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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Cuba, U.S.-Healthcare, Greece-Germany,


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1. Lead Stories Summary
2. (Cuba) Death of a Dissident
3. (U.S.) Healthcare Reform Summit
4. (Greece-Germany) Greek Anger at Germany
5. (Greece-EU) Austerity Program
6. (U.S.) Criticism of Google
7. (Sudan) Peace Process
8. (Western Hemisphere) Latin America Summit
9. (Turkey) Military Officials Arrested
10. (Defense) A 400 M

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1. Lead Stories Summary

Primetime newscasts and many newspapers led with stories on the
resignation of the head the Protestant Church in Germany, Margot
KQmann. Several newspapers led with the dispute within the German
coalition government. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung headlined:
"Merkel: Westerwelle has unnecessarily made the debate about reforms
more difficult." Editorials focused on the Protestant Church.

2. (Cuba) Death of a Dissident

Under the headline: Dissidents Starves Himself to Death,"
Sueddeutsche Zeitung (2/25) wrote that "Orlando Zapata's death is
raising new criticism of Cuba's Treatment of Opposition politicians.
Since the death of poet and student leader Pedro Luis Boitel in
1972, Zapata is the first prisoner in Cuba who died from a hunger
strike. This death notice will impede Spain's most recent efforts to
bring the regime of RaQl Castro closer to the EU again."
Frankfurter Allgemeine (2/25) reported: "Dissident Died in Prison -
Cuban Zapato Tamayo was on a Hunger Strike for 85 Days." Die Welt
(2/25) headlined: "Cuban Dissident Died after an 85-day Hunger
Strike," while Berliner Zeitung (2/25) reported under the headline:
"Death of a Dissident."

Under the headline; "Cuban Prison," Sueddeutsche Zeitung (2/25)
argued in an editorial: "The death of Cuban dissident Orlando Zapata
Tamayo is not only a human tragedy but it is a dramatic setback for
the nurtured hope for change in Cuba. This looks like a political
slap in the face of all those who have built bridges for the Castro
brothers over the past years. In Europe, especially the Spanish
government must now feel duped.... It tried to get support for a
normalization of relations between the EU and Cuba. President Obama
has also tried to normalize U.S. relations with Cuba arguing that
the confrontational U.S policy towards Cuba, which lasted for more
than 50 years, was a mistake. In view of Zapata's death it is
difficult to say that Obama's viewpoint is right. But the regime in
Havana is now encouraging those who have an interest in escalating
tension. This nourishes the suspicion that the powers-that-be in
Cuba have no interest in change. That is why the first consequence
from Zapata's death can only be to increase pressure on Havana to
such an extent that political prisoners are set free. This has been
long overdue."

3. (U.S.) Healthcare Reform Summit

Handelsblatt (2/25) headlined: "Too European For America," and
judged: "If a miracle does not happen, President Obama's balance
sheet for the mid-term elections will be rather gloomy. The
healthcare summit that will begin in Washington today is likely to
fail; the financial market regulation will be diluted, sustainable
state finances are not in sight and climate protection could be over
for the time being. Obama must assume responsibility for this
because he is the president and he announced all these correct
projects but has not implemented them. This is not necessarily fair
but these are the rules of the political business. The external
reasons give only a partial explanation for the man in the White

House being unable to succeed. In Congress he has to deal with a
Republican Party that its not only arch conservative but which is
even rewarded for its obstructionist attitude with election
victories. In addition there are governmental mistakes. For much
too long, he left the debate over healthcare reform to Congress.
But the real truth is much more complex. After one year in office
the question must be raised whether Obama's perception of America
really coincides with the real picture of the country."

4. (Greece-Germany) Greek Anger at Germany

Sueddeutsche (2/25) headlined: "Greeks Outraged At Germans -
Following Critical Reports, Vice Premier
Recalls Occupation by the Wehrmacht," and wrote; "Politicians in
Athens strongly called upon Germany to hold back with its criticism
of the Greek financial crisis. The reason for the anti-German
remarks is media reports on the financial crisis, which many Greeks
considered insulting. The German Ambassador to Greece, Wolfgang
Schulthei, said: 'Anger [at Germany] is great. A wave of outrage
is now hitting us. In my view it is justified.' Schulthei called
the front-page picture of Focus, which is the main focus of protests

Frankfurter Allgemeine (2/25) carried a front-page report,
headlined: "The Anger of Petsalnikos - In Times of Crisis and
strike, Athens Discovers Germans who are to Blame," and said: "There
is no doubt that Greece is currently under strong pressure from the
markets and other European states. This pressure is so strong that
nerves are exposed in Athens, for instance, with Philippos
Petsalnikos, the president of the Greek parliament and carrier of
the German Order of Merit. He studied in Germany and is married to
a German. But he is primarily angry at the German media, which are
unfair in their treatment of Greece."

In an editorial, Sueddeutsche Zeitung (2/25) headlined: "Fodder for
Populists," and wrote: "Both sides are now getting each other worked
up, but what is lost is common sense. Yes, the Greek state lied to
Europe; and it is understandable to be angry, angry at a system that
is threatening to drag down other countries. And yes, in Germany,
there is the freedom of the press, and magazines are allowed to
write whatever they want. But this does not deprive them of the
duty and the responsibility to look closely. Generalizations such
as, the Greeks are cheating each other whenever they can, or the
Greeks only work when they are bribed, are cheap.... This
Greek-German conflict is fatal because its plays into the hands of
populists on both sides, and makes the work of all those more
difficult who are trying to find a way out of the crisis. On the
one hand, these are the EU governments that promised Athens support,
and, on the other hand, there is the new Greek government that is
doing its utmost and deserves a chance."

Die Welt (2/25) headlined: "Hysteria About Greece? - The Germans
Are Right," and judged: "The Germans are increasingly less inclined
to believe that Europe and the Euro is good for them. They are not
alone with their skepticism. After the euro turned into a success
story over the past ten years...the weak spots are now coming to the
fore. It is becoming increasingly obvious that Europe only works
under certain conditions but is unable to deal with crises such as
the Greek one. There is no mechanism on how to bring to reason
those who break the rules. That is why it is understandable why the
Germans are suspicious when the euro zone and the European Union are
getting bigger.... At stake is something that should be
self-evident: Everyone who has paid into the social security system
or into a savings contract should get back an acceptable amount of
money in the end. This is not a trifle but a precondition for a
functioning democracy."

Under the headline: "Greece and the Nazi Club," Tagesspiegel (2/25)

editorialized: "There seems to be a method behind swinging the Nazi
club. Greece's Vice Prime Minister Pangelos' remark that his
country was damaged during the Nazi occupation reminds us of the
brazen calculation, which former Polish Prime Minister Kaczynski
made two years ago. In the wrestling over voting rights in the EU,
he called upon the EU to show consideration for the Poles killed in
WW II. At that time as today, the goal of this lesson in history
was the same: the rest of the EU - and primarily Germany - should be
put under moral pressure. But none of the politicians responsible
should accept this."

5. (Greece-EU) Austerity Program

Frankfurter Allgemeine (2/25) carried an editorial under the
headline: "Strikes and Scapegoats," that "The situation is now
getting serious in Greece: for the government that wants to
implement a tough austerity policy, for the civil servants who are
taking to the streets to fight for their privileges, and for the
pensioners and the working people as a whole. But that's the way it
is: the way out of the misery is not a carpet of flowers but a path
full of thorns. Without fundamental adjustment, the country is
faced with bankruptcy.... And the search for scapegoats is already
under full swing. How inventive! If the government tried to save
itself at such a level, then it will be difficult mobilizing
political solidarity for Athens in the EU."

In a report on the strikes in Greece, Frankfurter Allgemeine (2/25)
headlined: "Strikes in Greece less Vigorous," and wrote that "the
public service and some sectors of the private economy are affected
but only 22,000 people took to the streets." Handelsblatt (2/25)
carried a lengthy article under the headline: ''The only people on
strike are those for whom it does not matter whether they have a
job." The daily reported: "It is not surprising that the call for
strike has not meet with great success outside of the public
service. According to a recent poll, eight out of ten Greeks think
that the trade unions should do without strikes in view of the
current crisis. And what is also miserable for the unions: as far
as the media is concerned, the strikes did not get wide coverage
because the journalists were on strike, too. That is why there were
no broadcasts on TV or the radio."

6. (U.S.) Criticism of Google

FT Deutschland (2/25) editorialized: "It's now getting really
serious for Google: the EU Commission wants to examine whether the
U.S. company is misusing its dominant power to disadvantage
competitors. Brussels' action is right and necessary because the
suspicion that Google weighs down its competitors is justified...
Brussels' involvement forces Google to fundamentally reconsider its
behavior. The company has never thought that it is necessary to
take others into consideration - particularly when it comes to data
protection. It always required massive protests by users before the
company improved its programs. Such a behavior earns you many
enemies - and Google has more than enough of them."

In an editorial, Sddeutsche (2/25) highlighted that "the search
engine does not take privacy rights seriously enough" and added:
"The approach of the U.S. company to make all information the world
has available on the internet is increasingly alarming politicians
and consumer protectionists, particularly in Europe. Regardless of
whether it is Google Street View, where everybody can pry into the
garden of the neighbor, Google Book Search or its increasing market
power, the concerns are justified. No company should hold all
information there is.... While the company was liked initially, it
is becoming increasingly unpopular in its second decade. The
company must not grow at the expense of consumers. With Google's
buzz service, the company demonstrated that technological
opportunities are important, not the privacy rights of costumers.

This is the same with Street View.... Google does not take such
considerations sufficiently into account. The company views those
who oppose Street View has has-beens. However, leaving all
information to just one company is too sensitive. Unfortunately,
the competitors are weak. Against this background, politicians are
right to tackle this issue."

Die Welt (2/24) editorialized on Google's Street View project, which
the company plans to start in German this year: "Google Earth offers
more opportunities than it poses dangers. Users can leave behind
bookmarks on photos, which other users can use. Shops and
restaurants attract costumers, landlords can find tenants. Those
who go on vacation can check the resort before. False companies
with faked addresses can be disclosed by one click. In the U.S., an
entire service sector is developing around Google Earth. The loss
of privacy is the price of the drastic increase in openness. Those
who want absolute privacy must forbid maps - the way North Korea
does it. This cannot be the answer to the offer to see the world as
it is."

Tagesspiegel (2/24) opined: "Google Street View offers information
that are not directed against anybody. Opportunities to misuse such
information are not apparent. Gruesome garden gnomes have no right
to be protected.... [Consumption Minister] Aigner has good
intentions. She wants to protect us against the profit-mongering of
a giant company. This is the usually reflex of somebody who is
overly concerned-a minister who sees citizens as wards. Those who
act like this prevent things. We imported the most important
inventions and achievements of the internet industry. Google,
Facebook, iPhone are all made in the United States. Isn't it rather
sweet that the consumer protection minister wants to boycott these
means and calls for a better world? Aigner's attack and attitude
point at a country that should urgently discuss the sense of having
street lights."

7. (Sudan) Peace Process

Under the headline: In the Sudanese Quicksand," Sueddeutsche
Zeitung (2/25) opined: "The agreement with the rebels in the West
shifts influences in Africa's eternal civil war. For years, Omar
al-Bashir has been pilloried as a warmonger in Darfur but now he is
presenting himself as a prince of peace. To everyone's surprise his
regime signed a peace agreement with his arch enemy, rebel leader
Khalil Ibrahim. Ibrahim is now reaching out his hand and is
pressing all other rebel groups to follow him. But this peace
opening does not mean that reconciliation will occur in Darfur.
Junta leader al-Bashir, who wants to legitimize his power with an
election victory in April, urgently needs a diplomatic success. He
was unable to militarily win the war in western Sudan; now time is
pressing and he has now changed to negotiations. Only time will
tell whether this was only a tactical move or a lasting change....
Pressure on Bashir also increased because the International Court of
Justice issued an arrest warrant against him. Even though the
regime demonstrates cohesiveness to the outside, Bashir's aides are
looking for ways out of the isolation.... This cease-fire between
the JEM and Khartoum is shifting weights in this conflict, whose
alliances and frontlines were often unstable. But it is not the
'beginning of the end of the war,' which Bashir now wants to

Under the headline: "Willingness for Peace for a Certain Period of
Time," die tageszeitung (2/25) judged: "When the Sudanese government
and the largest rebel movement in Darfur sign a peace agreement,
then this sounds promising but skepticism is appropriate. The
political calculations on both sides are too obvious. Sudan's
President al-Bashir needs quiet at the Darfur front, while the
agreement is a triumph for the JEM rebel movement for the time being
-- JEM leader Ibrahim is the winner. He is now Khartoum's partner

for peace and is allowed to continue talks with the Sudanese
government about a political solution. This is not bad in view of
the fact that the JEM conducted the talks from a position of
weakness. But both sides do not have a joint interest in peace.
They remain rivals in Sudan's domestic policy and primarily in
Darfur. Their war has now been suspended for the time being but the
next round [of clashes] is programmed."

8. (Western Hemisphere) Latin America Summit

Die Welt (2/25) headlined: "Latin America Shows the U.S. the Red
Card," and reported: "New Organization to Reduce U.S. influence -
Washington's Allies Also Approve it. The participants in the Latin
America summit agreed to push regional integration and this without
the United States. The regional powers of Mexico and Brazil
advocated the new forum - hoping to strengthen their leading roles.
Even though President Obama's Latin America advisor Arturo
Valenzuela said that Washington would not be opposed to such a new
organization, the decision is, nevertheless, a setback for President
Obama who promised last year a new era in relations between the U.S.
and Latin America. But Washington's faltering attitude towards the
violent coup in Honduras and the establishment of military bases in
Colombia against the will of the neighboring countries, however,
quickly blurred relations again. The OAS that was founded in 1948
and has its seat in Washington is now threatened with a further loss
of significance. But time must tell whether the new regional fora
will be able to cope with the new challenges."

9. (Turkey) Military Officials Arrested

Frankfurter Allgemeine (2/15) commented: "The arrest of 49 Turkish
officers is the current climax of a battle led with legal means
between Prime Minister Erdogan's government party AKP and the
military caste which sees itself as the guardian of Kemal Ataturk's
secular republic. It is difficult to imagine that Turkish judges
would order so many arrests without having any suspicion. However,
there are also voices saying that the religious-political camp is
striking back for the attempt of the opposition to forbid the
governing party. More than 200 Turks, who have apparently planned a
coup in the name of the nationalistic organization Ergenekon, are
already on trial.... It is clear that the polarization within
Turkey has not diminished, but is probably still increasing."

10. (Defense) A 400 M

Frankfurter Allgemeine (2/25) editorialized on its front page: "The
A 400 M is one of these projects that are too big to fail. This
applies particularly to the company EADS, which could have postponed
for a long time - or even had to give up - its ambition to get a
foot on the ground of the military armament business. The threat to
cancel the project was therefore not credible. However, the 'to big
to fail' also applies to the countries that ordered the plane. The
political damage would have been too big to abandon the project
simply because the producer cannot meet the agreement. At the end
of the day, this is also about the competitiveness of a European
airspace company, in which the countries have a stake."


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