BuzzFlash.com's World Media Watch
by Gloria R. Lalumia
WORLD MEDIA WATCH FOR DECEMBER 14, 2001
1//The Hindustan Times, India--NERVOUS AFGHAN LEADERS LOOK TO INDIA FOR SUPPORT ("Afghanistan's new leaders, wary of a Pakistan hostile towards them in the past, are beating a path to New Delhi to shore up regional support in a move already stirring concern in Islamabad.")
2//NDTV.com, India--PALLONE CONCERNED OVER ARMS EXPORT TO PAK ("A country with nuclear power that has links to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda is a recipe for disaster"…)
3//The Hindu, India--US STAND ON ABM WILL SPARK ARMS RACE ("The US move to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty to deploy Missile Defence Shield would spark off a nuclear arms race between China, India and Pakistan, a Russian lawmaker said today.")
4//Asia Times Online, Hong Kong--ASIAN GOVERNMENTS SEEN EXPLOITING SEPTEMBER 11 ("…China, as has become increasingly clear over the past two months, is only one of a number of Asian governments using the martial tone set in Washington… "A general attitude with the cynical phrase 'these are extraordinary times' is bound to become a common expression ... that in these times the law can be ignored is the implication"…")
5//The Moscow Times, Russia--BILL SEEKS TO PROTECT ANTHEM ("…some committee members only favored banning the use of obscene words, while others proposed prohibiting anthem-playing at casinos and strip shows. Some argued the law should only concern public performance of the anthem.")
Hindustan Times December 13, 2001, Thurs. Last updated 23:10 IST
AFGHAN LEADERS LOOK TO INDIA FOR SUPPORT
Afghanistan's new leaders, wary of a Pakistan hostile towards them in the past, are beating a path to New Delhi to shore up regional support in a move already stirring concern in Islamabad.
The triumvirate of younger Northern Alliance leaders now playing key roles in the interim administration --Interior Minister Yunis Qanuni, Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah and Defence Minister Mohammad Fahim -- have all visited New Delhi or are due within days on their first official foreign visits.
"A... substantive reason is that the Northern Alliance remains concerned about Pakistan's stance towards them," former Indian ambassador to Kabul and former foreign secretary J.N. Dixit told Reuters on Wednesday.
REGIONAL POWER GAME
As well as providing potential protection for the Alliance and its partners, strong ties between India and Afghanistan are also part of a wider regional power game between New Delhi and Islamabad, both trying to expand their influence. "Certainly, it's leverage we can use against them (Pakistan) if they continue to misbehave -- which they will," said Dixit.
But analysts warn it is too early to draw firm conclusions about the long-term Afghanistan-India-Pakistan relationship. The interim administration is due to rule for only six months from December 22 until a Loya Jirga, a traditional assembly of elders, meets to form a new transitional government to guide Afghanistan over the following two years.
And there are doubts, too, about the reaction at home of Muslim Afghanistan to getting too close to Hindu-majority India.
"Any leadership that gets over-involved with a non-Muslim country can generate dissent," Dixit said.
PALLONE CONCERNED OVER ARMS EXPORT TO PAK
Washington DC): Democratic Congressman Frank Pallone has voiced concern that any US arms exports to Pakistan would be used, as they have done in the past, against India, primarily through cross-border military action in Jammu and Kashmir.
"I stand strong in my argument against military aid to Pakistan, even under the current circumstances," Pallone said during a speech on the House floor yesterday. "I opposed the lifting of military sanctions and I still feel the US should exercise its discretion not to provide military assistance," Pallone, the founder of the caucus on India and Indian Americans, said.
Buttressing his apprehension, Pallone pointed to the terrifying escalation of terrorism in India since October 1 when a suicide car bomb exploded in front of the Jammu and Kashmir State Assembly while it was in session. Since that time, Pallone said there have been terrorist activities on a daily basis in Kashmir.
"Not only has Pakistan provided institutional support to terrorist activities by the Taliban and other groups, it has also provided weapons as a result of its irresponsible weapons export policies. Withholding military assistance to Pakistan will help pressure Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf to withdraw its support to terrorist groups."
"I realize that the Bush administration is not proposing any major change in policy with regard to military assistance to Pakistan, but with removal of congressional sanctions, stepped up military assistance remains a possibility. I continue to oppose that option, and I believe that the circumstances in Pakistan this weekend and over the last few weeks still do not warrant that kind of military assistance."
Pallone also voiced concern over another New York Times article reporting "American intelligence officials are increasingly convinced that Pakistan may become the site of a struggle between those trying to keep nuclear technology secure and those looking to export it for terrorism or for profit."
"A country with nuclear power that has links to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda is a recipe for disaster," Pallone said. (PTI)
US STAND ON ABM WILL SPARK ARMS RACE
Moscow, Dec. 13. (PTI): The US move to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty to deploy Missile Defence Shield would spark off a nuclear arms race between China, India and Pakistan, a Russian lawmaker said today.
Deployment of the National Missile Defence by the US would `devalue' deterrence factor of the Chinese strategic nuclear forces, compelling Beijing to boost its nuclear stockpile,'' Deputy Chairman of Duma Standing Committee on Defence Vladimir Volkov said today.
He said a growth in ``Chinese nuclear might would inevitably force India to increase its own nuclear potential, snowballing into Pakistan seeking to restore nuclear balance in the region. On the whole, this would lead to a new arms race and lesser security level,'' he said.
GOVERNMENTS SEEN EXPLOITING SEPTEMBER 11
BANGKOK - When the Chinese government lined up to march in step with the US-led war against terrorism, human-rights activists knew that the Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority in China, were in for harsh times.
By mid-October, China had lived up to such concerns. Evidence began trickling out of the western Xinjiang province, where some 8 million Uighurs live, that Beijing had begun cracking down on this ethnic minority as part of its own new "anti-terrorism campaign".
Yet China, as has become increasingly clear over the past two months, is only one of a number of Asian governments using the martial tone set in Washington to pursue tough anti-terrorism measures domestically. This shift troubles the region's activists, who fear the increased use of "terrorism" in the coming year by governments that wish to quell internal unrest, separatist movements or even local opposition - and find the heightened security fears since September 11 a friendly environment for cracking down on these.
Likewise, rights campaigners worry about the specter of national security returning to dominate Asia's political landscape as it did during the Cold War years, which could result in a raft of political and civil liberties being reduced by governments.
"It is a major concern," said Hina Jilani, a United Nations human-rights expert. "It is already being observed that a new national-security doctrine is emerging that is undermining standards of international humanitarian and human-rights law. There is a disturbing tendency of resorting to military means and methods, including adoption of laws and measures that create states of exception," added Jilani, a Pakistani lawyer who is now the UN secretary general's special representative on human-rights defenders. "Under the garb of emergency and security laws fundamental rights and freedoms are suspended," he claimed.
Advocates of this doctrine are giving it legitimacy by pointing to the anti-terrorism efforts being shaped in the United States, says Basil Fernando, executive director of the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission. "'See how the US does and imitate' is the slogan now," he said.
Since the Bush administration launched the war against terrorism after the September 11 terror attacks in the United States, it has been pushing for extraordinary legal measures at home to go after suspects linked to the attacks that killed more than 3,000 people. These measures include the holding of suspects in custody for prolonged periods of time without access to the law, and a proposal to try foreign suspects in secret military courts.
"A general attitude with the cynical phrase 'these are extraordinary times' is bound to become a common expression ... that in these times the law can be ignored is the implication," Fernando asserted. "Such an attitude, once accepted, threatens security in every way, though it is promoted with the promise of restoring security."
Particularly troubling to Asia's rights activists are the policies emerging in countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, India, and Uzbekistan, in addition to China. Pakistan and Sri Lanka, which already have national-security doctrines, show no signs of doing away with them in the current political climate.
SEEKS TO PROTECT ANTHEM
Those inclined to burst into song after a few drinks should beware: Dishonoring the national anthem could soon become a criminal offense. A State Duma deputy from the Unity party, Sergei Apatenko, has proposed extending Article 329 of the Criminal Code, under which it is a criminal offense to desecrate the Russian coat of arms and flag, to cover denigrating the anthem as well.
The Duma's legislation committee has approved the bill, and the first reading in the Duma is scheduled for Thursday. If the amendment comes into law, anthem abusers may face fines of 100 rubles or a year in jail.
"Since the anthem is one of the state symbols, it has to be protected as well," said Apatenko's spokesman, Ivan Yantsukevich. "There have been cases in which the lyrics have been changed ruthlessly, including the use of obscene language. Mockery of the national anthem has also taken place in some TV programs. ... The anthem is a patriotic song and should be treated seriously."
Gazeta.ru reported that some committee members only favored banning the use of obscene words, while others proposed prohibiting anthem-playing at casinos and strip shows. Some argued the law should only concern public performance of the anthem.
Some Duma deputies have opposed the bill. Vremya Novostei cited Sergei Ivanenko of the liberal Yabloko party as saying there was no need for it. "Criminal laws should not be made just in case, otherwise it will not be laws but the communist moral code," he was quoted as saying. The newspaper also cited the Union of Right Forces' Viktor Pokhmelkin as saying that singing alternative words, making gestures or refusing to stand does not pose a threat to the state, and therefore the offender should not be held responsible for a crime.
2001, Gloria R. Lalumia
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otherwise noted, all original