Daily Archives: April 21, 2008

‘Vast right-wing conspiracy’ leader’s paper backs Clinton

Associated Press | Apr 20, 2008

By BETH FOUHY

PHILADELPHIA – Could it be the “vast right wing conspiracy” is having second thoughts? Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton was endorsed Sunday by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, whose owner and publisher, billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, personally funded many of the investigations that led to President Clinton’s impeachment in 1998.

It was one of a handful of endorsements the New York senator has received from Pennsylvania newspapers before the state’s primary Tuesday. Most of the state’s major papers have endorsed Barack Obama.

In its endorsement, Tribune-Review editors said Obama is too inexperienced to be president and that his recent comments about bitter voters living in small towns showed a lack of respect for middle-class values.

“In sharp contrast, Clinton is far more experienced in government — as an engaged first lady to a governor and a president, as a second-term senator in her own right,” the paper said. “She has a real voting record on key issues. Agree with her or not, you at least know where she stands instead of being forced to wonder.”

Clinton met with the Tribune-Review’s editorial board, including Scaife, last month. Afterward, Scaife wrote an editorial titled “Hillary, Reassessed,” declaring how impressed he had been by the former first lady.

“Her meeting and her remarks during it changed my mind about her,” Scaife wrote.

In the 1990s, Scaife helped support conservative groups and publications investigating Bill Clinton’s financial dealings and sex life.

Scaife spent $2.3 million to fund a series of articles by The American Spectator magazine that dug into Bill Clinton’s behavior as governor of Arkansas.

The magazine reported that Clinton had asked state troopers to help procure women for him and that he had sexually harassed a state worker named Paula Jones. Jones’s legal case against Clinton helped launch an independent counsel investigation that eventually exposed his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Hillary Clinton famously defended her husband at the time, saying the allegations were part of a “vast right-wing conspiracy” heavily funded by Scaife.

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Spoiled Prince William commonderes expensive military aircraft for personal enjoyment at his own whim

RAF criticised for allowing Prince William to fly Chinook to Kate Middleton’s house

He avoided a long road and sea journey by using a Chinook to fly to the stag party of his cousin, Peter Phillips, in the Isle of Wight.

Telegraph | Apr 20, 2008

By Aislinn Simpson

The RAF has been criticised for allowing Prince William to land a multi-million-pound Chinook helicopter in his girlfriend’s back garden.

Little over a week before Kate Middleton watched the Prince receive his air wings, he flew 16 miles from RAF Odiham in Hampshire and touched down in a field next to her house.

It is one of two unusual sorties by the Prince under attack. Eight days later he avoided a long road and sea journey by using a Chinook to fly to the stag party of his cousin, Peter Phillips, in the Isle of Wight, stopping off at Woolwich Barracks in London to pick up Prince Harry.

It has emerged that Prince William sought permission from police and 26-year-old Miss Middleton’s parents to put down on their land in the Berkshire village of Bucklebury on April 3 on the grounds that there is a shortage of landing sites in Hampshire.

He did not get out of the helicopter, and it remained on the ground for only 20 seconds.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman defended the landing yesterday, saying: “This was very much a routine training sortie that achieved essential training objectives.”

However, officials have admitted privately that it was “not the best idea”, given concerns about military budget constraints and the shortage of Chinooks, which cost at least £10 million each, in Afghanistan. One military source added: “In theory any pilot could do this but it’s basically because he’s the Prince.”

Officials are understood to be furious that the impression of special treatment afforded to the Prince has undermined the “good PR” his four-month RAF pilot attachment generated.

Sir Glenn Torpy, the Chief of Air Staff, is understood to have criticised the “sheer stupidity” of the decision to allow the Prince take a Chinook to the Isle of Wight, and ordered a “line by line” breakdown of how it was made. Many RAF pilots believe the Prince and his commanders should have known better.

“Whether it can be considered a reasonable training evolution or not, the average Joe is going to view it as an expensive taxi,” one said yesterday. “The RAF hierarchy look bloody stupid for attempting to explain it as anything other than that.”

Paul Beaver, a defence analyst and helicopter pilot, said he had discussed the incident with Sir Glenn, who was “deeply concerned” about how the decision was made.

He added: “He wants to know exactly what happened because he is ultimately responsible to the Queen for the safety of her grandson, and to the British public for the safety of the second-in-line to the throne, who will one day be Commander in Chief of our Armed Forces.”

Related

Chinook shortage for troops as Prince William flies to meet girlfriend

Canada’s military suicide rate doubles

UPI | Apr 20, 2008

OTTAWA, April 20 (UPI) — The suicide rate among Canadian soldiers doubled from 2006 to 2007, military figures indicate.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Sunday that the suicide rate among military personnel is triple that of the general population.

In 2007, the number of suicides among regular and reserve members of the Canadian Forces rose to 36, the highest in more than a decade. The average number of suicides among Canadian Forces military members for both active duty personnel and reservists between 1994 and 2007 was 16 per year.

In 2006, the number of suicides among members of the military rose to 20 and then increased to 36 the following year.

Dr. Greg Passey — a former military psychiatrist and head of a post-traumatic stress disorder clinic in Vancouver, British Columbia — said the increase in military suicides is “disturbing” but not surprising.

“We’re now a number of years into that mission and the frontline, the combat soldiers, and even the support staff are having to do multiple tours,” he said.

Pentagon using media propaganda to sell torture and Iraq war debacle

I know. I know. Duh……

but at least now it is being admitted.

PW

Pentagon propaganda over torture and Iraq revealed

Independent | Apr 21, 2008

By Leonard Doyle in Lancaster

The Pentagon and the US media have been exposed for using pre-programmed “military analysts” to win hearts and minds of Americans over the war in Iraq, torture and detentions in Guantanamo Bay.

Kenneth Allard, an NBC military analyst and teacher at National Defence University, described the propaganda exercise as a “coherent, active,” sophisticated information operation.”

“Night and day, I felt we’d been hosed,” he said.

The New York Times revealed that close ties exist between the Bush administration and former senior officers who acted as paid TV analysts on CNN and other channels. The analysts have received private briefings, trips and access to classified intelligence to influence their comments.

Robert Bevelacqua, a retired Green Beret and former Fox News analyst, told the newspaper, “It was them (the Bush administration) saying, ‘We need to stick our hands up your back and move your mouth for you.'”

In one episode CNN’s Donald Shepperd, a retired Air Force general, speaking live from Guantánamo said: “The impressions that you’re getting from the media and from the various pronouncements being made by people who have not been here in my opinion are totally false.”

A number of the analysts used by US television also have extensive business interests in promoting the pro administration views.

“Records and interviews show how the Bush administration has used its control over access and information in an effort to transform the analysts into a kind of media Trojan horse – an instrument intended to shape terrorism coverage from inside the major TV and radio networks,” the newspaper said.

The Pentagon said the analysts were given only accurate information. Many of the commentators have ties to military contractors committed to the US war efforts, but those business links are almost never disclosed to viewers.

The report was based on 8,000 pages of e-mail messages, transcripts and records which described years of private briefings, trips.

The Pentagon documents referred to commentators as “message force multipliers” or “surrogates” who would deliver “themes and messages” on command to millions of Americans “in the form of their own opinions.”

Mugabe setting up torture camps for his critics

mugabe hitler

Mugabe, still sporting his Hitler mustache, accused of setting up network of torture camps

NZ Herald | Apr 21, 2008

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s politically compromised election commission yesterday began a partial recount of the presidential and parliamentary ballot held three weeks ago in a move the Opposition says is designed to overturn its victories.

The recount, which state radio said could take three days, came as the Opposition presidential candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, said he fears for his life if he returns to Zimbabwe.

Human Rights Watch yesterday accused Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF Party of setting up a network of torture camps in its violent campaign against supporters of Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change.

The MDC said security forces shot dead a man, Tendai Chibika, in Mutoko after he fled a forced Zanu-PF meeting at which opposition supporters were identified and assaulted.

The recounts are taking place in 23 constituencies, all but one of them lost by Zanu-PF to the MDC as Mugabe’s party lost control of Parliament for the first time since independence 28 years ago. Zanu-PF will overturn the MDC victory if the results are reversed in just nine constituencies.

If Mugabe retained power it would be important to him to also control Parliament in part because if he retires before the next election his successor as President for the remainder of the six-year term will be chosen by MPs.

Mugabe’s party said the recounts were necessary after it discovered “evidence showing under-counting of its votes and inflation of opposition ballots” after 11 electoral commission officials were arrested and accused of tampering with vote tallies.

The MDC says it fears a huge vote-rigging exercise is under way because ballot boxes in the affected constituencies were removed from independent scrutiny during the past three weeks.

If neither Mugabe nor Tsvangirai wins an outright majority, the law requires a run-off within three weeks. But Tsvangirai, who says his party’s count shows he won just over 50 per cent of the vote, has vacillated over whether to participate in a second round, saying that a fair election is not possible amid surging violence in rural areas.

Tsvangirai, who has been touring southern Africa to drum up support, has also expressed fears for his own safety and said he will remain abroad for now.

“It is no use going back to Zimbabwe and becoming captive. Then you are not effective,” he told a Canadian newspaper.

The campaign of violence, called Operation Makavhoterapapi (“Where did you put your cross?”) by Zanu-PF officials, has spread across regions where opposition support surged in the election.