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Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S., Mepp, U.S., Italy, Economic;Berlin

VZCZCXRO4727
RR RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHLZ
DE RUEHRL #0033/01 0111324
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 111324Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6240
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 1907
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0629
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1146
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2651
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 1672
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 0835
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 05 BERLIN 000033

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: US XF US IT ECON
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: U.S., MEPP, U.S., ITALY, ECONOMIC;BERLIN

1. Lead Stories Summary
2. (U.S.) President Obama's Remarks on Improving Security
3. (MEPP) U.S. Pressure on Israel
4. (U.S.) Harry Reid Comments
5. (Italy) Violence Against Africans
6. (Economic) Google Tax


1. Lead Stories Summary

Print media led with reports that Chancellor Merkel has come under
pressure from her own ranks because of her alleged weak leadership
style (Sueddeutsche, FAZ, Berliner Zeitung, Die Welt), while
Tagesspiegel and Berliner Morgenpost centered on the cold spell that

has hit northern Germany in particular. Editorials focused on the
CDU
leadership crisis and on the attack on the Togolese soccer team in
Angola. ZDF-TV's early evening newscast heute and ARD-TV's early
evening newscast Tagesschau opened with reports on the weather chaos

in northern Germany.

2. (U.S.) President Obama's Remarks on Improving Security

Saturday media reported on President Obama's remarks on intelligence

and aviation security, highlighting that the President said that "we

are at war against al Qaida" (FAZ headline). Today's broadcast
media
carried short news reports on Obama's interview with People
magazine,
underlining that "President Obama does not want to send soldiers to

Yemen and Somalia. He said that the most effective way would be to

work with international partners" (ZDF-TV's Heute). Today's
Frankfurter Allgemeine headlined: "Doubt in America about strategy

against al Qaida," noting that: "Following the publication of a
video,
in which the later suicide bomber Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi
swears to take revenge for the death of the Pakistani Taliban leader

Baituillah Mehsud, a new debate has flared up in the U.S. about the

right strategy in the fight against al Qaida and the terror network
al
Qaida." The paper concluded: "The government in Islamabad and the
American leadership try to pull the moderate Taliban to their side.

However, terrorism experts make clear that the cooperation between
al
Qaida and the Taliban is so close nowadays that a distinction
between
the organizations is hardly possible."

Sddeutsche (1/9) remarked in an editorial that U.S. terror experts

failed to learn the lessons of the attacks on September 11, 2001.
"The White House tries to play down a new debate during its first
investigations, saying that the problems of the failed attack on
Christmas Day could not be compared with the circumstances that made

things easier for the terrorists on 9/11, 2001. This interpretation

is grotesque. The old and new mistakes are very similar. In both
cases terror experts failed to put larger pieces together correctly.

BERLIN 00000033 002 OF 005

In this respect, the recent mistakes are even more scandalous than
the
past ones."

Frankfurter Allgemeine (1/9) editorialized: "To the dismay of the
left
wing of the Democrats, Obama stuck to a larger part of [Bush's]
security policy. This is a continuity that Obama certainly did not

desire.... September 11 was eight years ago, but the threat
continues
to be imminent. With that, the topic of security has not been taken

off the list of American concerns. Obama understands this."

Die Welt (1/9) opined: "The averted attack by the radical-Islamic
Nigerian on the flight to Detroit has caught the West with its pants

down. For some time, people have become tired of the fight against

Islamist terrorists. European NATO partners tend to lack the will
to
increase their engagement against the radical Taliban in
Afghanistan.
For most of them, the Bush years with the excessive counterterrorism

measures are seen as the wrong path. Hope had spread that the
problem
would go away once Americans no longer provoke Muslim anger with
their
cowboy attitude.... Islamic extremism won't make it so easy for us
to
get out of the terror paradigm, which defined the first decade of
the
new millennium....The era of terror will not be over soon."

Tagesspiegel (1/9) commented: "Following the failed attack on the
Airbus on the way to Detroit, all eyes focus on Yemen, where al
Qaida
recruited and trained the Nigerian. The country at the southern end

of the Arab peninsula is plunging into chaos.... It faces the fate
of
Afghanistan and Somalia.... As in Afghanistan, al Qaida is
spreading in
Yemen. The mountainous regions are a secure hideout for the
fighters
from Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Iraq.... Only a year ago, the
U.S.
Embassy in Sana'a was the target of a highly complex suicide
action...
In the fight against terrorism, [Yemenite President Ali Abdullah]
Saleh is no better than his Afghan counterpart Karzai. Washington
knows this. As a result, the only option is to stay calm and
persistent, integrate the Yemenite people and train Yemenite
security
forces."

Under the headline "The lesson of Afghanistan," Handelsblatt
editorialized: "The case of Yemen is so scary because there are so
many similarities to Afghanistan.... The problem is that the
situation
will not improve by ignoring it. To contain the danger in Yemen,
the
international community must learn four lessons from Afghanistan.
First, it must take care of it quickly without taking on too many
responsibilities. The conflicts in Yemen can only be resolved by
the

BERLIN 00000033 003 OF 005


Yemenites. In Afghanistan, perfectionists took on responsibility
for
the whole to reconstruct and democratize the country. Secondly, the

necessary assistance must be provided. The U.S. stop-and-go policy
of
recent years makes as little sense as Germany's half-hearted
engagement in the training of Afghan police forces. Thirdly, the
international community must agree on a common strategy. Not much
is
won if the Americans focus on the military aspects and the Europeans

pursue civilian efforts. The government in Sana'a would only play
the
allies off against each other, without resolving the conflict.
Fourthly, the solution must be found in the region. In the case of

Afghanistan, it took years until Pakistan and Iran were seriously
involved. Yemen can only be stabilized if the neighbors on the Arab

peninsula are part of it right from the start."

3. (MEPP) U.S. Pressure on Israel

Frankfurter Allgemeine (1/11) carried a report under the headline:
"Clinton: Let's Talk about Borders and Jerusalem Right from the
Start," and wrote: "Washington is trying to get the peace talks
between Israel and the Palestinians going again. Secretary Clinton

said over the weekend after talks with Jordanian and Egyptian
government officials that the governments in Jerusalem and Ramallah

should also address the borderlines around Palestinian areas and the

status of Jerusalem right from the start. This approach should help

resolve the conflict over the construction of new Israeli
settlements,
which is currently blocking the peace talks. The Israeli government

reacted with outrage to a statement by U.S. Middle East envoy George

Mitchell who indicated in an interview that Washington could cut
credit lines for Israel if the peace efforts continued to be blocked

because of Jerusalem's position."

In a report headlined: "U.S. Annoyed at Israel" die tageszeitung
(1/11) said: "The government in Jerusalem does not want to allow
anyone to put pressure on it by imposing possible sanctions.
Israel's
Finance Minister Juval Steinitz said in a self confident but also
surprised mood: 'At the moment, we are not dependent on credit
guarantees from the United States.' He added that only a few months

ago, the White House extended the deadline of the current guarantees

for another two years, and at that time, no one spoke of
'conditions.'
In an interview with PBS the Special Envoy for the Middle East Peace

Process, George Mitchell indicated that cutting credit guarantees
would be thinkable if there is no progress in the Middle East peace

process. Israel's Premier Netanyahu was perplexed at the beginning
of
the government meeting on Sunday because the talks did not fail
because of Israel but because of the Palestinians.' When Mitchell
again travels to the region "in a few days," then the most recent

BERLIN 00000033 004 OF 005


U.S.
initiative will be on the agenda. It is another U.S. attempt to set

in motion the difficult peace process again"

4. (U.S.) Harry Reid Comments

Under the headline: "America Argues About 'N'-Word," Sueddeutsche
Zeitung (1/11) wrote: "It is a simple word, but it is a word that
has
lost its innocence in the United States. And that is why this 'N'
word could cost the career of the leader of the Democrats in the
U.S.
Senate, Harry Reid, because he used it casually in a book on the
election campaign, which were published over the weekend. Harry
Reid
did not even try to deny it. On Saturday, he apologized to Barack
Obama...and the White House published a statement on Saturday in
which
the President officially accepted the apology. America is reacting
in
a highly sensitive matter to the 'N'-word. It is an irony that Reid

is Obama's most important ally in Congress."

Die Welt (1/11) headlined: "Racism: Politician Apologizes to
Obama,"
and wrote that "for a remark which many consider racist, one of the

most powerful Democratic politicians had to apologize to President
Obama But former President Clinton, also once used derogatory
remarks
about President Obama. Obama, however, wants to quickly stop the
debate over Reid's remarks. On Saturday, he used an instrument that

is unusual for such a case. In an official statement, the White
House
said Reid called the president and 'apologized for an unfortunate
remark.' In addition, Reid apologized to the America people and to

other Afro-American politicians. Bill Clinton, however, continues
to
remain silent about another passage of the book in which he is
quoted
with allegedly [similar] remarks."

5. (Italy) Violence Against Africans

Frankfurter Allgemeine (1/11) reported under the headline:
"Situation
In Calabria Calming Down," and wrote: "After two days of violent
clashes between black harvesters, who protested their living
conditions, and the domestic population, calm returned to the city
of
Rosarno in Calabria on Sunday.... Politicians criticized the
violence
of both sides but showed sympathy for the fate of the Africans and
understanding of the population. According to news reports, there
will also be an investigation of to what extent the Mafia is
involved
in the matter."

All Africans Gone - Mood to Celebrate in Rosarno," headlined die
tageszeitung and reported: "the clashes between immigrants and the
domestic population in the Southern Italian village of Rosarno ended

with the complete displacement of the Africans.... On Friday, a
citizens committee formed, occupied the town hall and demanded that


BERLIN 00000033 005 OF 005


'all blacks' have to disappear from Rosarno. Young people from the

city implemented this demand immediately and, armed with clubs and
guns, they went on a hunt.... This move had a dramatic effect. On

Friday, the Interior Ministry decided to take all Africans away from

Rosarno...and among the people from Rosarno, who set up road blocks,
a
mood of celebration spread."

In an editorial, die tageszeitung (1/11) judged: "For Italy's
Interior
Minister Roberto Maroni of the xenophobic Lega Norte, one thing is
clear: 'A laxness that has existed in Italy's immigration policy for

years, ' has prepared the ground for the violent clashes in Rosarno.

He turns arguments in a brazen way upside down. Thousands of
Africans
- and many with a residence permit - have lived in slave-like
conditions on Calabria's fields. They have been exploited with
peanuts and have become again and again the target for racist
attacks
of local youth. ."
6. (Economic) GoogleTax

Justice Minister Leutheuser-Schnarrenberger criticized the strategy
of
Google and called for greater transparency. She told Der Spiegel
that
Google is developing into a "vast monopolist, similar to Microsoft."

She added that services such as Google Street View or Google Earth
are
absolutely worth examining as far as the law is concerned. She said

that she is primarily interested in creating greater transparency
and
to see to it that users are informed on what is going to happen with

their data. And if this does not happen soon, the legislative is
called upon to do something about it. A Google spokesman rejected
the
accusations (all major dailies).

Sueddeutsche (1/11) carried an editorial under the headline;
"Overdose," and argued: "President Sarkozy launched the idea of
introducing a Google tax last week. He did it again out of the
blue.
He said that the income Google achieves by selling advertisements
should be taxed in France and the money should then be passed on to

music, book and newspaper editing houses. But even loyal supporters

rejected the idea. Why should a successful international company pay

for the failure of French companies? And this in view of the fact
that not even large French companies pay taxes in France. The
debate
over the issue lasted only one day until Sarkozy climbed down again

and dispatched his minister for cultural affairs to tell the public

that, if at all, such a tax could be introduced only on a European-
wide scale. Rarely before has one of Sarkozy's ideas lost its
momentum so quickly."

MURPHY

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