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Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S., Iran, U.S.-Russia, China-Uk,

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ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 311336Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6151
INFO RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
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RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0590
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1106
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RHMFIUU/HQ USAFE RAMSTEIN AB GE
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE//J5 DIRECTORATE (MC)//
RHMFISS/CDRUSAREUR HEIDELBERG GE
RUKAAKC/UDITDUSAREUR HEIDELBERG GE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 06 BERLIN 001629

STATE FOR INR/R/MR, EUR/PAPD, EUR/PPA, EUR/CE, INR/EUC, INR/P,
SECDEF FOR USDP/ISA/DSAA, DIA FOR DC-4A

VIENNA FOR CSBM, CSCE, PAA

"PERISHABLE INFORMATION -- DO NOT SERVICE"

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E.0. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR US IR RS UK AF
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: U.S., IRAN, U.S.-RUSSIA, CHINA-UK,
GERMANY-
AFGHANISTAN;BERLIN

1. Lead Stories Summary
2. (U.S.) Aftermath of Failed Terrorist Attack, Debate in
Germany
3. (Iran) Protests, Ahmadinejad Remarks
4. (U.S.-Russia) START talks, Putin Remarks
5. (China) Execution of British National
6. (Germany-Afghanistan) Afghanistan Conference


1. Lead Stories Summary

Print media led with reports on the debate in Germany over the
introduction of full-body scanners at German airports. Other
stories
include China's execution of a British national and falling hotel
prices. Editorials focused on the same issues. ZDF-TV's early
evening newscast heute and ARD-TV's early evening newscast
Tagesschau
opened with reports on tougher security measures at German airports

following the failed attack in Detroit.

2. (U.S.) Aftermath of Failed Terrorist Attack, Debate in
Germany

All papers (12/30) continue to discuss the impact of the failed
terrorist attack in Detroit. The discussion in Germany is now
focusing on whether the introduction of full-body scanners would
violate the privacy rights of passengers and whether they are safe.

Sueddeutsche Zeitung, however, criticized President Obama's reaction

to the attack: "President Obama hesitated three days before he
reassured the U.S. public. This period was clearly too long. A
nation that can easily be alarmed in the era of a constant exposure
to
news simply needs the reassurance of their president that everything

is under control. But Obama and his advisors have underestimated
this
need. The consequence is that [opposition politicians] can now
ridicule this government in such a highly sensitive issue.... But
it
was the predecessor government that introduced the current system.

The annoying thing is that the laudable calm in dealing with the
terror danger is now being used to assail the president and his
government. Now he must reject the false view that he is too soft
in
the fight against terror. Obama could hardly look worse in this
affair."

Die Welt (12/30) judged in a front-page editorial: "Privacy finds
its
limits when the life of others is at risk, and that is the case in
this matter. People who are worried and put their privacy above the

lives of others should not underestimate the extent to which Germans

would like to stay alive. Those who are more afraid of a full body

scanner than of an air crash live in a world that is not a real."

National radio station Deutschlandfunk (12/29) commented: "This
failed
terrorist attempt showed one thing: Al-Qaida continues to be a great


BERLIN 00001629 002 OF 006


danger; its fighters continue to look for new ways and tricks on how

to hit the hated western world. It is a race that the western
community of nations is about to lose if security gaps are not
finally
closed with first-rate technology. All sides involved must be aware

of the fact that the privacy rights of individuals must always be on

the agenda. And it must also be clear that the facts of
international
terrorism are not affected by these security considerations."

In an editorial Sueddeutsche Zeitung (12/30) had this to say: "The
excitement in politics about the scanning of people is only half as

great as it was a year ago. The uniform rejection has turned into a

'let's look-how-it-works.' Security experts increasingly avoid the

term 'naked' [full body scanners are called 'naked scanners in
Germany]. The naked scanning is now called body scanning. We hear

the message but still do not believe in what the experts say. With

such announcements, this scanning is being minimized. In security
policy we are witnessing a gross generalization of things that were

unthinkable a while ago."

Berliner Zeitung (12/30) is critical of the new scanners and judged:

"Experts are threatening that, without "naked" scanners,
embarrassing
body searches would be necessary, and that is why the scanner would
be
a clean, acceptable alternative. And those who react to these
arguments...with abstract terms such as basic rights and human
dignity
are considered naQve dreamers. Long ago, the majority of people
also
accepted restrictions of their individual freedoms and rights in the

name of security. It is certainly right that all decisions be
based
on laws. But we should be allowed to remind everyone of the fact
that
the perception of such steps has changed. Only a while ago, such
practices were considered excesses of dictatorships and their craze
to
control and monitor everything and everyone."

Regional daily Neue Osnabrcker Zeitung (12/30) argued: "In the
political jargon, the naked scanner has turned into a full body
scanner. The new wording shows the future direction. [Even the FDP]

is now arguing that the scanner gives no reason for concern as long
as
human dignity is preserved. But the FDP or the supporters of this
technology do not say how this can happen. That is why it would be
good if they concentrated on the things that are feasible. We want
to
remind everyone that the attacker from Amsterdam would have been
discovered if he had been intensely searched - without a naked
scanner. The vigilance of everyone at the security gates counts....
If
this technology really allowed controls without degradation, it may

BERLIN 00001629 003 OF 006


be
used as a supplementary measure. But today's naked scanners are not

compatible with human dignity and the change of terminology cannot
obscure this fact."

3. (Iran) Protests, Ahmadinejad Remarks

In an editorial, Frankfurter Allgemeine (12/30) argued: "Unimpressed

by international protests, the regime in Tehran intensifies the
repression against supporters of the opposition. The increasingly
brutal response against regime critics shows the gravity of the
threat
the ruling caste perceives in the protests. Such a process can
hardly
be influenced from abroad, but western policy is not condemned to
idly
watch events either. The head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of
the
Bundestag, Ruprecht Polenz, made a proposal that should be
introduced
into talks to coordinate an international reaction: restrict the
travel possibilities of members of the Iranian security apparatus.

This should not be the only restriction, but it would be a necessary

step to isolate the Tehran regime."

Sueddeutsche Zeitung (12/30) observed: "Sanctions must primarily
serve
as a replacement for a military strike which Europe and America are

not seriously considering, because it would destabilize the Gulf
states and jeopardize the recovery of the global economy. Iran's
economy is not well off. It is hard to say to what extent the
current
sanctions contributed to this, since Ahmadinejad's botched policy
also
contributed to this misery. At least the boycott has made many
goods
more expensive. It is uncertain whether future boycotts will have a

greater effect. Russia and China must also support it. Travel
restrictions would have only minor effects, since military officials

and arms technicians only visit neighboring countries."

In the opinion of Financial Times Deutschland (12/30), "It is self
evident that President Obama, Foreign Secretary Miliband, and
Chancellor Merkel have criticized the brute moves of Iran's security

forces. The words of western politicians are a signal to the
reformers in Iran that the major part of the West is on its side.
But
they are no more than words. What will now happen in Iran is in the

hands of the Iranian leadership and the opposition reformist forces,

not in Obama and Merkel's hands. Still, the West should not stop
supporting the reformers and the larger their base the better.
Americans and Europeans should try to prompt Russia and non-Western

states to condemn the violence of the Iranian regime. This would
take
away a central argument of the regime that the protests are
controlled

BERLIN 00001629 004 OF 006


by the West. In addition, the West should approve clearly targeted
sanctions. Travel bans and a freeze of business relations could be
reasonable."

Weekly Die Zeit had this to say: "The Iranian regime is also able to

take advantage of Twitter and Cloud computing...but nevertheless it
was
unable to suppress the second Iranian revolution. It is surviving
on
the most powerful revolution since the industrial revolution: that
of
information."

4. (U.S.-Russia) START talks, Putin Remarks

According to Frankfurter Allgemeine (12/30), "Russia continues to
pin
its hopes on a strategic parity with the United States. The START
talks have progressed to such a degree that they could be concluded

soon. But obviously, Moscow does not follow President Obama's
reasoning, that this agreement serve primarily as the beginning of
further disarmament steps and as a strengthening of the NPT regime.

Russia now wants to develop new offensive weapons. But it would be

better if both sides continued to negotiate. And this all the more

so, because Obama and Putin agreed before to address the problems of

both offensive and defensive systems."

5. (China) Execution of British National

All papers (12/30) carried extensive coverage of the execution of
British national Akhmal Shaikh. Frankfurter Allgemeine led with the

headline: "China Allows Execution of British National," while
Sueddeutsche Zeitung headlined: "Shock at Fatal Injection For
British
National." The daily wrote that it is the "first time since 1951
that
China executed a foreigner. The execution again cast a light on
China's execution practices. According to Amnesty International in

2007 alone, China allegedly executed 7003 people. The majority of
trials against these people took place behind closed doors."
Financial Times Deutschland reported under the headline: "Execution
in
China Angers the British," and wrote that the execution of a British

national has caused serious diplomatic tensions between China and
the
UK. PM Gordon Brown condemned the execution and said he was
appalled
that calls for mercy went unheard."

Frankfurter Allgemeine (12/30) opined: "China likes to ignore
Western
wishes and requests. At COP15 it acted as a climate saboteur; a
dissident received a long prison sentence, and now a Briton was
executed. Obviously, the powers-that-be are unable to walk because

they fell so strong. Americans and Europeans are now finding out
what
this is like. And if they dare to protest, they are beaten with the

BERLIN 00001629 005 OF 006

'respect-of-our-sovereignty' stick. This execution reveals the vast

difference in the legal systems - and China's contempt of the
West."

Sueddeutsche Zeitung (12/30) editorialized under the headline: "The

Injured Vast Empire," that "China does not know any balance in
international relations. The leadership often lacks diplomatic
pliancy. Honor and pride are all of a sudden important, even though

they are unsuited standards for political success. China refuses to

tolerate any criticism if an opposition politician is sentenced to a

long jail term. A spokeswoman complains about interference if the
circumstances of an execution should be investigated. The political

leadership is boycotting others who receive the Dalai Lama. But the

outrage will not go away. On the contrary, China is now rapidly
experiencing what it means to be an unloved hegemon."

Bild-Zeitung (12/30) judged: "Again, the Chinese regime showed its
ugly, brutal face...and again the outrage is only mild. Why?
Because
no one wants to burden relations with China? China has been
convinced
for a long time that it can dictate its conditions to the West,
ranging from climate protection to the treatment of the Dalai Lama.

But every day, more than 100 people are executed in China...human
rights
are trampled on. But we need not simply accept this! China needs
many more lessons in democracy. But it will get this only if the
international community cohesively exerts pressure on China -
politically and economically."

Regional daily Braunschweiger Zeitung (12/30) argued: "The Chinese
Foreign Ministry calls accusations from London unfounded and calls
upon the British to correct their abnormal behavior to avoid a
danger
to Anglo-Chinese relations. This is the usual approach that the
Asian
power always uses if does not like the response from another nation.

The case of the Briton must draw the attention to the fact that
China
executes hundreds of people every year and that Chinese justice
authorities consider themselves the tough arm of the state power.
It
is a mockery that western experts again and again point to great
progress in the new global power, as long as human rights are
violated
and as long as it is part of every day life that [justice
authorities]
make short work of people."

According to Westdeutsche Zeitung of Dsseldorf (12/30), "it would
be
naQve to think that the protests of human rights organizations would

change the situation in China. The Chinese reaction is only a cold

smile. The regime acts in a much too self-confident way on the
global

BERLIN 00001629 006 OF 006


stage, and the COP15 demonstrated this again. China will by no
means
turn into a state according to the western understanding of
democracy
only because it once signed a UN Convention on Civil Rights.
Unfortunately, this is reality."

6. (Germany-Afghanistan) Afghanistan Conference

Sueddeutsche Zeitung (12/30) deals in a lengthy editorial with
Germany's loyalty to its alliances and noted: "No one is accusing
Germany of not being tormenting with the question of whether and
when
it would be willing to use military force after the events in
Kunduz.
But this naval-gazing is now irritating Germany's partners in the EU

and in NATO, and we hear voices saying that one cannot count on
Germany once the going gets tough; that Germany likes to enjoy the
protection of NATO but will not be a reliable partner if other
members
ask for support. There are growing doubts about Germany's loyalty
to
the alliance. If it was the goal of the Berlin government to
confuse
its partners, then it was Foreign Minister Westerwelle, who
defiantly
and childishly threatened to boycott the Afghanistan conference in
London. But the Social Democrats also contribute to this because
they look at Afghanistan primarily from a domestic point of view....
In
the future, the EU will be asked to play a more important role in
foreign and security policy whether it wants to or not. For
Germany,
it is not an alternative to focus on itself. If it does not want to

react but wants to act, it must be proactive, using everything that
is
necessary. Such self-contemplation may be important for a
parliamentary fact finding committee looking into the events in
Kunduz, but as far as international matters are concerned, it is
much
more important for the Berlin government not only to show up at the

conference in London but also to present its strategic
considerations.
And, of course, the number of German troops matters. The security
situation in Afghanistan requires this. And this is what the allies

and partners expect Germany to do. They want clarity about whether

Germany is a reliable partner in this difficult situation."

DELAWIE

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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