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Cablegate: Media Reaction; Attorney General Gonzalez's Resignation;

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DE RUEHBU #1701/01 2402226
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 282226Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9056
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2//
RULGPUA/USCOMSOLANT

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 001701

SIPDIS

STATE FOR INR/R/MR, I/GWHA, WHA, WHA/PDA, WHA/BSC,
WHA/EPSC
CDR USSOCOM FOR J-2 IAD/LAMA

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO OPRC KMDR PREL
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION; ATTORNEY GENERAL GONZALEZ'S RESIGNATION;
INTERNET WATCH OF ALLEGED CASTRO DEATH 08/28/07


1. SUMMARY STATEMENT

Key international stories today include the implications of Attorney
General Alberto Gonzles' resignation; and the alleged Fidel Castro
death watch on the Internet.

2. OPINION PIECES AND EDITORIALS

- "The White House's last line of defense"

Hugo Alconada Mon, Washington-based correspondent for
daily-of-record "La Nacisn," comments (08/28) "More than eight
high-ranking government officials have recently left the Bush
administration...

"Whether Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez stayed or fell took on
special importance... He was one of the last members left of Bush's
close entourage and he had arrived at the White House in 2001. And,
furthermore, he was one of the last 'big walls' separating the
president and his VP, Dick Cheney, from the Democrats' 'artillery.'

"With Rove, Gonzales, Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Lewis Libby, among
others, out of the government, from now until 2008 presidential
elections, the opposition's offensive will aim directly at the
president.

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"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said yesterday that the
investigation did not end with '(Gonzales') resignation. The US
Congress should go to the bottom of this mess and follow the facts
where they lead, into the White House.'

"Reid was referring to the ongoing legislative investigation over
the controversial removal of eight federal prosecutors for alleged
political and electioneering reasons. However, he was also referring
to something broader and more profound - the presidential powers
Bush attributed to himself.

"Gonzales was 'Mr. Yes', the man who never said no to a request from
Bush... In Gonzales' view, the September 11 attacks modified the US
reality. The government embarked then on a 'war on terrorism' and
amended its constitutional structure in a way that set off
short-circuits within the US and abroad.

"In January 2002, civil rights defenders repudiated (Gonzales') view
that some parts of the Geneva Convention about the treatment of war
prisoners were 'obsolete' and that some of its guidelines were
'picturesque' and, therefore, should not be implemented. There was
just a short distance between this and the creation and defense of
the Guantnamo prison or the Abu Ghraib scandal."

- "Harassed by scandals, US General Attorney resigns"

Ana Baron, Washington-based correspondent for leading "Clarn,"
writes (08/28) "Attorney General Alberto Gonzles, a personal friend
of US President George W. Bush, resigned yesterday, in one more sign
of how weakened the Republican administration is and of the growing
power of Democrats.

"Gonzlez was charged with having legally justified torture and a
no-warrant wiretapping program and he was in the middle of a scandal
for having organized the political removal of eight federal
prosecutors. Democrats had been asking for his resignation for
several weeks. However, during Bush's latest press conference, he
again said he still trusted Gonzles...

"... The truth is that since they became the majority on Capitol
Hill, Democrats are not willing to pardon anyone who played an
important role in planning the invasion of Iraq. And much less the
man who, in their view, infringed on human and civil rights to
justify the torture of Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib, the arrest of
suspects in clandestine prisons and the establishment of special
courts.

"Nonetheless, in the midst of a presidential election campaign and
fearful of been labeled as 'weak and cowardly' in the war on
terrorism, Democrats waited until the scandal over the purge of
eight federal prosecutors broke out to launch an offensive against
Gonzles."

- "Death watch blogging"

Liberal, English-language "Buenos Aires Herald" (08/28) carries an
opinion piece by Paul Scheltus, who writes "It's hardly news to
suggest that blogs, or the more explanatory word web-logs, are an
important source of news...

"An example that goes a long way to showing the importance of this

new medium is the recent Castro death watch... The most insistent
and by far the best known blogger was Prez Hilton, a Cuban-American
whose real name is Mario Armando Lavandeira who claimed with '100
percent' certainty that Castro had died...

"... The US participation on this virtual platform is overwhelming
for reasons of sheer wealth. But, although horribly expensive and
strictly controlled, Internet in Cuba itself has made online
commentary possible for those who live under its severe socialist
rule. One of those who claims to blog out of Cuba is 'Karamchand'
who related yesterday that as far as he (or she) knew, Fidel was not
dead. According to the author of Bitcora Cuban blog, the dictator
had undergone a tracheotomy and was in a critical state...

"This development is encouraging to say the least. The possibility
to exchange information freely is one of the best checks on power
there is. If this trend continues and more and more Latinos manage
to get online and in contact, soon it might not even matter if the
likes of Fidel Castro live or die. He, and his peers across the
region, be they leftist power-hungry presidents or rightwing
unflinching state governors, could simply be left behind."

To see more Buenos Aires reporting, visit our
classified website at:
http://www.state.sqov.gov/p/wha/buenosaires

WAYNE

© Scoop Media

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