- The Washington Times - Friday, June 25, 2004

Peter Camejo, yesteryear

I was decidedly disappointed in Brian DeBose’s story “Nader picks Camejo as running mate” (Nation, Tuesday). It sounded more like a campaign-flier promotion than what could and should have been written about Peter Camejo.

Briefly, Mr. Camejo was a Communist for decades. From the 1960s through the early ‘80s, he was a key leader of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), a party founded by Trotskyites, and its youth arm, the Young Socialist.

When the SWP split apart in the early 1980s, Mr. Camejo moved around, looking for an ideological home. He was associated with Crossroads, a publication and discussion group designed to “foster dialogue on the U.S. left; [to push] forward the development of effective strategies for progressive and socialist activism.” Crossroads was led by a group closely associated with the old Maoist Guardian and out-of-favor Trotskyites.

Mr. Camejo also was associated with the North Star Network, which produced a publication searching for a new Marxist niche in the ideological spectrum of the far left. It actually was a pretty good publication, very informative about what the true goals of the Marxists/communists were in both the United States and Central America.

Then Mr. Camejo shows up as an “endorser” of the “conference call” for a July 1992 affair known as “Perspectives for Democracy and Socialism in the ‘90s.” It was being held by a new group known as the Committee of Correspondence, a group formed out of the Angela Davis-Herbert Aptheker wing of the Communist Party USA, which had been expelled by the Gus Hall-Sam Webb-Tim Wheeler faction.

The story of this split was published in The Washington Times on Dec. 27, 1991, in a column by Joseph Goulden titled “Political purge in the CPUSA.” Miss Davis and other “purged” Communists took their show on the road and formed the Committee of Correspondence as a new Marxist organization. Among the members of this organization were Leslie Cagan (Cuban Information Project, now with United for Peace & Justice); Carl Davidson, the old Students for a Democratic Society leader; Charlene Mitchell, one-time CPUSA presidential candidate; and Peter Camejo (Crossroads Advisory Council, Oakland, Calif.).

So Mr. Camejo has completed the radical-left circuit from “red” to “Green,” or so it seems. And he is an investment-fund manager? Marx must be spinning in his grave — or having a good laugh, as some of the biggest financial angels of the CPUSA and other far-left organizations have been millionaires — Corliss Lamont (Lamont Banking Family), Samuel Rubin (Faberge) and similar individuals.

I liked the old Peter Camejo — he had the fire in the belly, even though he represented a sick ideology. Now he may turn to pablum and mush. Living proof that the mind is a terrible thing to waste.

MAX FRIEDMAN

Historians of American Communism

Arlington

Nuclear weapon, not a dirty bomb

In an otherwise excellent call for action to stop nuclear proliferation, The Washington Times mistakenly reports that a NATO “dirty bomb” simulation last month projected 40,000 deaths and 300,000 injuries, (“A warning about WMD,” Editorial, Friday). That NATO simulation was of a full-scale nuclear weapon, not a dirty bomb. Last fall, NATO did simulate detonating a dirty bomb. The result: 20 deaths, though a lot of fear and panic.

MICHAEL LEVI

Science and Technology Fellow

Foreign Policy Studies

Brookings Institution

Washington

Missing the point

Cal Thomas is exactly right when he says that those who say the September 11 commission proves there was no link between Iraq and the attacks miss the point (“Iraq — al Qaeda connections,” Commentary, Wednesday). Saying that Saddam Hussein had no role in the operational planning for September 11 is like saying that Adolf Hitler had no role in the operational planning for the attack on Pearl Harbor.

They may be technically correct, but their point proves nothing. Saddam’s Iraq, al Qaeda, and other states and terrorist groups were and are linked by their common enemy and their common goal — they want the United States destroyed. They are allies as much as Germany, Japan and Italy were allies in World War II. They may not coordinate every jot and tittle of their efforts, but the enemy of their enemy is their friend.

That there were links was confirmed by commission Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton, who says that he does not understand the media flap over this issue and that the commission does not disagree with the administration’s assertion that there were connections between al Qaeda and Saddam’s Iraq. Chairman Thomas Kean has confirmed: “There were contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda, a number of them, some of them a little shadowy. They were definitely there.”

Indeed there were. For example, Abdul Rahman Yasin, suspected of being a member of the al Qaeda cell that detonated the 1993 World Trade Center bomb, found safe haven in Iraq, and documents recently found in Tikrit indicate that Saddam provided Yasin with both a home and a salary.

Back in 1999, ABC News reported that Saddam had offered bin Laden asylum, citing their “long relationship” and a December 1998 meeting in Afghanistan between bin Laden and Iraqi intelligence chief Faruq Hijazi. And so on, and so on.

The president did not order the liberation of Iraq in retaliation for September 11, but to help prevent future September 11s by removing a breeding ground for and a state sponsor of terror and a gathering threat to American security. Both America and the world are safer as a result.

DANIEL JOHN SOBIESKI

Chicago

Pakistan determined to end terrorism

We categorically reject the premise in your report “Pakistani restrictions slow U.S. search for bin Laden,” by Rowan Scarborough (Nation, Thursday) that “there remain areas in the tribal regions … where government troops will not go.”

The fact is that Pakistani security forces are already in the region — federally administered tribal areas — in hot pursuit of foreign terrorist elements and their local cohorts; they are there to clear the region of these terrorists inimical to the interest of Pakistan, the coalitionforcesand Afghanistan.

In fact, the American media widely reported on June 24 the killing of more than 30 tribesmen in the region.

And there is no question of hesitation in launching military suppression operations in the area “so as not to trigger a rebellion.”

It must be pointed out clearly and unequivocally that President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan is beholden to no political faction in his determination to rid Pakistan of terrorist and extremist elements because it is in the vital national interest of Pakistan and the future of all Pakistanis.

TALAT WASEEM

Press counselor

Embassy of Pakistan

Washington

Lies repeated, truth withheld

“The fact that the president of Russia effectively is taking Mr. Bush’s side on the question of whether Saddam posed a threat to this country is a major news story and should be treated as such. That it is not getting this kind of coverage suggests that many journalists do not have their priorities straight.” (“Ignoring Putin’s revelation,” Editorial, Wednesday).

Your editorial misses, perhaps deliberately, the point.

Journalists do, indeed, have their priorities straight. By spiking news stories that do not support their belief that President Bush must go, they are exercising the dictum of Joseph Goebbels. To paraphrase: A lie repeated often enough becomes the truth; the truth withheld becomes unimportant.

The First Amendment was meant to preserve the rights of a free people as a whole, not the privileged distortions of a tiny elite.

LARRY E. BRASHER

Boca Raton, Fla.

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