Viewing cable 10BERLIN215

10BERLIN2152010-02-25 13:04:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Berlin

DE RUEHRL #0215/01 0561304
R 251304Z FEB 10
E.0. 12958: N/A 
¶1.   Lead Stories Summary 
¶2.   (Cuba)   Death of a Dissident 
¶3.   (U.S.)   Healthcare Reform Summit 
¶4.   (Greece-Germany)   Greek Anger at Germany 
¶5.   (Greece-EU)   Austerity Program 
¶6.   (U.S.)   Criticism of Google 
¶7.   (Sudan)   Peace Process 
¶8.   (Western Hemisphere)   Latin America Summit 
¶9.   (Turkey)   Military Officials Arrested 
¶10.  (Defense)   A 400 M 
¶1.   Lead Stories Summary 
Primetime newscasts and many newspapers led with stories on the 
resignation of the head the Protestant Church in Germany, Margot 
KQmann.   Several newspapers led with the dispute within the German 
coalition government.  Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung headlined: 
"Merkel: Westerwelle has unnecessarily made the debate about reforms 
more difficult."  Editorials focused on the Protestant Church. 
¶2.   (Cuba)   Death of a Dissident 
Under the headline: Dissidents Starves Himself to Death," 
Sueddeutsche Zeitung (2/25) wrote that "Orlando Zapata's death is 
raising new criticism of Cuba's Treatment of Opposition politicians. 
 Since the death of poet and student leader Pedro Luis Boitel in 
1972, Zapata is the first prisoner in Cuba who died from a hunger 
strike. This death notice will impede Spain's most recent efforts to 
bring the regime of RaQl Castro closer to the EU again." 
Frankfurter Allgemeine (2/25) reported: "Dissident Died in Prison - 
Cuban Zapato Tamayo was on a Hunger Strike for 85 Days."  Die Welt 
(2/25) headlined: "Cuban Dissident Died after an 85-day Hunger 
Strike," while Berliner Zeitung (2/25) reported under the headline: 
"Death of a Dissident." 
Under the headline; "Cuban Prison," Sueddeutsche Zeitung (2/25) 
argued in an editorial: "The death of Cuban dissident Orlando Zapata 
Tamayo is not only a human tragedy but it is a dramatic setback for 
the nurtured hope for change in Cuba.  This looks like a political 
slap in the face of all those who have built bridges for the Castro 
brothers over the past years.  In Europe, especially the Spanish 
government must now feel duped....  It tried to get support for a 
normalization of relations between the EU and Cuba.  President Obama 
has also tried to normalize U.S. relations with Cuba arguing that 
the confrontational U.S policy towards Cuba, which lasted for more 
than 50 years, was a mistake.  In view of Zapata's death it is 
difficult to say that Obama's viewpoint is right.  But the regime in 
Havana is now encouraging those who have an interest in escalating 
tension.  This nourishes the suspicion that the powers-that-be in 
Cuba have no interest in change.  That is why the first consequence 
from Zapata's death can only be to increase pressure on Havana to 
such an extent that political prisoners are set free. This has been 
long overdue." 
¶3.   (U.S.)   Healthcare Reform Summit 
Handelsblatt (2/25) headlined: "Too European For America," and 
judged: "If a miracle does not happen, President Obama's balance 
sheet for the mid-term elections will be rather gloomy.  The 
healthcare summit that will begin in Washington today is likely to 
fail; the financial market regulation will be diluted, sustainable 
state finances are not in sight and climate protection could be over 
for the time being.  Obama must assume responsibility for this 
because he is the president and he announced all these correct 
projects but has not implemented them.  This is not necessarily fair 
but these are the rules of the political business.  The external 
reasons give only a partial explanation for the man in the White 
House being unable to succeed.  In Congress he has to deal with a 
Republican Party that its not only arch conservative but which is 
even rewarded for its obstructionist attitude with election 
victories.  In addition there are governmental mistakes.  For much 
too long, he left the debate over healthcare reform to Congress. 
But the real truth is much more complex.  After one year in office 
the question must be raised whether Obama's perception of America 
really coincides with the real picture of the country." 
¶4.   (Greece-Germany)   Greek Anger at Germany 
Sueddeutsche (2/25) headlined: "Greeks Outraged At Germans - 
Following Critical Reports, Vice Premier 
Recalls Occupation by the Wehrmacht," and wrote; "Politicians in 
Athens strongly called upon Germany to hold back with its criticism 
of the Greek financial crisis.  The reason for the anti-German 
remarks is media reports on the financial crisis, which many Greeks 
considered insulting.  The German Ambassador to Greece, Wolfgang 
Schulthei, said: 'Anger [at Germany] is great.  A wave of outrage 
is now hitting us. In my view it is justified.'  Schulthei called 
the front-page picture of Focus, which is the main focus of protests 
Frankfurter Allgemeine (2/25) carried a front-page report, 
headlined: "The Anger of Petsalnikos - In Times of Crisis and 
strike, Athens Discovers Germans who are to Blame," and said: "There 
is no doubt that Greece is currently under strong pressure from the 
markets and other European states.  This pressure is so strong that 
nerves are exposed in Athens, for instance, with Philippos 
Petsalnikos, the president of the Greek parliament and carrier of 
the German Order of Merit.  He studied in Germany and is married to 
a German.  But he is primarily angry at the German media, which are 
unfair in their treatment of Greece." 
In an editorial, Sueddeutsche Zeitung (2/25) headlined: "Fodder for 
Populists," and wrote: "Both sides are now getting each other worked 
up, but what is lost is common sense.  Yes, the Greek state lied to 
Europe; and it is understandable to be angry, angry at a system that 
is threatening to drag down other countries.  And yes, in Germany, 
there is the freedom of the press, and magazines are allowed to 
write whatever they want.  But this does not deprive them of the 
duty and the responsibility to look closely.  Generalizations such 
as, the Greeks are cheating each other whenever they can, or the 
Greeks only work when they are bribed, are cheap....  This 
Greek-German conflict is fatal because its plays into the hands of 
populists on both sides, and makes the work of all those more 
difficult who are trying to find a way out of the crisis.  On the 
one hand, these are the EU governments that promised Athens support, 
and, on the other hand, there is the new Greek government that is 
doing its utmost and deserves a chance." 
Die Welt (2/25) headlined: "Hysteria About Greece?  - The Germans 
Are Right," and judged: "The Germans are increasingly less inclined 
to believe that Europe and the Euro is good for them.  They are not 
alone with their skepticism.  After the euro turned into a success 
story over the past ten years...the weak spots are now coming to the 
fore.  It is becoming increasingly obvious that Europe only works 
under certain conditions but is unable to deal with crises such as 
the Greek one.  There is no mechanism on how to bring to reason 
those who break the rules.  That is why it is understandable why the 
Germans are suspicious when the euro zone and the European Union are 
getting bigger....  At stake is something that should be 
self-evident: Everyone who has paid into the social security system 
or into a savings contract should get back an acceptable amount of 
money in the end.  This is not a trifle but a precondition for a 
functioning democracy." 
Under the headline: "Greece and the Nazi Club," Tagesspiegel (2/25) 
editorialized: "There seems to be a method behind swinging the Nazi 
club.  Greece's Vice Prime Minister Pangelos' remark that his 
country was damaged during the Nazi occupation reminds us of the 
brazen calculation, which former Polish Prime Minister Kaczynski 
made two years ago.  In the wrestling over voting rights in the EU, 
he called upon the EU to show consideration for the Poles killed in 
WW II.  At that time as today, the goal of this lesson in history 
was the same: the rest of the EU - and primarily Germany - should be 
put under moral pressure.  But none of the politicians responsible 
should accept this." 
¶5.   (Greece-EU)   Austerity Program 
Frankfurter Allgemeine (2/25) carried an editorial under the 
headline: "Strikes and Scapegoats," that "The situation is now 
getting serious in Greece: for the government that wants to 
implement a tough austerity policy, for the civil servants who are 
taking to the streets to fight for their privileges, and for the 
pensioners and the working people as a whole.  But that's the way it 
is:  the way out of the misery is not a carpet of flowers but a path 
full of thorns.  Without fundamental adjustment, the country is 
faced with bankruptcy....  And the search for scapegoats is already 
under full swing.  How inventive!   If the government tried to save 
itself at such a level, then it will be difficult mobilizing 
political solidarity for Athens in the EU." 
In a report on the strikes in Greece, Frankfurter Allgemeine (2/25) 
headlined: "Strikes in Greece less Vigorous," and wrote that "the 
public service and some sectors of the private economy are affected 
but only 22,000 people took to the streets." Handelsblatt (2/25) 
carried a lengthy article under the headline: ''The only people on 
strike are those for whom it does not matter whether they have a 
job."  The daily reported: "It is not surprising that the call for 
strike has not meet with great success outside of the public 
service.  According to a recent poll, eight out of ten Greeks think 
that the trade unions should do without strikes in view of the 
current crisis.  And what is also miserable for the unions: as far 
as the media is concerned, the strikes did not get wide coverage 
because the journalists were on strike, too.  That is why there were 
no broadcasts on TV or the radio." 
¶6.   (U.S.)   Criticism of Google 
FT Deutschland (2/25) editorialized:  "It's now getting really 
serious for Google: the EU Commission wants to examine whether the 
U.S. company is misusing its dominant power to disadvantage 
competitors.  Brussels' action is right and necessary because the 
suspicion that Google weighs down its competitors is justified... 
Brussels' involvement forces Google to fundamentally reconsider its 
behavior.  The company has never thought that it is necessary to 
take others into consideration - particularly when it comes to data 
protection.  It always required massive protests by users before the 
company improved its programs.  Such a behavior earns you many 
enemies - and Google has more than enough of them." 
In an editorial, Sddeutsche (2/25) highlighted that "the search 
engine does not take privacy rights seriously enough" and added: 
"The approach of the U.S. company to make all information the world 
has available on the internet is increasingly alarming politicians 
and consumer protectionists, particularly in Europe.  Regardless of 
whether it is Google Street View, where everybody can pry into the 
garden of the neighbor, Google Book Search or its increasing market 
power, the concerns are justified.  No company should hold all 
information there is....  While the company was liked initially, it 
is becoming increasingly unpopular in its second decade.  The 
company must not grow at the expense of consumers.  With Google's 
buzz service, the company demonstrated that technological 
opportunities are important, not the privacy rights of costumers. 
This is the same with Street View....  Google does not take such 
considerations sufficiently into account.  The company views those 
who oppose Street View has has-beens.  However, leaving all 
information to just one company is too sensitive.  Unfortunately, 
the competitors are weak.  Against this background, politicians are 
right to tackle this issue." 
Die Welt (2/24) editorialized on Google's Street View project, which 
the company plans to start in German this year: "Google Earth offers 
more opportunities than it poses dangers.  Users can leave behind 
bookmarks on photos, which other users can use.  Shops and 
restaurants attract costumers, landlords can find tenants.  Those 
who go on vacation can check the resort before.  False companies 
with faked addresses can be disclosed by one click.  In the U.S., an 
entire service sector is developing around Google Earth.  The loss 
of privacy is the price of the drastic increase in openness.  Those 
who want absolute privacy must forbid maps - the way North Korea 
does it.  This cannot be the answer to the offer to see the world as 
it is." 
Tagesspiegel (2/24) opined: "Google Street View offers information 
that are not directed against anybody.  Opportunities to misuse such 
information are not apparent.  Gruesome garden gnomes have no right 
to be protected....  [Consumption Minister] Aigner has good 
intentions.  She wants to protect us against the profit-mongering of 
a giant company.  This is the usually reflex of somebody who is 
overly concerned-a minister who sees citizens as wards.  Those who 
act like this prevent things.  We imported the most important 
inventions and achievements of the internet industry.  Google, 
Facebook, iPhone are all made in the United States.  Isn't it rather 
sweet that the consumer protection minister wants to boycott these 
means and calls for a better world?  Aigner's attack and attitude 
point at a country that should urgently discuss the sense of having 
street lights." 
¶7.   (Sudan)   Peace Process 
Under the headline:  In the Sudanese Quicksand," Sueddeutsche 
Zeitung (2/25) opined: "The agreement with the rebels in the West 
shifts influences in Africa's eternal civil war.  For years, Omar 
al-Bashir has been pilloried as a warmonger in Darfur but now he is 
presenting himself as a prince of peace.  To everyone's surprise his 
regime signed a peace agreement with his arch enemy, rebel leader 
Khalil Ibrahim.  Ibrahim is now reaching out his hand and is 
pressing all other rebel groups to follow him.  But this peace 
opening does not mean that reconciliation will occur in Darfur. 
Junta leader al-Bashir, who wants to legitimize his power with an 
election victory in April, urgently needs a diplomatic success.  He 
was unable to militarily win the war in western Sudan; now time is 
pressing and he has now changed to negotiations.  Only time will 
tell whether this was only a tactical move or a lasting change.... 
Pressure on Bashir also increased because the International Court of 
Justice issued an arrest warrant against him.  Even though the 
regime demonstrates cohesiveness to the outside, Bashir's aides are 
looking for ways out of the isolation....  This cease-fire between 
the JEM and Khartoum is shifting weights in this conflict, whose 
alliances and frontlines were often unstable.  But it is not the 
'beginning of the end of the war,' which Bashir now wants to 
Under the headline: "Willingness for Peace for a Certain Period of 
Time," die tageszeitung (2/25) judged: "When the Sudanese government 
and the largest rebel movement in Darfur sign a peace agreement, 
then this sounds promising but skepticism is appropriate.  The 
political calculations on both sides are too obvious.  Sudan's 
President al-Bashir needs quiet at the Darfur front, while the 
agreement is a triumph for the JEM rebel movement for the time being 
-- JEM leader Ibrahim is the winner.  He is now Khartoum's partner 
for peace and is allowed to continue talks with the Sudanese 
government about a political solution.  This is not bad in view of 
the fact that the JEM conducted the talks from a position of 
weakness.  But both sides do not have a joint interest in peace. 
They remain rivals in Sudan's domestic policy and primarily in 
Darfur.  Their war has now been suspended for the time being but the 
next round [of clashes] is programmed." 
¶8.   (Western Hemisphere)   Latin America Summit 
Die Welt (2/25) headlined: "Latin America Shows the U.S. the Red 
Card," and reported: "New Organization to Reduce U.S. influence - 
Washington's Allies Also Approve it.  The participants in the Latin 
America summit agreed to push regional integration and this without 
the United States.  The regional powers of Mexico and Brazil 
advocated the new forum - hoping to strengthen their leading roles. 
Even though President Obama's Latin America advisor Arturo 
Valenzuela said that Washington would not be opposed to such a new 
organization, the decision is, nevertheless, a setback for President 
Obama who promised last year a new era in relations between the U.S. 
and Latin America.  But Washington's faltering attitude towards the 
violent coup in Honduras and the establishment of military bases in 
Colombia against the will of the neighboring countries, however, 
quickly blurred relations again.  The OAS that was founded in 1948 
and has its seat in Washington is now threatened with a further loss 
of significance.  But time must tell whether the new regional fora 
will be able to cope with the new challenges." 
¶9.   (Turkey)   Military Officials Arrested 
Frankfurter Allgemeine (2/15) commented: "The arrest of 49 Turkish 
officers is the current climax of a battle led with legal means 
between Prime Minister Erdogan's government party AKP and the 
military caste which sees itself as the guardian of Kemal Ataturk's 
secular republic.  It is difficult to imagine that Turkish judges 
would order so many arrests without having any suspicion.  However, 
there are also voices saying that the religious-political camp is 
striking back for the attempt of the opposition to forbid the 
governing party.  More than 200 Turks, who have apparently planned a 
coup in the name of the nationalistic organization Ergenekon, are 
already on trial....  It is clear that the polarization within 
Turkey has not diminished, but is probably still increasing." 
¶10.   (Defense)   A 400 M 
Frankfurter Allgemeine (2/25) editorialized on its front page: "The 
A 400 M is one of these projects that are too big to fail.   This 
applies particularly to the company EADS, which could have postponed 
for a long time - or even had to give up - its ambition to get a 
foot on the ground of the military armament business. The threat to 
cancel the project was therefore not credible.  However, the 'to big 
to fail' also applies to the countries that ordered the plane.  The 
political damage would have been too big to abandon the project 
simply because the producer cannot meet the agreement.  At the end 
of the day, this is also about the competitiveness of a European 
airspace company, in which the countries have a stake."