January 9, 2004
NEW SECURITY MEASURES: U.S. VISIT PROGRAM
'EXTREME' BUT NECESSARY
** As superpower, the U.S.
has the right to defend itself; there is "no freedom without
** U.S. VISIT and
"draconian" moves are "sadly" inevitable; the U.S. is
losing its openness.
** Critics decry the
fingerprinting program, which "treats visitors like terrorists," as
** The "extreme
measures" and "vague" alerts give the terrorists a
Sympathy for U.S. need to 'err on the side of caution' emerges-- In the U.S.' defense,
conservative European and various Asian and Latin papers remembered that
Americans have "powerful reasons for identifying visitors arriving and
departing their airports." While
advocating a "balance" between security and freedom, these writers
were of the mind that "there is no freedom without security" and
dismissed the "needless hysteria" over the stricter controls. The fingerprint scan is "an objective,
accurate biometrics qualification," a Czech writer explained, "meant
to increase the security of Americans, not to annoy or criminalize
foreigners." Mindful that September 11 was a "rerun of Pearl
Harbor" and thus an act of war, the conservative Australian
reflected a general consensus that "in wartime, national security takes
'Like it or not,' this is the 'new reality'-- Writers worldwide met the arrival of armed
sky marshals and the introduction of the "draconian" fingerprinting
system with both dread and resignation.
They recognized that in the third year of the "Terror Age,"
Americans have come to accept a "great restriction" of civil
liberties. According to Colombia's
leading El Tiempo, the problem, however, was that the U.S. was
"transgressing certain civic rights" including "the presumption
of innocence--for a project that sacrifices a lot and obtains very
little." British, German and Italian dailies despaired that the U.S. was
acting like a "superpower under siege" and reacting in a way that
"may rob them of everything they hold dear."
Is America 'going over the top' with 'excessive
Critics across the spectrum viewed U.S. VISIT as the latest sign of U.S.
"paranoia" which has culminated in treating all "foreigners like
potential terrorists." Expressing a
widespread view, a German public radio station termed it a "drastic
measure" reminiscent of a police state and typical of the "usual
cowboy mentality" of the Bush Administration. European and Canadian papers were especially
uneasy about the "Orwellian" nature of the program and the potential
for "misuse" of biometrics data.
Asian, Pakistani and Latin writers suggested the program would, as
Seoul's moderate Hankook Ilbo predicted, "arouse a sense of
humiliation and antipathy toward the U.S." in affected countries.
Terrorism 'triumphs' because of these measures-- Some critics held that the new security
measures and the issuance of continuous "vague threats" give more
clout and "prestige" to terrorists who can "up the ante at
will." Spain's conservative ABC
worried that the U.S. was not only "risking a collapse of air
traffic," but "rewarding terrorists with an invaluable psychological
victory." Peru's center-left La Republica further suggested the
measures "represent a victory of the insane fundamentalist minority over
the sane...majority of people in the world."
EDITOR: Irene Marr
EDITOR'S NOTE: This
analysis is based on 63 reports from 34 countries, January 1-9. Editorial excerpts from each country are
listed from the most recent date.
BRITAIN: "War Against
Terror In The Skies Will Be Won On The Ground"
The center-left Independent editorialized (1/6): "The traveller's burden is about to be
added to yet again, with the introduction of armed sky marshals, the
fingerprinting of applicants for U.S. visas and, presumably, more flights being
cancelled at the last minute. The sort
of security precautions previously endured only by passengers on the Israeli
flag-carrier El Al seem destined to become commonplace on business and budget
routes alike.... It would be better if
it were not necessary to consider such a draconian move. But sadly their arrival is inevitable,
however much pilots and travellers may resent it. Their presence, or even the threat of their
presence, is one of the reasons for El Al's seeming success in deterring
"Freedom Too High A Price To Pay"
Gillian Bowditch commented in the conservative Scotsman of
Edinburgh (Internet version, 1/6):
"The start of 2004 has been characterized by grounded flights, the
decision to employ armed sky marshals on British planes and to photograph and
fingerprint visitors to the U.S. If you
had no fear of flying before, prepare to be terrified from now on. It is hard not to sympathize with these new
procedures.... But it seems that we have
become unable to talk sensibly about the terrorist threat without generating a
form of social paralysis.... It is not
just that these new controls force us to become suspicious, paranoid and
jittery.... There is the prospect of visitors travelling to 'the land of the
free' being treated as if they are potential terrorists. Civilized societies photograph and
fingerprint suspects, not people who are guests in their country.... The U.S. is a superpower which is acting like
a country under siege, and that should worry us all. Americans are among the friendliest, most
trusting, even naive, people on Earth.
These characteristics, coupled with their belief in democracy and their
can-do attitude, are a huge part of their appeal. They are facing a situation they have never
had to face before, and they are reacting in a way that may rob them of
everything they hold dear.... The very
nature of terror means that we cannot eliminate all risk.... And there are sometimes more important things
to save than our skins; freedom, democracy and fair play, for example. The year 2004 may not have got off to the
most propitious of starts, but if we can prevent it from metamorphosing into
1984--the Orwellian version--there will be grounds for some optimism."
"Protect Us From The Protectors"
Peter Preston wrote in the left-of-center Guardian
(Internet version, 1/5): "This U.S.
monster, prime pronouncer of orange alerts and airport delays, is a bureaucracy
like any other. It makes voracious
claims for money...wallows in jargon like any other.... Pour many more billions into the CIA. Pour extra billions into the FBI. Pour in shedloads of cash everywhere, and
what have you got? A beast with a life
and dynamic of its own. But also, significantly,
a beast beyond question or criticism....
Everyone wants its scourge destroyed....
But there's a difference between cheerleading and question-asking, a
difference between blank acceptance and mind engagement.... Incoming flights over the holiday, from
Paris, Heathrow, Mexico City and the rest, go into a holding pattern without
explanation or human consideration....
There are intercepts that spread alarm, but orange is still the color of
very general intelligence--following the lead set by CIA director George Tenet,
who explicitly believes that if you think something may be up, but don't know
what it is, then you press every alert button in sight so that al-Qaida thinks
you know more than you do and backs away.
The result...is a constant warning bell ringing, a continuous cringe of
public apprehension turned to weariness by repetition.... The difficulty, for any reasonable
politician, lies in getting the balance right."
"Striking A Balance"
The independent Financial Times observed
(Internet version, 1/3): "For the
second day running British Airways yesterday cancelled one of its flights from
London to Washington because of security fears.
It was the seventh time that a U.S.-bound plane has been grounded over
the holidays.... Clearly, the airline
industry is now facing in acute form the general dilemma of how to fight the
war against terrorism without so disrupting normal life as to hand victory to
the terrorists. Such flight
cancellations stem largely from U.S. intelligence on passenger lists. But some of this information appears to have
confused the identity of innocent passengers with suspected terrorists. The U.S. has also raised controversy with its
recent order to foreign airlines to put armed marshals on flights it deems a
security risk.... But, partly reflecting
the transatlantic difference in gun culture, many European pilots believe such
weapons would put them more at risk, and would prefer to rely on reinforced
cockpit doors for their, and the aircraft's, safety. In the end, the U.S. will probably get its
way on sky marshals, if only because of the importance of its aviation
market. But if it does, this should not
be at the expense of neglecting safety measures on the ground. Far better to thwart terrorism with X-ray
machines on the ground than have to deal with it at 35,000 feet. U.S. security concerns deserve serious
consideration, and should prompt other countries to improve airport security
and counter-terrorist intelligence. But
defeating terrorism requires international cooperation, and this becomes harder
to achieve if the U.S.throws its weight around too heavily."
Patrick Sabatier commented in left-of-center Liberation
(1/8): “It is normal that those in
charge of ensuring security believe that it is better to do be blamed for doing
too much than to be reprimanded one day for not having done enough. But we are
justified in questioning the validity of the vague threat that since Christmas
has prompted the American authorities to intensify the impressive security
measures. Some see in this a further
element in the warped plot of the Americans to ‘punish’ France, which shows the
extent of the prevailing anti-Americanism.
But it is also a symptom of the loss of credibility in the Bush
administration--an administration that manipulated reports concerning the
weapons of mass destruction in order to justify its war with Iraq. As for the fight against terrorism, we are
willing to comply with the extreme measures that it requires only if we can be
sure that the threats are based on reliable information.... Unfortunately American intelligence services
have not had a very positive image nor been particularly reassuring with regard
to their capabilities, coordination or efficiency since September 11
2001.... In this war of shadows it is
difficult to know what and who to believe.”
"War And Fog"
Charles Lambroschini commented in right-of-center Le Figaro
(1/3): “It is the fog surrounding the
war in Iraq which caused certain flights to be cancelled rather than an
American plot against France.... The
friction caused by the war is still so strong that bad news is often more
credible than good news.... The American
intelligence services were so severely criticized for not having predicted the
9/11 attacks, that their excessive zeal is easily understandable.”
Christoph von Marschall wrote in centrist Tagesspiegel
(1/8): "Let's believe in common
sense after all. Even if it is not the
best time for a reasonable debate on security measures on traveling to the U.S. The latest idea of forbidding passengers from
lining up at restrooms in planes is like slapstick. And the craving for biometric data of
travelers--as if one can read the terrorist's intentions from the fingerprint
of an upright person--rather sounds like the question on an immigration form
about whether one intends to commit a crime.
And what about requiring visas from Germans by this autumn if new
passports have no biometric data? These
questions cannot be answered so clearly.
America is going over the top in some respects at the moment, but Europe
is mocking America rather in a knee-jerk manner instead of taking its
motivations seriously. Biometrically
registered terrorists will not be able to travel so easily under a false
name. In Europe too, many are calling
for additional identification methods like fingerprints in passports. Even Interior Minister Schily did so. But by autumn neither all of Germany nor all
of Europe will have such new passports.
Will this mean a tight security treatment every time one goes to the
U.S.? Let's wait and see. The U.S. knows that they earn billions from
European businessmen and tourists. There
is still time for common sense--as long as no serious attack happens in the
Heinrich Graben commented on public broadcasting
Hessischer Rundfunk radio (1/6): "It
reminds us of a police state and control mania.... There is a bitter taste, because once you are
registered in the great computer of the USA, you will remain there. It is absolutely unclear how data misuse can
be prevented and how overreaction in cases of the same name can be ruled
out. The Secretary for Homeland Security
takes drastic measures in the usual cowboy mentality of the Bush
administration. He thinks the more information
you get about everything and everybody, the better it is. But this is not really working out. Most Islamic terrorists have no criminal
record.... With the new border checks
the U.S. has gone over the top."
"When Freedom Gets The Jitters"
Stefan Kornelius opined in the center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung
(1/2): "In year three of the Terror
Age, it does not come as a surprise that we have to reckon with random murders
or attacks in Hamburg, Mexico City or Los Angeles. Terror can hit us anywhere and at any time;
and where it does not cause victims, it sticks in the minds of people.... 9/11 resulted in a great restriction of civil
rights in the U.S. Most Americans accept
this uncomplainingly, like a natural catastrophe, which could not be changed anyway.... America has a special way to deal with
national disasters and wars. Usually,
they forge even stronger bonds in the country; and there is almost a lust for
mutually experienced hysteria. For this
reason Americans are more relaxed about terror alerts than Europeans; that is
also why they tend to overreaction and overeagerness.... German authorities are more relaxed about
this danger; a good tradition. If a
terror threat were celebrated like in the U.S., it would quickly paralyze
society and cause great political damage.
Therefore, the strategy to counter terror calmly and most effectively is
right.... America is hiding itself
away. Fewer students, fewer visitors,
fewer businessmen will accept visa tortures.
Slowly there is a change of system; the U.S. is losing its
ITALY: "Invisible Wall
For Miss Liberty"
Vittorio Zucconi opined in left-leaning, influential La
Repubblica (1/6): "The
innocence of America, which welcomed everyone, ended on a September day in
2001. Now there is an invisible
wall. And if a new statue were to be
erected next to Miss Liberty in the port of New York, it would be a monument to
Miss Paranoia.... Anyone entering the
U.S., even if he comes from an allied country like Italy and with a visa, and
not as a simple tourist, will be considered a suspect by a police department,
and will be put in a file.... This is
one of the bitterest cultural revolutions that global terrorism and the Bush
government's paranoia have provoked. The
knowledge that from now on visitors will be treated like suspect terrorists, is
proof of just how much times have changed, maybe irreversibly so. This is another victory for the
terrorists.... Experience teaches that
no computer is able to read the intentions of human beings. The 'wall' will not stop those who are ready
to die for the sake of killing."
CYPRUS: "Proof And
Right-wing, nationalistic Simerini declared (1/7): "The U.S. authorities are now
implementing new measures in their effort to halt terrorism. In addition to the weird questionnaire that
has to be filled out by those who wish to secure a visa for entry to the U.S.,
a new security system has been introduced at American airports. Upon arrival at American airports, you should
expect to be welcomed by 'photographers' of the security authorities. They will take your picture, they will take
your fingerprints and, if necessary, they might decide to subject you to a
blood test. The Department of Homeland
Security has clarified that this measure does not apply for the citizens of 28
countries, including the EU member-states, who arrive in the U.S. for a short
period of time.... The question is whether
these measures will avert possible terrorists from entering the U.S. It is very likely that a determined terrorist
will not be stopped because of any security measures. A world-wide 'filing' system might have been
more effective. However, even in that
case not known terrorists could certainly try to enter [the U.S.]... As Asterix would have said, 'Are these
Romans crazy or are they not?'"
"Only A New Approach Can Tackle Terror"
The independent English language Cyprus Mail wrote (1/4):
"Flight cancellations, security threats, orange alerts, it all makes for a
rather jittery start to 2004.... The
United States spent much of 2003 seeking to convince the world of a link
between its war on terror -- a legitimate campaign justifiable on grounds of
self-defense -- and its war on Saddam Hussein -- a thoroughly illegitimate
campaign of aggression against an (admittedly monstrous) regional
dictator...America's military aggression in the Middle East, its heavy-handed
occupation of Iraq and its bank cheque to Israel's war on the Palestinians have
swollen the ranks of radical Islamist terror groups. For how long can the West protect itself from
an ever-growing pool of potential suicide bombers?...While the rhetoric of
George W. Bush may be as galling as ever, there have been perceptible changes
in approach. Of his notorious axis of
evil, Iraq may have been dealt with militarily, but the attitude towards Iran
and North Korea has shifted noticeably.... This kind of step-by-step diplomacy
significantly strengthens Washington's hands in the war on terror. However fortress-like we make our cities,
they will never be safe until the countries that have acted as their
recruitment ground are gently brought on board.
For the irony is that American-occupied Iraq is now a far more fertile
breeding ground for terror than so-called state sponsors of terror like Libya
"Needless Hysteria Over Fingerprint Scans"
Alexandr Vondra, former Czech Ambassador to the U.S., opined in
center right Lidove noviny (1/8):
"Is the worldwide criticism of the U.S.-VISIT Program
legitimate?--Brazilians really should hold back their judgments. Their country was one of the few that granted
asylum to Nazis after WWII, many of whom had forged documents. It would be much more useful to approach this
problem in a rational way without needless emotions.... This program comes in response to the
terrorist attacks on the U.S. It is
meant to increase the security of Americans, not to annoy or criminalize
foreigners.... A fingerprint scan is an
objective, accurate biometric qualification to show that the passport and visa
belong to the person holding it.... The
program will naturally not solve the problem, but it will help...and it is
certainly better than [the Czech] favorite way of dealing with problems--to
pretend they do not exist.... We must
seek the balance between security and freedom but must bear in mind there is no
freedom without security.... If someone
is principally against fingerprint scans they always have the option of not
going to the States.... Instead of
criticism we should aim for a visa-free regime...which will now be quite
difficult in view of the hundreds or maybe even thousands joining in the
collective lawsuit against Wal-Mart."
"Counter-Measures Don’t Need To Be Retaliation"
Petr Uhl wrote in left-center Pravo (1/7): "American tourists have been traveling
to the Czech Republic without visa-requirements for years now. It doesn’t work the same way in reverse. Moreover, there is triple registration of
photographs and fingerprints (upon filling in the visa application, arrival to
the U.S., and departure from the U.S.).
A judge in Sao Paolo decided that [Brazil] will introduce the same
measures for American tourists. However,
such provisions make sense only if they bring the recipient party to change its
attitude. That’s hard to expect from the
U.S. Interior Minister Stanislav Gross
showed an unemotional approach yesterday, and correctly put the problem into
the EU perspective. The fact that many
such security measures evidently do help in the fight against terrorism should
not weaken our alertness to the fact that they can always be misused. Citizens who are not radically against the
use of these surveillance methods should insist on sticking to some principles,
including who controls access to the collected data and how it is used. For the time being, the public debate, both
here and in the U.S., is not sufficient.
Czech civic society with its sensitivity to providing personal data
[which has roots in its experience with a totalitarian past] could
substantially assist in the debate."
"American Authorities Got Themselves In the Trap of
Jiri Dolezal wrote in right-center Lidove noviny
(1/7): "Safety is an extremely
treacherous state, because it does not exist.
Only various illusions of safety exist.
And there is also a similar behavior which psychiatrists call neurosis. Starting this week, American authorities
were caught in the trap of neurosis: they divided humankind between 'us' (U.S.
citizens) and 'them' in order to secure safety.
These measures mean that (aside from a few exceptions) the rest of the
world is a priori suspected of terrorism....
But Timothy McVeigh would not appear on such a list of the a priori
suspected.... Also the Japanese...would
not have to have their fingerprints and photos taken...despite the fact that
Japan is the only country where terrorists successfully used WMD. For the U.S. taxpayers money, U.S.
authorities have created a perfectly irrational ceremony for elimination of
anxiety, nothing more."
"The U.S., Fingerprint Scan And Freedom"
Karel Steigerwald observed in the mainstream MF Dnes
(1/6): "Is [the U.S.-VISIT Program]
another limitation of our freedoms, or an effective tool in the fight against
terrorism?… Freedom is much more endangered by terrorists than by the measures
against it.... A fingerprint scan will
harm you in one way only--it will humiliate you. It will, however, give you something very
valuable--increased security.... It is
important to consider who is infringing on our freedoms.... In the totalitarian times we had a saying
still valid today: do not disclose
anything to the totalitarian regime, not even what the weather is like today;
but you can disclose anything to the U.S.
A fingerprint scan done by the Americans is a good thing for your
freedom; beware, however, if it should be done by a North Korean."
DENMARK: "War on
terror in being misused"
Center-left Politiken commented (1/4): "The war on terror as an intellectual
doctrine is without content.... As the
basis for foreign and security policy, the war on terror represents a problem,
rather than an answer. It is being
misused and it is making us more vulnerable."
Former Washington correspondent Gabor Miklos
opined in left-of-center Nepszabadsag (1/9): "Today, the attack’s demented planners
and executors may easily think they have won.
They have succeeded in turning the great America’s sunny and open
disposition into a worrying and introverted one. Before the attack, the Americans did not
really pay attention to where their neighbors on the street had come from and
how they prayed. It was afterwards that
the paranoid suspicion and anger broke out against the Orientals, the Muslims
and their countries. Afterwards,
aggressive 'patriotism' became the norm,
and it became possible to start all kinds of wars in the name of the U.S.
security.… Thus, the institutional fears
and prejudices have turned from personal and occasional ones into global and
total. They are extended to entire
groups of people, and global powers, in attempts at total security, they are
trying to close down their borders and airspace. The U.S. is a leader in these
attempts, too, when it takes photos and digital fingerprints from those who
want to enter their territory. They may
not have even thought it through that, by doing so, they automatically put
innocent tourists, businessmen and visitors into the category of potential
criminals. I do not know how these
circumstances could be changed, how the world - and primarily, America - could be led out of the circles of their
fears. Because there is nothing scarier
than a worrying giant armed to the teeth.”
"With A Fingerprint Into The Home Of Freedom"
Right-wing conservative Magyar Nemzet noted (1/5): “Although the system of electric forensic and
biometric data gathering, a system that is hard to evade, is becoming more
frequently used worldwide, it is another unpopular measure that fits well with
the similarly unpopular trends, whereby the United States is losing
prestige. These measures were up till
now related to criminals and suspects.
Because of the war in Iraq, the United States has lost a lot of its
prestige and it turned for many from ‘the home of freedom’ to the ‘empire of
arrogance’. If the United States loses
its internal freedom and disrespects the rights of others, the terrorists can
start rubbing their hands in satisfaction.”
IRELAND: "U.S. Plans
To Retain Visitors' Fingerprints For 75 Years"
Christine Newman observed in the center-left Irish Times
(1/8): "Fingerprints taken from
Irish citizens on entry to the U.S. will be retained indefinitely by the U.S.
authorities, even after the visa-holder has left the country.... A spokesman in the Data Protection
Commissioner's office in Dublin said: 'If the fingerprints are for the purpose
of confirming entry to the U.S. and then again on departure, and that is the
only reason, then they should be deleted.' If fingerprints were to be used in
the long term, then the public should have the right to know so that they could
choose whether they wanted to go to the U.S., the Dublin spokesman said. It was
a matter for the U.S. authorities but they should publicize the fact that
fingerprints would be retained. He said that if there were concerns about the
scheme, then they could be brought up at a meeting of the EU body of
data-protection commissioners rather than by an individual country. He added
that the EU body, which meets about four times a year, would have no
jurisdiction over what happened within the U.S."
THE NETHERLANDS: "Safe Flying"
An editorial in influential, liberal De Volkskrant stated
(1/8): "There can be few objections
to stricter passenger checks. It is the price we pay for increased safety.
Recently, a compromise was reached in the conflict about providing personal
information of passengers to the U.S., but it still clashes with European
privacy rules. Then there are the pilots' objections to having 'sky marshals'
on flights to the US. They are rightly worried about having firearms on board.
Washington is not too willing to discuss it, but whoever keeps stressing that
the fight against terrorism requires the cooperation of all nations, would be
wise not to impose measures on others unilaterally."
ROMANIA: New U.S. Security
Measures On Airports
In the independent Ziua foreign policy analyst Victor
Roncea commented (1/7): “Since the 1st
of January, any visitor in America has become a ‘suspect’, a ‘potential’
terrorist, candidate for Guantanamo. By
the means of this ‘biometric’ scanning program and gathering of personal data
regarding any visitor of America, the U.S. administration has decided, in fact,
to isolate itself from the rest of the world.
The stronghold of democracy becomes the anti-terrorism fortress,
rejecting the elementary rights of the citizen.
Ossama bin Laden succeeded in bringing to its knees the greatest
military power in the world, in killing its citizens on its own territory and
in spreading terror. Today, terrorism
triumphs again because of these measures, which defeat the very foundation of
the American democracy, a symbol for the entire democratic world.”
SLOVAKIA: "No American Horror"
Miroslav Caplovic commented in left-of-center Pravda (1/7): “Fingerprint scanning and photographing
foreign visitors after they arrive in the U.S. is nothing shocking, not what we
could call an American horror. If these procedures help fight terrorism, these
few seconds shouldn’t cause a scandal. Every country has the right to protect
its security.... The other issue is how effective the new American security
system is. There are many French and British people coming to the U.S., and
there are many Muslims living especially in these countries. So the possibility
of potential terrorists is high.
Therefore, we can’t really speak of perfection from the American side.
But we can speak of absolute imperfection in case of Brasilia. Americans are
spending half a day at the airport because of imperfect techniques used as
revenge. The U.S. informed people about the planned procedure six months in
advance, and the Brazilian federal judge woke up to revenge just few days ago.
SLOVENIA: "Fingerprints, Please!"
Delo judged (1/7): “The [U.S.]
police and the intelligence services had always wished to be able to randomly
check the identity of people traveling in the United States. They were restricted by the U.S.
Constitution, which applies to American citizens and foreigners temporarily
residing in the United States alike.
Protection of privacy is sacred in America.... However, in the atmosphere of constant
threat, things have become normal which were inconceivable in the
SPAIN: "Big Brother"
Centrist La Vanguardia wrote (1/6): "There is no doubt
that the new entry control procedures adopted January 5 by U.S. authorities is
a step toward the conversion of that great country into a troubling copy of the
societies controlled by Big Brother, one that ignores people's fundamental
rights and imposes bureaucratic and police red tape. It is a sad paradox that the U.S., founded
under the sign of freedom, is succumbing to a climate of fear and paranoia,
conveniently stoked by the government itself.... Since September 11, the government of George
Bush has implemented a series of preventive measures that seriously threaten
the very foundations of its own society, when they don't openly violate
international human and civil rights charters (such as the prisoners held at
Guantanamo).... If other countries take
similar measures, the obscene policy of security emanating from Washington
could lead us to a world dominated by fear, mistrust of foreigners, and
restrictions on civil rights and freedoms."
Left-of-center El País wrote (1/6): "The origin of
this initiative [US-VISIT] is the trauma of 9/11 and the anti-terrorist
psychosis it caused, though it is by no means clear that measures such as these
would have stopped those attacks. The
logical response to these controls is reciprocity.... It would be logical for Europe to introduce
reciprocal measures. It should be
possible to create reasonable controls that do not disturb the delicate balance
between security and freedom.... The passengers
also must fill out a questionnaire which includes questions about religious
beliefs, diet and political tendencies....
This is entering the area of personal privacy. All of this reflects that the U.S. does not
know how to live without an enemy. After
the end of communism, it has found one in the fear of a slippery, ubiquitous
terrorism that the Bush Administration encourages because it believes that it
favors it. But this could be the first
triumph of the terrorists."
"The U.S. Isolated In Its Hyper-Security"
Conservative ABC editorialized (1/5): "There is no doubt that getting our
skies free of terrorists is in the common interest, but the U.S. pretension of
handling the issue just as a domestic one is excessive. The U.S. is risking a collapse of air
traffic...and definitely is rewarding terrorists with an invaluable
psychological victory.... The biggest
mistake that the U.S. might commit is to tie its own hands with a security
fixation, and even worse to think that allies must follow. For any ally, it is always easier to share a
justified war than an exaggerated obsession."
Centrist La Vanguardia commented (1/5): "Security should not be used as an
electoral weapon, nor to make any profit regarding partisan or political
purposes. Governments should protect
citizens without frightening them.
Getting on board an airplane or simply flying abroad should not become
an adventure, much less an heroic act."
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
For Attack Is The American Way"
The national conservative Australian maintained (1/8): “For the American people, September 11 was a
rerun of Pearl Harbor--an act of war.
And in wartime national security takes priority. This does not mean American security standards
are all beyond debate. Warnings that
passengers should not queue in aircraft aisles for toilets looks foolish. The prospect of a fire-fight between sky
marshals and a terrorist on a packed jumbo jet is a grim one. And travelers mistaken for terrorists
arriving in the U.S. can expect a hard time.
But the memory of the twin towers burning will not quickly fade from the
American mind. We might not like it, but
a more suspicious welcome for travelers to the U.S. is here to stay. “
"U.S. Exports Its Security Problem"
The liberal Sydney Morning Herald editorialized (1/7): “[Recently cancelled flights from France and
Britain] may [only] be teething problems with a new and tighter security
system. The danger, however, is that the
more often passengers are inconvenienced for reasons which later seem
misconceived, the less confidence they will have in the system. Even if such measures bed down well and serve
their intended purpose, passengers will not be sure that the inconvenience they
are put to is necessary, unless they see alleged terrorists arrested and
prosecuted. Other security measures
introduced in the U.S. by the powerful and relatively new Department of
Homeland Security, such as the new digital processes to fingerprint and
photograph arriving passengers, will add to some travelers' anxiety. Because of the many exemptions for short-term
visitors from so many countries, including Australia, these measures are being
seen as discriminatory and intended more to reassure the U.S. public than
provide real protection from terrorists.
The best balance between necessary controls and free movement of people
is yet to be struck.”
CHINA: "Bush's Biggest
Fear This Year Is Bin Laden"
Zou Dehao commented in the official Communist Party international
news publication Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao, 1/7): "Experts point out that the reason why
the U.S. has adapted so many new anti-terror measures is that the Bush
administration sees danger approaching.
It is said that the intelligence briefing clips that the CIA submits to
Bush are thicker than before. Experts
point out that it is impossible for the U.S. to shut the door on the terrorists
since many shortcomings exist in its prevention system. First, it is easy for terrorists to enter the
U.S.... The U.S. is so spacious and its
borders are so long that there's no way to safeguard them; second, the targets
against which the terrorists can launch attacks are plentiful. Experts point out that while U.S. military
might is such that it can topple a regime with ease, its society is
Unfortunately, Mr. Bush has to face this. For Bush, 2004, the election
year, is a critical year. It is also a critical year for Bin Laden."
CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):
"Striking The Right Balance To Keep Terrorists At Bay"
The independent English-language South China Morning Post
took this view (1/4): "As many of
the 3,000 who died in the World Trade Center attack came from all around the
world, and as many other countries also live with threats of terrorism from
al-Qaida and groups linked with it, there is sure to be some sympathy for the
[U.S.] need to err on the side of caution.
The U.S. has offered to help train air marshals but kept mum on how such
stepped-up security measures will be paid for.
As it needs to have continued goodwill from other countries to make
headway in the war against terror, the U.S. should probably avoid giving the
impression that it is throwing its weight around or forcing the world to bear
an unfair burden to protect American security.
Airlines around the world are in a financially fragile state.... Some of the costs of higher security will
surely be passed on to the traveler, but perhaps some thinking should go into
how to keep the measures from crippling the business. Here in Hong Kong...our airport security
measures have always been strict, but it is reassuring to know that extra
precautions have been introduced in response to the latest threat. And though there is as yet no link, the Hong
Kong response might hold some lessons for airports and airlines elsewhere as
they seek to cope with the alerts coming from the U.S. When the risks are credible, there is a
responsibility to deal with them--while minimizing the disruptions. Unless we strike a balance, the terrorists
will already have won."
"The Reality Of Terrorism"
The independent English-language Hong Kong Standard
editorialized (1/5): "Is it (high
risk terrorist alert) an over-reaction by a paranoid administration? Perhaps.
But this is the new reality aviation is facing.... So worried is the Bush administration by
another September 11-style terrorist attack it has put foreign airlines on
notice that they will be denied entry to U.S. airspace if they refuse to put
armed air marshals on flights. Airlines
have little choice but to accept or be denied entry--and in turn see a massive
drop in revenue. Whether we like it or
not, these are the realities we now have to live with when travelling. And this may be the reality for much of this
century. Terrorists don't have to repeat
another September 11, they only have to give the impression they are planning
one. The result is added security and
chaos for the travelling public."
SOUTH KOREA: "Problems
With Selective U.S. Fingerprinting"
Moderate Hankook Ilbo editorialized (1/8): "Even though it is intended to counter
terrorism, the U.S.-VISIT program will arouse a sense of humiliation and
antipathy toward the U.S. among countries affected by the program.... In particular, it is absurd for the U.S. to
include the ROK--an ally that hosts 37,000 American forces and is participating
in its war on terrorism by deciding to send some 3,000 troops to Iraq in the
face of dangers of terrorist attacks--among those countries subject to the
program, while exempting 27 countries, such as EU countries, Australia and Japan,
from it.... We cannot shake off our
suspicion that Washington is openly dividing the world into 'reliable' and
'unreliable' countries.... The
U.S.-VISIT program will prove counterproductive, only inviting hatred toward
the Americans as it treats all but a few countries as hotbeds of
"U.S.'s Fingerprinting Another Terror Against Human
The nationalist, left-leaning Hankyoreh Shinmun
editorialized (1/6): "The
U.S.-VISIT program violates human rights by regarding foreign visitors to the
U.S. as potential criminals and forcing them to provide their biological
information to U.S. authorities....
Furthermore, the program reeks of racism as the U.S. exempts Canada and
27 countries, including EU countries, Japan and Australia, with which it has
signed visa-waiver agreements, from the program and targets countries in the
Middle East, Africa and South America.
In this regard, it is only natural that Brazil has begun fingerprinting
and photographing all U.S. citizens entering that country.... Washington should work out procedures for
visitors that dispel concerns about human rights violations and reduce
inconveniencies for other countries as much as possible. If many foreigners feel displeasure [over
U.S. immigration procedures], it itself amounts to aggravating the security
"Fingerprints Of Air Passengers"
Independent Indo Pos/Jawa Pos of Surabaya
opined (1/8): “We could tolerate a
tighter security measure that is general in nature such as by deploying more
security personnel on the streets and in busy public places. But it is intolerable to take the
fingerprints of those on board an airplane.
It is beyond logic. Therefore,
other countries should remind the U.S. that its actions against terrorism
should not be at odds with the comfort and privacy of foreign citizens. Terrorism is a threat to all human
beings. But the efforts to ward it off
must be conducted within the sense of solidarity and togetherness. Do not give the impression as if only the
U.S. has an interest in terrorism, that only the U.S. is threatened by
terrorism, and that only the U.S. is the most responsible for the efforts to
"Aviation Becomes Messy From Terrorism Threat"
Leading independent Kompas judged (1/5): “The aviation world is facing a mess due to
the concern of possible terrorist attacks....
The aviation business, badly hurt since the September 11 tragedy, is
getting more disturbed. Material and
financial losses are not small....
Checks and security systems in various airports are being
tightened. More and more time is needed
in the process to get onboard. This fact
indicates how dreadful the terrorist threat is.
The international community has not yet found an effective and efficient
way to eradicate terrorism.... The
terrorism threat is very dreadful and it needs international cooperation to
stop the malicious crime against humanity.”
The editorial of the independent Manila Times read
(1/8): "Will this new measure hinder
travel to and trade with the U.S.? We
don't think so.... Filipinos will
continue to go to the U.S.... Filipinos
will grin and bear the embarrassment....
What is most unfair is that nationals of countries where many terrorists
are based are exempt from these 'enhancements'.... Brazil has retaliated by photographing and
fingerprinting visiting Americans.
Should be do the same for the sake of our internal security?"
PAKISTAN: "U.S. Visit
Program To Humiliate Foreigners"
The Islamabad-based pro-jihad Urdu daily Islam
editorialized (1/7): "The new U.S.
Visit program is a plan to humiliate foreign nationals in the U.S. This program illustrates that the U.S. has no
respect and does not care for the people of other countries. Every person who comes to America is a
suspected terrorist. The new visit
program might affect U.S. relations with other states. Tourism and trade may also be affected as
well.... According to some critics, this
new procedure is a symbol of the mental bankruptcy of the U.S. administration
and Americans are frightened due to their policies and imperialistic
activities.... It is unfortunate that
the U.S. leadership is steering America towards loneliness in the world."
"Scanning For What?"
The pro-government Star held (1/7): "The U.S. has reason to be concerned
about safety and security.... But the
real issue now is whether it is creating a safer world or one dominated by
psychotic obsessions. Its war on terror
has so far solved very little.... Now,
in yet another aberration, Washington is insisting on foreign visitors with
visas being fingerprinted and photographed....
In other words, the Americans will build up a gigantic database of the
ordinary citizens of the world.... From
America itself comes the warning that the introduction of biometric identifiers
will mean the creating of surveillance society.
Furthermore, civil liberty groups believe that this invasion of privacy
is unlikely to lead to the bad guys being caught, but rather that immigrants
will be trapped in a bureaucratic nightmare.
Inevitably there is going to be retaliation.... We again ask, are we heading for a safer
"Fly The Friendly Skies"
Centrist ThisDay observed (1/7): "Not all governments or airlines are
wholly convinced of the need to put armed agents aboard planes.... There are various issues at stake here, not
only the threat of terrorism.... Other
scenarios should also be considered....
[But there is also the issue of] the need to be wary of the militarization
of civilan space--including civilian airspace.
Airlines and airports should take the necessary steps to prevent guns
and other weapons from getting on board aircraft, and those who would hijack
airplanes should be stopped on the ground.
Unless and until there is an ironclad case for taking weaponry aboard
planes, guns should be kept out of the sky."
KENYA: "Dig Out The
Roots Of Terror"
Independent left of center Nation commented (1/7): “If Pearl Harbor was a turning-point because
it sucked the U.S. into World War II, September 11 seems to have sounded the
death-knell for civil rights. Armed
escorts on planes, more armed guards sealing off airports--sounds like a
declaration of war on citizens of the world.
Perhaps a more appropriate way should be to focus attention on the root
causes of rising terrorism, which can be traced to the unresolved Palestinian
question. Arming soldiers to the teeth
to watch over the people sounds like an extension of the explosive Middle East
situation to a wider arena. By
polarizing the world, the U.S. precautions are bound to lead to deeper
suspicion and mistrust among races. No
amount of photo-shoots and fingerprints can resolve global terrorism. A less painful way has to be sought.”
In The Air"
State-owned daily The New Vision editorialized (1/5): "In the last two weeks, seven
international flights to the U.S have been cancelled. Several others have been delayed,
doubled-checked, turned around or escorted by American fighter jets. Such action would suggest the existence of
evidence of a possible terror attack.
However, it has turned out that the U.S is acting paranoid. In all the cancellations, no evidence of
terror threats has materialized. This
action is likely to discourage air travelers and give a smile to real terrorist
organizations like al-Qaida. Terror
threat alarms--real or imagined--disrupt work and normalcy, and help to serve
the terrorists’ objectives. Of course it
is wise to take terrorist threats seriously and the U.S is right to take
precautions. However overreacting to the
inconvenience of passengers is not acceptable.
Covert response to terror threats is more effective. Thorough searches during check-in and
boarding of planes, and introduction of air marshals is better than reacting to
threats by canceling flights."
CANADA: "Keep The
Spooks On A Short Leash"
Columnist Paul Knox observed in the leading Globe and Mail
(1/7): "I guess the good thing about the latest anti-terrorism follies is
this: If the record of the U.S. security apparatus is any guide, there's no way
they'll be able to properly keep track of the fingerprints (ahem, biometric
data) of 24 million foreign air passengers every year. Of course, that's the
bad thing too. The more of this stuff you do, the more likely it is to go
wrong. The more information a state collects on people, the greater the
likelihood it will be misused. That's without even considering the dangers
embodied in gun-toting sky marshals, which the United States is now demanding
for certain international flights, or fighter jets tailing passenger airliners
across the Atlantic.... Will the new homeland-security measures make the world
safer for Americans, or anyone else? What will the collateral damage be? The
first question is tough to answer. Unless you're inside the mind of Osama bin
Laden, and all the other twisted creatures out there who think killing innocent
bystanders is the way to fix what ails the world, you'll never know exactly
what they're planning.... The second question is a little easier. In the world
of global airline travel and outside it, the climate is becoming vastly more
hospitable for invasions of privacy.... Visitors to the United
States--including Canadians--must be told what will become of the personal
images collected by immigration screeners. Insisting on safeguards, and keeping
the spooks on a short leash, are as important to security as heightened alerts.
The murkier the purported threat, the more important it is to ask whether the
countermeasures are appropriate."
"Try The Back Yard"
Richard Brzakala wrote in the leading Globe
and Mail (Internet version, 1/5):
"During the recent security alert, it would appear that the U.S.
focus has been primarily on airlines and airport security in the hope of
staving off another 9/11-type attack....
One would hope that all of the intelligence chatter and leads that are
coming in to the Homeland Security Office from reliable sources are not part of
a larger misinformation campaign hatched by al-Qaida operatives and designed to
serve as a red herring. I believe that
the terrorism will not be unleashed from the skies as on Sept 11., nor will the
enemy try to enter through airport gates or border crossings in Canada or
Mexico. The terrorists have already
landed, they have been on American soil for many months, if not years, and are
waiting and ready, given the opportunity, to strike at the United State's
greatest vulnerability: its people and
their daily way of life. What will the
United States do when a half dozen McDonald's are bombed in several cities, and
its children start becoming the innocent casualties at home instead of
abroad? One wonders what U.S. President
George W. Bush's response will be like on home turf, and how long Americans
will be able to bare even further curtailments of civil liberties, once full
martial law is imposed? The Bush
administration's policy of expending valuable resources and intelligence in
fighting terrorism abroad--in Afghanistan and, more recently, in Iraq--may have
compromised the United States more then ever.
Perhaps it is not too late to redirect those resources and look into our
own back yard in the hopes of uncovering the dangers that lie within.
"Fly The Unfriendly Skies"
Under the sub-heading, "The inconvenience of cancelled
flights is a small price to pay," the nationalist Ottawa Citizen
opined (1/5): "Even people who don't fly should be concerned about the
current heightened alert against a possible terrorist attack on the United
States using an international passenger aircraft. Not only will the enhanced
security measures add to the costs borne by airlines and governments, they will
also mean more police being diverted from other important duties to provide
added protection at airports and aboard some U.S.-bound flights.... It is also
important to remember that, while our attention span may be short, al-Qaeda and
its supporters have a long-term plan to attack the West.... Air travel is an
integral part of modern life, but so too is the threat of international
terrorism. We cannot do without the first, nor can we totally eliminate the
second. But that doesn't mean we should make it easy for terrorists to strike
at us.... This is the time to stand our ground against terrorism, not
"Sensors, Cameras And Tension In The U.S."
Francisco Seminario wrote in daily-of-record La Nacion
(1/6): "Whoever arrives today to
the U.S. is aware of at least two new realities: that he/she has just entered a country in
war, scared due to its fear of a new terrorist criminal attack, and that this
fear...turns everyone--tourists, students and employees all the same--into
suspects. Certainly, it is an
uncomfortable feeling through which nearly 25 million visitors per year will
have to go. Also, this feeling is
reinforced when one notices that not all passengers are subject to the same
security measures. European passengers
and others from a number of certain countries, like Canada and Japan, go
through the screening without major trouble.
They are not suspects. The
others, including Argentines, are suspects.
It seems that the assumption of innocence has ended for us. Another point is that new controls...make the
immigration procedure much slower and troublesome, largely because immigration
officers are not quite familiar yet with the new technology they have to use. Some passengers openly complain, delays are
exasperating.... Once in the country,
this weird uncomfortable feeling is not over.... Suspicion is in the air: the threat could have entered the country in
spite of the strict control procedures....
Now, we are all suspects."
"The U.S. Defends Its Screening System For Monitoring Foreign
Alberto Armendariz, New York-based correspondent for
daily-of-record La Nacion wrote (1/6): "Amid complaints from some
passengers and slight delays in the migration procedure, the USG defended its
controversial electronic screening system for monitoring the foreign
visitors.... U.S. Homeland Security
Secretary Tom Ridge said 'This is the start of a new chapter in our country's
commitment to maintain our nation safe while we respect traveling freedom and
welcome foreign visitors'.... While the
first day of this new procedure did not bring big trouble beyond slight
delays...and most passengers showed understanding, some others at the John F.
Kennedy in New York did not hide their irritation due to the measure. 'This
country is becoming like Nazi Germany, first they ask people to spy on
neighbors and they now treat foreigners like criminals,' said Sherif El-Masry,
an Egyptian neurologist... The only foreign visitors excluded from this
obligation of being fingerprinted and photographed are those from the 27
countries who currently do not need visas to enter the U.S. as long as they stay
less than 90 days in the U.S. (countries included in the non visa waiver
program). Argentina was included in this group until April 2002, but the great
number of Argentines who illegally stayed in the U.S. led our country to lose
the visa waiver privilege."
"Complains Due To Discrimination At Ezeiza"
Natalia Zuazo, columnist of daily-of-record La Nacion,
observed (1/6): "Yesterday, some of the 450 Argentines who were going to
board American Airlines flights to New York and Miami showed resignation and
irritation due to what they understand it is 'discrimination' in new U.S.
controls. No one said the measure is inopportune and everyone agreed they
understand it, but complains were abundant. Most of them believe that all
passengers boarding flights to the U.S. should be subject to the same control
procedures regardless of their nationality, not only Latin Americans or
BRAZIL: "Bravado And Strategy"
Liberal Folha de S. Paulo economic
columnist Luis Nassif held (1/9): "There is a lack of strategic thinking
in this retaliation against American citizens. Brazil is erroneously confusing
American citizends with the USG and is not thinking strategically about future
negotiations involving the two nations.... It is one thing for Brazil to
complain about such anachronistic U.S. sectors as the steel industry or
non-competitive agriculture, or even about the USG. It is another thing for
Brazil to submit American citizens to [measures aimed at] retaliating against
the USG.... The U.S. decision was not aimed at Brazil, but at all nations whose
citizens must apply for a visa to visit the U.S. In addition, there is a
history of falsification of Brazilian passports."
Political analyst Mauro Santayana commented in
independent Jornal da Tarde (1/9): "There is no doubt that the
judge who ordered the identification of American citizens visiting Brazil was
responding to a national sentiment that was in the hearts and throats of
Brazilians since [former] Formin Celso Lafer was forced to remove his shoes at Washington's
[Dulles] Airport.... No Brazilian citizen has been involved in terrorist
actions in the U.S. or in any other nation.
Why, then, the discrimination? It
is natural for Secstate Colin Powell to complain about the measure, but not for
him to talk about discrimination. We -- and Latin Americans in general -- have
been discriminated against over the past 200 years. And we continue to be
discriminated against when Brazilian passport holders are submitted to a
rigorous process of identification.... We are not directing any hostility
against the great nation of Lincoln and Jefferson. On the contrary, we are
simply paying a tribute to it by copying its sovereign decision."
Liberal Folha de S. Paulo economic columnist Luis Nassif held
(1/8): "Brazil's retaliation against American tourists is puerile and
dangerous bravado. There is in Brazil a clear lack of perception about what the
national interest really is.... Inertia on the part of the Foreign Relations
Ministry and the Ministry of Justice is creating in Washington a sense that the
GOB is colluding with and supports the judicial decision. The measure will cause more damage and
retaliations than one can imagine.... After the note the Department of State
issued yesterday, the next step will be a recommendation to American citizens
that they no longer visit Brazil.... The harm to bilateral relations - not only
in the tourism sector - will be irreparable. A minor issue such as this will
bring a sour note to serious matters...and will soon reach the Treasury
Department, which will be forced to retaliate in some way. It is a ridiculous
situation that will not lead anywhere."
Center-right O Globo maintained (1/7): "Brazil is exhibiting the worst use of
the principle of reciprocity--that form of law of retaliation, of vengeance
which corresponds to the size of the offense.
Creating obstacles for Americans who arrive in our airports, for the
simple reason that Brazilian citizens are undergoing constraints at American
airports, is a negative form of repression, a juvenile patriotism that has
nothing to do with legitimate national pride.... The U.S.G. has the right to
protect itself against terrorist attacks. The actions taken to defend its
frontiers and control the movement of visitors can be viewed as excessive but
they are not arbitrary. It's also not likely that the U.S. will make an
exception for Brazilians entering the country as a result of the Brazilian
measures. Therefore, the application of reciprocity in this case is unnecessary
and abusive. While the U.S. can point to
terrorism as the reason for its actions, Brazil has no such reason."
"Ridiculous Judicial Retaliation"
Independent Jornal da Tarde editorialized (1/6): "It is difficult to argue with the
reasoning of U.S. Ambassador Donna
Hrinak, who could not find a reason for the discomfort currently experienced by
Americans arriving in Brazil.... One may
think that the security measures adopted by the USG are exaggerated, but those
who have followed the news since Sept. 11 cannot deny that the U.S.
administration is right to identify any foreigner visiting that nation. The fact is that the Americans have powerful
reasons for identifying visitors arriving and departing their airports. The accusation of discrimination is also
exaggerated, since the technical process of identification has been adopted
only in regards to travelers coming from nations of which an entry visa is
required. But the same cannot be said of
Brazil's ridiculous retaliation.... The
GOB should emerge from the inertia it has demonstrated in this case by giving
justice the opportunity to correct the mistake caused by its own distortions."
"Revenge And Prejudice"
Political columnist Clovis Rossi commented in liberal Folha de
S. Paulo (1/3): "The recent decision of a federal judge,
which imposed on U.S. travelers visiting Brazil the same requirements to be
adopted in the U.S., i.e., the taking of photos and fingerprints [of Brazilian
travelers], is incontestable. According
to initial local reactions, Brazilians have felt somewhat avenged.... We do not oppose the judge's decision or this
little taste of revenge, but they do not help Brazilians who visit the U.S. and
who already faced problems before the new requirements were established, even
before Sept. 11.... Arriving in Miami,
for example, has always been a kind of martyrdom for Latin Americans.... The number of officers working in passport
control has always been insufficient....
Those who arrive in the U.S. from Europe suffered much less before and
after Sept. 11. There is additional
evidence of a discriminatory trend behind bureaucratic and security
measures. There is no Brazilian judicial
measure that can overcome the prejudice of others."
COLOMBIA: "U.S. Also
Raises Its Wall"
The lead editorial in top national El Tiempo
held (1/7): “US-Visit, the most enormous inspection operation in human history,
intends to protect the U.S. from terrorists attacks... the 9/11 events
encouraged the Government to put into practice this expensive, complex and
polemic procedure. Nobody can deny the U.S. the right to take care of its
borders and to prevent the entry of undesirable criminals...and this is not an
isolated measure... However, the problem is that they are transgressing certain
civic rights – to privacy, to not being bothered without reason, to free
movement and to the presumption of innocence--for a project that sacrifices a
lot and obtains very little. It usually happens that major terrorists find a
way to avoid these norms of security and the harmless tourists and the
anonymous citizens end up paying the consequences.... A Federal Judge from
Brazil... compared U.S.-Visit with the worst Nazi horrors. This is an exaggeration.
But it is important to wonder if this great quantity of information is useful
for filtering out terrorists or if it will be used for other purposes.... On the other hand...it is of concern that
legal antiterrorist measures have been used as an excuse...travel is more and
more difficult and less pleasant. Everything indicates that globalization
covers everything except freedom of mobilization for the people.”
"When The FBI Controls An Airport"
Joaquin Rivery Tur railed in official Communist
Party Havana Granma (Internet Version-WWW, 1/7): "U.S. demands against their own mental
and political terrorism are having the effect of extraterritorial laws, which
are issued in Washington but observed in other countries...and without much
objection. U.S. authorities last week
announced extreme security measures in airports, through which each passenger
from an undesirable (underdeveloped) country would be rigorously checked and
armed guards would be placed in airplanes.
Some European countries did not even utter a word. Washington threatened
with not allowing planes that did not have armed guards land despite protests
by several organizations, including the Catholic Church, and deputies and
senators who are demanding an explanation over the legal basis on which the
Yankees are acting. We're talking about
the presence of Americans in airplane and passenger inspections, on which a
warning has already been issued that admitting the Washington agents means
losing sovereignty.... It seems like
the humiliating [fingerprint] registration to which they are submitted once
they arrive in US territory is not enough because the FBI insists on
maintaining the measures in Mexico indefinitely, with long lines and the slow
inspection process -- during which time those hoping to reach Los Angeles can
also be interviewed by the foreign policemen, even if the Mexican citizens
burst with ire.
Sensationalist La Hora noted (1/7): "[This] humiliating and discriminatory
provision [of fingerprinting and photographing visitors to the U.S.] that has
begun at land and maritime borders in the U.S., is aimed particularly at
citizens from the so-called Third World--rather ironic considering that the
U.S. was nurtured throughout its history and even now is maintained by
migrations from this region of the world.
In an act of reciprocity, Brazil has imposed similar restrictive
measures on Americans entering through its airports. Other Latin American countries should imitate
this exercising of their right to safeguard their own national
security.... September 11, 2001, with
its burden or horror and death, has unleashed a demented psychosis.... A psychosis that is nearing hysteria among
some U.S. political leaders, one that might bring unforeseeable consequences
both for its own people and the rest of humankind."
"Following Brazil's Lead Would Be Stupid"
The lead editorial for Paraguay's fourth-largest and conservative La
Nacion commented (1/8): "It is clear that Brazil, like any other
country in the world, may demand that foreigners identify themselves completely
before entering their territory.... But
Brazil is not content with this and is pressuring...all [Mercosur] members to
take the same reprisals, and this is not reasonable or legal.... In Paraguay there is no terrorism, and the
majority of Americans who come...do so for business purposes. This daily understands that the Federal
Republic of Brazil is taking measures that they consider to be in their own
interests, but to accompany them in this case would not only be catastrophic
but stupid.... Paraguayan foreign policy
must be designed according to the interests of Paraguay."
"Increase In Migration Controls Is Necessary"
Pro government La Estrella de Panama judged (1/7): "After the terrorist attacks in the
U.S...the world changed its way of
looking at terrorist threats and began to understand that intelligence
procedures are not enough, but also judicial, political, preventive measures and
security are necessary. That is why, the
increase of migration controls, airport security and control of visa issuance to travel to the
United States is necessary...it will
provide greater security to passengers and authorities in charge of national
and internal security.... It is a global war, determined and firm against
terrorism...necessary to recover peace,
which is appropriate in a
PERU: "Are We All
Center-left asserted La Republica (1/8): "A few days ago the U.S. Visit program
has been implemented.… Of course every country is free to take the measures it
considers necessary to guarantee its own domestic security...but since they
affect so many millions of tourists and the vast majority of countries in the
world --including Peru--, we must state
our opinion.… Don't these measures, whose actual effectiveness to prevent
attacks is relative, really represent a victory of the insane fundamentalist
minority over the sane...majority of people in the world?…It should be possible
to implement reasonable controls without breaking the sensitive balance between
security and freedom… Since 9/11...there have been accelerated steps backward
on the later… As it happened during the cold wa...times are back where personal
privacy was invaded...they show that the U.S. cannot live without an enemy.… It
is not communism anymore but something worse: omnipresent terrorism...whose
[crimes] all of us have to pay for.… Therefore, we salute Brazil's decision to
implemented a similar practice in reciprocity.… If we are suspects, U.S.
citizens are too.… We have become
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO: "America's Security Now
The tabloid style Express newspapers ran an editorial
asserting (1/7): "It has become fashionable for revisionist commentators
to argue that nothing has changed since the devastating attacks on American
soil on September 11, 2001. While that
stance deliberately runs counter to that of those commentators who argued
early, that everything has changed and continues to change as a spooked America
seeks to prevent a recurrence of that carnage.... Still, for all this, America needs to
understand the burden it is putting on other countries and seek to find ways to
help alleviate it. This country has been
given until July to upgrade its security at all the nation's ports with the
cost to the port at Port of Spain alone amounting to some $20 million.... The question that arises therefore, is
whether the level of security in the countries wishing to continue trading with
the United States should not be determined by a meeting of what, after all,
remain sovereign minds, rather than being the unilateral imposition it appears
to be.... But, by her own admission and,
indeed, actions, the war against terrorism has to be seen as being also about
the battle for minds. In this context, therefore, the American powers-that-be
should be careful about how they engage the assistance of friendly nations
whose tax-payers will, ultimately, have to foot the bill and who, consequently,
are bound to object to being bullied."
"Trembling Against U.S. Big-Stick Policy"
The independent Trinidad Guardian observed (1/2): "The world was sharply reminded that
U.S. policy, obsessing over 'homeland security,' could produce collateral
damage against Trinidad and Tobago and other countries. For Washington, plunged into paranoia since
9/11, all foreign countries, and their citizens, are guilty until proven
innocent of being threats to U.S. national security.... One hundred years ago, Theodore Roosevelt
famously adopted an African proverb saying, 'Walk softly but carry a big
stick.' Even when walking softly, the
U.S., over the century since, has never failed to carry a hefty stick--and
never failed to wield it. Among the
notions that should be recalled and seriously pondered in early 2004 is the
doctrine associated with Theodore Roosevelt exactly 100 years before: 'Chronic wrongdoing, or an impotence that
results in a general loosening of the ties of civilized society...may force the
United States, however reluctantly, in flagrant cases of such wrongdoing or
impotence, to the exercise of an international police power.' The impulse that gave rise to the U.S.
invasion of Iraq and, earlier of Grenada, remains 100 years later as a lively
threat to T&T. Lest we forget."