August 15, 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.
* * *
1//The Guardian, UK--HUTTON INQUIRY RELIVES
KELLY'S LAST DAYS (The full extent of the pressure faced by Dr David
Kelly in the days before his death was revealed today, as the Hutton
inquiry heard that Tony Blair was personally involved in the MoD's
inquiry into the scientist's dealings with the BBC's Andrew Gilligan...The
inquiry also heard how draft versions of the government's dossier
on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction released today show how the
controversial 45 minute claim changed in emphasis several times before
publication , becoming a statement of fact rather than a suggestion.)
3/Asia Times Online, Hong Kong--KASHMIR THE TALK OF WASHINGTON (The hesitant movements by New Delhi and Islamabad to resolve the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) dispute are making Washington decidedly jittery. On roller skates, Washington seems to be more concerned about movement and less about direction...There is, however, little doubt that the US, despite the difficulties it faces in the region and worldwide, will not sit on the sidelines on the Kashmir issue.)
Sydney Morning Herald, Australia--AUSTRALIA RAISES COLONIALISM
FEARS OVER SOUTH PACIFIC UNION PLAN (Australia has ignited fears
that it nurtures neo-colonialist ambitions after urging tiny South
Pacific states to unite with it in a European Union-style political
and economic community with a common currency - the Australian dollar...Australia
and New Zealand are concerned about an "arc of instability" in
their backyard that includes the Solomons, Vanuatu and Papua New
Guinea...Their plight, Australia believes, makes them vulnerable
as targets for gun runners, drug smugglers and even terrorists.)
* * *
Guardian Thursday August 14, 2003
- Blair ordered second Kelly interview
The full extent of the pressure faced by Dr David Kelly in the days before his death was revealed today, as the Hutton inquiry heard that Tony Blair was personally involved in the MoD's inquiry into the scientist's dealings with the BBC's Andrew Gilligan.
It was the prime minister who appears to have decided that Dr Kelly should face a second grilling by his MoD bosses to clear up discrepancies over his meetings with the BBC reporter, according to government documents released to the inquiry today.
The Cabinet Office intelligence and security co-ordinator, Sir David Omand, wrote to the MoD permanent secretary, Sir Kevin Tebbitt, after Dr Kelly was first interviewed by MoD officials on July 4th, saying that "it would be sensible" to find out more about his meeting with Mr Gilligan before taking further action. Sir David added in the same memo that he was "reflecting the Prime Minister's views".
This is the first time Mr Blair's name has come up at the inquiry in relation to discussions within government about Dr Kelly's admission that he had met Mr Gilligan on May 22.
Blair ordered second interview
Earlier, the inquiry heard how the defence secretary, Geoff Hoon, overrode the advice of his most senior civil servant to order the scientist to appear in public before a parliamentary committee.
The inquiry also heard how draft versions of the government's dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction released today show how the controversial 45 minute claim changed in emphasis several times before publication, becoming a statement of fact rather than a suggestion.
Martin Howard, the MoD's deputy chief of defence intelligence, admitted that the claim had been weakened and then strengthened during several drafts of the publication, released last September.
KINGDOM, RUSSIA TO EXPAND OIL COOPERATION
JEDDAH, 14 August 2003 - Oil giants Saudi Arabia and Russia will sign a landmark energy accord early next month to strengthen cooperation in the petroleum and gas sectors, Asharq Al-Awsat reported yesterday.
"This agreement between the world's largest exporters of oil is significant as this is the first time such an accord is being signed between them," a Russian Energy Ministry official told the Arabic daily.
"There will be no specific deal as the agreement aims at strengthening cooperation between the two countries," he added.
The Saudi Cabinet last week gave the go-ahead for the accord, which is likely to be signed during Crown Prince Abdullah's upcoming visit to Moscow. The Cabinet meeting, chaired by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd, authorized Petroleum and Mineral Resources Minister Ali Al-Naimi to sign the agreement.
Saudi Arabia has the world's largest oil reserves while Russia is the biggest exporter of oil outside the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
The oil deal will be one of at least four cooperation agreements, expected to be signed during Prince Abdullah's visit. A major trading partner of Saudi Arabia, Moscow cooperates with OPEC to achieve stability in the world oil market.
In a recent statement, the chairman of the Oil and Gas Industrial Union of Russia, Yuriy Shafranik, said there were good prospects for mutually beneficial cooperation between his country and Saudi Arabia, especially in the oil and gas sectors.
Russian oil giant Gasprom expressed its desire to take part in the
Kingdom's gas initiative program when Western oil firms failed to
respond favorably to Saudi demands. Russia's petroleum giant Stroitangas
entered into a joint venture with Saudi Oger to form a consortium
for the construction of pipelines and oil and gas exploration in
the Kingdom and other countries.
Times Online August 15, 2003
KASHMIR THE TALK OF WASHINGTON
The hesitant movements by New Delhi and Islamabad to resolve the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) dispute are making Washington decidedly jittery. On roller skates, Washington seems to be more concerned about movement and less about direction.
In May, when Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee announced that he would begin talks with Pakistan to resolve all bilateral disputes, including the 50-year old J&K one, he also put on the condition that such talks would be meaningful only if Pakistan stopped cross-border terrorism across the Line of Control (LoC) that separates the Indian and Pakistan-administered sections of J&K. That Washington chose to ignore this condition was neither surprising nor out of character for the Bush administration.
Instead, US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, at a press conference in Islamabad on May 8, addressed jointly with Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Ahmed Kasuri, pointed out that he had brought up in his meeting with Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf the issues of alleged cross-border infiltration and the dismantling of training camps in Azad (Free) Kashmir, that portion of Kashmir administered by Pakistan. When asked if Pakistan had done enough to address the alleged infiltration problem, Armitage replied, "We are not keeping score. Any violence is bad. But it is down from the same time last year. Anyone suffering [because of violence] is a cause of concern. President Musharraf has told me nothing is happening at the Line of Control. He said that there are no camps in Azad Kashmir and if there are, they will be gone by tomorrow."
No more promises
Needless to say, Armitage's statements did not go down very well in New Delhi. On the other hand, it had already become evident to some analysts and policymakers in New Delhi that while the US could be of great help to India in many other areas, it will not be much of a help in solving any of India's disputes with its neighbor Pakistan.
Washington is now trapped in a deep hole, otherwise known as Afghanistan, and it is inconceivable at this point for the US even to hope of ever climbing out of this pit and working out a face-saving formula without having Pakistan as its friend. Antagonizing Pakistan, or India, over J&K in order to end the bilateral dispute of those two countries is no longer a part of the American agenda, although their nuclear capability is of ongoing concern.
There is, however, little doubt that the US, despite the difficulties it faces in the region and worldwide, will not sit on the sidelines on the Kashmir issue. Secretary of State Colin Powell, briefing the media on his plane to Bangkok in late July, clarified what he meant by saying that Kashmir was now on the international agenda. When asked if his reference to Kashmir was "some sort of a code word'', Powell said, "No. I just meant the way I said it. It is on the international agenda. Everybody is now focused on it." Similar commitment was also issued earlier by Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser. She told the media on June 27 that Bush had committed America's influence "to alleviating - and, where possible, ending - destructive regional conflicts, from the Middle East, to Kashmir, to the Congo and beyond."
AUSTRALIA RAISES COLONIALISM FEARS OVER SOUTH PACIFIC UNION PLAN
Australia has ignited fears that it nurtures neo-colonialist ambitions after urging tiny South Pacific states to unite with it in a European Union-style political and economic community with a common currency - the Australian dollar.
The proposal is to be discussed in Auckland this week at the Pacific Islands Forum, the annual summit held by Australia, New Zealand and 14 small nations. A report published by an Australian parliamentary committee yesterday recommended the establishment of a regional community to fight poverty and other threats such as money laundering and terrorism.
The concept is forcefully supported by the Prime Minister, John Howard, who has called on Pacific leaders to pool their resources and expertise. But, with Australia's military intervention in the Solomon Islands already fuelling concerns that it regards itself as a regional policeman, some countries are worried that closer union could compromise their sovereignty.
Australia and New Zealand are concerned about an "arc of instability" in their backyard that includes the Solomons, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. Australia heads a multinational force sent to the Solomons last month to restore law and order in the former British protectorate, which has been torn apart by anarchy and ethnic violence.
While the Solomons is a striking example of a Pacific paradise gone sour, many other nations are struggling to survive. With populations of less than 100,000, they lurch from one economic crisis to the next, propped up by one-off money-raising schemes and buckets of foreign aid. Their plight, Australia believes, makes them vulnerable as targets for gun runners, drug smugglers and even terrorists.
GNP WARNS AGAINST STATE ONLINE DAILY
The Grand National Party said Tuesday that President Roh Moo-hyun's declaration of war on newspapers, publishing of an online government newspaper and plans to launch tax investigations by Fair Trade Commission amount to a planned political conspiracy. The main opposition party sounded the warning in an emergency meeting with members from the National Assembly's Media Committee and Culture and Tourism Committee
In a declaration, they wrote, "This is a deliberate attempt to reorganize and dominate the existing media market and an insidious scheme to form a foundation to win next year's general elections. It is particularly an attempt to attack critical media and prepare for a reorganization of political circles by securing certain newspapers, broadcasting companies and Internet media on their side."
The Grand National Party charged that the government's Internet newspaper would try to tame the media for next year's elections and would waste taxpayers' money, invade on the freedom of press, attempt to seize another form of media and be tied down with criticizing the existing press.
otherwise noted, all original