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Viewing cable 09BERLIN1626, MEDIA REACTION: TERRORISM, IRAN, CHINA, U.S.;BERLIN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09BERLIN1626 2009-12-29 07:07 2010-11-28 18:06 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Berlin
VZCZCXRO6873
RR RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHLZ
DE RUEHRL #1626/01 3630713
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 290713Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6139
INFO RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 1857
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0579
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1095
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2600
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 1622
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 0785
RHMFIUU/HQ USAFE RAMSTEIN AB GE
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE//J5 DIRECTORATE (MC)//
RHMFISS/CDRUSAREUR HEIDELBERG GE
RUKAAKC/UDITDUSAREUR HEIDELBERG GE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 BERLIN 001626 
 
STATE FOR INR/R/MR, EUR/PAPD, EUR/PPA, EUR/CE, INR/EUC, INR/P, 
SECDEF FOR USDP/ISA/DSAA, DIA FOR DC-4A 
 
VIENNA FOR CSBM, CSCE, PAA 
 
"PERISHABLE INFORMATION -- DO NOT SERVICE" 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.0. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KGHG US IR CH US
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: TERRORISM, IRAN, CHINA, U.S.;BERLIN 
 
1.    Lead Stories Summary 
2.   (U.S.)   Failed Terrorist Attack 
3.   (Iran)   New Protestsn4 
4.   (China)   Reaction to Jailing of Liu Xiabo 
5.   (U.S.)   Healthcare Reform 
 
 
1.   Lead Stories Summary 
 
The majority of dailies opened with reports on the failed terror 
attack on a Delta Airlines jet, while Sueddeutsche headlined: 
"Protests Intensify - Riots in Iran" and FAZ led with the headline: 
 
"People Killed in Demonstrations in Iran."  Editorials focused on 
the 
failed terror attack in the U.S., with the unrest in Iran and with 
the 
state of the coalition government in Berlin.  ZDF-TV's early evening 
 
newscast heute and ARD-TV's early evening newscast Tagesschau opened 
 
with a report on violent clashes between the Iranian regime and 
opponents. 
 
2.   (U.S.)   Failed Terrorist Attack 
 
All papers carry extensive reports the failed terrorist attack on a 
 
Delta Airlines airliners and reported that travelers flying to the 
United States must expect heightened security measures and tougher 
restrictions on their flights to the United States.  Die Welt 
headlined: "Terror Attempt Stirring up fear of Terror," while 
Financial Times headlined: "Fear of Terror is Back." 
 
In a front-page editorial, Die Welt (12/28) judged: "The fact that 
the 
would-be attacker was able to board a plane with his dangerous 
material reveals gaps in the control system.  With metal detectors 
alone chemical explosives cannot be discovered." 
 
Under the headline: "Flight 253," Frankfurter Allgemeine (12/28) 
opined: "If someone really had believed that we have transnational 
terror under control, and that we can give an all-clear signal with 
 
respect to security, then those people have now been taught better. 
 
Irrespective of whether the attacker acted on his own or on the 
instructions of al-Qaida, the danger is not over and that is why 
travelers, not only to the Untied States, must accept new 
inconveniences which are hopefully useful." 
 
"Following the terror attempt in Detroit, the usual security debate 
 
will now begin," Frankfurter Rundschau (12/28) noted, and added: 
"controls will be heightened, and agencies are trying to get us to 
do 
everything possible to prevent another attack.  This failed terror 
attempt shows how unpredictable people can be who stop at nothing. 
 
For the time being, there is only one lesson we can learn from the 
events on Flight 253: It is the courageous effort of Jasper 
Schuringa 
who prevented even worse events.  The unexpected resolve of 
individuals can be the right answer to the threat that comes out of 
 
the blue." 
 
In the view of Stuttgarter Zeitung (12/28), "Abdulmutallab was miles 
 
 
BERLIN 00001626  002 OF 005 
 
 
away from the organizational level of the 9/11 attackers.  But the 
Nigerian national succeeded in one thing:  he totally unnerved the 
western world, and the terror fighting machinery of the United 
States 
in particular.  Even though the U.S. government knew about the 
danger 
of the young man, he was able to fly around the world without 
difficulty.  Almost without any problems, he was able to smuggle 
dangerous substances aboard an aircraft.  But what if he really had 
 
the order from al-Qaida in Yemen to blow up the plane?  How does 
this 
view then fit the U.S. focus on Afghanistan?  Is Yemen, too, a front 
 
in the anti-terror war?  Many question, but only a few answers." 
 
Regional daily Nrnberger Nachrichten (12/28) and regional daily 
Trierischer Volksfreund (12/28) judged: "How was it possible for a 
young man to get aboard with a one-way ticket and an Arabic sounding 
 
name, whose contacts with Islamic extremists were known and whose 
father even warned the U.S. embassy?  The lists of passengers 
travelling to the United States are transferred in advance to the 
U.S. 
Homeland Security Department with all its data bases.  But again we 
 
see a big hole in the net that is supposed to capture potential 
terrorists.  Of course, one hundred percent security will never 
exist, 
but these gaps are dramatic and should be an alarm call which 
politicians should not ignore." 
 
Mannheimer Morgen (12/28) warned against hysteria and judged: "Each 
 
day terror investigators receive hundreds of tips and indications. 
 
How is it then possible to follow a vague suspicion?  We should not 
 
exaggerate security measures for flights.  The fact that in the 
United 
States no one is allowed to go to the bathroom one hour before 
landing 
is ridiculous.  The same is true for the ban on liquids in Europe. 
 
Here there is a clear disproportion between cost and benefit." 
MQrkische Allgemeine of Potsdam (12/28) opined: "If airlines, as a 
reaction to the failed attempt, force their passengers to remain 
seated one hour before landing, then this is no more than a gesture 
of 
helplessness.  The second much more important aspect may be 
dissatisfying at the moment, but there is no way around it: Muslims 
 
must preach again and again in their own ranks that terror is not 
the 
culmination of piety but a crime.  Any incident like this should 
stress to the Muslim world how urgent this message is." 
 
Regional daily Westdeutsche Zeitung of Dsseldorf (12/28) observed: 
 
"Hectic measure such as barring passengers from getting up should 
not 
prevail in the long run.  In the future, there will be no way around 
 
finding the right balance between possible improvements of our 
security standards compared to the trouble caused by 
them."SchwarzwQlder Bote (12/28) noted: "Everything we have learned 
 
about this attack does not strengthen our confidence in 
international 
 
BERLIN 00001626  003 OF 005 
 
 
security measures.  It is certainly right that there cannot be 
absolute security from mean terrorist attacks but this does not the 
 
least excuse the gaps in anti-terror measures. 
 
3.   (Iran)   New Protests 
 
All papers carry extensive coverage of the new clashes between the 
regime and opposition forces in Iran.   Sueddeutsche headlined: 
"Protests Intensify - Riots in Iran" and FAZ led with the headline: 
 
"People Killed in Demonstrations in Iran."  Frankfurter Rundschau 
reported on its front page: "The protests are directed against 
Iranian 
President Ahmadinejad."  The paper also reported that "according to 
 
reports from Tehran, police officers partly disobeyed orders to use 
 
their guns against the protesters.  The Internet page "Jaras," which 
 
is critical of the government, reported that 'some [police officers] 
 
tried to fire their guns in the air when their superiors put 
pressure 
on them.'" 
 
Sueddeutsche Zeitung (12/28) said in an editorial under the 
headline: 
"There is Growing Unrest among the People" that "if the information 
 
fragments from Tehran on the demonstrations during the Ashura 
holidays 
allow one conclusion, then this one: the rank and file of the 
protests 
are now overtaking their leaders.  Posters of religious leader Ali 
Khamenei and the chorus of demonstrators who want to see the 
dictator 
dead do not correspond with the slogans of the two opposition 
leaders 
Moussawi and Charrubi.  They are now faced with a dilemma:  If they 
 
stick to their view that they, in principle, recognize the 
institutions of the Islamic republic and want to use the courts to 
make their political opposition heard, then it could be that their 
followers will leave them because many want something else: regime 
change." 
 
Regional daily Suedwest Presse of Ulm (12/28) editorialized: "The 
regime is using all its might to extinguish the massive protests. 
The 
few Internet reports in any case show the brutality of the leading 
clique around President Ahmadinejad.  In the meantime, the regime 
has 
its back to the wall.  The protests are no longer confined to Tehran 
 
but are spreading to other cities....  The government can no longer 
 
afford the good deeds with which it bought the loyalty of Iranians. 
 
All this is really worrying for the international community of 
nations." 
 
Ostsee Zeitung of Rostock (12/28) argued: "Despite jammed cellular 
phone networks and despite blocked access to the Internet, the 
unrest 
in Iran hardly seems to be stoppable.  The resistance is still 
limited 
to a well-educated cosmopolitan, young, urban middle class.  Large 
sectors of the population, however, seem to keep quiet or seem to 
 
BERLIN 00001626  004 OF 005 
 
 
support the regime.  But the cyber revolt in Tehran has demonstrated 
 
that the mullahs no longer enjoy a monolithic power." 
 
Regional daily Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten (12/28) opined: "Since 
the 
allegedly manipulated re-election of President Ahmadinejad, a state 
of 
emergency has dominated in Iran.  But this is not only the struggle 
of 
a limited political protest movement against the president and the 
ayatollahs behind him.  The country is now facing an endurance test. 
 
At issue is whether the country wants to become a fundamental 
religious state or an Islamic republic.   The pictures from Iran are 
 
shocking.  It is the violence on both sides that makes us fear the 
worst." 
 
4.   (China)   Reaction to Jailing of Liu Xiabo 
 
Frankfurter Allgemeine (12/28) editorialized under the headline: 
"Co- 
Responsibility," that foreign countries must also be blamed that a 
man 
like Liu Xiabo is jailed with such an absurdly high prison term. 
The 
foreign countries have treated China for economic considerations 
with 
political kid gloves for years.  We can't blame China under these 
circumstances because we think that it is unassailable?  A positive 
 
reaction to any criticism of the verdict cannot be expected." 
 
Sueddeutsche Zeitung (12/28) said in an editorial: "A subtle but 
clearly visible trend is getting hold in China.  Civil disobedience 
 
among the rank and file is spreading.  It is an irony that this tend 
 
has become visible in the tough verdict against Liu Xiabo.  In front 
 
of the court in which China's leadership organized the show trial, 
we 
could not only see international reporters and diplomats, but 
Chinese 
supporters of Liu shouted slogans and unrolled posters thus 
deliberately risking their arrest.  Only a few courageous people 
went 
to the court, but they showed that intimidation no longer works as 
successfully as in the past.  This new trend is not only confined to 
 
the traditional political protest.  Courageous lawyers of the 
Weiquan 
civil rights movement are defending victims of the arbitrariness of 
 
state agencies and they defend each other, too.  And the number of 
peaceful and violent civil protests is on the rise.  But the Chinese 
 
Communist Party fails miserably when it comes to channeling 
communication with its critics into a constructive direction.  The 
verdict against Liu Xiabo is one more example.  It will only 
partially 
obtain the desired effect but not intimidate the people.  At the 
same 
time, new embitterment, new disobedience is growing.  With each show 
 
trial, the party is now doing of what it is accusing Liu: it 
undermines the state's authority." 
 
 
BERLIN 00001626  005 OF 005 
 
 
5.   (U.S.)   Healthcare Reform 
 
Under the headline: "Reform Blues," Sueddeutsche Zeitung (12/28) had 
 
this to say: "There is no doubt that the healthcare reform bill that 
 
has now been adopted in the Senate is a great work...and 
trailblazing. 
But enthusiasm about the success is limited.  One reason is that the 
 
legislative process is so tiresome; but there is an even more 
important reason: disappointment and doubts are spreading.  The 
advocates of the reform have been brought down to earth again 
because 
they were able to implement only a few of their demands.   Thus far, 
 
the Democrats have lost the fight for public opinion.  They will 
have 
to do quite a lot in the election campaign in 2010 to avoid being 
punished for a reasonable reform." 
 
Die Welt (12/28) argued: "The Democrats will now have difficulty 
explaining to their irritated voters why it is historic progress 
that 
31 million compatriots who have no coverage today will get health 
insurance, and that health insurance companies can no longer reject 
 
sick Americans or demand astronomically high premiums.  This reform 
is 
supposed to carry itself and not burden the budget.  But the 
opponents 
to the bill do not believe a word, arguing that the nation will go 
bankrupt.  This is a highly imperfect, weakened bill and, at the 
same 
time, a giant step forward into an American future in which job loss 
 
no longer means the end of insurance protection for a former 
employee 
and their whole family." 
 
DELAWIE