August 4, 2003
World Media Watch
by Gloria R. Lalumia
BUZZFLASH NOTE: Once again, these are the views and perspectives of the individual papers, not of BuzzFlash or Gloria. They offer BuzzFlash readers a way of reading what other nations are saying about the crisis, whether we like it or not. We repeat: This is not an endorsement of their viewpoints.
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1//The Guardian/Observer, UK--M16 CHIEF
TO QUIT AFTER SPLIT ON IRAQ (Britain's top spymaster has decided
to retire early, dealing a damaging new blow to the Government's
credibility over its presentation of intelligence on Iraq... Retired
and serving MI6 officers have told The Observer that they favour
an internal candidate - someone who would be seen as a standard-bearer
for the freedom from political interference the service has traditionally
sworn to uphold... But Whitehall sources say Tony Blair is seriously
considering John Scarlett, the chairman of the Joint Intelligence
Committee...Scarlett was a trusted member of Blair's inner circle
throughout the Iraq crisis, and has now become a personal friend.
Globe and Mail, Canada--KABUL'S CALM MASKS CHAOS SIMMERING UNDERNEATH
(The devolution of the country during the past 18 months
seems to many a chilling replay of what happened here in the wake
of the Soviet withdrawal in 1989...Now, a similarly loose mixture
of Pashtuns and Tajiks, Hazaras and Uzbeks, moderates and fundamentalists
have been thrust back together by their U.S. sponsors. Once more,
opium production controlled by the warlords is the country's primary
source of income. The country is in grave danger of becoming a Colombia-style
narco-economy. As tensions rise, some say another implosion like
the one a decade ago is not far off. "We have a lot of mujahedeen
commanders inside this government. People from foreign countries
want to diminish their power. This will cause a violent reaction," said
Mullah Hamid, who heads a mosque in southwest Kabul. "There
will be another war. I guarantee you 100 per cent that it is coming.")
5//The Chosun Ilbo, South Korea--ROH LASHES OUT AT 'PRIVILEGED MEDIA' (President Roh Moo-hyun attacked the press again on Saturday, saying that he would not tolerate "the tyranny of privileged media." He accused the media of "trampling on government officials, tracking down and finding faults with their relatives and making unreasonable attacks."... The opposition spokesman Park Jin said in a daily briefing that while President Roh appears to have declared a war against the media, he should be focusing more on owning up to his own mistakes and improving his performance, considering that his approval ratings have fallen to the 20 percent level only five months since his inauguration.)
* * *
Guardian/Observer Sunday August 3, 2003
M16 CHIEF TO QUIT AFTER SPLIT ON IRAQ
Britain's top spymaster has decided to retire early, dealing a damaging new blow to the Government's credibility over its presentation of intelligence on Iraq.
Sir Richard Dearlove, the head of MI6, is thought to be dismayed by the visible rift between his organisation and Downing Street.
At 58, he had been widely expected to stay in post for another two years, but is now likely to have left by early next year, a little more than four years after he started the job in September 1999.
The move is likely to worsen MI6's crisis of confidence over Downing Street's alleged manipulation of information over Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, and to plunge the Prime Minister and the intelligence services into a covert battle over the choice of Dearlove's successor.
Retired and serving MI6 officers have told The Observer that they favour an internal candidate - someone who would be seen as a standard-bearer for the freedom from political interference the service has traditionally sworn to uphold.
But Whitehall sources say Tony Blair is seriously considering John Scarlett, the chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee - viewed by some professionals as 'fatally tainted' because he endorsed the claim in the Government's dossier last September that Saddam could deploy chemical or biological weapons within 45 minutes.
Scarlett was a trusted member of Blair's inner circle throughout the Iraq crisis, and has now become a personal friend.
WORLD BANK STRUGGLES FOR HARD FACTS IN IRAQ
BAGHDAD - The World Bank says its first assessment of Iraq's economy in nearly a quarter of a century will be "quick and dirty" as it fights to haul out data from years of official secrecy and the ravages of war.
The bank's draft economic profile for Iraq is due to be finished at the end of the month, but the head of its mission there cautioned on Saturday he was building a picture of Iraq's economy virtually from scratch.
"It is not going to be perfect...This is going to be a quick and dirty assessment," Faris Hadad-Zervos told Reuters in an interview.
"Data continues to be a problem. That's because of not only
the recent conflict but philosophies that existed in the past that
basically precluded free availability of data," he said.
The World Bank, whose last mission to Iraq was in 1979, wants to determine how much the rebuilding of Iraq is likely to cost before a meeting of potential donors in October.
Hadad-Zervos said he expected to tell donors there would be a gap between revenues and money needed for reconstruction. But it was too early to tell if that gap would be in the millions, tens of millions or even billions of dollars.
Iraq already has a debt estimated at $70 to $120 billion.
"The revenue issue is uncertain. The cost issue is uncertain. There are so many uncertainties," he said. "It's likely there will be a gap."
Iraq's economy remains in tatters more than three months after US-led forces ousted Saddam, with security shaky, power outages occurring daily and only half of phone lines working in the capital.
The World Bank has said it will likely extend assistance to Iraq, but wants a constitution drafted first. The country is currently run by a US-led administration, advised by an Iraqi Governing Council.
KABUL'S CALM MASKS CHAOS SIMMERING UNDERNEATH
By Mark MacKinnon
This is the Kabul that 1,800 Canadian soldiers will be asked to police starting later this month. It's an ostensibly calm city that lulls a visitor into a false sense of security, but one that can quite literally explode at any moment. In one 36-hour period in July, seven homemade explosive devices were found planted across the capital, many of them in areas frequented by Westerners. A Dutch peacekeeper was injured when one of the bombs went off.
On the surface, the city is undergoing an exhilarating renewal. With the Taliban gone, music now blares from restaurants, shops and passing cars. The years of curfews are over, and newly opened 24-hour pizzerias compete with all-night Internet cafés for the attention of the city's emerging red-eyed set.
There are German, Thai and Indian restaurants, and for a while there was even an Irish bar, until the number of threats to bomb the place exceeded the number of customers willing to risk their lives for a pint. Most of the time, it's safe to walk the city's streets, provided you can put up with the hordes of children trying to sell you the same English-language city guide book on every corner.
But incidents like the killing of Major Zamarai are far from unique. The United Nations counted 30 major incidents of violence in the city over a three-month period earlier this year. Included in that number are four rocket attacks and 11 other events that fall under the category of "bombings, mine and grenade explosions." In such a seemingly peaceful city, things have an alarming tendency to blow up.
Many in Kabul say that the calm is a deceiving one, and that this tormented capital has yet another period of violent anarchy in its future.
"This city is not safe. Nobody can control it," said the man promoted to take over from the deceased Major Zamarai as Hawza Panj's police chief. Colonel Mangal -- like many Afghans, he goes by only one name -- commands a detachment with just three vehicles and 200 officers, many of them without guns, to patrol a sprawling area that is home to 30,000 people.
Despite its troubles, Kabul is a relative oasis of security and progressive thought in Afghanistan today. Eighteen months after U.S. air power cleared the way for Northern Alliance soldiers to enter the capital, most of the rest of the country is fast sliding back into the chaos that precipitated the rise of the Taliban in the first place.
As they did in the early 1990s, when they stepped into the power vacuum created by the Soviet withdrawal, warlords now control most of the country, and President Hamid Karzai, so lauded abroad for his bridge-building style, is isolated and derided at home as the "mayor of Kabul."
But at least in the cities, the warlords are able to provide a modicum of security to the aid agencies who have taken on the massive task of rebuilding this country. On the highways in between, it's the rule of the gun.
Many Afghans are getting tired of the same pattern of promises, followed by delays, followed by more promises. In early 2002, the international community pledged $4.5-billion (U.S.) in aid to Afghanistan. It was far short of the $20-billion Afghan officials had been asking for, yet to date donors have been slow to deliver on even that amount.
Many fear that this impatience will feed further unrest as Afghanistan enters a particularly sensitive time in its postwar development.
At the end of this month, the country will convene a loya jirga (council of elders) that will be tasked with drawing up a new constitution. It will be a tough task that will see liberals, who want to enshrine disarmament and women's rights in the document, pitted against a large conservative faction that will fight to make sure the country stays true to its Islamic roots.
Likely even more divisive will be the country's presidential election, which must be held next year according to the process instigated in Bonn two years ago. Although most of the international community wants Mr. Karzai to stay on, he has made noises suggesting he doesn't want the job any more -- hardly surprising considering that there has already been one attempt made on his life, which he survived by a mere hair.
The devolution of the country during the past 18 months seems to many a chilling replay of what happened here in the wake of the Soviet withdrawal in 1989. Then, as now, the warlords moved in to fill the power gap, forming a similar government of national unity -- although Mr. Karzai is clearly an improvement on the ineffectual Burnahuddin Rabbani, the most prominent of the post-Soviet presidents.
The cobbled-together government of the early 1990s soon collapsed into factional infighting, and later full-fledged civil war, as it became clear that fighters who had worked together against the Red Army had little else in common.
Now, a similarly loose mixture of Pashtuns and Tajiks, Hazaras and Uzbeks, moderates and fundamentalists have been thrust back together by their U.S. sponsors.
Once more, opium production controlled by the warlords is the country's primary source of income. The country is in grave danger of becoming a Colombia-style narco-economy.
As tensions rise, some say another implosion like the one a decade ago is not far off. "We have a lot of mujahedeen commanders inside this government. People from foreign countries want to diminish their power. This will cause a violent reaction," said Mullah Hamid, who heads a mosque in southwest Kabul.
"There will be another war. I guarantee you 100 per cent that it is coming."
MILITARY HQ REINFORCED
Inquirer News Service with Inquirer wires
Troop movements and rumors of another military mutiny frazzled nerves in Metro Manila Sunday, sending officials to assure the public that the false reports were spread by backers of the failed July 27 mutiny to create instability.
Malacañang's reiteration that threats to the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo remain did not help ease the tension.
"Although the worst is probably over, it's not yet really finished. We still have to address residual threats," Presidential spokesperson Ignacio Bunye said over radio station dzBB.
The day before, the President said the state of rebellion would stay as "a mantle of protection" as her government rooted out remaining threats.
Amid the threats, support units poured into Camp Aguinaldo, the military headquarters in Quezon City, over the weekend.
At least two battalions of support troops from nearby camps were seen trucked into camp. They were fully armed with assault rifles and other high-caliber weapons.
The military announced the deployment of the troops on TV and radio to prevent the public from mistaking the soldiers for mutineers.
Officials tried to squelch the rumors -- most flashing by cell phone text messages around Metro Manila -- of further military mutiny.
Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman said she called a television station and publicly denied a rumor that said she and the President's chief of staff were summoning people to the EDSA Shrine, fearing a military uprising within 24 to 48 hours.
"These texts, especially troop movements and impending trouble, could ... be meant to destabilize, perpetrated by those who want to see this government fall apart so that they can take over," Soliman said by telephone.
Such rumors could be the work of the same people who helped organize the mutiny by about 300 soldiers who took over Oakwood apartment complex in Makati City, Soliman said.
The mutineers backed down peacefully and are now being held in detention. The government said the mutiny was part of a larger coup plot aimed at toppling Ms Macapagal and setting up a 15-member junta. Investigators are trying to track people who helped finance and organize the uprising.
ROH LASHES OUT AT 'PRIVILEGED MEDIA'
President Roh Moo-hyun attacked the press again on Saturday, saying that he would not tolerate "the tyranny of privileged media." He accused the media of "trampling on government officials, tracking down and finding faults with their relatives and making unreasonable attacks."
At a conference with cabinet members, vice ministers and Cheong Wa Dae staff, Roh said that while the citizens should be left to read and watch their choice of media, an environment for fair competition needed to be established first. He added that newspapers should be evaluated based on the quality of their articles, not anything else, and that he would have the Fair Trade Commission inspect the newspaper market.
"The government can and must confront the media," said President Roh, who said the government should be able to file for civil action against unfair, biased reports. He also suggested that an agency and a budget be created for the government to better deal with the press.
As for the scandal of Yang Gil-seung, Roh's personal secretary who was treated to free entertainment by local businessmen in Cheongju, Roh said that he did not accept Yang's resignation because he did not want to succumb to media pressure. Observers said, though, that the media will further attack Cheong Wa Dae if he didn't accept it.
The opposition spokesman Park Jin said in a daily briefing that while President Roh appears to have declared a war against the media, he should be focusing more on owning up to his own mistakes and improving his performance, considering that his approval ratings have fallen to the 20 percent level only five months since his inauguration.
otherwise noted, all original