Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California on September 21, 1987 · Page 4
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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California · Page 4

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Ukiah, California
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Monday, September 21, 1987
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Page 4
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THE UKIAH DAILt JOURNAL OPINION MONDAY, V SEPTEMBER 21,1987 EDITORIAL What price freedom? Thank you, Iran and Syria, for helping free hostage Alfred Schmidt, gushed the West German government. Thanks, indeed. Praising the state sponsors of terrorist kidnappers for helping free a hostage is like kissing the feet of the masked executioner and asking him to do a good job. 'The West German government says it made no deal to release Schmidt. His employer, .Siemens, says it paid no ransom. So why was he suddenly released? Either Ayatollah Khomeini has traded in his turban for a white hat, or the Germans are not telling all. It is understandable that they want to save the life of a second German hostage still in captivity in Lebanon. But is the price of a life worth legitimizing terrorists, who hold other hostages and could easily take more? The two Germans were taken hostage in reprisal for West Germany jailing a wanted terrorist, Mohammed Ali Hamadeh. He flew into Germany from the Middle East with wine bottles filled with explosives. He is wanted in the United States for the murder of Navy diver Robert Stethem, who was savagely beaten to death on a TWI airplane in 1985. After Hamadeh was jailed, German police found his brother on the French border with a cache of explosives. The two terrorists also.may be linked to bombings last year in Paris. America asked Germany to extradite Hamadeh. But Germany refused. Bonn assured Attorney General Edwin Meese that Hamadeh would be tried for high crimes. But Der Spiegel reported that- a secret deal had been cut. Germany would try to convict Hamadeh, and then Walter Wallmann, the governor of Hesse state, would pardon him. "He (Hamadeh) could then be exchanged for the two West Germans," Der Spiegel said. Bonn immediately denied the report. But a prosecutor in West Germany's federal prosecutor's office fumed to a visiting American journalist in July that the Der Spiegel report probably was true — and such a hostage deal would be disastrous. So far, Hamadeh has not been released. Nor has the second German hostage Rudolf Cordes .been freed in Lebanon. American, French and British hostages remain prisoners, probably of Hezbollah, the fanatic Lebanese Shiite group. Hezbollah' calls itself by various names in communiques and is linked to Iran. It continues to operate in Lebanon, despite Syria's reputed military control of that tragic country. Iran and Syria are deeply implicated in the hostage-taking in Iran. Washington publicly praised Syria for helping free U.S. journalist Charles Glass. Now Germany is following Washington's example of thanking state sponsors of terrorism for helping undo what they helped do. Dealing with terrorists may free one hostage. But it gives an incentive to capture more hostages. Bonn must honor its word and not trade Hamadeh. If it wants to get rid of him, send him to the United States for trial. Almanac Today in History By The Associated Press Today is Monday, Sept. 21, the 264th day of 1987. There are 101 days left in the year. Today's Highlight in History: On Sept. 21,1897, the New York Sun ran an editorial that answered a question from 8-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon: "Is there a Santa Claus?" Francis P. Church wrote: "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love an 1 generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy." 'On this date: In 1792, the French National Convention voted to abolish the monarchy. In 1866, English novelist H.G. Wells was born in Bromley, Kent. In 1931, Britain went off the gold standard. In 1937, The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, was first published. In 1938, a severe hurricane struck parts of New York and New England, causing widespread damage and claiming nearly 700 lives. In 1949, the People's Republic of China was proclaimed by its Communist leaders. OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY & WEALTH ADMINISTRATION JACK ANDERSON Bork vs. Freedom of Information Act WASHINGTON — While Judge Robert Bork has shown himself to be a friend of the press when individuals object to what is published and sue for libel, he does not believe it's the judiciary's role to help journalists when they try to get information or otherwise do battle with the government. In fact, Bork once issued a barely veiled threat against those in the media who believe it's their duty to be the public's watchdogs against government < misbehavior • — and especially those who have the effrontery to challenge the courts. In a 1979 magazine article, Bork wrote: "It seems to me particularly dangerous for the press to attack the judiciary as government, and therefore inherently an adversary, when the press depends upon the judiciary for the protections of the First Amendment." This could be construed as either a warning or just good, practical advice. But Bork has made it clear in his writings and court opinions that, if he thinks the press would do well to coddle the courts, he doesn't think the courts should coddle the press. Bork appears to feel that the press is entitled to certain rights — as long as it doesn't get too uppity in its exercise of them. This, he has stated, could lead to anti-press decisions and greater government regulation. 'The press may properly claim great freedom," he has written. "It may not claim — or at least it is not likely to do so successfully — the exclusive or the special possession of it." This rejection of a special, privileged status for the press comes through loud and clear in Bork's appellate court decisions in Freedom of Information Act cases. Consistently, when a reporter or individual has asked for information under FOIA and a government agency has withheld documents for security reasons, Bork has ruled for secrecy. Here are some FOIA cases researched by our associate Corky Johnson that illustrate Bork's viewpoint: % — When our former associate Donald Goldberg asked to see the results of a StateDepartment questionnaire sent out to U.S. ambassadors on their host countries' diplomatic practices, the department refused to release parts of the responses on grounds that they were "confidentkl." Our attorney argued that most of the ambassadors had marked their questionnaires "unclassified." But Bork and his appellate court colleagues ruled for the State Department, saying that government agencies have the authority to reclassify documents at will, and it is up to the journalist to produce evidence that would indicate the reclassification was in error. — In Meeropol vs. Meese, the children of executed Soviet spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg had used FOIA to seek FBI documents on their parents' case. The FBI withheld documents that it claimed were entitled to exemptions by reason of national security, privacy and law enforcement needs. Bork's opinion on "perhaps the most extensive FOIA request ever made" said the FBI's withholding of the documents was proper. — In McGehee vs. CIA, the court ruled that the agency had the burden of proving it had made a thorough search of records in an FOIA suit. Bork dissented, saying there was no evidence of bad faith by the CIA, but merely "bureaucra- tic inefficiency." — In Sims vs. CIA, the appeals court ruled that the agency could not withhold the names of persons and institutions used in a research program. Bork dissented, saying that anyone giving information to the CIA should be assured anonymity, and adding that "the CIA will probably lose many future sources of valuable intelligence." It is doubtful that Bork would have been similarly concerned at the prospect that the press might lo§e sources of information as the result of a court ruling. SAUDI ARMS ... AGAIN — Congress is up to its ears in "must" legislation for this session, and this may be the factor that causes the failure of a White House request for a $1 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia. The lawmakers have already shot down two such proposals in the last year. The latest proposed arms package includes Maverick air-to-ground missiles, F-15 fighters, ground equipment and M-60 tanks, according to White House sources. The powerful pro-Israel bloc in Congress is arguing — again — that the weapons could be used against Israel in the event of another Arab-Israeli war. Among the most influential opponents of the Saudi deal are Sen. Claibome Pell, D-R.I., chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee; Rep. Dante Fascell, D-Fla., chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee; Rep. Lee Hamilton, D-Ind.; Sen. Sam Nunn, D-Ga., chairman of the Armed Services Committee; and Sen. Alan Cranston, D-Calif., majority whip. If the arms sale is successfully stalled this session, it won't stand a chance in 1988, an election year. Editorial Sampler Sept. 14 Baltimore Sun on German cooperation: West Germany is ecstatic because East German Communist boss Erich Honecker has hinted — just hinted — that he might stop killing Germans. Near the end of a trip to Bonn and his birthplace in Saarland, the master-builder of the Berlin Wall conceded that the borders between the two Germanys "are not as they should be." Translation: if West Germany formally recognizes East Germany as a separate and soverign state then the border will be normalized. In actuality, no West German government could repudiate dreams of reunification in such a way and survive. Also in actuality, no East German regime can soon tear down the Berlin Wall or demilitarize its borders without risking an exodus that would prove sufficiently destabilizing to trigger a Soviet confrontation. What Honecker and his host, Chancellor Helmut Kohl, can realistically achieve is a gradual normalization that will ease the pain of postwar division for both their peoples. Sept. 15 The Albuquerque (N.M.) Tribune on windfall profits tax: Among the Carter administration's several ill-advised actions in the energy field was its advocacy of a windfall profits tax on domestic oil pro luction. Washington Wlr* Sunny prospects for Wilson re-election , By JOHN MAREUUS UkJahDaih "Journal •^ Mftfldocmo iwunty, c:»hforn Mcndocmo iwunty, Donald W. Reynold*, Chairman of the Board Thomas W. Reeves, General Manager JohnMiMtMio Manning Editor Derate Hall Bruce Schlabaugh Advertising Director Victor Martinez Eddie Sequeira Display Advertising Manager Yvonne Bell Ctoire Booker Circulation Manager Member Audit Bureau ot Circulations LOCALLY OPERATED MEMBER OQNREY MEDIA GROUP Comnoaing Supervisor frtMSupcnriMT Officer Manager -DOONESBURY When Pete Wilson first ran for the U.S. Senate 1 ; five years ago, he needed to say little more thanj "Ronald Reagan" and "Jerry Brown." ; In the primary; he pledged his fealty to Ronald; Reagan to satisfy enough conservatives who had; always viewed him as a wild-eyed moderate. ; As for the general election campaign, about all he; had to do was avoid an egregious mistake and be; somebody other than Jerry Brown who had become; highly unpopular after eight stormy years as; governor. ; Now that Wilson is running hard for a second; term, those hazy images from 1982 loom as at least; potential storm clouds on an otherwise sunny re-; election horizon. ; As 1988 approaches, the Republican incumbent! enjoys a substantial fund-raising advantage over; Democratic challengers and holds a comfortable; lead in the polls. More important, he has no Republi-; can primary opposition in sight and there is no stam-; pcdc among Democrats to take him on either. ; But five years of being a loyal Reagan soldier and; otherwise keeping his head down in the Senate is; starting to catch up to him. ; t "It's like Wilson is running for the first time," said! pollster Mervin. Field. "He has to reintroduce him-! self to the public. In 1982 when he was running for! the first time, the focus was really on Jerry Brown.- People were voting yes or no on Jerry Brown and! Wilson was acceptable." J Field added, "The biggest problem I think Wilsoo.' has is he will be running at a time that his party hl£ had control of the White House for eight years. He% be in the uncomfortable position where he has to assert his independence from the Reagan administration without disavowing it" He is trying to do just that 0 With the Republican field to himself, the former San Diego mayor has the luxury of being able to move toward more comfortable political middle ground. "~J "It enables us to reach out," Wilson campaign! manager Otto Bos said. I In a mohth of intensive campaigning around Cali-1 fomia during the August congressional recess, Wil-{ son stressed what Bos calls "quality-of-life issues" — the environment, health care, agriculture. Seldom did the words "Ronald Reagan 8 pass his lips. Twice, he fell off the middle-of-the-road wagon, suggesting that Reagan pardon John Poindexter and Oliver North if they are indicted in the Iran-Centra scandal and all but committing himself to vote to confirm conservative Judge Robert Bork to the U.S. Supreme Court. Democrats seized the opportunity to plaim Wilson had shown himself to be a right-winger at heart.! "For the last five years, Pete Wilson has been! masquerading as a moderate," said Los Angeles television commentator Bill Press, an unannounced but likely candidate for the Democratic nomination. "But for the second time in the last month, the smoke has cleared and the real Pete Wilson has stood out." "His appearance as a moderate is just a veneer,"! said Dairy Sragow, campaign manager for Lt. Gov.J Leo McCarthy, the early front-runner for the Demo-; cratic nomination. ; The third potential Democratic U.S. Senate candi-i date is Secretary of State March Fong Eu, who, after! a succession of embarrassing flubs, put her cam-I paign "on hold" to concentrate on qualifying her! anti-crime initiative for the June 1988 ballot. ', Wilson told reporters in July he considered Poin-J dexter and North to be "inspired by obvious and! genuine patriotic conviction." Asked if he felt they! should be pardoned, he replied, "If they are indicted,? yeah." ; t McCarthy responded it would be "profoundly! wrong to take the Wilson approach of simply putting! such indictments through the shredder of an automa- : tic presidential pardon." I Wilson beat a hasty retreat from the pardon issue,! saying in a recent interview the whole subject is : "premature." "These are decent men who might have done' wrong," he said of Poindexter and North. He added; snappishly, "How the hell can you have a pardon if, there's no crime?" > As for Bork, Wilson has stopped short of endors-J ing the nomination, saying he does not want to prejudge the Senate confirmation hearings. "I have every expectation at this point that I will support Judge Bork's confirmation," he said. His "one serious reservation" about Bork is an issue that has long gotten Wilson into trouble with conservatives — abortion. » "The concern I have had is that he has been pojj trayed by both his detractors and supporters, on far sides of the spectrum, as virtually rubbing his hanoi together in eagerness to cast the fifth vote on the first opportunity to overturn Roe versus Wade," he saj* in reference to the 1973 ruling that held sweeping] anti-abortion laws to be unconstitutional. T* So is Wilson a moderate or a conservative? Het characterizes himself as both, depending upon issue. 1 5 ...ANPIIWPOUNA H&VYKPQS- ITON2 C-MS. ASFORPWSQIW,, 600P.5OAUI N&PNOMIISYOUR. ACOOUHTNUMB&l. YOU WttCALL PONT YOU,

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