World News from World Newspapers

About Us Archives   Classroom Use  
World News from World Newspapers
Middle East
World Newspapers World Maps
World Newspapers
World Maps

News from Latin America and Canada African News Middle Eastern News European News Asian News Click an area of the map for world news.
Middle East


From the January 2002 issue of World Press Review (VOL. 49, No. 1)

APEC, the United States, and the War on Terror

Shanghai Rendezvous of Terror

MGG Pillai, (Internet newspaper), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Oct. 25, 2001

The Malaysian government is ecstatic that the United States is at last heeding the advice that only third-degree methods under the most odious and unconstitutional of laws can fight terror. This is what we are told in order to explain Malaysia’s closeness to the United States in recent months, especially since Sept. 11. President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad are now the best of pals, so Malaysia’s mainstream newspapers tell us, with a common agenda to fight terror. In practice, this means: “I shall deal with my terrorists as I please, and you yours; and don’t you dare question my tactics!” After the Asian-Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) summit in Shanghai this week, this [conclusion] comes with Washington’s blessings.

The Shanghai meeting saved Mahathir’s skin. He had wanted to meet Bush over tea and scones at the White House. He could not. Then came Sept. 11, and he got his appointment. President Bush could not refuse to come, as previous presidents have, since he needs the support of other world leaders in the war against terror. Mahathir has neutralized the opposition in Malaysia yet again, this time making them run in circles, with the likelihood of detention under the Internal Security Act, but this time with the gloves off.

Kuala Lumpur can all but ignore State Department concerns about all this, as it once could not.

The APEC meeting became an open sesame for leaders in the Asia Pacific, as well as for the United States, to be as autocratic as they can get away with.

The Sept. 11 attacks are a convenient means of restricting public debate, threatening opponents, and staying in power in the name of a national emergency.

The United States, as leader, finds it must adopt some of the harsher laws of its fellow members to prove it is on top of this made-for-the-U.S.-drama called “The War Against Terror.”

For all the support the United States mustered against the bombing of Afghanistan, curiously only Britain and its colonial staff-sergeant, Australia, committed troops.

The terror hysteria Washington drummed up has reached the four corners of the world. Instead of trade, which is what APEC was set up for, the conference focused on terror; not how to overcome it, but how to spread it around among its citizens and so-called enemies of the state.

Since Washington exhorts the world to follow how the United States treats its citizens in areas it thinks others are deficient, like free elections, these countries can now look to the United States to justify torture and other disagreeable methods to extract confessions and rein in otherwise determined political opponents.

The FBI now wants to apply third-degree methods on those arrested after Sept. 11. That would be music in many leaders’ ears in the region and elsewhere. If the United States can beat a suspect into submission, then why can’t Ougadougou [Burkina Faso]?

In global policies, the United States, as the sole superpower, has a one-track mind. Globalization is desirable, and anyone who challenges it is, to use the current phraseology, “evil.” But the downside of any good proposal is ignored.

When there is a sole superpower deciding what it should do, usually in its own interest, there is a challenger to slow it down. It does not matter who it is. Once, it was the Soviet Union. In 2001, it is terrorism, especially, or so we are led to believe, Islamic terrorism. This is not a war against Muslims or Islam, yet Canada would not allow a Malaysian with a “Bin” or a “Mohammad” in his name into the country.

Mahathir would have understood what this meant if he were still a medical doctor in private practice in Alor Star and were planning a visit to Toronto. In Hong Kong, immigration hauls up any person with a “Bin” in his name. Any Muslim traveling in Europe faces hassles. One world-renowned economist, not a Caucasian, was made to look like a criminal when leaving New York for his residence in England; and it appeared to him that they were trying to trip him up so that he could be detained under the new terrorism laws in the United States.

The APEC precedent is dangerous. It is equally important, they decided, that with globalized trade must come globalized terror. It is one precedent every member of APEC is comfortable with. If we listen to Washington when it calls for democracy, then surely we must also listen to Washington when it calls for unconstitutional and brutal third-degree methods to winkle out “terrorists.”

It matters not that your terrorist is my freedom fighter, and vice versa. It only matters that what he fights for upsets your equanimity. That is enough to finish him. That is the rule of democracy and goodwill we are now asked to follow and to accept. It is not a good sign. For when recourse to the courts is not allowed, and guardians of the law are unquestionable, excesses must occur. Ask anyone who has been locked up in the course of investigations for a crime.

The APEC meeting restricts democracy and the interests of citizens in ways that few regional pacts have. With the United States agreeing to it, terror gains respectability because it is dispensed by government.

Daily News War on Terrorism

International News and International Freedom of the Press


Home About Us Privacy Notice Jobs