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Homeland Security

International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

January 9, 2004

January 9, 2004





**  As superpower, the U.S. has the right to defend itself; there is "no freedom without security."


**  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 "outrageous."


**  The "extreme measures" and "vague" alerts give the terrorists a "psychological victory."




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 priority." 


'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 zeal'?-- 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 on-board terrorism."


"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."


FRANCE:  "Shadows"


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."


GERMANY:  "Deported"


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 meantime."


"U.S. Visit"


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 openness."


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 Fingerprints"


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 and Iran."


CZECH REPUBLIC:  "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 Neurosis"


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."


HUNGARY:  "Worrying"


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."




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"

Editorialist 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!"

Left-of-center 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 nineties."


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."


"Reciprocal Controls"


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."


"Terrorist Psychosis"


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."






AUSTRALIA:  "Preparing 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 surprisingly vulnerable....  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 terrorism."


"U.S.'s Fingerprinting Another Terror Against Human Rights"


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 environment."


INDONESIA:  "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 fight terrorism."



"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."


PHILIPPINES:  "Fingerprinting"


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."




SOUTH AFRICA:  "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 world?"


"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."


UGANDA:  "Terror 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 retreat."


ARGENTINA:  "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 Visitors"


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 Arabs."


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."


"No Panic"


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." 


"Dangerous Bravado"


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."


 "Juvenile Patriotism"


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."


CUBA:  "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.


ECUADOR:  "U.S. Psychosis"


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."


PARAGUAY:  "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."


PANAMA:  "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 democratic world."


PERU:  "Are We All Terrorists"


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 potential terrorists."   


TRINIDAD & TOBAGO: "America's Security Now T&T's"


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."



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