The CIA has admitted the United States used the British territory of Diego Garcia during two extraordinary rendition flights in 2002. For years the U.S. had denied ever using any British airspace or territory for the secret flights but a recent US investigation uncovered two flights that stopped in Diego Garcia. The CIA continues to deny allegations that the US maintains a secret prison on the island in the Indian Ocean. British Foreign Secretary David Miliband broke the news to MPs on Thursday.
David Miliband: “Contrary to earlier explicit assurances that Diego Garcia had not been used for rendition flights, recent U.S. investigations have now revealed two occasions, both in 2002, when this had in fact occurred. An error in the earlier U.S. records search meant these cases did not come to light. In both cases, a single U.S. plane, with a single detainee on board, refuelled at the U.S. facility in Diego Garcia.”
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown expressed “disappointment” about the news.
Gordon Brown: “Well the United States has expressed regret that it did not know at the time of these renditions through Diego Garcia. The foreign secretary has made a very full statement in the House of Commons about the circumstances surrounding it. He’s also ordered further investigation into what may or may not have happened and will report back to the House of Commons and we’ve got to assure ourselves that those procedures will never happen again.”
Opposition politicians in Britain said the case undermines the credibility of the British and U.S. governments. Conservative Party politician Andrew Tyrie said that the matter QUOTE “will leave the British public unwilling to trust other assurances we have received from the U.S.”
Report: McCain’s Top Advisors Are D.C.Lobbyists
The New York Times article has been seen by many as a setback to McCain who has often railed against lobbyists and special interests in Washington. Meanwhile the Washington Post reports that many of McCain’s closest advisers are, in fact, Washington lobbyists. His campaign manager, Rick Davis, co-founded a lobbying firm whose clients have included Verizon and SBC Telecommunications. McCain’s chief political adviser, Charles Black Jr., is chair of one of Washington"s lobbying powerhouses, BKSH and Associates, which has represented AT&T, Alcoa, JPMorgan and U.S. Airways. Senior advisers Steve Schmidt and Mark McKinnon work for firms that have lobbied for Land O" Lakes, Dell and Fannie Mae. McCain"s top fundraising official is former Republican congressman Tom Loeffler who heads a lobbying law firm called the Loeffler Group. He has counseled the Saudis as well as Southwest Airlines, AT&T, Toyota and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.
McCain Denies NYT Report on D.C. Lobbyist
On the Republican front, Senator John McCain denied a report in the New York Times that he had an inappropriate relationship with a female telecommunications lobbyist. According to the Times, McCain repeatedly wrote letters to government regulators on behalf of clients of the lobbyist, Vicki Iseman. At the time, McCain served as chair of the Senate Commerce Committee. The Times also reports that aides to McCain were concerned the senator was having a romantic affair with the lobbyist. On Thursday morning McCain held a press conference with his wife Cindy.
Sen. John McCain: “I am disappointed in the article it’s not true, as has been pointed out I’ve served this nation honourably for more than half a century. When I was seventeen I raised my hand and said I would support and defend this nation and I’ve had the honour of defending it ever since. At no time have I ever done anything that would betray the public trust or make a decision that would in any way not be in the public interest that would favour anyone or any organisation.”
Change to Win Union Coalition Endorses Obama
Prior to the debate, Senator Barack Obama picked up another union endorsement – this time from the Change to Win coalition. Obama has also won the global primary held by the Democrats Abroad. Obama received over 65 percent of the expatriate American vote. Clinton won about 33 percent. 22,000 expatriate Americans took part in the primary.
Larry Davis Stabbed to Death in NY Prison
In news from New York, a prisoner who once gained notoriety for shooting six New York police officers has died after being stabbed to death in prison. Larry Davis made headlines in 1986 when a team of police officers stormed his Bronx apartment in an attempt to arrest him on drug related charges. Davis shot six of the officers and managed to escape. He then remained on the run for 17 days. During his days as a fugitive, Davis became a folk hero to some in New York. Attorney Ronald Kuby said ’’He was a symbol of resistance in a dangerous and racially polarized city where white cops could—and did—kill black people with impunity." At the time of his death, Davis was serving a sentence of 25 years to life for the fatal shooting of a drug dealer.