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Tags: Hillary | Lapse

Hillary's Lapse, McCain's Pledge, Obama's Votes

By    |   Sunday, 24 February 2008 03:24 PM EST

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Russians Suspected in Shooting of Kremlin Critic Near D.C.
2. Hillary Fails to File Full Slate for Pennsylvania Primary
3. Saudi Prince Threatened Britain with Terrorism
4. Obama's Senate Votes Offer Clues to His Presidency
5. McCain Vows: No New Taxes

1. Russians Suspected in Shooting of Kremlin Critic Near D.C.

One year ago, Kremlin critic Paul Joyal was gunned down in the driveway of his suburban Maryland home. The case remains unsolved — but some see the hand of Russia in the shooting.

Joyal, 53, is the former chief of security for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and a former business partner of retired Soviet KGB Gen. Oleg Kalugin.

In February 2007, Joyal appeared on NBC's "Dateline" and accused the Kremlin of seeking to silence its critics abroad.

Joyal said he suspected the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin was involved in the assassination of dissident former Russian intelligence agent Alexander Litvinenko, who died from a dose of the rare radioactive Isotope polonium-210 in London in 2006.

On March 1, 2007, four days after his "Dateline" appearance, Joyal was returning to his home in Adelphi, Md., after meeting with Kalugin in Washington, D.C. As he stepped out of his car in his driveway, two men jumped out of nearby bushes. One grabbed him from behind, and Joyal was shot in the abdomen.

He spent the next 20 days in an induced coma and underwent five operations to repair the damage to his intestines, Congressional Quarterly reports.

Prince George County police considered the shooting a random street crime.

But Karl Milligan, a retired Prince George County police detective who knows Joyal, thinks otherwise.

For one thing, Milligan noted that Joyal's home is located in a remote subdivision with no drive-through traffic.

"It's so secluded you'd hardly know anybody lived there," Milligan, who spent decades in homicide before becoming chief of the intelligence unit, told CQ.

"Crime was very low there and still is. There were no [violent] incidents prior" to the attack and none since.

What's more, Joyal's assailants ran off after the shooting without taking his wallet, computer, briefcase or car.

Kalugin told CG: "Why were they waiting for him? That's not how robbers act. There are dozens of houses in the neighborhood. Why would they pick his? And why would they wait for him in the bushes at the house?"

The day after Joyal was shot, Russian journalist Ivan Safronov fell to his death from his 5th-story window in Moscow.

"A military correspondent for the daily Kommersant, Safronov was working on a story about the Kremlin's furtive sale of anti-aircraft missiles to Iran and jet fighters to Syria," said journalist Alex Shoumatoff.

The FBI was briefly involved in the Joyal case, but did not pursue it for long.

Paul Goble, a U.S. government specialist on Soviet and post-Soviet states, told CG:

"If the Russians were behind the attack on Paul Joyal, then they crossed a line that they had not [crossed] earlier even in Soviet times — attacking a native-born American citizen on American territory."

Editor's Note:

2. Hillary Fails to File Full Slate for Pennsylvania Primary

Hillary Clinton's supposedly well-organized presidential campaign failed to file a full slate of convention delegate candidates for what may be a crucial primary in Pennsylvania on April 22.

But it could have been worse if Gov. Ed Rendell — a Clinton supporter — hadn't extended the filing deadline, citing "winter weather" and the "closure of interstates at various times."

The original filing deadline was Feb. 12 at 5 p.m. At that point, the Clinton campaign was reportedly 21 delegate candidates short. Rendell extended the deadline to Feb. 14 at noon, allowing 10 more Clinton delegate candidates to file but still leaving the campaign 11 candidates short.

The extension "could be viewed as more than just coincidental," John Baer notes in the Philadelphia Daily News.

Clinton's rival Barack Obama did file a full slate in Pennsylvania.

Baer observes regarding the Clinton effort in the state: "For a national campaign stressing competence, experience, 'ready day one,' one might expect a full slate in what could be a key state…

"It seems to me, in a state that could be important, in a state known for bad winter weather, a forward-looking campaign might be, well, more forward-looking."

Editor's Note:

3. Saudi Prince Threatened Britain with Terrorism

Previously secret files reveal that Saudi Arabia's rulers threatened to make it easier for terrorists to attack London unless British corruption probes into Saudi arms deals were halted.

According to newly released court documents, British authorities were told they faced "another 7/7" and the loss of "British lives on British streets" if they continued the probe.

The "7/7" refers to the July 7, 2005 bombings in London that killed 52 commuters and injured 700.

Prince Bandar, the head of the Saudi national security council, was said in court to have been behind the threats to hold back information about suicide bombers and terrorists, the Guardian in Britain reported.

Bandar has been accused of receiving nearly $2 billion in secret payments from the arms company BAE.

In the face of Bandar's December 2006 threats, Prime Minister Tony Blair pressed the Serious Fraud Office to end its investigation into bribery allegations involving Bandar and his family, according to the Guardian.

But anti-corruption campaigners have now begun a legal action to restart the investigation, charging that the British government gave in to blackmail.

After reports of Bandar's secret payments were published in the Guardian, Switzerland launched a probe of Saudi arms purchases. The U.S. Justice Department has also launched an investigation of the money Bandar received in the U.S. while he was ambassador to Washington.

Editor's Note:

4. Obama's Senate Votes Offer Clues to His Presidency

Barack Obama has cast more than 1,100 votes since entering the U.S. Senate in January 2005, and those votes indicate the likely position he would take on several issues as president.

In each of his three years in the Senate, Obama has voted with the majority of Democrats at least 96 percent of the time.

Here is where he has stood on key measures in the Senate, according to MSNBC:

  • Obama voted against the confirmation of John Roberts for the Supreme Court, saying he "far more often used his formidable skills on behalf of the strong in opposition to the weak."
  • He also cast a vote against Samuel Alito and even voted in favor of a filibuster to stall his confirmation.
  • Obama opposed a bill in 2006 that would have denied citizenship or other legal status to illegal immigrants, and voted last year against a measure that would have allowed police to question people about their immigration status under certain circumstance.
  • He voted in favor of the immigration reform bill sponsored by John McCain and Ted Kennedy that would have allowed many illegal aliens to become legal residents.
  • Last October Obama voted for an act that would have allowed illegal immigrants who become permanent legal residents to qualify for lower in-state tuition rates at state universities. That measure was opposed by Democrats in a number of swing states that could be pivotal in this year's election, MSNBC observed.
  • The Illinois Senator voted against a 2006 bill to prohibit the transportation of a minor girl across state lines to get an abortion if this would circumvent parental consent.
  • Obama voted against a bill extending the cuts in capital gains and dividends tax rates that Congress enacted in 2003, and against the repeal of the tax on inherited wealth, the estate tax.
  • In June 2006, Obama voted against a bill that would have required President Bush to withdraw most U.S. troops from Iraq by July 1, 2007. But this past September, he joined 27 other Democrats in voting for a bill ordering Bush to begin withdrawing most American forces within 90 days. The bill failed to pass.

Editor's Note:

5. McCain Vows: No New Taxes

George Stephanopoulos tried to pin down John McCain regarding tax increases during the Republican presidential candidate's appearance on ABC's "This Week" — and McCain was "pinned."

In a reference to George H.W. Bush's "read my lips: no new taxes" pledge at the 1988 Republican National Convention — which Bush eventually reneged on — Stephanopoulos asked McCain:

"So on taxes, are you a 'read my lips' candidate — no new taxes, no matter what?"

McCain answered: "No new taxes … In fact, I could see an argument if our economy continues to deteriorate for lower interest rates, lower tax rates and certainly decreasing corporate tax rates, which are the second-highest in the world."

He also said he might favor allowing taxpayers to write off depreciation in one year and eliminating the alternative minimum tax.

Stephanopoulos then asked: "But under no circumstances would you increase taxes?"

McCain said: "No."

On "This Week," McCain defended his support for an extension of the Bush tax cuts, which he voted against. McCain now says allowing the tax cuts to expire would amount to an unacceptable tax increase.

Editor's Note:

Editor's Notes:

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Russians Suspected in Shooting of Kremlin Critic Near D.C.2. Hillary Fails to File Full Slate for Pennsylvania Primary3. Saudi Prince Threatened Britain with Terrorism4. Obama's Senate Votes Offer Clues to His Presidency5....
Sunday, 24 February 2008 03:24 PM
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