Like Their Counterparts at Wright-Patterson, Langley, and Lackland Air Force Bases, Officials at Andrews AFB Have No Right to Bomb the First Amendment!
By Larry W. Bryant
Once in a while, a "smoking gun" document does jump into the public domain via the embattled U. S. Freedom of Information Act.
This time, that rare event happens to occur at the hand of one USAF Lt. Col. Randy K. Robertson, commander of the 89th Communications Squadron at Andrews AFB, Md. His snail-mail letter to me of May 10, 2005, declares:
"We are responding to your 2 Nov 2004 Freedom of Information Act request for all Andrews AFB-generated and all Andrews AFB-received records pertaining to the multi-ad submission with reference to whistleblowers and a copy of the current publishing contract for 'Capital Flyer.' The requested information is releasable and attached. Direct any questions to our FOIA office at (301) 981-4088/5308."
Robertson's 1-page printout of several short e-messages exchanged between certain public affairs personnel at Andrews and at higher headquarters reveals the command's bold (but no less shameful) entry into the First Amendment's pond of quicksand called "viewpoint discrimination."
The first of these incriminating missives comes from Brad A. Swezey, deputy chief of Andrews's 89th Airlift Wing Public Affairs -- addressed, on Oct. 12, 2004, to Master Sergeant Paul A. Fazzini, AMC [Air Materiel Command] newspaper consultant at Scott AFB, Ill.: "Paul, have any other papers run into this [ad submission]? Our inclination is not to run it. Your thoughts?"
And, at 11:19 A.M. on Oct. 12, 2004, Paul replies to Brad: "Subject: Re: Ad Review -- Sir, as I read the headline [of LWB's submitted ad] I'm moved to see right off the bat the ad is anti military. I also did some Google searching to see some other info about Ghost Troop and the information these folks are projecting. The group's message clearly goes against the establishment (DoD). I'd recommend you not run the ad."
So, what's REALLY provoked such a self-defeating and indefensible response from officialdom (aka "the establishment") -- fear of whistleblowers' exposure of official wrongdoing? Inherent weakness of certain military leaders in granting to, and preserving for, their rank-and-file members the same constitutional protections afforded to civilian society? Their sense that to allow the ad's publication would open the floodgates to other such expression of public-issue speech? Or . . . all the above?
Here's the text of the initial ad that dares offend the sensibilities of the thin-skinned airmen manning the VIP bunker at Andrews (as submitted on Sept. 28, 2004, for publication in the Andrews base newspaper, the "Capital Flyer"):
Blow the Whistle on Iraqnam's Battle-of-Baghdad Cover-up!
A group of current/former U. S. servicemembers -- known as the Ghost Troop (http://geocities.com/onlythecaptain/ ) -- has found the "bloody knife" exposing the OFFICIALLY UNRELEASED number ofA mericans who died during the fierce battle at Iraq's capital in the spring of 2003. That number, of course, dwarfs the officially released count. To help determine the discrepancy's cause/perpetuators/accountability, the group is seeking all related documentary evidence and sworn testimony from all BOBCUP whistleblowers brave enough to come forward. Armed with your accounts, the group can help persuade Congress to exercise its oversight authority in this matter. Contact: Larry W. Bryant at: . . ..
At this point, were I the U. S. attorney assigned to represent the defendant in Bryant v. Rumsfeld, et al., I'd submit my resignation forthwith -- rather than countenance any form of viewpoint discrimination.
What's worse for Amerika: being "anti-military," or being anti-First Amendment?