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Voice of America, 02-01-10

Voice of America: Selected Articles Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Voice of America <gopher://gopher.voa.gov>

SLUG: 2-285104 Bush Greece (L-only) DATE: NOTE NUMBER:

CONTENTS

  • [01] BUSH GREECE (L ONLY) BY SCOTT STEARNS (WHITE HOUSE)
  • [02] Macedonia President-VOA (L-only) BY Barry Wood (Skopje)
  • [03] EUROPEAN FRONT IN THE WAR ON TERRORISM
  • [04] "EUROPEAN FRONT IN THE WAR ON TERRORISM"

  • [01] BUSH GREECE (L ONLY) BY SCOTT STEARNS (WHITE HOUSE)

    DATE=JANUARY 10, 2002
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-285104
    CONTENT: VOICED AT:

    INTRO: President Bush welcomed the Greek Prime Minister to the White House Thursday to thank him for his country's role in the war against terrorism. VOA's Scott Stearns reports, the men discussed improving relations between Greece and Turkey.

    TEXT: President Bush told Prime Minister Costas Simitis that the United States is grateful for Greek support in the fight against terrorism. Greece has offered military forces and medical units in the U-S led war against terrorist targets in Afghanistan. Speaking to reporters before their Oval Office meeting, President Bush said he and the Greek leader share the same commitment to eliminate terrorism wherever it exists.

    /// BUSH ACT ///

    I am most appreciative, sir, of your strong stand against terror. You have been a friend in our mutual concerns about routing-out terror around the world and I want to thank you for that very much. I am also very appreciative of your administration working with Turkey. Relations have improved with Turkey and as a result, the world is better off.

    /// END ACT ///

    Prime Minister Simitis has improved bilateral relations with long-time rival Turkey. Ethnic Greek and ethnic Turkish communities on the divided island of Cyprus have agreed to hold direct talks on their future. Greece has its own problems with terrorists in the Revolutionary Organization 17 November which the U-S State Department believes is involved in a number of anti-Western attacks including the murder of a Brirish Defence Attache in Athens last June. Prime Minister Simitis says Greece is committed to ending the violence as part of a concerted, world-wide effort to stop terrorism.

    /// Simitis ACT ///

    We are totally commited to the fight against international terrorism. We take part in the Afghanistan effort. We will be part also of the international peace corps in Afgahnistan. I think it is necessary to cooperate in order to fight terrorism all over the world.

    /// END ACT ///

    In preparing for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, President Bush says Greece can count on the full support of the international coalition against terrorism to ensure that those games go off safely. There has been some criticism that Greece is behind in its planning for that event. Mr. Bush thanked the Prime Minister for his invitation to the Summer Games, saying it will be a "magnificent moment" for the sporting world to have the Olympics return to Athens. Mr. Bush said he is confident Greece will do a fine job as Olympic host.(SIGNED)
    NEB/PT SLUG: 2-285103 Macedonia-President-VOA (L-only) DATE: NOTE NUMBER:

    [02] Macedonia President-VOA (L-only) BY Barry Wood (Skopje)

    DATE=01/10/02
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-285103
    INTERNET=YES CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Macedonia's president Boris Trajkovski (Thursday) voiced a ringing endorsement of the recent peace agreement with the Albanian minority and warned of renewed conflict unless the accord is fully implemented and ethnic tensions reduced. V-O-A's Barry Wood spoke with President Trajkovski in Skopje.

    TEXT: Mr. Trajkovski worries that radical elements could still try to sabotage the framework agreement. That accord, championed by the president, was negotiated last August and grants increased powers to the Albanian minority. Albanian insurgents handed over three-thousand of their weapons to Nato peacekeepers in return for amnesty. Mr. Trajkovsky says if warfare resumes, the conflict in Macedonia could be as brutal as in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

    ///Trajkovski act///

    If people will not calm down. If they really won't follow what was agreed during the discussions at (Lake) Ohrid (in August) it might happen. A lot of animosity still exists. I regret to say this but unfortunately there are existing a lot of forces that are not for peace.

    ///end act///

    The Macedonian president has little constitutional power. Mr. Trajkovski, a Protestant clergyman from a Macedonian community that is overwhelmingly orthodox, assumed office because of support from ethnic Albanians. The president wants to be a force for unity and a moral voice against corruption. In a pointed display of displeasure, Mr. Trajkovsky this week stayed away from a charity ball attended by government and business leaders associated in the public mind with corruption. He also stayed away from Wednesday's ceremony promoting police officers because he thought inappropriate for the orthodox church to be so prominently featured.

    ///Trajkovsky act///

    I don't want to be part of authorizing any kind of religious groups or ethnic groups. And I think it is better for the police to stand aside from all the intentions, even the good intentions, to be blessed or to be part of some religious circles.

    ///end act///

    President Trajkovsky hopes Macedonia and its neighbors will be integrated into European Union and Nato structures. He calls for U-S and Nato assistance to prevent illegal border crossings between Kosovo and Macedonia and endorses self government in Kosovo.

    ///Trajkovsky act///

    We would like to have United States support, and other countries support, in faster democratization of Kosova. And to pay more focus to the Kosovo situation. Because a more stable Kosovo will be better for us.

    ///end act///

    Mr. Trajkovsky is not in favor of early elections in Macedonia. He believes time is needed for reconciliation and for passions to cool. He hopes national elections will occur only towards end of this year. (signed)
    NEB/PT SLUG: 1-01051 OTL (S) European Front in the War on Terrorism DATE: NOTE NUMBER:

    [03] EUROPEAN FRONT IN THE WAR ON TERRORISM

    DATE=01/10/2002
    TYPE=ON THE LINE
    NUMBER=1-01051 SHORT #1
    EDITOR=OFFICE OF POLICY -- 619-0037
    CONTENT=INSERTS IN AUDIO SERVICES & DALET
    THEME: UP, HOLD UNDER AND FADE (Note: This is a rebroadcast of a previously aired program. This short version of the program was originally numbered 1-01047, and was originally dated 01/03/2002.) Anncr: On the Line -- a discussion of United States policy and contemporary issues. Today, "The European Front in the War on Terrorism." Here is your host, ---------. Host: Since the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, governments across Europe have stepped up their efforts to root out the terrorists who have been abusing the freedoms that Western democracies afford. Dozens linked to radical or terrorist Islamic groups have been arrested. Police, prosecutors, and intelligence services are uncovering the webs that connect international terrorist cells in England, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, and Spain. David Isby is a defense consultant formerly with Jane's Intelligence Review. He says that September 11th brought home the fact that the terrorists ignore national frontiers. Isby: Every country in Europe, unlike the United States, faced terrorist threats for years. For the British it was the I-R-A [Irish Republican Army], the Basque ETA in Spain, and in France, you know, Corsican separatism. So certainly Europe knew terrorists. But when they looked outside, they tended to see it as individual threats -- that the threat could be contained if it would go somewhere else. And I think now we see a degree of cooperation [that recognizes] that there is a threat to Europe in general, to its institutions, and this has to be addressed both in each country and internationally. Host: Reginald Dale is a columnist with the International Herald Tribune. He agrees that Europeans quickly realized that the September 11th terrorist attacks were against everyone, not just Americans. Dale: And there was a secondary follow-up to that in the minds of many Europeans, which was that the United States, twice in the twentieth century, came to rescue Europe, and now that the United States had been hit, many Europeans felt some sort of obligation to do something for the United States. And this mood has helped to accelerate the crackdown on terrorism in Europe. Host: Defense consultant David Isby says that cooperation is essential in regard to banking and financial regulations. Isby: And this is key, because if you had to identify the center of gravity, if you will, of international terror, it's the transfer of money, access to funds. If you are going to be these disciplined terrorists that Osama [bin Laden] hoped to use, these people need funding. So I think the increased regulation, the openness, the pressure on countries to share banking regulation in the war against terror is perhaps the most important single thing. Host: Reginald Dale of the International Herald Tribune says that U.S. officials have told him they are pleased with the cooperation they are receiving from European law-enforcement authorities. For On the Line, this is ---------. SLUG: 1-01050 OTL European Front in the War on Terrorism DATE: NOTE NUMBER:

    [04] "EUROPEAN FRONT IN THE WAR ON TERRORISM"

    DATE=1/10/2002
    TYPE=ON THE LINE
    NUMBER=1-01050
    EDITOR=OFFICE OF POLICY -- 619-0037
    CONTENT=
    THEME: UP, HOLD UNDER AND FADE (Note: This is a rebroadcast of a previously aired program. The original program was numbered 1-01046, and was dated 1/1/2002) Anncr: On the Line -- a discussion of United States policy and contemporary issues. Today, "The European Front in the War on Terrorism." Here is your host, Eric Felten. Host: Since the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, governments across Europe have stepped up their efforts to root out the terrorists who have been abusing the freedoms that western democracies afford. Dozens linked to radical or terrorist Islamic groups have been arrested. Police, prosecutors, and intelligence services are uncovering the webs that connect international terrorist cells in England, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, and Spain. Joining me to discuss the European Front in the War on Terrorism are David Isby, a defense consultant formerly with Jane's Intelligence Review, and Reginald Dale a columnist with the International Herald Tribune. Welcome. Thanks for joining me. David Isby, we see again the European connection with terrorism with the recent attempt to blow an American Airlines flight with a shoe bomb. What did we learn about the Islamic terror network in Europe and England from this most recent attempt? Isby: We've seen that Europe has been central, both in the activities of terrorists from the Middle East, Al-Qaeda-based inside, moving into Europe away from more repressive governments, more repressive intelligence services to make use of the greater freedoms they have there. And also using people who are in Europe. People -- in this case a convert -- people who may feel alienated from their society, people who are recruits to their movement. So Europe is both a base for those moving in from outside and to mobilize people and assets within. Host: Reggie Dale, David Isby talks about the freedoms that Europe affords the terrorist groups. How do those freedoms allow them movement and organization that they wouldn't be able to do elsewhere? Dale: There's a long tradition in Europe of receiving opposition figures who have fled from a country where they resist the government, going back to the French Revolution, where we had a lot of French aristocrats based in England. We have people from Iraq who are opposing Saddam Hussein. These are not all, you couldn't classify them all as undesirable elements. And inside the European Union, now, with free movement of labor, you can move from one country to another very easily. There is a particular amount in Britain, because they believe they can get work there, because they speak English and because the British economy has more employment than on the Continent. And Britain does not have identity cards, so once they're inside it's very hard to track them. But I should say that they whole tradition in most European countries is of receiving refugees. And if they say they are from an oppressive regime, they have asylum status. Host: David Isby, do you think there will be any move in Europe to change that, as the extent of terrorist cells are uncovered? Isby: Well not just terrorists -- certainly, there's largely been a crisis -- we saw this in Italy as Kosovo and Albania crisis impacted on Italy. We've seen this in the sheer desperation of people like Afghans hijacking airliners, or indeed, most recently, the attempt to storm through the Channel Tunnel to England. So certainly these ideas, the things that this [openness to refugees] can be abused and constitute a threat has clashed with the traditions -- as you quite rightly point out -- dating back to Karl Marx and Louis Napolean, both of whom were refugees in England. Host: We've also seen that there have been terrorists that the U.S. has wanted to extradite from England, accused of being involved in bombings in Africa that England has not extradited to the U.S. over the course of a couple of years. Reggie Dale, how might that change in this new world? Will there be any change to the way extradition is done? Dale: I don't think there will. The law won't change, which is that every member of the European Union, every member country, is bound by the European Convention on Human Rights not to extradite offenders, or alleged offenders, to a country where they might face the death penalty. And you have a further problem now in that in some countries already -- I think Spain and France -- you're hearing magistrates saying they're not going to extradite suspects to the United States who might face trial under a military tribunal. Now, of course there are ways around this. You can do a deal in which the United States prosecutor says We're not going to ask for the death penalty. Then you can extradite. So it's not entirely watertight. There won't be a change in the law, I don't think. But I should point out that the European Union has done a lot and is doing a lot to crack down now on terrorists -- and not just the European Union but each member country. They're tightening up all sorts of measures, like monitoring TV, monitoring Internet and telephone conversations. Host: Now, did countries have to change laws to do that or is it just a matter of getting serious about applying the powers they have had? Dale: Both. But they are changing laws. Britain has passed a law now providing for indefinite detention of suspects, which is something that you couldn't achieve in the United States, highly controversial. Host: Now does that apply to British citizens as well or is that merely for foreign nationals living in England. Dale: [It applies to] Foreigners suspected of terrorist activity. Host: David Isby, what are some of the other efforts that are going on in Europe to have a tighter police effort against terrorists? Isby: There is also, as well as the specifics, the change in perceptions. That, instead of independent national efforts, this is now all one effort. I think 11 September brought home that the terrorists ignore national frontiers. Every country in Europe, unlike the United States, faced terrorist threats for years. For the British it was the I.R.A., the Basque E.T.A. in Spain, and in France, you know, Corsican separatism. So certainly Europe knew terrorists. But when they looked outside, they tended to see it as individual threats that the threat could be contained if it would go somewhere else. And I think now we don't see things like the rolling up of cells we recently saw in places like Spain -- we see a degree of cooperation [that recognizes] that there is a threat to Europe in general, to its institutions and this has to be addressed both in each country and internationally. Host: So for example you had had an effort by Italy to extradite from Belgium terror suspects that had been rebuffed because of a Belgian law saying that a Belgian national could not be extradited. Are we going to see that kind of thing change as this cooperation improves? Isby: Extradition is always a very difficult political effort. Indeed, we saw this, the whole thing with Afghanistan was a refused extradition request for Osama bin Laden. And certainly a lot of this can be both with international cooperation, for example, both bilaterally Britain and the Irish Republic have improved this in recent years, which used to be a great bone of contention. And I suspect there will be more coming both bilaterally and in an E.U.-wide context. Host: Speaking of that E.U.-wide context, Reggie Dale, what about the effort to get E.U.-wide search warrants? Wouldn't that, in some way, get around this extradition issue? Dale: Yes, it would, and that's precisely what they're trying to do. They're trying to have one arrest warrant for all the E.U. countries. And somebody arrested in one country, under that warrant, would simply be transferred to another E.U. country. You wouldn't need to go through the whole question of extradition. That's almost agreed. There was a slight hitch with Italy. I think there was a problem with the Italian Prime Minister, who was actually afraid that some of these things -- he's been accused of all sorts of misdoings in Italy. You may say they are for political reasons, but you wouldn't want to see the Prime Minister of Italy extradited to Belgium to face charges. So that was a little hold-up. I think it will be settled. And there are all sorts of other things that Europeans are doing, because I think that one of the big affects of September the eleventh was that Europeans -- most educated Europeans -- realized that this was an attack on all of us, on Western civilization, not just on the United States. And there was a secondary follow-up to that in the minds of many Europeans, which was that the United States, twice in the twentieth century, came to rescue Europe, and now that the United States had been hit, many Europeans felt some sort of obligation to do something for the United States. And this mood has helped to accelerate the crackdown on terrorism in Europe. Host: I'd like to take a moment to remind our audience that this is On the Line, and I'm Eric Felten. Today we're talking about "The European Front in the War on Terrorism" with David Isby, a defense consultant formerly with Jane's Intelligence Review, and Reginald Dale, a columnist with the International Herald Tribune. David Isby, we see with the "shoe bomber" from England -- Richard Reid someone who was converted to Islam in prison. And we have also seen from articles in Le Monde, for example, that in France, there is a great effort to recruit Islamic extremists in prison. What are we learning about those kinds of networks and the history, if you will, of trying to get recruits for these organizations out of prison. Isby: If you're a revolutionary, prison is a good place to recruit, dating back to Lenin and the anarchists of the nineteenth century. These are men who are largely on the margin of society, have no love [for], and are often isolated from, society and its restraints. And often believe that violence can be justified under certain circumstances -- including their own benefit. So they do have some benefits, for willingness as being a terrorist. However, a truly high-level terrorist -- those who are looking for making an impact that shakes nations, like the 19 people who were involved on 11 September -- those you do not want a petty criminal, because they have to be completely law-abiding, not attract the intelligence services, not attract law enforcement until they strike. They have to drive under the speed limit all the time, and that's very hard for someone who's a petty criminal. These people, very largely, have trouble resisting impulses for immediate gratification. So, yes, there are advantages [to recruiting in prison], but if you're looking for the discipline of political warfare -- the discipline of working in these autonomous cells that make Al-Qaida so hard to crack open -- then you want disciplined men, not necessarily people out of prison. Host: Reggie Dale, we see however that the investigation, for example, in Spain, that a lot of the revenue being generated in those Al-Qaida cells was being generated through various kinds of criminal activities credit card fraud, telephone card fraud. To what extent is there a link between criminal activity and terrorist activity? And does that provide opportunities for newly aggressive police prosecution of these organizations. Dale: I think there will be newly aggressive police prosecutions. And I've been talking to American officials about this, and how they see the cooperation with Europe on this particular issue -- and particularly, money laundering as well. And they are enormously pleased with the amount of progress that's been made just in the last few months. There've been some real breakthroughs on this front. Isby: I think that's a very key point. Certainly, terrorism segues very easily into, if you will, non-political crime, as we saw in Northern Ireland, where extremists on both sides have ended up becoming just plain organized criminals. And that's where they earn their money. Much of the funding for Al-Qaida has come, not just from legitimate groups, but from protection rackets, acts of fraud -- especially in the Middle East-exiled Islamic communities. So by doing this, they put as many things in between them. These are sources of funding, and also they're difficult to crack. This is why, as you said, Northern Ireland, the men opposed to the peace accords, even if they're run out of politics still have crime to fall back on in their old age. Dale: Yes, and often contributors from North America as well. Isby: Absolutely. Which is hard to counter, despite decades of cooperation. Even in a relationship as close as that between the United States and the United Kingdom. Host: Now, does the fact that these organizations are engaged in these kinds of petty crime or even larger criminal conspiracies, provide opportunities that a crackdown on credit card fraud may now be something that is seen as an opportunity to crack terrorist cells as well. Dale: I'm sure that that is happening, very much so. I think one of the problems with these sort of more fringe criminal elements is, from the terrorists' point of view, is that they are more likely to get caught. For example, there was a plan to blow up the U.S. embassy in Paris shortly after the September 11 attack and the perpetrators of that got caught relatively easily, precisely because they were these sort of minor criminals, not highly educated. And did not come from the sort of elite of the terrorist movement that the September 11 terrorists did. I think that people like Osama bin Laden don't mind these people having a go on their own -- he doesn't see that there's anything to lose from it. But for the operations he's going to plan, he will be very well financed through the sort of methods that we've just talked about. And he will send these very educated and dedicated operators. Isby: And that's true because unfortunately he does learn. His people have stopped using communications where they're likely to be intercepted. They have seen where they have been penetrated, or are likely to be penetrated. And unlike some terrorist groups who just kept on going in the same old way, Al-Qaida is fairly resilient. So it's going to take a lot of concerted effort, and indeed, perhaps a generation to fully take it apart -- despite the last few month's successes. Host: We've been talking about new cooperation, not only among the police, prosecutors and intelligence services in Europe, but also with the United States. How has that cooperation played out? I understand that the F-B-I has participated in interviews with prisoners in Europe, which is something new. David Isby. Isby: Yes, there's greater cooperation, both in law-enforcement and also in banking and financial regulation. And this is key, because if you had to identify the center of gravity, if you will, of international terror, it's the transfer of money, access to funds. If you are going to be these disciplined terrorists that Osama hoped to use, these people need funding. So I think the increased regulation, the openness, the pressure on countries to share banking regulation in the war against terror is perhaps the most important single thing. Host: Reggie Dale, NATO immediately stepped up to voice its support for the United States after September 11th and that support has continued. U-S Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld recently went and spoke to NATO and made a call for a greater focus on anti-terrorist activities by NATO. What kind of role can NATO have in fighting terrorism? Is it simply when there is a military action to be had? Or is there some other role to be had outside of military actions? Dale: As you've noticed, NATO has not had any role at all -- or hardly any role at all -- in the war in Afghanistan. It's true that immediately after the attacks NATO invoked for the first time ever its Article Five provisions, which say that an attack on one NATO member is an attack on all. It's a sort of solidarity. It turns out that this is really more political solidarity than military solidarity. And in fact, the United States in Afghanistan has tried very hard not to get entangled with NATO. It wants to run its own war. It's learned from Kosovo, when before they could drop bombs on a target they had to consult all through the chain of command in the alliance. The French would have one view of the target, and the Germans another view. And they don't want to get involved in that again. Host: Do you think having avoided that contributed to the success of the American campaign in Afghanistan? Dale: Very definitely. And I think that other people understood that this was, sort of, very specially America's war, in the sense that the United States has taken this enormous and shocking hit on its own territory. Of course it's much more effective. Now that raises the question: What is the role for NATO in the future? And NATO is only a collection of governments. NATO itself probably can't do much more in the counter-terrorism field than the member governments do. And NATO is beginning to look more like a sort of political organization. And now it's going to discuss expanding again to take in more countries that were formerly under Soviet control, including the Baltic countries. And the decision on that is being played out purely as a political matter. Nobody's looking at it as a security issue -- can we defend these countries; will they make a valuable security contribution to NATO. The whole debate is about politics. And I think that the war in Afghanistan has accelerated that trend. Host: David Isby, how will the use of European troops in the peace-keeping operation in Afghanistan -- will that provide the venue that European forces will have for their contribution in the war on terror? Isby: That's certainly, in the Afghan situation, this is in earnest that indeed this time people are going to remain committed to the rebuilding -- that this is not just bomb and walk away. And even though the European forces were not there for much of the initial thing -- although the British army was key in the initial operations on the ground -- being there for peace-keeping and all that follows. As in Kosovo, as in Bosnia there has been a great deal, again, crime [and] the potential for terrorist organizations often go hand in hand with peace-keeping. And here is something where European experience may be very valuable in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the war on terrorism. Dale: Yes, but a lot of Europeans are not very happy about that. They don't want an alliance in which the United States does all the fighting, and they just come along afterwards to mop up. There was a French senior official who said the other day, "The Americans are eating the dinner and leaving us to do the washing-up." Host: I'm afraid that's all the time we have for today. I'd like to thank my guests, David Isby, defense consultant, and Reginald Dale of the International Herald Tribune. For On the Line, I'm Eric Felten.
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