an area of the map for world news.
Getting a Grip on Terror
review of international press coverage
States: Tighter Border Security
The situation at the Mexican-American border has changed dramatically
since Sept. 11. If youre leaving the United States via
one of the three bridges that connect Americas Laredo,
Texas (pop. 200,000) with Mexicos Nuevo Laredo (pop. 650,000),
youll be troubled neither by U.S. nor Mexican officials
(the Mexicans have shifted their border posts farther into the
interior, to get a better grip on smuggling within the border
area). But if youre traveling by car the other way, from
Mexico to the United States, you will find yourself waiting
in line, anywhere from 90 minutes to three hours at crush periods.
The delays in customs processing are partially due to tighter
security checks by U.S. immigration and customs authorities.
Since October, to enter legally, whether as workers or tourists,
all Mexicans have had to show a visa card that can be electronically
scanned and is virtually impossible to forge. U.S. consulates
in Mexico were preparing to issue these laser visas
well before the new anti-terrorist security regulations were
put in place. Computer checks of the card take a good deal longer
than a casual glance at personal papers by a border guard. Spot
checks are a thing of the past; everything and everyone is examined.
Richard Bauer, Neue
Zürcher Zeitung (conservative), Zurich, Switzerland,
Jan. 7, 2002
20 Countries Beef Up Air Security
Transport ministers from 20 countries adopted a joint statement
[Jan. 15] in Tokyo condemning the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks
in the United States and expressing full support for international
moves to enhance security for air and maritime transportation.
The statement was released after the ministers and other high-level
representatives of 14 European countries, Australia, Canada,
Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and the United States began two
days of talks in Tokyo to discuss anti-terrorism measures and
transport policies designed to alleviate environmental harm.
The ministers pledged to make concerted efforts
for the success of a high-level conference on aviation security
organized by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
scheduled for February.
That meeting will see discussions on strengthening civil aviation
security and the possibility of establishing an ICAO security
audit program to ensure that each country conforms to applicable
international standards on airport security arrangements and
civil aviation security programs.
The standards require signatories to establish security measures
preventing weapons and explosives from being taken aboard aircraft,
but according to transport ministry officials no third-party
audit programs have been established to check if such measures,
particularly those of developing countries, meet required standards.
We also recognize the necessity of assisting developing
countries with respect to civil aviation and marine transportation
safety, and security matters, the statement said.
The Japan Times
(independent), Tokyo, Japan, Jan. 16, 2002
Saudi Arabia: Blocking Terrorists Bank Accounts
Out of the streets behind closed doors, unprecedented activities
are taking place [in Saudi Arabia] with regard to the issue
of money and bank accounts. Affecting Saudi and Arab financial
institutions, such as the central bank, investigators and auditors
are reviewing series of accounts, according to reports mentioned
by American authorities. According to Saudi sources, Saudi officials
have complied with this completely.
This national monetary investigatory effort has been ongoing,
focusing on blocking private money transfers to terrorist organizations,
as well as financial investments by traditional or electronic
means. Financial institutions refused to reveal the names of
individuals whose accounts or other related monetary activities
were put under investigation.
Al-Sharq al-Awsat has also learned that accounts belonging to
the [greater] Bin Laden familyto which Osama bin Laden,
leader of Al-Qaeda and the worlds most-wanted man belongswere
put under investigation. Other financial institutions requested
immediate searches for the presence of any accounts, trusts,
or investments in connection to persons or organizations linked
with terrorism. To facilitate this endeavor, American security
forces in coordination with the European Union have worked out
arrangements to freeze and investigate those [Saudi] accounts
that participated in foreign business in the past. The funds
and associated business interests of those frozen accounts will
be protected from the effects of having been subjected to an
investigation; accounts with no connections will not suffer
financial consequences (such as late banking fees).
(Saudi-owned), London, England, Dec. 30, 2001
Britain-United States: Hunt for 20
British and American intelligence services are hunting the world
for at least 20 ships thought to make up a terrorist fleet linked
to Osama bin Ladens Al-Qaeda group. Security and shipping
sources said British, U.S., and European intelligence services
have been desperately searching for Bin Ladens phantom
fleet amid fears that the vessels could be carrying poisons,
explosives, or weapons.
The ships were identified at least three months ago as a result
of a joint intelligence operation thought to be led by the Norwegian
security service and Americas CIA with the help of international
Paul Harris, and Nick Paton Walsh, The Observer (liberal
weekly), London, England, Dec. 23, 2001
Romania-Austria: Fighting Illegal Migration
Romanias minister of the interior, Ioan Rus, and his Austrian
counterpart, Ernst Strasser, have signed in Bucharest a collaboration
protocol that capitalizes on the opportunities for cooperation
between the two ministers in fighting illegal migration and
border crime. The document provides for exchanges of information
about illegal migration, organized crime, drug trafficking,
as well as international terrorism. It will be carried out based
on the provisions in a March 10, 1999, agreement between the
government of Romania and the federal government of Austria.
The document says that the formalities for the coming into force
on Feb. 6, 2002, of a Romanian-Austrian Agreement on the readmission
of people and the accompanying application protocol have been
met. As of now, all Romanians in breach of Austrian law and
the readmission agreement will be turned back to Romania, Interior
Minister Rus explained.
Rompres (government press agency), Bucharest, Romania,
Jan. 10, 2002
Pakistan: Will Musharraf Walk the Walk?
Though Pakistan has had no hesitation in extraditing to the
United States Pakistani nationals wanted in terrorism and heroin-smuggling
related cases, it is unlikely to be equally cooperative with
Saudi Arabia follows a similar policy of not extraditing its
nationals to other countries for trial. It has refused to cooperate
even with the United States with respect to Saudi nationals
wanted by U.S. law enforcement agencies. Some other Arab countries
follow a similar policy. When the Carlos network [under Carlos
the Jackal, a Venezuelan terrorist who is currently serving
a life sentence for a triple murder committed in 1975WPR]
was dismantled in 1994-95, Sudan and Yemen cooperated with France
and Germany in the deportation of the non-Muslim members of
the network, including Carlos, Yohannes Weinrach Peter, etc.,
but not the Muslim members.
Musharrafs litany of promised actions against religious
extremists and terrorists operating inside Pakistani territory
was mainly meant to impress the United States, from which he
expects a more active role on the Kashmir issue with respect
to Pakistans urgings.
B. Raman, Outlook (independent weekly), New
Delhi, India, Jan. 14, 2002
Azerbaijan: Plot Foiled
Azerbaijani authorities arrested six alleged members of a banned
extreme Islamist group, Wesb-e-Tahrir, on Jan. 2. The six include
five Azeris and a Ukrainian of Azeri origin. Another man, an
Uzbek called Abdul Abdurakhimov and known also under the name
Abdullah, is being sought by authorities on suspicion of being
the mastermind of a terrorist plot. Abdurakhimov is thought
to have fled to Azerbaijan after being hunted by Uzbek security
services for alleged extremist activity in Uzbekistan between
1992 and 1999, and for calling for the overthrow of the authoritarian
secular regime of President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan.
Azerbaijani authorities claim that the Baku-based cell was planning
to bomb the U.S. Embassy and offices of other foreign organizations
in the city. Authorities also believe the attacks could have
claimed many casualties. Incriminating material seized during
the raid of a Baku flat including a bomb-making manual as well
as extremist literature.
Aynura Akhmedova, Transitions
Online (Internet publication), Prague, Czech Republic, Dec.
18, 2001-Jan. 7, 2002
European Arrest Warrants
Britain yesterday surrendered 1,000 years of legal sovereignty
in return for a European extradition treaty. The Euro warrant
deal was sealed when its last opponent, Italian Prime Minister
Silvio Berlusconi, backed down.
Britain and most other countries in the European Union are likely
to begin operating the Euro system in 2004, although legislation
to put it into effect will have to be agreed to by Parliament.
The United Kingdom first pressed for a Euro-extradition scheme
to get Costa del Crime villains back from Spain.
But Spain has now agreed on an extradition treaty, and no Euro
warrant is needed.
Supporters of the agreement say it will stop suspects from stretching
their fight against extradition over several years, often at
huge cost to taxpayers. Opponents say the inclusion of crimes
like swindling could mean almost anyone involved
in any transaction could find themselves being summoned. Lawyers
also see dangers in the inclusion of crimes like rape that are
notoriously vulnerable to abuse by those making false accusations.
We all support action against terrorism, but we are about
to introduce a radical shake-up that has not been thought through,
Stephen Jakobi of the pressure group Fair Trials Abroad said.
One problem is that the crimes on the list are being set
by politicians who can move the goalposts at any moment.
Steve Doughty, Daily Mail (conservative), London,
England, Dec. 12, 2001
Leicester: On High Alert
Its the question on everyones lips: Is Leicester
really the terrorist capital of the United Kingdom? Last week,
talk in the bars and coffee shops around the city suggested
maybe it was. The Sunday newspapers seemed to agree. But yesterday,
the landscape of last weeks drama had changed again.
Of the nine people arrested last week under anti-terrorism laws,
five have been released without charge. The five released on
bail left with a warning from police that they were still being
investigatedfor fraud, though, not terrorism. The remaining
fourwho were also detained by police last week after high
profile raidswere handed over to the immigration service.
The obvious question, though, is: Are there any terrorists in
Leicester? Mike Rowe, lecturer in public order at the University
of Leicesters Scarman Center, said it was impossible to
say. The arrests last Thursday were part of an ongoing
operation which started months before in Leicester, he
said. It would be foolish to say: Thats it,
there wont be any more arrests. Who knows?
[Adds Abu Taher, leader of the Bangladeshi community in Leicester]:
I am confident that the police inquiry will draw a clear
line between peace-loving Muslims in Leicester and outsiders,
which these people were. I am pleased the anti-terrorist squad
are here in Leicester.
Leicester Mercury (Leicestershire regional), Leicester,
England, Jan. 22, 2002