Cablegate: Media Reaction: Serbia; Iraq; North Korea

Published: Thu 13 Mar 2003 09:09 PM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A
1. "A murder in Serbia"
The leading Globe and Mail stressed (3/13): "...We hope
the world sees this [assassination of reformist Prime
Minister Zoran Djindjicas] more than just another in a
line of troubles that have historically made the
Balkans a powder keg. We hope its concern is for the
country as it is today, for the reforms and
constitutional rule taking shape, and the well-being of
its people."
2. "Serbia's reformer, R.I.P."
The conservative National Post opined (3/13): "...Mr.
Djindjic was a controversial politician who often had
bitter disagreements with his own democratic-minded
colleagues. But he will no doubt be remembered as a
democratic hero. The best way for Serbians to avenge
his death is to continue with Mr. Djindjic's political
reforms and anti-crime crusade. As Mr. Djindjic himself
noted in a tragically prescient interview following a
botched assassination attempt against him last month,
the death of the reformer need not necessarily spell
the death of his reforms."
3. "Serbia's loss"
The nationalist Ottawa Citizen declared (3/13):
"...Bringing lasting peace to the Balkans was already
difficult. Mr. Djindjic's death makes it even harder."
4. "We should sit out this war"
Under the sub-heading, "U.S. credibility on Iraq has
eroded to an extent that it is becoming hard to believe
anything from the Bush administration,"
editorial page editor Haroon Siddiqui commented in the
liberal Toronto Star (3/13): "...The Bush
administration's staggering dishonesty can best be seen
in the number of times the U.N. inspectors have had to
shoot down its unsubstantiated assertions. Both Hans
Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei are seasoned international
civil servants who understand the value of non-
partisanship. But they felt compelled to set the record
First, Blix:
No, his inspectors were not spied on. No, the Iraqis
could not have had advance knowledge of the sites to be
No, he did not think Iraqi agents were posing as
scientists, or that real scientists were being whisked
out of the country to avoid interrogations.
No, he found no evidence of Iraqis hiding or moving
banned materials in or out of the country.
No, he did not believe that Iraq had cleaned up some
sites before inspections, as Colin Powell alleged,
using before and after satellite pictures that Blix
exposed as having been taken `several weeks apart.'
No, the trucks that Powell identified as mobile labs
producing biological weapons were not in the germ
warfare business; they were carrying food-tasting and
seed-processing equipment.
No, Iraq had not hidden the long-range missiles that
the inspectors ordered destroyed: `These weapons were
declared; they were not clandestine.'
No, he found no evidence that Iraq was producing and
storing chemical or biological weapons in underground
No, he saw no persuasive evidence of Iraqi links to Al
Qaeda. 'There are other states where there appear to be
stronger links.'
Now, ElBaradei:
No, there was no uranium bought from Niger. Documents
purporting to show that were forged.
No, the International Atomic Energy Agency found no
evidence that high-strength aluminium tubes were
imported for uranium enrichment. Even if they were, it
was unlikely that Iraq had the capacity to redesign
them for such usage.
No, there is no evidence of Iraq using imported high-
strength magnets in its nuclear program.
No, there is no evidence of a resumption of 'prohibited
nuclear or nuclear-related activities.'
Despite being contradicted on so many fronts, Powell is
now saying with a straight face that he has 'new
information' that Iraq is building new missiles as the
inspectors are destroying the old ones. That's quite
possible. But does anyone believe him, or America, any
more? The evaporation of American credibility is a
tragedy whose effects may outlast the war."
5. "Bush's so-called rush into battle is anything
Columnist Marcus Gee observed in the leading Globe and
Mail (3/13): "- Rush to war? It has been 18 months
since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, 14 months since U.S.
President George W. Bush gave his speech naming Saddam
Hussein's Iraq part of an 'axis of evil,' six months
since he took his case to the United Nations and four
months since he secured a UN resolution giving Iraq
a final chance to give up its weapons of mass
destruction. If this is a rush, it's hard to imagine
what a crawl would look like.... Whether or not all the
diplomacy succeeds, no one can say that the United
States didn't go the last mile to get international
support. Far from plunging into war, Mr. Bush has
proceeded by careful, deliberate steps.... And if Mr.
Bush doesn't get the UN majority and goes to war
anyway? Well, at least no one can call it a 'rush to
6. "North Korea shows how to make the U.S. temper its
Columnist Jonathan Manthorpe wrote in the left-of-
center Vancouver Sun (3/12): "...Because Kim is a real
military threat and has neighbours - China, Japan and
South Korea - of importance to the U.S., Washington has
chosen to negotiate rather than attack. Saddam, on the
other hand, has no nuclear weapons and might or might
not be able to account for biological and
chemical weapons stocks he might or might not have
had.... Once you have nuclear weapons Washington will
treat you with caution. So better get the bomb
quick.... So the way the U.S. administration has
handled the Iraq-North Korea dichotomy can be seen as
promoting weapons proliferation rather than containing
it.... It's not necessary to be on Washington's hit
list to feel that in an increasingly uncertain world
having a nice fat bomb stored in the basement might be
a good idea.... An arms race in Asia is, of course,
most likely to happen if Washington's allies feel the
U.S. cannot be depended upon to support its friends as
it has for the last half century. That development
seems unlikely now, but who can tell what mood America
will be in after its Iraqi adventure? Even without a
spate of proliferation in Asia, the situation between
the U.S. and North Korea is dangerous enough.... What
Washington does not seem to have grasped with
sufficient clarity is that Kim's North Korean regime is
not house-trained. More than half a century of self-
imposed isolation has bred institutional suspicion,
paranoia and sheer ignorance about how the world works.
Kim's paranoia roared forth when Bush declared a
strategy of 'pre-emptive attack' on any country deemed
a future risk to America. Washington discovered Kim's
secret nuclear research last year, confirming its view
that he could not be trusted."
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