July 21, 1999


As if further proof of the arrogance and criminality of our rulers were needed, this just in: Rep. Benjamin A. Gilman (R-NY) has introduced a House resolution (HCON 157) instructing both NATO and the U.S. government not to pay reparations for the Allied missile attack on the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. “This is unacceptable,” he intones. But if the bombing of the embassy was an accident, as the US government insists, then why shouldn’t the US government have to pay for the damage done?


For years, American policymakers, in concert with the business community, have been lecturing the Chinese about the need for "the rule of law"; this, they bray, year after year, is the prerequisite for good relations and American investment in their country. Whenever a Chinese leader comes to the United States, he is harried by the "human rights" harpies, followed around by chanting drum-beating Tibetans and their American camp followers, and derided as a despot in our smugly self-righteous media. (This is the same group of people who passively accepted the Clintonian story that the bombing was due to "outdated maps.") Now, however, when the tables are turned, and the US is clearly owing somebody something for the "accidental" deaths of Chinese embassy personnel, suddenly the story is quite different.


Now we find out, from the dishonorable gentleman from upstate New York, who is also the chairman of the House International Relations Committee, that the rule of law does not apply to the United States government. Of course, the people of Yugoslavia already know that.


During the recent Balkan war, Gilman stood out from the Republican majority to embrace Clinton's "humanitarian" destruction of Yugoslavia. As the king of foreign policy pork, which he ladles out lavishly, Gilman is eagerly shepherding Clinton's multi-billion dollar "foreign aid" bill through Congress, in spite of ostensible Republican opposition. With all those billions going to prop up the Egyptian dictatorship, plant the flag of the New World Order in the Balkans, and subsidize the socialist state of Israel, there is not one penny left over to pay damages for an act of destruction the US government has owned up to committing. This is no doubt due to the alleged "cuts" being made in this traditionally bloated budget item – a fiction maintained by the Washington custom of counting the failure of a government agency's budget to grow at a foreordained pace as a "cut."


The Gilman resolution declares that "neither the United States, nor NATO, should reimburse the Chinese government for the accidental damage of their embassy in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, unless the United States is reimbursed for the damage to its government facilities in China." Gilman claims that the riots that broke out in several Chinese cities in response to the embassy bombing were "orchestrated" by the Chinese government. But how is it that thousands of Chinese students – and these were the most numerous and militant element of the anti-American demonstrations held throughout China – could be suddenly motivated to do the bidding of the Chinese gerontocrats? Aren't these the same students who filled Tiananmen Square and continue to push the limits of dissent and free speech in "Red" China? Are these the same students who are openly contemptuous of the Communist Party and haven't the slightest interest in Marxist ideology?


No wonder the Chinese people are prone to periodic fits of "xenophobia," what with the arrogance and ignorance of their foreign tormentors, who do not even bother to understand or differentiate between various currents of Chinese thought. The attitude of Gilman and his fellow congressional dolts is that those damn gooks are all alike, anyway, and what does it matter if a few of them die due to our "error." Their main concern is the inconvenience suffered by Ambassador Sasser, and the perceived insult to a Great Power. This goes a long way toward explaining why the United States government is coming to be hated worldwide. You could almost say it was planned that way. Surely such arrogance has got to be calculated, and who can blame the Chinese for seeing it that way?


I have gotten several letters from outraged conservatives who denounce me for accusing the Hate China lobby of racism. They were with me when it came to Kosovo, they explain, but why-oh-why must I raise the tired old charge of "racism" in this case? I'll tell you why: because it's true, and Gilman's disgusting resolution is incontestable proof of it. In explicitly calling for the withholding of any payments to the families of the slain Chinese embassy employees "unless the United States is reimbursed for the damage to its government facilities in China," Gilman is equating the damage to the American embassy in Beijing with the lives of Chinese citizens "accidentally" snuffed out by US/NATO bombs. In other words, in Gilman's view Chinese lives are worth less than stone, masonry, and the precarious dignity of US government officials. If that isn't racism, then I ask you: what is?


Barking (and looking) like a little chihuahua, GOP presidential candidate Gary Bauer came to Los Angeles on July 17, where he stood on the steps of Hughes Space and Communications Co., yapping that "money has driven our policy with China. That must end. We are going into the next century facing the challenge of China, a regime that says it intends to replace the United States as the predominant power in the Pacific." Here we have yet another presidential wannabe who is geographically challenged: by "the Pacific," Bauer means not only the South China Sea, but also the Straits of Taiwan! But why should America have military "predominance" over the waters off the Chinese coast? It is as if the Chinese, or some other nation halfway around the world, suddenly decreed the Floridian Gulf off limits to the American military. Americans have their Monroe Doctrine: why begrudge the Chinese a Monroe Doctrine of their own?


Of all the candidates for President, Bauer, the former head of the Family Research Council, is the most hateful of the China-haters, repeating the lie of "forced abortions," playing the anti-abortion card and the anti-China card in the same hand. The only problem is that this is the political equivalent of a card trick: while abortion is legal in China, it is not "forced" unless economic penalties can be called coercion. In China, the state will only subsidize the first child – after that, you're on your own. It seems odd that a Republican candidate for President is denouncing this radical reform of the "iron bowl" principle of Communism as the moral equivalent of mass murder – but then we are living in very strange times.


According to Bauer, we can have no truck with a nation comprising more than a quarter of the world's population. Peaceful trade is out of the question, "I am here today to say there is another Republican viewpoint, and one that I believe is much more strongly supported in my party at the grassroots. I believe a new foreign policy with China should rooted in America's vital national security interests, not trade." Last time anyone bothered to look, Bauer was in single digits in the polls. So much for his appeal to the "grassroots"!


In the sixties, the US government was involved in extensive operations against domestic antiwar groups and other "leftist" organizations deemed subversive by administration fiat: government agents attempted to disrupt and destroy dissent, and they often succeeded, as subsequent investigations of the FBI's so-called Cointelpro project revealed. In the nineties, and the new millennium, the new subversives are right-wingers; and the government is hounding them even more mercilessly than the Yippies and Commie radicals of J. Edgar Hoover's day. And we aren't talking about a murderous attack on a group of isolated religious eccentrics in a rural compound, but an all-out legal onslaught directed against a nonprofit foundation devoted to investigative journalism. We aren't talking about Bernadine Dohrn and the Weathermen, but Joe Farah and the Western Journalism Center, a venerable institution of conservative intellectual activism.


In a frontal assault on the Internet and the First Amendment, the Clintonistas are using the Treasury Department as a weapon to shut down WorldNetDaily.com, a division of the Western Journalism Center, and the most popular news website on the Internet. The strategy is to revoke their status as a nonprofit educational foundation, under section 501C(3) of the IRS code. After three years of stonewalling, the government has finally complied with the Freedom of Information Act and released a 1997 Treasury Department report with the ominous title of "Questionable Exempt Organization Activity." Although heavily "redacted," the document proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that the White House directly intervened to target WorldNetDaily.com and the Western Journalism Center, its nonprofit sponsor.


With the Center subjected to a grueling IRS audit that drained its resources and preoccupied its personnel, the pioneering Internet newspaper was on the ropes – until this latest dramatic breakthrough. According to the report, "the audit originated from a taxpayer who faxed a letter to the White House expressing his concern over a one-page advertisement paid for by WJC (Western Journalism Center) that asked for contributions to investigate [White House deputy counsel Vincent] Foster's death. The fax was forwarded to the EO (Exempt Organization) National Office and then to the respective Key District Office for appropriate actions." Appropriate – in a police state.


The audit originated in the complaint of one amateur sleuth, in effect the civilian arm of the IRS thought police, one Paul Venze of Beverly Hills (where else?). In a November 9,1994 letter to Clinton, faxed directly to the President's office, Venze questioned whether an ad placed by the Western Journalism Center in the Los Angeles Times wasn't too "political" and "mean" to enjoy tax exemption. The ad solicited funds for an investigation into the death of White House advisor Vincent Foster. This letter was then forwarded by the White House to the IRS in as clear a message as it is possible to send: go after these guys.


And go after WorldNetDaily they did. The IRS moved quickly to revoke the Western Journalism Center's status as a nonprofit educational foundation. The IRS bureaucrat assigned to the case decided that "investigative journalism is not educational," and openly stated to the Center's officials that "this is a political case that will be decided at the national level." Farah is fighting back, with the aid of Larry Klayman and Judicial Watch, and the IRS has already been forced to restore the center's nonprofit status. But the fight has taken a heavy financial and personal toll: the result has been that WorldNetDaily.com has had to lay off several employees, and is now forced to seek private investors as a for-profit company. "According to the IRS, WorldNetDaily.com has no First Amendment rights as a nonprofit," said Wayne Johnson, a WorldNetDaily.com Inc. board member. "Fine, we'll pay taxes and be 100 times larger. The White House may be able to target one little foundation, or one lone investigative journalist, but it can't shut down the Internet. The bureaucratic state is an anachronism that simply no longer possesses the means to silence its critics, short of unplugging the Internet itself."


The Clintonistas would love to unplug the Internet if they could, but short of that they will be satisfied with unplugging the most prominent and popular centers of cyber-dissent, with WorldNetDaily.com at the top of the list. If they were trying to shut down a newspaper, even a small and relatively obscure one, the outcry would be instantaneous and loud. But two factors prevent this from happening in Farah's case: 1) This is the Internet, and therefore WorldNetDaily is not quite "legitimate," and 2) Farah is the kind of combative conservative that liberals love to hate.


Perhaps this has something to do with the reaction of the American Civil Liberties Union to the case: they were naturally the first group Farah turned to, and they showed some interest – until they discovered who and what the Western Journalism Center was about. Farah spoke with the woman who heads the Washington office: "Initially she was very interested in a case which clearly is a civil liberties matter," he said in an email to me. " I don't think she realized what the Western Journalism Center is. She told me she would discuss the case with her staff. A week later she was as cold as ice."


When there was a move by some misguided Republicans to purge the Internet of pornography, the virtual community united as one and the blue ribbon of "internet freedom" was placed on virtually every "hip" website, including (I seem to recall) this one: but let Joe Farah get shut down by the Clintonistas for daring to start the biggest and most successful Internet newspaper currently online, far out-drawing such online Clintonista mouthpieces as Salon, and where are all the hip "cyber-libertarians" of Silicon Valley and San Francisco's "Cyber Gulch"? What color ribbon does Joe Farah get – or doesn't he rate one? Not since the days of the Watergate "plumbers" has a President been caught so redhandedly trying to destroy his political opponents using the coercive apparatus of the state. But where is the public outcry? Where are the outraged demonstrations of the sort that greeted efforts to restrict children from viewing Internet pornography? Why isn't Dan Rather in a lather?


The reason we aren't likely to hear much about this in the "mainstream" media is because they frankly are delighted that the President is closing down their competition. Rapidly losing credibility and market share, the television networks and newspapers are increasingly irrelevant in a digital world, and they know it. Operations like WorldNetDaily.com and NewsMax, among others, are competing with the traditional media for the limited time and energy of the world's information junkies – and winning. If the television networks and newspapers stand by while Joe Farah is quietly strangled in the night, who will ever know the difference? The success of the Internet-based competition represents a threat to their livelihoods as well as their politics, and it won't take much persuading for them to stand by and watch while the government goes after the cyber-opposition.


The attack on Joe Farah and WorldNetDaily evokes the dark days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's wartime dictatorship, when the Chicago Tribune was a thorn in the President's side and New Dealers considered sending in the Marines to occupy the Tribune Tower offices of publisher Robert R. McCormick. Back then, as now, the "mainstream" media was rabidly pro-Administration. Far from defending the right of McCormick to dissent, they openly colluded with the New Dealers to crush him. As the conservative columnist John O'Donnell recorded in his New York Daily News column at the time, a meeting of the Overseas Writers Association turned into a virtual Hate McCormick rally: "Roosevelt advisors applauded lustily such declarations as: The important thing is to put an end to [criticism of the Roosevelt Administration] by any means necessary – be as ruthless as the enemy. Get him on his income tax or the Mann Act. Hang him, shoot him and lock him up in a concentration camp." [March 30, 1942]


They tried and repeatedly failed to shut McCormick down. But history never repeats itself in precisely the same way, and this time they may get away with it. Farah hasn't anything close to the resources that old McCormick had at his disposal. I have my disagreements with the editorial line of WorldNetDaily, in particular on the China question, but on the issue of the First Amendment there can be no compromise, no waffling, and no hesitation to take up the fight. The Clintonian assault on the biggest Internet newspaper is a vicious and calculated campaign to muzzle cyber-dissent and horn in on the last free space untouched by regulators and the tax collector. If this wall is breached, then the ensuing flood of statist controls will submerge and destroy the bright promise of new media everywhere. This is the gravest threat the Internet has ever faced – and the silence is frightening.


This fight is important, and needs to be taken up by Right and Left, "cyber-libertarians" and Neanderthal (or "paleo") conservatives (such as myself) – yes, we expect that even Reason magazine, that bastion of cyber-libertarian hipness, will cross the cultural gulf and take up the cry of "Free Joe Farah." Of course, Joe is not as glamorous as Larry Flynt, and not half as fashionable as Robert Mapplethorpe, but just think of it – at last, conservatives will have a Mumia Abu-Jamal of their own!


Here is a ready-made crusade for all the Clinton-haters – instead of screaming about the President's alleged complicity in nonexistent Chinese "espionage," here is a case of presidential misconduct backed up by conclusive evidence. Here also is a perfect cause for the followers of trends and the fashions of the moment: what could be hipper than the Internet, and a campaign to keep it free? Be the first on your block to wear a red-white-and-blue ribbon – you're sure to be the talk of the party. And all you nerdy social misfit right-wingers, whose idea of a good time is a policy conference at the Heritage Foundation – here is your chance to be trendy, at last.


Let this be our new litmus test, the test of conservative-libertarian political correctness: have you signed the petition to "Free Joe Farah" yet? Have you contributed to the WorldNetDaily Defense Fund? Have you put the red-white-and-blue ribbon on your website, to symbolize the martyrdom of this noble patriot? And if not, why not? Oh, we will have a fine time with this one, rubbing it in the faces of the totalitarian "liberals" and their media cohorts, who are standing by silently in the face of an outrageous injustice.


Fifty years after the fall of Senator Joseph McCarthy and the persecution of the Reds, the tables are turned. Today it is the Right that is getting some pretty rough treatment – and it is going to get worse before it gets better. For Antiwar.com, the prospect of a government crackdown on political dissent over the Internet is ominous indeed and fraught with danger. We cannot afford to be silent.


Nor can any of you afford to say nothing. For the following sequence of events is entirely possible: first they came for Joe Farah, and nobody lifted a finger to protest; and then they came for Antiwar.com, and hardly anyone even noticed. Then they went after the borderline "extremists" on the Left as well as the Right, targeting the nonprofit educational group that puts out Alexander Cockburn's Counterpunch to "balance out" the list of official enemies. And finally, they came for you – but by then it was too late, because there was nobody left to protest – nobody but the Clintonistas and their media henchmen, who surrounded their victim and began to chant a familiar refrain: "Get him on his income tax or the Mann Act. Hang him, shoot him and lock him up in a concentration camp."

Check out Justin Raimondo's article, "China and the New Cold War"

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Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of Antiwar.com. He is also the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (with an Introduction by Patrick J. Buchanan), (1993), and Into the Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against US Intervention in the Balkans (1996). He is an Adjunct Scholar with the Ludwig von Mises Institute, in Auburn, Alabama, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Libertarian Studies, and writes frequently for Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (forthcoming from Prometheus Books).



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