Alex Mitchell’s Weekly Notebook

Sky TV presenter Peta Credlin rubbishes PM Turnbull … Dumb media fails election coverage test … Murdoch lawyer takes charge at ABC … How Musso was bankrolled by MI5 … Mandela arrested on CIA tip-off …

Credlin factor infects election

The Federal Election campaign has produced two “zingers”, both delivered by Peta Credlin, Tony Abbott’s former chief of staff.
Credlin and Abbott have both joined Rupert Murdoch’s payroll writing columns for his gutter tabloids and the upmarket broadsheet, The Australian. Credlin has an additional gig; she’s been hired by Murdoch’s Sky News as an election commentator.
At the end of the first week of the campaign Credlin, widely believed by the general public to be Abbott’s former paramour, derided Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as “Mr Harbourside Mansion” saying: “If it’s known you were going to do a street walk in Penrith, the last thing you want to do, Mr Harbourside Mansion, is look like you don’t know and you’re not welcome in Western Sydney.”
A couple of days later she again attacked Turnbull after he campaigned in seats without having the local candidate at his side.
Describing it as a “missed opportunity” she added: “I think it was a mistake, they’re seats we [sic] must hold.”
What Credlin failed to mention was that some of the absent candidates were “knuckle-draggers” (Bill Shorten’s description) whose presence alongside the PM would have created a field day for the media.
The overall impact of Credlin’s commentary was to create piercing headaches for Turnbull and unconcealed joy in the Abbott camp.

Mrs Loughnane strikes

But get this: Ms Credlin is the wife of Brian Loughnane, ex-federal director of the Liberal Party, and the man in charge of Turnbull’s election bid.
So while Turnbull is trying to win a knife-edged election campaign, the wife of the ex-Liberal federal director is actively providing live ammo against him while drawing an extravagant remuneration from Rupert Murdoch.
Just imagine the media furore if Labor national secretary George Wright’s wife appeared on Murdoch’s pay TV channel bagging Bill Shorten. We wouldn’t hear the end of it.
But Mrs Loughnane, nee Credlin, can lambast the Liberal leader and it’s a non-story. How does that work?

It’s a knock-out

The tired, moth-eaten clichés of journalism in the last century keep getting track work.
Reporting the first public debate between Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten, The Sydney Morning Herald chose the headline: “Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten trade blows but no knockout punch” (14 May 2016)
Over the decades, there have been thousands of “no knockout punches” in the headlines and reporters’ articles. It is chosen because the reporters/editors are seeking fake neutrality, fake objectivity or even-handedness. Mostly it’s because they don’t want to upset any section of their readership or they simply don’t know who won.
I’ve sat through Budget debates and no-confidence motions, in federal and state parliaments, only to be told the next day by the newspapers that there was “no knock-out punch”.
The assumption is that upon hearing the arguments of the other side, the Government (or the Opposition) either throws in the towel, runs up the white flag of surrender or falls to the floor of the chamber in a simulated KO.
It has never happened throughout history and it will never happen. Why do journalists and headline writers treat us to this constant idiocy?
PS: The audience of allegedly “swinging voters” gave 42 votes to Shorten and 29 to Turnbull, with 29 still undecided.
The Roy Morgan Poll – which invariably carries a bias to Labor – published a mid-May survey showing ALP support on 52.5% (up 1.5%) and the Coalition on 47.5% (down 1.5%) on a two-party preferred basis.
This one is going to be a coathanger … oops … cliffhanger.

Murdoch lawyer at ABC

Michelle Guthrie has started her new job as the ABC’s managing director with a major concession to Liberal, National and Labor politicians, full-time staffers and political consultants.
The corporation’s Fact Check programme which has called out lies and distortions perpetrated by the political classes has been axed. Open the champagne and cigar boxes!
And Rupert Murdoch’s ink-slingers at The Australian have fired off their first editorial instruction, demanding the ABC give prime time coverage to Sky Television’s phoney “community forums” which are little more than advertising vehicles for News Ltd’s media empire.
After complaining that ABC News 24 continued regular programmes instead of giving full live coverage to the first Turnbull-Shorten debate in Sydney, the editorial raged:
“… if she (Ms Guthrie) doesn’t bang heads over this indulgent and irresponsible decision she will probably never grasp the upper hand in what has clearly become a staff-run collective.” (The Australian, 17 May 2016)
Having spent more than 10 years as Rupert Murdoch’s senior legal and tax adviser in Sydney, London, Hong Kong and Singapore, Ms Guthrie is used to taking orders from the Dirty Digger. Will she comply with his pleasures again?

MI5’s helping hand to Musso

In 1917 Benito Mussolini, an expelled member of the Italian Socialist Party, received an unsolicitous but most welcome gift from Britain’s spy agency, MI5.
The 34-year-old political activist was put on MI5’s secret payroll to the tune of £100. In today’s money, that’s equivalent to £6,000 a week.
MI5’s cash injection enabled Mussolini to expand the circulation of his nationalist newspaper, Il Popolo d’Italia, and turn him into an influential political player. He also received funds from the Italian armaments manufacturer Ansaldo for his pro-war agitation.
His secretly subsidised newspaper gave him the voice to found the Italian Fascist Party in 1919, become the country’s dictator in 1925, join Adolf Hitler’s Axis in the 1930s, invade Abyssinia and exterminate Italy’s Jews.
In the long agony of Il Duce’s rule – from the 1922 March on Rome to his execution by partisans in 1945 – about two million Italians were killed and tens of thousands were arrested, tortured and imprisoned.
Thank you MI5!
Mussolini’s MI5 handler was Tory MP Samuel Hoare who ran an office of 100 intelligence officers exposing communists, socialists, pacifists and radicals.
Hoare had been appointed the agency’s point man in Rome after an assignment in Russia campaigning – unsuccessfully – against the Bolsheviks and supporting the Czar’s decrepit throne.
In placing Mussolini on the payroll, Hoare suggested that the editor’s street gangs might be used to “rough up” anti-war demonstrators and persuade them to stay at home. The Blackshirts, founded in 1919, duly obliged.
On return to London, Hoare resumed his career in the House of Commons as MP for Chelsea and the senior MI5 figure at Westminster.

Hoare by name …

Promoted to Foreign Secretary in 1935 by Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, Hoare negotiated with French Prime Minister Pierre Laval to approve Mussolini’s invasion and annexation of Abyssinia (now Ethiopia). The Hoare-Laval Pact which granted Italian fascist sovereignty over stolen Abyssinian territory created a storm of protest in Britain. Hoare’s position became untenable and he was sacked.
When his successor Anthony Eden was sworn in, King George V remarked: “No more coals to Newcastle, no more Hoares to Paris.”
Hoare was despatched to Madrid during World War II with the job of dissuading the fascist dictator General Franco from officially joining Hitler’s Axis. He largely succeeded by asking Franco to remain “neutral” and allowing both the Allies and the Axis to accept Spain’s hospitality.
After the war he became Viscount Templewood and sat in the House of Lords, but he was forever marked down as an appeaser and pro-fascist.
He married Lady Maud Lygon, youngest daughter of the 6th Earl Beauchamp. Their marriage was childless.
I wonder how many of today’s politicians are furnished with lucrative remunerations from foreign security services? We know the South African apartheid regime paid millions of dollars to politicians, journalists and academics to protect their barbarous racism – the secretive operation became known as “Muldergate” – and today’s apartheid practitioners in Zionist-dominated Israel are doing the same thing.

CIA role in Mandela’s arrest

A former CIA agent has made a deathbed confession of the agency’s primary role in the arrest of Nelson Mandela in August 1962.
The African National Congress leader was on the run from the police when he was arrested travelling in a car from Durban to Johannesburg.
They had received a tip-off from resident CIA agents about the “Black Pimpernel” who was acting as a chauffeur for a white theatre director Denis Goldberg when the cops descended.
Two weeks before his death at the ago of 88, CIA agent Donald Rickard remained proud of the agency’s role. “We were tinkering on the brink here and it had be stopped which meant Mandela had to be stopped,” Rickard said. “And I put a stop to it.”
CIA station chief Paul Eckel who died in 1986 said that Mandela’s arrest was the agency’s “greatest coup”.
Other agents would contest this view. They believe that assisting in the murder of Che Guevara in Bolivia in 1967 was a bigger triumph.
Mandela was released from prison in February 1990 after 27 years’ incarceration. In his memoir released in 1994 Mandela wrote about his arrest: “I suspected they (the police) had information that I was in Durban at the time. The movement had been infiltrated with informers, and even well-intentioned people were generally not as tight-lipped as they should have been. Was it an informer in Durban? Someone from Johannesburg? Someone from the movement? Or even a friend or member of the family?”
Mandela brushed aside his anxieties because “speculation about unknowns is futile”. (Long Walk To Freedom by Nelson Mandela)
In June 1990 Mandela made his first visit to the United States where he was greeted by President George W Bush Snr, a former director of the CIA.
How’s that for cruel irony?