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Cablegate: Media Reaction Report - Alleged Cia Secret Prisons

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 PARIS 008116

SIPDIS


DEPT FOR INR/R/MR; IIP/RW; IIP/RNY; BBG/VOA; IIP/WEU; AF/PA;
EUR/WE /P/SP; D/C (MCCOO); EUR/PA; INR/P; INR/EUC; PM; OSC ISA
FOR ILN; NEA; WHITE HOUSE FOR NSC/WEUROPE; DOC FOR ITA/EUR/FR
AND PASS USTR/PA; USINCEUR FOR PAO; NATO/PA; MOSCOW/PA;
ROME/PA; USVIENNA FOR USDEL OSCE.

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR FR
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION REPORT - Alleged CIA Secret Prisons
President Bush and His Iraq Policy Iran- U.S.-Azerbaijan
Relations EuroMed- Europe Vs U.S. The French Social Model Seen
From the U.S.
PARIS - Wednesday, November 30, 2005

(A) SUBJECTS COVERED IN TODAY'S REPORT:

Alleged CIA Secret Prisons
President Bush and His Iraq Policy
Iran- U.S.-Azerbaijan Relations
EuroMed- Europe Vs U.S.
The French Social Model Seen From the U.S.

B) SUMMARY OF COVERAGE:

The allegations of CIA secret prisons in Europe, the Council
of Europe's request that Washington give explanations, as well
as Secretary Rice and Porter Gross's responses are prominently
reported in Le Monde, Le Figaro and Liberation. (See Part C)

President Bush's Iraq policy is termed a "fiasco" by Daniel
Vernet in Le Monde (See Part C) while Liberation interviews
Iraqi Foreign Affairs Minister Zebari who is on an official
visit to Paris: "Arab nations are taking an interest in Iraq
once more, after two years of indifference. They fear that
Iraq might become a haven for a coalition of terrorists that
will then turn against Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.
Allawi's recent comments in the European press are
unfortunate. He is sending the wrong message to the people of
Iraq and to our friends. We have excellent relations with
Paris: what divided us is part of the past."

The "disappointing" conclusion of the EuroMed summit elicits a
commentary from political analyst Alain Barluet in Le Figaro
in which he notes the competition between Europe and the U.S.
for that region of the world and concludes: "Arab nations,
which are pragmatic, know that the future of their region
resides more in Washington than in Barcelona." (See Part C) In
Catholic La Croix Agnes Rotivel interviews researcher Dorothee
Schmid: "Between the U.S., the Europeans and the Arab world,
the major subject of discussion is the evolution of the
regimes and democratization. The day the subject was
introduced it turned into a handicap. Nations are not willing
to be caught by surprise or ignored over this issue. They feel
that they are being sold political reforms, but indirectly.
After 9/11, the notion of partnership was turned into a
security tool by the Europeans. It is unfortunate because the
partnerships have been undermined by mistrust, even if on a
bilateral level they seem to work."
Le Figaro carries an op-ed by Ken Weinstein of the Hudson
Institute criticizing the French social model, President
Chirac's response to the recent suburban unrest and urging the
French to regain their self-confidence. (See Part C)

(C) SUPPORTING TEXT/BLOCK QUOTES:

Alleged CIA Secret Prisons

"Brussels Threatens Nations that Might Harbor CIA Prisons."
Jean-Pierre Stroobants in left-of-center Le Monde (11/30):
"Franco Frattini, the EU Commissioner in charge of justice and
security issues said on Monday he asked the White House and
the State Department for explanations regarding the alleged
existence of CIA secret prisons in Europe. Frattini threatened
to take away from EU member states, which may have harbored
such detention centers, the right to vote. The European
Commission, which was very cautious at first, has changed the
tone of its remarks. Since then justice departments in several
countries have asked for investigations and confirmed the use
of local airports as a stopover for CIA flights, possibly tied
to illegal detention and torture of presumed Islamic
terrorists. The Council of Europe is investigating. Frattini
indicated that the Treaty of Nice requires that member states
respect fundamental liberties and human rights. Article 7
gives the Council the prerogative to deprive them of their
right to vote. According to the European administration,
Washington is said to have asked for a delay in order to
formally answer Brussels's requests. `There is unfortunately
no assurance yet' that these prisons do not exist, said
Frattini, who indicated that he did not know when Washington
would respond to his request. Europe's attitude will depend on
the length of time Washington will take in answering, he
added. If these prisons exist, Frattini said, `severe
sanctions' would be requested against those responsible. The
subject is sure to come up next week when Secretary Rice
travels to Europe."

"The Europeans Worried About CIA Secret Prisons"
Jean Quatremer in left-of-center Liberation (11/30): "It is
not an explicit confirmation, but it is close. Asked about the
existence of these secret prisons, the CIA Director, Porter
Gross answered in a roundabout way that `the U.S. is at war
against terrorism.' while Sean McCormack recognized the
validity of Europe's questions. He also said the U.S. would
answer `in as honest a manner as possible.' Secretary Rice who
is expected in Europe next week assured her German counterpart
she would answer the questions that the British EU Presidency
would be asking. The Europeans' attention to the issue has
been growing. and lately the EU has begun to take the stories
very seriously. After having first underestimated the affair,
the European authorities are now wondering whether some
capitals did not effectively push their collaboration with
Washington a little too far. Franco Frattini has raised his
voice and invoked article 7: but to implement it, proof is
needed that it was violated. Several political groups within
the European Parliament are demanding the creation of an
inquiry commission, even if the EU does not have the
competency to investigate member nations. But this is not the
case of the Council of Europe."

"CIA Secret Prisons: Washington Is Not Denying Them"
Right-of-center Le Figaro (11/30): "Secretary Rice who is
expected in Europe next week will most probably have to give
explanations about the secret activities of the CIA in Europe.
The CIA's Porter Gross has neither confirmed nor denied the
accusations. although he adamantly denied that the U.S. makes
use of torture, while avoiding to define `torture.'"

President Bush and His Iraq Policy

"Fukuyama, Bush and `Realistic Wilsonism'"
Daniel Vernet in left-of-center Le Monde (11/30): "The Iraqi
expedition is a fiasco. It was started under a false pretext.
President Bush managed to trigger exactly what he was trying
to avoid. He did not find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq,
but the American intervention has provoked an armed
insurrection led by Bin Laden's allies and the Baath party.
His unilateral policy has contributed in isolating the U.S.
from the rest of the world and triggered feelings of anti-
Americanism. The results are catastrophic. William Kristol and
Lawrence Kaplan said in 2002 `Our Road Starts in Baghdad.' It
is more likely that it will end there. Is this the result of a
failed neo-conservative policy, or has President Bush misused
its principles? For Francis Fukuyama, it makes no difference."

Iran- U.S.-Azerbaijan Relations

"Washington and Tehran Rival For Azerbaijan"
Delphine Minoui in right-of-center Le Figaro (11/30): "Iran is
worried about Washington's presence in Azerbaijan. The purpose
of this U.S. military presence is barely hidden and aims
essentially to control Iran. The Azeri Republic is at the
heart of a battle for influence opposing Iran and the U.S.
Rumors indicate that military bases will soon be built on the
Iranian border. While officially Baku denies such military
cooperation, evidence proves otherwise. America's neo-
conservatives, who favor a change of regime in Iran, are also
interested in the Azeri separatist movement in Iran, which
could be used as a destabilizing force against Tehran's
regime. The recent radical stance adopted by Iran's President
could also influence the Americans towards a more acute
presence in Azerbaijan."

EuroMed- Europe Vs U.S.
"Euro-Mediterranean Misunderstandings Linger"
Alain Barluet in right-of-center Le Figaro (11/30): "To say
that the Euro-Med summit was a disappointment is an
understatement. So much so that one wonders whether there is
more that separates the two sides of the Mediterranean than
brings them together. What is at stake is all the more crucial
because of the growing presence of the U.S. in the region. Of
course the Greater Middle East, stretching from Mauritania to
Pakistan, lacks cohesion and the millions spent by Washington
fall short of what EuroMed represents. EuroMed constitutes a
global partnership to which the members have adhered
willingly. This is the position put forward by diplomats who
want to minimize the impact of U.S. efforts in the region. But
the fact remains that despite the hatred elicited by President
Bush in the Arab world, Washington is scoring points. with
free trade agreements, training missions and scholarships.
Projects which the U.S. sometimes finances with European
funds. Our Mediterranean neighbors, who are pragmatic, are
lending their ears to the U.S. They know that the future of
their region resides more in Washington than in Barcelona."

The French Social Model Seen From the U.S.

"Changing the French Social Model"
Ken Weinstein of the Hudson Institute in right-of-center Le
Figaro (11/30): "The crisis France is experiencing is a deep,
moral, political and economic crisis. The prevailing pessimism
worries foreign observers. France is in the grips of self-
doubt. It is urgent for France to look into the failings of
its model. but it must go beyond a debate. The policy of
complacency implemented for years must operate a radical
shift. Elected to fight against France's `social fracture,'
President Chirac has not only aggravated the fracture, he has
hidden his failures with a grandiose and anti-American foreign
policy, which has helped to isolate France even more.
Solutions exist, but they require a will the President no
longer seems to possess. France must develop economic
opportunities for all citizens. The French system of social
protection should also be revised. The French must acknowledge
that its population of immigrant origins is also French
citizens. Mechanisms for social mobility must be re-enforced.
In this regard, we must salute Sarkozy's efforts. Short-term
measures will not be enough. The French must regain their self-
confidence when it comes to their country's influence,
nationally and internationally. If passivity and a wait and
see attitude take over, France's fate could become a concern
for its allies. If the French decide to shoulder their
responsibilities and tackle needed reforms, suburban violence
will have received the proper answer." STAPLETON

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