On Sunday, Mar. 14, the News Tribune (Tacoma, WA) featured prominently an opinion piece on the Northwest Detention Center by Tim Smith, founder of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee-Tacoma. Smith's piece questions many aspects of the privately run and privately operated prison now nearing completion on the Tacoma Tideflats. -- The piece was submitted to the News Tribune on Mar. 10 in a 742-word version and a 1,070-word version. Both versions of the piece appear below: first, the shorter version as published by the News Tribune, with passages cut or altered by the News Tribune restored in brackets[1]; second, the complete text of the longer version[2]. -- This article has a special significance in that it is, we believe, the first mention to be published in recent years in a mainstream newspaper in Western Washington of the fact that there exists a national and international controversy over prison privatization. -- Additional note: Tim Smith's piece as published is also of significance in that one cut made by the News Tribune suggests the unwillingness of Pierce County's leading paper to publish any comment that calls into question the "war on terror," despite the fact that such criticism is perfectly legitimate. For example, the "war on terror" has been called a "strategic error of the first order" in a piece published in January by the Army War College's Strategic Studies Institute (excerpts from the study appear on this website). On Friday, Mar. 12, the News Tribune published a lead editorial stating that the world's democracies "must spare no effort to win the global war against terrorism." It is the view of UFPPC that this is a misguided and conceptually incoherent cause that is doomed to failure and that risks subverting American democracy in the process. Wherever the truth lies on this question, the News Tribune should not allow its own editorial positions to interfere with the expression of differing opinions by other contributors.


The News Tribune has made a start. Here are some suggestions about where to go next....


An open letter to the News Tribune....