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Ahead of the news.

Once in a rare while, The Progressive puts a copyright line over a story. I can recall three, maybe four, occasions when we've done that in the last twenty years. It's a gimmick, really, since the entire issue is protected by copyright anyway. But a copyright line is used by newspapers and magazines to tell the world that a particular article is a special piece of work, an important and exclusive report that will, presumably, be widely noted.

Back in the September 1982 issue, we ran a copyright line over the cover story by Contributing Editor Samuel H. Day Jr. It was called "The Afrikaner Bomb," and it began this way:

"South Africa has its own atomic bomb.

"It was conceived in the mid-1970s as an ace-in-the-hole to ensure survival of Pretoria's beleaguered white-minority regime.

"It was built in utmost secrecy by a scientific-industrial establishment which, like those of other advanced industrial nations, has long had the potential to produce nuclear weapons.

"The successful test of the weapon on September 22, 1979, made South Africa the seventh nation to detonate a nuclear device and the first since the U.S. test at Alamogordo to have done so without immediate public acknowledgment.

"Despite widespread international suspicion about South Africa's nuclear intentions, the impact of its entry into the nuclear weapons club has been obscured by uncertainties as to the facts - doubts that have been sedulously fostered by the Pretoria government in tacit cooperation with the United States."

Sam Day had spent seven weeks in South Africa conducting research for his article. He was a former editor of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. We assumed that his carefully documented findings would get the media attention they deserved. We sent out lots of news releases and copies of The Progressive, but they fell into a bottomless pit of media silence. The South African apartheid government's denials had more credibility with the corporate media than The Progressive's facts.

In March 1993, President F.W. de Klerk acknowledged that South Africa had begun building a nuclear arsenal in 1977. It was front-page news everywhere. The media referred to it as a "disclosure," but it wasn't.

It was merely long-overdue confirmation of Sam Day's disclosure ten-and-a-half years ago.

We did it again in the May 1984 issue: We put a copyright line over Allan Nairn's cover story, which was headed, "Behind the Death Squads: An Exclusive Report on the U.S. Role in El Salvador's Official Terror." Nairn, a young investigative reporter with much experience in Central America, had put his life at risk by spending five weeks in El Salvador interviewing military officers, civilian officials, members of the security forces, U.S. diplomats, and others about the death squads.

Nairn's story began this way:

"Early in the 1960s, during the Kennedy Administration, agents of the U.S. Government in El Salvador set up two official security organizations that killed thousands of peasants and suspected leftists over the next fifteen years. These organizations, guided by American operatives, developed into the paramilitary apparatus that came to be known as the Salvadoran Death Squads.

"Today, even as the Reagan Administration publicly condemns the Death Squads, the CIA - in violation of U.S. law - continues to provide training, support, and intelligence to security forces directly involved in Death Squad activity."

Nairn went on to name names and provide specifics of U.S. and Salvadoran government complicity in torture, murder, and other atrocities. Once again, we sent out news releases and copies of the magazine; we were sure the corporate media would be unable to avoid reporting Nairn's findings. Once again, we encountered a virtually total blackout. We believed it was urgently important to call Nairn's story to the attention of Congress, so we scrounged up enough money to publish it as a full-page ad in The Washington Post - the only way we could get the news into that great newspaper.

In late March 1993, the United Nations Truth Commission made public its report on human-rights abuses in El Salvador, confirming the sum and substance of Allan Nairn's nine-year-old article. Fortunately, the U.N. commission didn't have to buy advertising space to make its findings known. The story made the front pages and the evening newscasts everywhere.

All of which goes to prove that if you live long enough, you'll eventually find out what's going on. Or you can read The Progressive and find out now.
COPYRIGHT 1993 The Progressive, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:Progressive Magazine copyrighted stories
Author:Knoll, Erwin
Publication:The Progressive
Article Type:Editorial
Date:May 1, 1993
Previous Article:Voices From the Underground, 2 vols.
Next Article:Cold War - the sequel.

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