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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Africa; Nato; Iraq; North

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 OTTAWA 002306

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CAN, WHA/PDA
WHITE HOUSE PASS NSC/WEUROPE, NSC/WHA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO KMDR OIIP OPRC CA
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: AFRICA; NATO; IRAQ; NORTH
KOREA; ICC

AFRICA
1. "Taylor's odious exit'
The liberal Toronto Star opined (8/12): "Charles Taylor
has finally been pried from power in Liberia, and
that's a relief. It offers hope, however faint, for the
3.3 million people who have endured 14 blood-spattered
years under his kleptocratic reign of terror first as a
warlord, then as president.... Yet welcome as his
ouster is, it offers no assurance that he will face a
United Nations war crimes indictment. A tribunal in
Sierra Leone says he bears the 'greatest
responsibility' for a 10-year war there in which
70,000 died. Taylor, who denies the charge, should have
been escorted from his Monrovia mansion straight into
the prosecutor's arms. Instead, he quit Liberia
yesterday seeking safe haven in Nigeria. If he finds
it, his removal will be an odious deal, made at too
high a price. Taylor was under U.N. indictment and
sanctions, some American pressure, and siege by rebels
who held 80 per cent of the country. His time was up.
There was no need to cut a deal letting him dodge
justice.... At a time when former Yugoslav leader
Slobodan Milosevic is on trial for war crimes and
Rwanda's prime minister Jean Kambanda has been jailed,
Taylor's pain-free exit is a blow to the U.N., to the
International Criminal Court and to the rule of law.
Peace talks among Liberia's warring factions may yet
result in a government that can put the worst days
behind. That would be a mercy. But the manner of
Taylor's removal exposes the international community's
spinelessness in failing to bring an indicted war
criminal to justice. It is a betrayal of his many
victims across West Africa. And it can only encourage
other lawless leaders."

NATO
2. "Putting things in order'
Under the sub-heading, "In a dangerous and unstable
world, NATO finds new purpose," the nationalist Ottawa
Citizen editorialized (8/12): "... The proliferation of
failed, or failing states, and the terrorists incubated
therein, have made NATO more necessary than ever. This
renewed purpose was demonstrated yesterday when, for
the first time in its 54-year existence,
NATO stepped beyond the borders of Europe and assumed
command of the 5,000-strong International Security
Assistance Force in Afghanistan.... Despite the rift
between the U.S. and 'old' Europe over Iraq, the
alliance's 19 members recognize that the U.S. can't
fight alone against fanatics trying to acquire nuclear
weapons. To those who object to 'defensive
imperialism,' we reply: The West will keep its armies
at home when the enemy stops training suicide bombers."

IRAQ
3. "Bush called Saddam's bluff"
Editorials editor Jonathan Kay commented in the
conservative National Post (8/7): "Evidence that Saddam
Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction
could theoretically emerge any day.... War supporters
have to prepare themselves for the eventual admission
that Iraq, as attacked, was likely WMD-free. This
admission should not be particularly toxic. The legal
basis for war was never that Saddam had WMDs, but that
he'd flouted the many Security Council resolutions
requiring him to come clean on inspections, and
that he had never accounted for the WMD precursor
materials we know he purchased. As for the moral
justification, it is already crystal clear.
Dozens of mass graves have been found, and thousands of
Iraqis have come forward to tell stories of torture and
unimaginable brutality under Saddam. The mere fact WMDs
aren't found won't change the reality that the
dictator's ouster has made the world, and Iraq in
particular, a far better place.... Why would a dictator
fool two major Western powers into invading his
country?... [T]he Iraqi dictator kept the world
guessing because he wanted to look strong in the eyes
of other nations.... Simply put, Saddam sought to
fool the world into thinking he still had a powerful
WMD program - and he succeeded brilliantly. Even the
intelligence agencies of France and Germany, whose
governments so vehemently opposed the war, believed
Saddam was hiding something. Through his ruse, Saddam
forced Messrs. Blair and Bush to decide between war and
acceptance of the risk that Iraq's madman really was
building deadly toys. Faced with this choice, and given
the information they had, the two leaders correctly
concluded the costs of inaction far outweighed the
costs of military conflict. Thus was a just war fought
and won, no matter what the victors find in the sand."

4. "What language is U.S. speaking in Iraq?"
Editorial page editor emeritus Haroon Siddiqui observed
in the liberal Toronto Star (8/11): "One cringes on
hearing some Americans analyze non-Americans.... What
planet do these Americans live on? Or are they so
preoccupied spinning propaganda that they have no sense
of reality? Or is it that they just don't care what
anyone thinks beyond their core constituency of fellow
citizens and foreign fellow travellers? So monumental
has the mismanagement of post-Iraq been that essential
services and law and order are still not back to pre-
war levels. Looting has given way to carjacking and
kidnapping. Iraqi frustrations over rampant crime have
the eerie echo of
women in U.S.-controlled Afghanistan who lately have
been complaining that, under the Taliban, they were at
least safe from rape. The Americans are operating in
chaotic conditions under which many are getting killed.
But they have contributed to the chaos by being ill-
prepared for post-war Iraq, by being culturally
clueless and trigger-happy.... The bombing of the
Jordanian embassy in Baghdad Thursday had the stamp of
Al Qaeda terrorism. If so, the Americans have been
going after the wrong people on false assumptions and
weak intelligence.... American forces have been given
the benefit of the doubt because they've been facing
guerrilla attacks. But their actions and, in fact,
their entire approach to the occupation raise
disturbing questions, summarized in what Iraqis most
often ask visitors: 'How do Americans think of us, as
Iraqis or as animals? Why do they treat us like
cattle?'"

NORTH KOREA
5. "Next stop, North Korea?"
The leading Globe and Mail opined (8/11): "Is the
United States starting to prepare for war against North
Korea? One might think so, considering the
sabre-rattling in Washington even as the American
military is fully engaged in Iraq. The latest warning
came last week from James Woolsey, a former CIA
director.... The prospect will strike many observers as
the height of folly - how, for a start, would the U.S.
expect China to react to an American invasion next
door? - but in some quarters in Washington it is being
taken very seriously. Mr. Woolsey, who is thought to
reflect much Pentagon thinking, was an early proponent
of an invasion of Iraq. That he has turned his
attention to North Korea is hardly insignificant.... To
what degree, however, is this merely geopolitical
gamesmanship? The blunt talk is
occurring when there is also tangible progress in
diplomatic efforts to negotiate an end to the
impasse..... The six-party talks, expected to begin
this month or early in September, should clarify
matters. Some form of non-aggression agreement is
certain to be opposed by those in Washington who
are convinced regime change is as legitimate an
objective in North Korea as in Iraq. And, they point
out, any deal to shut down North Korea's nuclear
facilities will be only as good as the verification
process. It will have to include sweeping inspections,
given North Korea's history of duplicity. Still, a
multilateral pact appears significantly more attainable
now than just a few months ago, and would be infinitely
preferable to a war that might result in a loss of life
not unlike what occurred 50 years ago in the Korean
War. As long as progress is being made at the
negotiating table to blunt the threat from North Korea,
it should be pursued with full effort."

ICC
6. "In dire need of international court"
London-based independent journalist Gwynne Dyer wrote
in the liberal Toronto Star (8/11): "...Current
attempts to bring genocidal killers to justice around
the world are scattered and stumbling. Cambodia has
just announced that only the 10 most senior surviving
Khmer Rouge leaders will stand trial for the slaughter
of the killing fields that cost 1.7 million lives in
the late '70s.... Or look at the U.S. and British
attempts to remove Carla Del Ponte as chief prosecutor
for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. The
stated reason is because she is too busy as chief
prosecutor for former Yugoslavia, but it's really about
stopping her from expanding the indictments beyond
members of the former Hutu government to include
members of the current Tutsi-led government of
Rwanda.... If no permanent and independent body has the
authority to deal with this sort of crime, then it
will be politics that decides who is punished and who
gets off. The International Criminal Court, which came
into formal legal existence on July 1, 2002, was
designed to move the world on from that primitive
system. But it is under heavy assault by the current
U.S. administration, which loathes the very idea of the
ICC. Why? The United States says it fears that American
service personnel engaged in international peacekeeping
operations might become victims of nuisance
prosecutions brought by the ICC, whose judges it does
not control.... The ICC has become an obsession of the
Bush administration, which sees all international
structures that are beyond Washington's control as
potentially hostile curbs on the exercise of American
power. Latterly, Washington has even been cutting
military aid to poor countries that refuse to sign
treaties promising never to hand American
personnel over to the ICC. Yet the ICC is up and
running. Its 18 judges - distinguished jurists from 18
different countries - were selected last year,
and chief prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo, a former
prosecutor of the Argentine junta, was inaugurated in
June.... It will take time for the ICC to have an
impact, because it cannot deal with crimes committed
before July, 2002. It will take even more time because
of American attempts to sabotage it, but since U.S.
hostility is driven by ideology rather than national
interest, that could change as soon as the next
administration. The goal is to create a single standard
and a single authority for dealing with
genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity when
local governments are unable or unwilling to act. Ten
years from now we will probably be a lot closer to that
goal."

CELLUCCI

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