Independent from Long Beach, California on March 24, 1976 · Page 14
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Independent from Long Beach, California · Page 14

Long Beach, California
Issue Date:
Wednesday, March 24, 1976
Page 14
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INDEPENDENT PRESS-TELEGRAM 604 Pine Avenue, 90844 Telephone 435-1161 Hermon H. RkJder -- 1952-1969 Daniel H. Ridder---Editor and Publisher Samuel C. Cameron -- General Manager Miles E. Sines -- Executive Editor Larry Allison -- Managing Editor Don Ohl -- Edilor,Edilonal Page Bert Resnik--Assistant Managing Editor Don Nutler, Advertising Director E. H. Lowdermilk, Circulation Director Milton A. LOIIKIS, Production Manager YOU OFF WITH /s WARNIKICr x..TH]e_T!KAE B-2 LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA, WEDNESDAY, MARCH 24. 1976 Editorials Equal time for ads A R a l p h N a d e r consumer group has lost out in a novel legal case. Consumers can be graleful. N a d e r ' s P u b l i c Interest R e search Group argued that television stations should be present opposing points of view whenever they advertise products t h a t h a v e a "demonstrable adverse . . . impact" on health, safety or the environment. That sounds reasonable and desirable. But a look at the case on which the Nader people took t h e i r stand shows that the results would be pretty silly. The case involved a Maine television station that ran ads for snowmobiles. N a d e r ' s g r o u p argued t h a t snowmobiles spell trouble for users and for the environment. There is merit of a sort in t h e a r g u m e n t . Snowmobile users can get hurt if they aren't careful. And the snowmobiles are noisy intrusions on the quiet of a forest. But a case of that sort could be made in connection with a great m a n y television commercials. Suppose the station had carried commercials for a ski resort. Skiers can get hurt. And chair lifts mar mountain scenery. The list of products and services that have a demonstrably ad- verse effect on some users is a long one. Natural food advocates would put all processed foods on the list. The Sierra Club might put power companies on the list. Bicycles, automobiles, high-heeled shoes, aerosol sprays, chain saws and snare drums can all have adverse effects. But there would hardly be room on television for the programs if anyone with a reasonable quarrel w i t h a d v e r - tised products had the right to put on a counter-commercial. The Nader group took its argument to the Federal Communications Commission, which decided, sensibly enough, that the right of reply didn't come into play with commercials that were not aimed at influencing the public on controversial issues. The Supreme Court refused to review the case after a U.S. appeals court in Boston ruled against the Public Interest Research Group. Advertisers and television stations w i l l be pleased by t h a t outcome, of course. But consumers in general should be also, for they are now spared hours of counter-commercials that would probably be even more boring than t h e ads with which they argue. IRS quietly probing Montoya's tax records Segregated newsmen Congressional rules for three p r e s s groups--broadcast journalists, newspaper reporters, a n d ' photographers--provide p r e s s cards that admit the journalists to s p e c i a l g a l l e r i e s . T h e r u l e s prohibit those with press cards from engaging in lobbying. The rules for the fourth group --magazine correspondents--are also designed to keep lobbyists out. But an indirect method is used. The magazine gallery's rule bars reporters for nonprofit publications and even for money-making newsletters that arc not "supported chiefly by advertising." As a result, reporters for such magazines as Consumer Reports and Science are forced to cover debates from (he public galleries --where no one is permitted to take notes. CONSUMER REPORTS took the m a t t e r to court, w h e r e a federal d i s t r i c t judge ruled that t h e exclusion v i o l a t e d F i r s t Amendment rights. That decision was overturned by an appellate court, and the Supreme Court refused to review the case. As a constitutional m a t t e r , the appellate justices were correct, we think. We have never thought t h a t the First Amendment guarantees access to news events or gives reporters the right to take notes at the events. The First Amendment does guarantee the right to tell the public when its access to information is restricted. We trust Consumer Reports, Science and other affected journals will do t h a t . We're happy to add our voice to theirs-as, indeed, we did on M a r c h ·!, 1D7-1, when the issue arose. It strikes us as unbecoming t h a t correspondents f o r s u c h magazines as Time, Newsweek and U.S. News and World Report should be taking an active role, as they arc, in trying to limit the access of other m a g a z i n e journalists to congressional deliberations. The Time, Newsweek and U.S. News correspondents argue that they don't want press galleries o p e n e d to lobbyists for s u c h organizations as the N a t i o n a l Rifle Association, the American Medical Association, the AFL-CIO and the National Association of Manufacturers. The way to avoid that is to bar the galleries to lobbyists. But we don't see why the journals of the AMA or the National Rifle Association or any o t h e r s p e c i a l - i n t e r e s t g r o u p shouldn't be able to have their reporters s i t alongside the journalists from Modern Tire Dealer, Grocery Manufacturer and the Oil and Gas J o u r n a l . WASHINGTON--The Internal Revenue Service is conducting a quiet but exhaustive audit of the tax returns of Sen. Joseph Montoya, D-N.M., whose subcommittee oversees the IRS budget. It will 1« the first time his taxes have been thoroughly audited since 19150. Over this 25-year span, the senator has become a millionaire. The Justice Dept., meanwhile, has examined whether Internal Revenue Commissioner Donald Alexander intervened to block the auditing of Montoya's finances. The government attorneys have serious Anderson ufrfc Whliten reservations about Alexander's judgment in t l i e Montoya affair, but (hey have recommended that he not le prosecuted. Secretary of the Treasury William Simon personally advised the IRS to audit Montoya's tax returns. He made the suggestion pointedly after studying the results of two investigations which he ordered last fall. One was conducted by the IRS, the oilier by Treasury general counsel Richard Albrecht following a Washington Post story that Alexander had quashed the Montoya audits. AlbrcclU directed .1 painstaking study, involving more than 5i) interviews, of Mou- luya's returns and Alexander's actions. The findings were so detailed that the summary alone ran ill pages. The investigation produced Mule evidence of actual For Olga in Argentina, a life-and-death case WASHINGTON-The word has been almost the same about Olga Talamanlc for Hi months. "Soon," says the Slate Department aide, "soon she may be free." Miss Talamante, 26, of Gilroy. California, daughter of a farm labor family, and a graduate of the University of California at Santa Cruz, has been in an Argentine jail for [hose 16 months. Her crime, if any. was to be found in or about ,1 house in which Argentine police Unite v said they seized guns and subversive literature." She was found guilty of that charge under Argentina's state of emergency laws. Miss Talamante has maintained her innocence ami because she has appealed that charge she has not been freed for lime served. Tlii- Argentine logal system does not work the way the United Stales system does. There, as in many countries, you are guilty until proved innocent. And torture, if possibly illegal, is condoned. Miss Talamanle has said she was tortured shortly after her arrest. There is sunk' medical evidence that her claim is correct ami an Argentine judge, following his own iiivcsligalioi). said hi- could not "confirm or deny" that claim. The State Department was not told ol Miss Talamanle's arrest. It didn't le.irn of her plight until friends in the- United Stales expressed concern over her disappearance. Since then thv Slate Department has been in contact wilh her. seen her, and consulted with the Argentine government about her possible release M i s s T a l a - mante's friends do nol believe the Suite Department has done enough but it has done quili 1 a bit more than for most Americans imprisoned overseas In part the Stale Department has been spurred on by press inquiries and congressional inquires. THERE ARK A number of lessons to be learned in the Olga Talamante case: First, the ability of the Slate Department is limited in the aid i! ran provide American citizens in foreign jails, whelhcr they be innocent or nol. Second, while tbo criminal justice system here leaves 3 lot to be desired on occasions, don't expect any improvement overseas. Third, laws overseas are often much stricter than here, particularly in the areas of politics and rims*. The personal calamity has cost Olja Talamante 16-monihs n[ her life. In strife- lorn Argentina it could still cost her mon 1 , including her life. Her friends and her family has rallied around, bringing her parenis back here twice to plead her case. The State Department is working to see thai she is favd and then expelled from Argentina. It is still touch and go. and Argentina oonld orupl any day. For Olga Talamante, freedom is a life and death matter. wrongdoing by Alexander, but the report c i t e d n u m e r o u s "extenuating c i r c u m stances" and "erroneous assumptions." MONTOYA'S 1972 returns, for example, raised questions that clearly called for an audit. Alexander held off, however, because Montoya had been appointed to the Senate Watergate Committee, which was investigating then-President Nixon's misuse of the IRS. Any probe of Montoya at that time, Alexander decided, would look like retaliation. Nevertheless, Simon was so upset by the findings that he forwarded them to the Justice Depl. He also called the IRS and urged strongly that the senator's tax returns be audited for the past three years. The IRS immediately began a major investigation of Montoya's 1972 tax statement and also began checking the "audit potential" of his 1973 and 197.1 returns. Footnote: Sen. Montoya told us he had no! been notified that his tax returns were being audited. But he emphasized: "I do not fear an audit." Then he added that he planned a "thorough investigation" of IRS harassment of taxpayers " from California (o New York." AGNKW QUESTIONED: Spiro Agucw, the deposed vice president, has been questioned Ix'hind closed doors by the Senate Intelligence Committee about his role in J. E d g a r Hoover's vendetta against civil rights leaders and black militants. A memo turned up in the late FBI director's files reporting that Agnew hod solicited information about Dr. Martin l.n- ther King's disciples, Ihe Black Panthers and others on Hoover's hale list. The committee concluded after a brief investigation that Agnew hadn't participated in the Hoover campaign but had received FBI information on individuals Hoover considered to be un-American. Apparently, Ihe FBI chief wanted Agnew to use the FBI information to mount public attacks on these individuals Senate investigators cnn/rented Agnew with Ihese charges last October and arranged In question him in his office in C'rohon, Md. He was interviewed by committee counsel Lester Sidcl in the presence df Agnew attorney Judah Best. THE FORMER vice president staled unequivocally that Hoover's memo was wrong almut Ihe original approach. Agnew insisted he hadn't solicited FBI information from Hoover but that Hoover had approached him As Agnfvv recalled it. Hoover contacted him shortly after he took office in 1%9 and kept calling him. sometimes several limes a week. Agnew agreed with Hoover about the blac|[ militants and other r a d i - cals He was also disturbed over the black militant comic book that admonished children to "kill Ihe pigs." meaning to murder police. At first. Hoover spoke only of enlisting Agnew in a public campaign against terrorists but then began offering information on individuals, including nonradical black leaders such as Dr. Ralph Abcrnathy. AGNEW F.Xf'I.AINED that he expressed an inlcrest in seeing anjthing useful and the FBI data began to arrive in his office. He handled it as top-secret material, although most-of it consisted of old newspaper clips and court records, he said. The ev\ice president insisted that he had not used the material to attack Hoover's civil rights enemies. The committee's investigation also indicated that Agnew had no knowledge of the FBI's illicit opera- lions against Ihe black militants. Footnote Agnew's attorney. J u d a h Best, said Hoover's contention that Agnew made the first approach wasn't true. The Hoover memo was obviously intended to cover the FBI chief in case his gambit with the vice president was discovered, Best suggested. As for any Agnew involvement with dirty iricks against civil rights leaden-. Best said this was "just stuff and nonsense." Rhodesia: evolution., revolution? By JOHN MACLEAN Knighl News Service WASHINGTON --The sputter of small arms fire along the Rhodesia-Mozambique border threatens to become a siren call inviting big power conflict in Africa just as in Angola. But the accelerating fighting between blacks and whiles in southern Africa offers none of the simplicity of Angola, with its ripeness for quick victory. Instead, southern Africa holds (he prospect of drawn-out warfare, unhappy alliances and a bitlcr ending. For the United Stales, the fighting he- Iwccn black Rhodesian nationalists and Ihe white-supremist government of Ian Smith poses an excruciating problem. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has committed Ihe U.S. lo resist further incursions in Africa by Cuban troops and further Soviet "adventurism." WHAT IF CUBAN TROOPS armed wilh Soviet rockets and tanks lead the columns of black guerrillas out of Mozambique? For the U.S. lo step in on Ihe side of Rhodesia, even to the extent of strong moral support, would forever besmirch this nation with the label of racist as far black Africa is concerned. The loose cannon on the deck of Kissinger's opposition to (he Soviets is black Africa's hatred of white supremacy. For them, racism as exhibited in South Africa and Rhodesia is more real, more vile and more threatening than ever Ihe Russians have been. So the likelihood of the Soviets and Cubans rushing to the battle becomes a vital concern of U.S. policy makers. Already, Soviet, Cuban and Chinese military assistance has been pumped into Mozambique to aid nationalist rebels (raining there. But Ihe Cuban expeditionary ·j-;^ 'Hold still, I'm in Africa to help you!' force of 12,000 remains in Angola, an uninvited and perhaps reluctant party lo the current border clashes. The U.S. backs the primary goal of nationalists, the Rhodesian majority rule in Rhodesia w h e r e blacks outnumber whiles 20 lo 1. But the nationalists say majority rule must come quickly or full- scale war will become their policy. The U.S. urges a negotiated settlement. South Africa's Prime Minister John Vorsler has told Rhodesia nol to expect South African troops if guerrillas sweep in from Mozambique. THE SPUR which goaded Vorstcr into warning Rhodesian Premier Ian Smith was the victory of black nationalists over Portuguese colonialists in Mozambique, which attained independence last year. Unbuffered by white governments in any direction except south, Rhodesia faced an untenable situation, in Vorstcr's view. Despite Vorsler's urgings, Smith has sworn majority rule will'not come in his lifetime. Against such intransigence, talks between S m i t h and black nationalists which resumed in December offer little hope. The nationalist leaders have pledged unity among themselves. Bui their hold on political loyalties of the black masses was interrupted by detention and exile. The future leaders may now ho commanding guerrilla units, where moderation stands less of a chance. Those guerrillas, numbering 15.000 to 211.000. accept arms hut nol troops from the Soviets, Cubans and Chinese. So far they have decided lo fight independent of outside columns. US. government analysis believe lhat Ihe Rhodesian nationalists would have to suffer severe setbacks on the battlefield liefore t h e y would consider requesting Cuban troops and Soviet tanks. The Chinese, who have much influence in Mozambique, have advised against taking the sophisticated arms the Soviels offer. They believe the war can be won by individual fighters and political organization. Heavy fighting is not expected soon The six-month dry season begins in May. usually a time of decreased guerrilla action. Rhodesian regulars are far more mobile and effective in dry weather. THE CHOICE for U.S. diplomacy includes alternatives other lhan arming one side or the other. For example, the U.S. could offer lo help make up economic losses to Mozam hique incurred as a result of Mozambique's closing of its border wilh Rhodesia carlie this month. Mozambique has asked lo such assistance. Or Ihe U.S. could sponsor acceleralci negotiations, perhaps in partnership wit! the British who still legally hold Rhodcsi, as a colony, albeit an outlaw colony. Whether such actions would satisf) Kissinger's need to oppose the SovieU i another matter.

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