Thirty years ago the Free Press ran an ad for the first Community Festival. We’re two years older than the Festival, but a product of the same cultural and political rebellion against the war in Vietnam and the “plastic” suburban culture of the post-WW II era. The Freep is proud to be honored in this year’s Community Festival program as a worthwhile community organization. In honor of the Community Festival turning 30 this year, and the fact that we still “trust” the event to show us a real good time, we’ve dedicated our cover to the “Commie” fest.

It’s also the 30th anniversary of the Watergate break-in. The bungled burglary revealed a secret world of shadowy former CIA agents bugging the headquarters of the Democratic Party and working fulltime on dirty tricks to rig the 1972 election. President Nixon’s resignation in 1974 left many progressives with false hope of a better America.

Further, 30 years ago the editorial staff of the Columbus Free Press were jailed on May 18, 1972. They were arrested by the notorious Columbus Police “Red Squad.” Margaret Sarber, John Neikirk, Steve Abbott and Colin Neiberger were held on bail as high as $150,000 as enemies of the state. Back then, there was a real clash of cultures: a peace-oriented social justice culture vs. a violent military industrial complex.

Today, sadly, there is little clash. The Bush administration has taken advantage of the 9-11 tragedy, along with his Christian Coalition Attorney General John Ashcroft, to systematically repeal, suspend and rollback civil liberties. The FBI is authorized to search homes without warrants and without probable cause. The CIA is unleashed to get “down in the mud” with its drug-running allies and to create its own paramilitary unit. The massive documented failures of the national security apparatus – from the National Security Agency to the CIA to the FBI – which allowed terrorists to train at U.S. flight schools and go their way unmolested, are rewarded with more and more power for these agencies and bureaus.

The happy-face fascism of our New England preppie-turned faux Texan is routinely accepted by a compliant populace. The NSA’s Echelon, the FBI’s Carnivore and Magic Lantern are used to create an Orwellian spy apparatus for Big Brother with a Texas drawl.

And nobody’s supposed to state the obvious. The CIA, the Saudis and the Pakistani Inter-Service Intelligence Agency are responsible for the so-called Islamic fundamentalist terrorism. One more time, the evil one, Zbigniew Brzezinski, created the policy to actively support the Afghan Mujahedin in April 1979. He bragged about it in his interview in Le Nouvel Observateur in January 1998. In May 1979, John J. Reagan, the CIA’s Islamabad Station Chief met with the Afghan resistance leaders and set up the weapons pipeline to topple the pro-Soviet government of Afghanistan. President Carter signed the first secret directive granting aid to the Islamic fundamentalists in July 1979. The rest is history. The Soviets invaded Afghanistan. At the end of the year the opium-enriched Bank of Credit and Commerce International was funding a war to drive the Soviets out.

Missing in Resident Bush’s recent OSU commencement speech, where he propagandized that the U.S. was the greatest force for good in the world, is the real history surrounding Afghanistan and the 9-11 attacks. The U.S. and their Saudi and Pakistani allies recruited the most religiously radical and fanatical Islamic extremists to counter the Soviet forces. Literally, the U.S. spent billions to flood Afghanistan with weapons, including Stinger missiles. The fanatics were trained in Pakistani camps supported by the CIA and the Saudis. When the Soviets were driven out in 1989, what remained in Afghanistan was a bizarre coalition led by Osama bin Laden, a sophisticated, well-educated multi-millionaire with high-level connections to the Saudi royal family, the CIA and the Bush family, in partnership with the rural reactionary Taliban.

The U.S. military industrial complex created the terrorists and now the Bush administration is demanding that we sacrifice our constitutional rights in an endless war against his and his daddy’s former allies and close family friends. Who is benefiting from the 9-11 terrorist attacks? The 1.5 billion Muslims who are potential targets? The thousands of innocent civilians slaughtered in Afghanistan? The Palestinians brutally attacked by General Sharon under the guise of supporting Bush’s war on terrorism? Or – the military industrial complex and the U.S. national security bureaucracy?

Bush’s popularity now has an unprecedented high rating, the CIA has a blank check and military spending is at the highest levels in recorded history. In the words of President Eisenhower: “Beware the military industrial complex.” In the words of the Free Press, “Beware the national security state.” Dissent – now, more than ever.