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Thursday, 06 July 2006 19:51

World Media Watch - July 7, 2006

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Edited by Gloria R. Lalumia BuzzFlash Note: WMW provides BuzzFlash readers foreign views and perspectives that are not usually available from the media here in the U.S. The presentation of these articles from these international publications is not an endorsement of their viewpoints. * * * WORLD MEDIA WATCH FOR JULY 7, 2006 1//Asia Times Online, Hong Kong--N KOREA’S ACE THREATENS US-SEOUL ALLIANCE (… In fact, Kim's greatest success may have been to deepen the divisions that raise serious questions about the future of the US-South Korean alliance. The launch of the North Korean missiles hardly fazed South Koreans, who saw the whole show as just another one of those gestures that may make headlines for a few days but bear little relevance to daily life on the streets of Seoul. "We're worried but not that worried," one South Korean told Asia Times Online. "If South Korea were still in the World Cup, this wouldn't even be the top news." … Here too, however, North Korea may count on another weapon - that of public opinion in South Korea. While North Korean missiles are of little real concern in Seoul, attack by the US and Japan on North Korean bases would risk massive protests in the South, rendering US bases there either useless or untenable. Kim, in such an event, would have succeeded in his goal of the destruction of the US-South Korean alliance.) 2//The Korea Herald, South Korea--FTA DEMONSTRATORS SET TO DEFY POLICE BAN (Police are on the alert as civic groups plan a large scale protest against the Korea-U.S. talks for a free trade agreement in Seoul next week. More that 100,000 protestors are expected to take part in the demonstration organized by the Korean Alliance Against the Korea-U.S. FTA, a nationwide activist group that represents 282 farmers' organizations, labor unions and civic groups. The protest has been planned to coincide with the start of the second round of FTA talks from July 7 to July 14. The Korea Alliance has announced that the group will start peaceful rallies next Monday and that the protestors will not resort to violence, even if the police employ excessive force. … Meanwhile the director of the National Police Agency, Lee Taek-soon, said yesterday that firm measures will be taken against illegal and violent demonstrations. Speaking at a meeting with national desk editors from 27 newspapers, Lee said that he hopes next week's protests will be as peaceful as the Feb.12 Pyeongtaek demonstration against the proposed U.S. military base, and anti-FTA protests in the U.S. capital, Washington.) 3//The Turkish Daily News, Turkey--TURKEY, US UNVEIL SHARED VISION DOCUMENT (Turkish Daily News - Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced here on Wednesday what they called a shared vision document, hoping that it would help boost the Turkish-American relationship, which suffered badly three years ago because of the Iraq war. … But officials from both sides warned against hyping the document's importance. Gül said on his arrival here Tuesday that the paper was not a treaty but a document "outlining a common vision on which both countries will work and expend efforts." "Don't read too much into the document," Matt Bryza, deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, told reporters last Friday. "Neither party is obligated." … Turkish-U.S. relations received a severe blow ahead of Iraq's invasion in 2003, when Turkey's Parliament rejected Washington's request to use Turkish territory to attack Iraq from the north. Relations have also suffered due to the United States' reluctance to crack down on terrorists from the separatist PKK, who enjoy a safe haven in northern Iraq.) RELATED: US, ISRAEL WANTED TURK ENVOY’S DAMASCUS VISIT, GUL IMPLIES 4//DW-World.de/Deutsche Welle, Germany--GERMAN PARLIAMENT SEEKS TO TIGHTEN ANTI-TERROR LAWS (The German Parliament agreed this week not only to extend the anti-terror laws passed in early 2001, but to make them more stringent. Advocates of civil liberties are outraged. In the wake of September 11, German law makers passed a series of anti-terror laws that are due to expire at the end of the year. This week, Germany's ruling coalition of Christian Democrats and Social Democrats agreed on proposals that would not only extend the controversial laws but make them even tougher. … The existing laws, which went into effect in early 2002, allow police and secret services to use telephone communications, emails, faxes, bank accounts and travel data as sources of information. Under the proposed revisions, access to the same would be expanded. In addition, Germany's foreign intelligence service, BND would have wider access to domestic police databases. … Germany has experience with both sides of the issue in its recent collective memory. On the one hand, the country experienced consequences of catastrophic proportions when Nazi rightwing extremists gained a foothold in the 1930s. And in the 1970s and 80s, terrorist groups like the "Rote Armee Fraktion" [RAF] were active. But on the other hand, thousands of Germans also experienced excessive state surveillance by the Stasi or secret police in East Germany.) 5//The Moscow Times, Russia--GAZPROM’S EXPORT MONOPOLY CEMENTED (The State Duma overwhelmingly approved a bill Wednesday formalizing Gazprom's monopoly over gas exports, defying EU calls for liberalization on the eve of the Group of Eight summit. The legislation is likely to exacerbate tensions between Russia and the European Union. Energy security is expected to top the G8 agenda in St. Petersburg. … The sole exception to the new bill allows non-Gazprom gas exports from companies that hold production sharing agreements, or PSAs, with the Russian government. Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil hold PSAs from the 1990s at the Sakhalin-1 and Sakhalin-2 fields. The EU, rattled by drops in Russian gas shipments during Gazprom's January price dispute with Ukraine, has pushed Russia to break up Gazprom's export monopoly and ratify the Energy Charter Treaty, which mandates that signatories hew to market-based principles in energy investment and transit. Russia seems to have hardened its stance against both the Energy Charter Treaty and breaking up the monopoly in recent months, paving the way for renewed conflicts at next week's summit.) * * * 1//Asia Times Online, Hong Kong Jul 7, 2006 N KOREA’S ACE THREATENS US-SEOUL ALLIANCE By Donald Kirk (Journalist Donald Kirk has been covering Korea - and the confrontation of forces in northeast Asia - for more than 30 years.) LONDON -- The volley of missiles fired by North Korea confronts Washington with a challenge that no amount of yakking in the United Nations or tut-tutting in Washington is likely to answer. The maestro of North Korean strategy, Kim Jong-il, believes President George W Bush has no cards to play, as one South Korean analyst put it, and North Korea can do whatever it pleases to grab attention. While bogged down in Iraq, all the United States is doing for now is issuing statements while privately urging its South Korean ally to back down from its policy of reconciliation with North Korea. At the least, South Korea may be expected to ignore North Korea’s request for half a million tons of rice to feed its near-starving people, whose interests Kim would prefer to sacrifice on the altar of a show of military power. (SNIP) North Korea earns about $1.5 billion a year exporting these missiles, and some of their components and technology, to markets mainly in the Middle East. While notoriously inaccurate, they can menace Japan any time while scientists and technicians correct the flaws that make the Taepodong an unreliable instrument of war. Understandably, the Japanese are more outraged than anyone else by the North Korean display. The Japanese response may have an impact that Kim may not have anticipated. Pressure is building inside Japan to do away with article nine of Japans’ post-war "peace constitution" forbidding Japanese forces from going to war against foreign enemies for anything other than the defense of the Japanese islands. Japan already has mounted SAM3 missiles on Aegis-class destroyers and is installing American Patriot missiles, all to ward off any real threat from North Korea and, in case of some future conflagration, possibly China as well. The pressure for a shift in Japanese policy is sure to increase, especially since Japan in recent years has become increasingly conservative. One result of this pressure is that the US-Japan alliance, strained during periods when the Japanese perceived no real need for American military support, has tightened. Japan and the US appear likely to grow still closer militarily as they build up defenses at sea and on land. The renaissance of Japanese military strength will increase tensions throughout the region, notably between China and Japan and between South Korea and Japan - not to mention China and South Korea versus the United States. In fact, Kim's greatest success may have been to deepen the divisions that raise serious questions about the future of the US-South Korean alliance. The launch of the North Korean missiles hardly fazed South Koreans, who saw the whole show as just another one of those gestures that may make headlines for a few days but bear little relevance to daily life on the streets of Seoul. "We're worried but not that worried," one South Korean told Asia Times Online. "If South Korea were still in the World Cup, this wouldn't even be the top news." (SNIP) In fact, it may come as a shock to Americans, but many South Koreans would be likely to defend North Korea’s right to test-fire missiles - and even to have nuclear warheads - if needed for "defense" against the Japanese. Japan’s Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has regularly antagonized Chinese and Koreans by visits to the Yasukuni Shrine honoring Japan’s war dead, including war criminals responsible for conquering much of the rest of Asia and plunging Japan into World War II. (SNIP) Alarmingly for the region, the US-Japan alliance assumes ever more importance. The US may conceivably wind up with a restraining influence on a renascent Japan. At the least, Japan is already acting unilaterally, cutting off the single link by sea between North Korea and Japan. The Japanese may also block all commerce and communications while tightening restrictions on Koreans living in Japan, an historic focal point of Japanese ire. The Japanese response is sure to have a terrible rebound effect. Neither China nor South Korea will sympathize. If North Korea suffers still more economically as a result, Kim may regard the loss as an investment well spent. North Korea can only benefit from sowing discord among its powerful neighbors. One question Kim might ponder is how long he can impose harsh dictatorial rule at home even as military forces build up against him. While his technicians try to figure out how to aim their missiles at specific targets, US and Japanese forces have far more accurate weapons to bring to bear against North Korean bases and missile sites in case the region plunges into war. Here too, however, North Korea may count on another weapon - that of public opinion in South Korea. While North Korean missiles are of little real concern in Seoul, attack by the US and Japan on North Korean bases would risk massive protests in the South, rendering US bases there either useless or untenable. Kim, in such an event, would have succeeded in his goal of the destruction of the US-South Korean alliance. 2//The Korea Herald, South Korea Thursday, July 6, 2006 FTA DEMONSTRATORS SET TO DEFY POLICE BAN Police are on the alert as civic groups plan a large scale protest against the Korea-U.S. talks for a free trade agreement in Seoul next week. More that 100,000 protestors are expected to take part in the demonstration organized by the Korean Alliance Against the Korea-U.S. FTA, a nationwide activist group that represents 282 farmers' organizations, labor unions and civic groups. The protest has been planned to coincide with the start of the second round of FTA talks from July 7 to July 14. The Korea Alliance has announced that the group will start peaceful rallies next Monday and that the protestors will not resort to violence, even if the police employ excessive force. Police have already warned the Korea Alliance that they will not be allowed to congregate at the Gwanghwamun intersection in central Seoul, and at the five-star Shilla Hotel where the talks are to be held. However, a spokesperson for the alliance defiantly declared that rallies will indeed go ahead at both locations. The National Police Agency has been put on high alert, and 100,000 officers are to be deployed around the clock throughout the course of next week. Meanwhile the director of the National Police Agency, Lee Taek-soon, said yesterday that firm measures will be taken against illegal and violent demonstrations. Speaking at a meeting with national desk editors from 27 newspapers, Lee said that he hopes next week's protests will be as peaceful as the Feb.12 Pyeongtaek demonstration against the proposed U.S. military base, and anti-FTA protests in the U.S. capital, Washington. (MORE) 3//The Turkish Daily News, Turkey Thursday, July 6, 2006 TURKEY, US UNVEIL SHARED VISION DOCUMENT WASHINGTON - Turkish Daily News - Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced here on Wednesday what they called a shared vision document, hoping that it would help boost the Turkish-American relationship, which suffered badly three years ago because of the Iraq war. After their talks at the State Department, Gül and Rice told reporters that the document outlined the two NATO allies' shared positions on a number of key international matters. According to the document, some issues of common interest on which Turkey and the United States pledge to cooperate include fighting the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and other terrorist groups; seeking a fair and lasting solution to the Cyprus problem; encouraging democracy and stability in Iraq, the Black Sea, Caucasus, Central Asia and Afghanistan; supporting international efforts aimed at resolving the Middle East conflict; boosting peace and stability through democracy in the Greater Middle East Initiative; ensuring energy security; strengthening transatlantic relations; and enhancing understanding among religions and cultures. The document also foresees a structural dialogue mechanism between officials from the two nations. For example, Turkey's foreign ministry undersecretary and one top U.S. State Department official are planning to meet once a year to discuss progress. The paper also calls for "periodic contacts" between the Turkish foreign minister and the U.S. secretary of state. The two countries first announced the work for a shared vision document when Rice visited Ankara in April. But officials from both sides warned against hyping the document's importance. Gül said on his arrival here Tuesday that the paper was not a treaty but a document "outlining a common vision on which both countries will work and expend efforts." "Don't read too much into the document," Matt Bryza, deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, told reporters last Friday. "Neither party is obligated." (SNIP) Turkish-U.S. relations received a severe blow ahead of Iraq's invasion in 2003, when Turkey's Parliament rejected Washington's request to use Turkish territory to attack Iraq from the north. Relations have also suffered due to the United States' reluctance to crack down on terrorists from the separatist PKK, who enjoy a safe haven in northern Iraq. RELATED: US, ISRAEL WANTED TURK ENVOY’S DAMASCUS VISIT, GUL IMPLIES Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül implied on Tuesday that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had sent an envoy to Syria regarding an ongoing standoff between Israel and the Palestinians upon requests by the United States and the Jewish state. Gül was referring to Sunday's visit by Ahmet Davutoglu, Erdogan's top foreign policy adviser, to Damascus for talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad as part of efforts to try and solve the latest Middle East crisis over a captured Israeli soldier and Israel's ensuing military operations in Gaza. … Asked if the United States and Israel had asked for Turkey's talks with Syria, Gül said, "I think I have already responded to this question, and I have responded positively." 4//DW-World.de/Deutsche Welle, Germany 06.07.2006 GERMAN PARLIAMENT SEEKS TO TIGHTEN ANTI-TERROR LAWS The German Parliament agreed this week not only to extend the anti-terror laws passed in early 2001, but to make them more stringent. Advocates of civil liberties are outraged. In the wake of September 11, German law makers passed a series of anti-terror laws that are due to expire at the end of the year. This week, Germany's ruling coalition of Christian Democrats and Social Democrats agreed on proposals that would not only extend the controversial laws but make them even tougher. "So far, scans of information databases have only been allowed in connection with terror suspects," explained Stefan Kalle, spokesman for the Ministry of the Interior. "It is now planned to extend this to include rightwing extremists and militant Islamists such as hate preachers operating in Germany." Broader investigating power for police The existing laws, which went into effect in early 2002, allow police and secret services to use telephone communications, emails, faxes, bank accounts and travel data as sources of information. Under the proposed revisions, access to the same would be expanded. In addition, Germany's foreign intelligence service, BND would have wider access to domestic police databases. Until now, the anti-terror laws have been implemented in terror suspect cases. If approved, the new laws would be broadened to include possible consequences for individuals who may belong to extremist organizations but are not suspected of terror crimes. The proposal, intended to help combat Islamic fundamentalists as well as rightwing extremists, is scheduled to be put up for approval after the parliament's summer recess. A "cookie monster" The proposals however have run into fierce opposition in some quarters. The government is acting like a "Cookie Monster," said Wolfgang Wieland, speaker for domestic affairs of the left-leaning Green party. "They always want more, more, more and are never satisfied," Wieland told German news agency dpa. (SNIP) Max Stadler from the free-market liberal Free Democrats argued that the laws are yet another step toward an Orwellian surveillance system: "Experience shows that once the door has been opened, the state encroaches further and further on our civil rights," he said. "My worst fears are coming true, especially when you see that police duties are to be taken over by the secret services, which no one really controls in this country." History knows both sides Germany has experience with both sides of the issue in its recent collective memory. On the one hand, the country experienced consequences of catastrophic proportions when Nazi rightwing extremists gained a foothold in the 1930s. And in the 1970s and 80s, terrorist groups like the "Rote Armee Fraktion" (RAF) were active. But on the other hand, thousands of Germans also experienced excessive state surveillance by the Stasi or secret police in East Germany. When the proposed revisions to the anti-terrorism laws go up for approval after the summer recess, German lawmakers will also have to align their decision with a May ruling from the country's highest court that police profiling to find terrorists is unconstitutional. 5//The Moscow Times, Russia Thursday, July 6, 2006. Issue 3447. Page 1. GAZPROM’S EXPORT MONOPOLY CEMENTED By Stephen Boykewich, Staff Writer The State Duma overwhelmingly approved a bill Wednesday formalizing Gazprom's monopoly over gas exports, defying EU calls for liberalization on the eve of the Group of Eight summit. The legislation is likely to exacerbate tensions between Russia and the European Union. Energy security is expected to top the G8 agenda in St. Petersburg. "The principle of a unified export channel has always been part of our export strategy, though it hasn't been set out in any normative documents or legislation," Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said. "Now it will become the law." Besides cementing Gazprom's role as Russia's sole natural gas exporter, the law extends the company's export monopoly to liquefied natural gas, or LNG, and liquefied petroleum gas. While Russia does not produce LNG for now, it will begin doing so in the near future, as the Sakhalin Island and Shtokman gas fields come on line. The sole exception to the new bill allows non-Gazprom gas exports from companies that hold production sharing agreements, or PSAs, with the Russian government. Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil hold PSAs from the 1990s at the Sakhalin-1 and Sakhalin-2 fields. The EU, rattled by drops in Russian gas shipments during Gazprom's January price dispute with Ukraine, has pushed Russia to break up Gazprom's export monopoly and ratify the Energy Charter Treaty, which mandates that signatories hew to market-based principles in energy investment and transit. Russia seems to have hardened its stance against both the Energy Charter Treaty and breaking up the monopoly in recent months, paving the way for renewed conflicts at next week's summit. (SNIP) Irrespective of what Putin does before the summit, the bill will likely be discussed among less-senior officials in St. Petersburg, Nash said. The Kremlin press service said senior spokesmen were unavailable to comment due to preparations for the G8 summit. The bill "is upping the ante" in an energy dialogue already tipped in Russia's favor, Nash said. "While the Europeans as customers obviously have some influence, Russia as producer is by far the stronger partner in this," he said. "In some ways, Europe really does have to listen to what Russia wants, and obviously this law is a fine example of what Russia wants." Also on Russia's wish list is the widest possible access to downstream assets in its European markets, from domestic pipeline networks and underground gas storage facilities to electricity generation. (MORE) * * * ©2006, Gloria R. Lalumia, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Radio for the Left at http://www.zianet.com/insightanalytical/radio.htm