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More than a week ago, WorldNetDaily began a series of reports in a
massive National Guard mobilization being planned around the Y2K
millennium bug crisis — the biggest since 1940.

A number of readers wrote to me questioning the reliability of these
reports, based primarily on unnamed sources.

Since I get nearly 1,000 emails a day, I cannot possibly respond to
more than a small percentage personally. So let me address those
questions — many of them quite insulting — in this column.

The reports are true. They are 100 percent accurate. Since our
reports were published, the Wall Street Journal has confirmed their
essence in a story in the Jan. 11 print edition by John Simons.

His report states: “In May, all 460,000 Guardsmen will participate in
a communications drill to simulate the loss of telephone service across
the country.” It also detailed plans by Wisconsin and Washington state
to deploy National Guard troops on New Year’s Eve in anticipation of an
emergency.

A key question common to many of the letters I received was: “If what
you report is true, why aren’t other news services reporting it?”

Here’s one answer: Our initial reports on this mobilization were
based largely on unnamed sources within the National Guard who didn’t
trust any other news agencies to handle this sensitive story.

But why has there been so little follow-up? There will be. Trust me.
And when it comes — watch. No one in the establishment press will
remember that WorldNetDaily reported this story before the rest of the
pack. And, from past experience with breaking so many major national
stories, the very people who wrote in deriding our reporting will not
write me letters of apology and contrition.

No matter. I’ve got thick skin. But I guess I don’t understand why
people are still shocked to learn that the National Guard is being
mobilized for Y2K. It seems like a natural development to me — an
alarming one but a logical one.

Y2K is a serious matter, folks. Just because your local newspapers
and the hapless television networks are not telling you about the
potential for disaster doesn’t mean the government is not preparing.

Last week, WorldNetDaily also reported on a meeting of business
leaders and government officials in the White House on Y2K and potential
for cyber-terrorism. No other news agency in the world covered it. We
didn’t make up the quotes and the names of participants. They spoke on
the record. I’m sure they would have done the same for any other
responsible news agency. It’s just that no one else bothered to ask
them.

I think the establishment press largely has its head in the sand (or
maybe even in a darker, more uncomfortable location) on the whole issue
of Y2K — particularly when it comes to how government might react in a
worst-case or near worst-case scenario.

That’s where WorldNetDaily is placing its reporting emphasis. After
all, the principal role of a free press in a free society is to serve as
a watchdog on government fraud, waste, abuse and corruption. That is our
principal mission as an Internet newspaper. We are reaching record
numbers of people everyday, I believe, because we haven’t forgotten what
the press is supposed to do, even if many of our corporate colleagues
have.

Y2K presents great potential for social chaos, economic dislocation
and civil disorder. The actual results may not live up to the potential.
I hope not. But I am more concerned about the opportunities Y2K presents
to government officials for violations of individual rights and civil
liberties — even if the technical problem turns out to be overblown.

We are not trying to scare people into making foolish and hasty
decisions. Instead, we are trying to alert them to the omnipresent
threat of mischievous government meddling without constitutionally
guaranteed freedoms.

Americans have become conditioned to expect government to solve their
problems for them. This is an extremely dangerous trend — especially in
times of real or perceived crisis.

Government involvement in any problem by definition translates into
restrictions and limitations on personal freedom.

But some people would prefer not to hear bad news. Some would prefer
to believe that America will never again face a real emergency. Some
think the good times are going to roll on forever.

The truth is, America’s experiment with freedom is very fragile, very
brief. Let’s not take it for granted. And, please, don’t try to kill the
messenger.

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