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Hungarian Opposition Demands Probe Over Use Of NATO Funds

"In an interview on RTL Klub commercial television, Szokolay calculated that the paper swallowed ...[$31,200 US a year] from the fund set up by NATO to provide information on the alliance.

"'If the allegations are proved, this would be an international scandal,' opposition Socialist Member of Parliament Ferenc Juhasz, the deputy head of Parliament's defense committee, told AFP''. (From the Agence France Presse story, below)

[A thought from Emperor's Clothes: if giving a newspaper in Hungary $31,200 a year is an "international scandal" what do you call it when the U.S.A. spends tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars funding newspapers, civic organizations, economists' groups, political parties, newspapers, radio stations, TV stations, peace groups, polling organizations, political training and consulting firms, Websites, terrorist organizations, student groups, professional organizations, elelectoral watchdog groups, trade unions, schools and coup d'états in Yugoslavia?

Thanks to Rick Rozoff for the following. ]

BUDAPEST, Oct 4, 2000 -- (Agence France Presse) Hungary's largest opposition party ordered an investigation Tuesday into charges that NATO funds were used to support the newspaper of one of the country's ruling parties.

Former defense ministry spokesman Zoltan Szokolay declared he was sacked after just three weeks in the post because he objected to the use of NATO funds to support Kis Ujsag (small journal), the paper of the ruling conservative coalition's second largest member, the Independent Smallholders' Party.

In an interview on RTL Klub commercial television, Szokolay calculated that the paper swallowed 80 percent of the annual HUF 10 million (EUR 37,000, USD 32,800) from the fund set up by NATO to provide information on the alliance.

"If the allegations are proved, this would be an international scandal," opposition Socialist Member of Parliament Ferenc Juhasz, the deputy head of Parliament's defense committee, told AFP.

The paper received HUF 800,000 (EUR almost 3,000, USD 2,600) per month from the ministry through a company based in the Smallholders' Budapest headquarters, Szokolay charged, noting that the funds had originally been allocated in order "to make NATO more popular".

The publisher of 'Kis Ujsag' Smallholder MP Bela Horvath, has denied the charges.

"The paper did not receive a penny from the ministry," he told state radio.

Meanwhile the ministry said in a statement that Szokolay was sacked because "he did not come up to the high moral standards needed for the job," as he "failed to mention" that in the early 1990s he had to resign as an MP after he voted both for himself and for an absent MP in Parliament.

((c) 2000 Agence France Presse) Reprinted for fair use only.

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