democracies must
hinder the influence of any
political system that rides
roughshod over human dignity
and respect for human rights. In
the real world intelligence ac-
tivities exist as a necessary evil.
Insomuch as it confines its efforts
to ingelligence gathering the CIA
has a proper role.
But when it crosses its
legitimate boundaries and acts
with flagrant contempt for the
sovereignty of popularly suppor-
ted governments, the CIA acts as
an international outlaw and must
be regarded as such. When it
treats human rights with scorn it
becomes a malignant growth
within the tissues of the same
society it obstensibly protects.
When the CIA develops manuals
of psychological warfare for use
in Central America I wonder
what plans it has for neutralizing
nolitical dissent within the United

"outrageous violation of rights"
as Regent Nederlander puts it,
had to take place and will again if
the necessity arises. Freedom of
speech is a sacred value and even
the appearance of trampling
upon it can only be justified when
the need to avert even greater
outrage is at stake. To paint
protesters as adversaries of free
speech is to misunderstand the
full import of the situation. The
issue is not altogether one of
speech as certain concrete ac-
tions also are involved. The aim
of recruiters lies not in giving
speeches. They are not public
relations people nor apologists
for the views of their agency.
Their function is to recruit
prospective employees to their
organization. Neither American
law nor the University en-
courages or even permits all
recruitment activity. It is illegal
BLOOM COUNTY

under sedition laws to organize
people for the explicit purpose of
overthrowing the government.
The University would find it un-
conscionable (I hope) to
welcome representatives of the
Mafia to campus for the sake of
recruiting accountants, com-
puter engineers, and hit men.
Despite its outlaw status, as an
official agency of the federal

government the CIA can use
many channels for spreading its
propaganda and has many means
of recruitment available to it.
The University need not be one of
them and its is morally reprehen-
sible that it should want to be.
-A.C. Townsend
November 19

Unsigned editorials ap-
pearing on the left side
of this page represent a
majority opinion of the
Daily 's Editorial Board.

41

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