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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Us, Afghanistan, Terrorism, U.S.

VZCZCXRO2477
RR RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHLZ
DE RUEHRL #0016/01 0071316
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 071316Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6213
INFO RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 1898
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0620
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1137
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2642
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 1663
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 0826
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 000016

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"

SIPDIS

E.0. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AF PTER US KGHG
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: US, AFGHANISTAN, TERRORISM, U.S.
ENVIRONMENT;BERLIN

1. Lead Stories Summary
2. (U.S.) Obama-Intelligence Services Meeting
3. (Afghanistan) Run-up to London Conference
4. (U.S.) Guant namo, Yemen
5. (U.S.) Obama Policy
6. (Environment) Climate Policy


1. Lead Stories Summary

ZDF-TV's early evening newscast Heute opened with a story on the
technical problems German banks and customers are having with flawed

cash cards and ARD-TV's early evening newscast Tagesschau opened
with
a story on the FDP's Epiphany meeting in Stuttgart. Frankfurter
Allgemeine also led with a story on the FDP, headlining:
"Westerwelle:
We stay on course." Sddeutsche and Frankfurter Rundschau led with

the ongoing controversy over the role of the German Federal
Association of Expellees. Tagesspiegel led with AfPak Envoy
Holbrooke's interview with Die Zeit. Berliner Zeitung highlighted
that children living with single parents will get more money.
Editorials focused on President Obama's meeting with intelligence
officials, the FDP's Epiphany meeting, the German Federal
Association
of Expellees and the massive technical problems of cash cards.

2. (U.S.) Obama-Intelligence Services Meeting

Almost all papers (1/7) carried reports on the meeting between
President Obama and the heads of his intelligence services.
Sueddeutsche headlined: "Obama Accuses his Intelligence Services of

Failure U.S. President announced Reforms After Failed Terrorist
Attack
and stops Release of Guant namo Prisoners." Handelsblatt carried a

report under the headline: "Obama Harangued Intelligence Services,"

while Die Welt wrote: "Obama Criticizes Failure of Intelligence
Services."

Under the headline: "Bush Light?" Frankfurter Allgemeine (1/7)
argued
that: "The issue of security and terror has again showed up
overnight
on the Americans' agenda of concerns. It is obvious that the
Republicans will now try to damage Obama's reputation. Whether he
likes it or not, Obama now finds himself playing the role of a
fighter
against terrorism, who, with a few exceptions, continues where his
predecessor left off. And government officials again use a term
that
the current government had banned from its vocabulary: the war on
terror. Is this 'Bush light'?"

Die Welt (1/7) carried an editorial, saying: "The President is in
trouble now because the impression has developed that terror is no
longer a top issue for Obama. It is true that he can refer to the
fact that a few of the planners of the attack in Yemen were released

from Guant namo under the Bush government, but the series of
blunders
that the U.S. intelligence services made over the past few weeks
also
shows that the vigilance of the U.S. government has eased. Obama

BERLIN 00000016 002 OF 006


does
not like swaggering gestures, and this is one reason for his high
reputation abroad. But he knows that his government cannot allow
any
more blunders. That is why he treated his security czars so
harshly."

Under the headline; "Barack Obama Finds Strong Words for the Failure

of his Intelligence Services - But There is a Lack of Deeds,"
Sueddeutsche Zeitung (1/7) editorialized: "The President announced
that he would now take the necessary steps, but he didn't say what
they would be. Thus far, these strong words have not been followed
by
strong deeds. This could turn out to be a serious political
mistake....
Obama's reaction to the blunder is laudable but the time has now
come
for something different. He must address the nation and assume
responsibility for the failure of his apparatus. And he must
replace
his intelligence czar whom he installed a year ago. Otherwise,
Obama
will have difficulty regaining the confidence of Americans and that
he
is serious about demonstrating his promise to learn his lesson from

the debacle."

According to Frankfurter Rundschau (1/7), "basically, Obama is
reacting in a way a government must react after a failed terrorist
attack. He orders an analysis of mistakes, examines security gaps,

and intensifies controls. One can wonder why travelers from 14
nations, of which 13 countries are Muslim countries, must
systematically accept body searches or why he stopped the
deportation
of Guant namo prisoners to Yemen, even though U.S. courts order
this.
But Obama cannot be accused of blind revenge. Unlike Bush, this
President does not pursue a policy of fear."

Under the headline: "Organized Uncontrolled Growth," Handelsblatt
(1/7) argued: "All of a sudden, President Obama is presenting
himself
as a resolute fighter. This is a totally new facet. But Obama does

not reveal how he wants to eliminate the deficiencies among his
intelligence services. After the crisis meeting in the White House,

it is becoming clear that there is no panacea but one insight: the
current system of spooks is choking from its own organization.
Obviously the system has become unwieldy' it must be streamlined.
For
more than one year, Obama has pushed aside the anti-terror issue,
but
now it is caching up with him. Now Obama is confronted with the
same
questions as George W. Bush, but he does not have different answers

than his predecessor. After the fiasco of the past few days, Obama

should have realized that he must work on a new construction site in

addition to the ones he already has."

die tageszeitung (1/7) judged in a front-page editorial, headlined:
"A

BERLIN 00000016 003 OF 006


Rational Commander," that "those are wrong who consider Obama a
prince
of peace. He is a rational commander. But he is at least rational,

and honest, as far as we can judge from here. Both characteristics

distinguish him from his predecessor. George W. Bush proclaimed a
crusade, began a war under false conditions, lied to the public, and

declared Islam an enemy. Barack Obama is not Islamophobic and he is

no crusader. This does not yet make him a European diplomat, but at

least a reliable interlocutor."

Regional daily Westdeutsche Zeitung of Dsseldorf (1/7) argued: "it
is
very likely that the unnerved U.S. security agencies will again
overreact and get things moving in the wrong direction. The
psychological consequences - the nervousness of security forces
connected with fears and an increase in inconvenience for the public
-
are already a form of terror itself."

Rhein-Zeitung of Koblenz (1/7) judged: "With this debacle, the
security agencies did not make a slight hitch, they almost made a
disastrous mistake. That is why President Obama should have taken a

more drastic step. It is surprising that he left the officials
responsible for the intelligence services in office, and this could
be
interpreted as a sign of weakness. At least for the time being,
Obama
missed the opportunity to teach [the nation] to respect him."

3. (Afghanistan) Run-up to London Conference

Frankfurter Allgemeine (1/7) editorialized: "It is an old chestnut
that Afghanistan cannot be stabilized by military means alone,
despite
the warlike conditions in some of its regions. NATO acknowledged
this
since the summit in autumn 2006 at the latest. The continuously
repeated call for a new strategy only serves as an excuse in the
domestic debate, so one does not have to seriously discuss the
military engagement of the international community.... The talk of
war
after the incident in Kunduz does certainly not make the decision of

deploying additional soldiers easier. However, Germany has accepted
a
job in the north of the country, which it should do without
referring
to the demands of others."

Berliner Zeitung(1/7) opined: "There are three weeks to go to the
London conference on Afghanistan. How does the German government
see
the German contribution for Afghanistan? Only vague statements are

made in public. Interior Minister Thomas de Maizire does not
believe
that it is necessary to say when and how many additional police
officers should be sent. The Americans take the lead and plan to
deploy several hundred U.S. trainers to the region where the Germans

are. The [German] government can only blame itself for this
disgrace.

BERLIN 00000016 004 OF 006


Those who only deal with the policy on Afghanistan behind closed
doors
must not be surprised that the Americans now take action and that
the
German public is increasingly skeptical about the mission."

Under the headline "Doubts about Germany," Tagesspiegel remarks in
an
editorial: "U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and
Pakistan,
Richard Holbrooke, has made clear to the weekly Die Zeit what it is

really about. It is in the German as well as the American interest

that the war is not lost. Washington has responded to Berlin's
delaying tactics and will deploy additional troops to Kunduz. The
Germans are apparently no longer trusted to be able and willing to
defend the north."

Die Welt (1/7) notes: "Islamists have apparently been focusing on
the
fights in Afghanistan for months to demoralize the people and
frustrate the West. It shows that they want the decision to be
made
there that is expected to bring them not just Afghanistan but also
Pakistan with its nuclear weapons. This would be the triumph of all

triumphs.... Afghanistan is not yet lost, but the torn country can
be
lost... Future historians will date the Islamists' victory to the
day
when the last helicopter leaves from the roof of the U.S. Embassy in

Kabul."

4. (U.S.) Guant namo, Yemen

Berliner Zeitung (1/7) carried an analysis on the most recent U.S.
steps to counter terrorism and reported under the headline: "Obama,

Guant namo and Double Standards," that "as a reaction to the failed

terrorist attempt, President Obama decided not to release more
Guant namo prisoners to Yemen. That is why dozens of alleged
innocent
prisoners in Guant namo will begin their ninth year in the camp
without hope for release. Their worst crime is that they were born
as
Yemenites, not Americans. Last week, federal judge Ricardo Urbina
demonstrated what kind of difference this makes. He suspended
proceedings against five guards of Blackwater were accused of having

killed 17 Iraqis. But because U.S. investigators promised the
defendants that they can keep their jobs if they make a testimony,
the
judge declared the entire proceedings to be inadmissible. Then the

U.S. commander in Iraq spoke of a "lesson in the rule of law." This

is unbelievable. It is this injustice that drives recruits into al

Qaida's hands. Obama should know that Guant namo is only a symbol
of
this."

Regional daily Stuttgarter Zeitung (1/7) editorialized:
"Shortcomings
come back to haunt [politicians] -- some sooner, some later. In

BERLIN 00000016 005 OF 006


hindsight it has turned out to be a serious mistake that the
Afghanistan and Iraq-fixated Americans have lost sight of Yemen.
Al-
Qaida's attack on the USS Cole in Aden Harbor almost a year before
the
9/11 attacks should have been an alarm call at that time in order to

take action against the Islamic terrorists in the south of the Arab

peninsula. Today, almost ten years later, the chances to succeed
are
far worse, the risks attached to driving Osama bin Laden's followers

out of their hideouts in Yemen much higher.

Washington correspondent Andreas Geldner opines in regional daily
Freie Presse of Chemnitz (1/7): "Obama's admirers abroad should
gear
up for quite a few surprises in the coming weeks which are bound to

alter their image of the 'global president.' The Americans singling

out persons from 14 allegedly terrorist-infiltrated countries, is
just
the beginning. Nonetheless Obama is very aware of the fact that he
needs - first and foremost - solid international cooperation to
fight
terrorism. He stubbornly refuses to resort to the term "war against

terror" because - from his perspective - it disregards the much more

essential civilian component. Obama is also staying the course when

it comes to the closure of Guant namo, all the while knowing that a

turnabout on this issue would be a disastrous for his international

credibility."

5. (U.S.) Obama Policy

Weekly Die Zeit (1/7) had this to say: "Barack Obama is by no means
a
naQve peace apostle who is brutally being thrown into reality by a
thwarted attack. Since he is in office, he has been waging a fight

against Islamic terrorists with all consequence, even though with
fewer battle cries than his predecessor and with a fine instinct for

the limits of the rule of law. The supporters of George W. Bush and

Dick Cheney are now attacking the incumbent in the White House as
being too soft, arguing that the security of the country is in bad
hands with him. But is this president too yielding towards Islamic
terrorists? Not this president. He knows about the constant
terrorist dangers. He is not only a master of words. He does not
only talk but he also takes action by sending another 30,000
soldiers
to Afghanistan.... But Obama is by no means a cloned Bush. As
president and supreme commander, he promised the American people to

protect them from hostile attacks and to respect the Constitution
and
freedom rights. Under Bush these were contradictions. Obama,
however, wants to show that even in difficult times, the tightrope
act
between security and freedom can succeed. Barack Obama is not a
naQve

BERLIN 00000016 006 OF 006


idealist but a pragmatist who is serious about his principles."

Regional daily MQrkische Oderzeitung of Frankfurt on the Oder (1/7)

opined: "Obama succeeded in setting a new tone - in relations to
Moscow, with respect to disarmament, in his approach to the Islamic

world. The reward was - and this was probably a bit premature - the

awarding of the Nobel Peace prize. The war in Iraq is not yet over,

the one in Afghanistan is being intensified, and in the war on
terror
new fronts are opening on a global scale. Obama, the Nobel Peace
laureate, has arrived as war president in tough reality."

6. (Environment) Climate Policy

Frankfurter Allgemeine (1/7) remarks in a front-page editorial: "The

despondency after the climate conference in Copenhagen was great.
Not
just the Europeans had to digest a disappointing result. The
experience was unpleasant and indicated a future loss of global
influence and power.... It is clear that the Europeans did not find
any
allies among the U.S. and larger threshold countries that shared
their
priorities and determination. At the end, Europeans and those most

hit by global climate change stood alone. On a field where they
wanted to take the lead by making great efforts, support was hardly

visible.... New institutions are required in the new century.
Traditionalists still support the United Nations under all
circumstances and everywhere. However, given that the
multilateralism
of the UN is ineffective, takes a lot of time, and is often abused
by
anti-Western propagandists, there is a trend to bypass it. This
trend
toward informal groups might increase."

DELAWIE

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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