- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 2, 2005

Tighter terror laws

As prime minister of Ireland, John Bruton dealt with the political violence of the Irish Republican Army, but he is shocked at the current wave of Islamic terrorist attacks.

“Like almost everybody else, I have been horrified by the almost daily succession of terrorist attacks,” Mr. Bruton, now the European Union’s ambassador to the United States, wrote in his weekly message.

“It is difficult to understand how any cultural, political or religious cause could be served by this nihilistic violence.”

Mr. Bruton noted that the European Union has made “giant strides in recent times in combating the terrorist threat.”

He said police agencies in all 25 EU nations routinely share intelligence to try to track suspected terrorists. The European Union is considering regulations to allow police from any member nation to pursue terrorist or criminal suspects across national borders and to tag explosives with electromagnetic codes before they are sold to make them easier to track.

“Proposals along these lines … mean that the European Union is an effective partner for the United States in fighting crime and terrorism,” Mr. Bruton said.

Under a new European arrest warrant, Britain is seeking the extradition of a suspect held in Italy in connection with the July 7 attacks in London. Hamdi Issac, an Ethiopian-born British subject, was arrested last week in Rome, where he faces charges of international terrorism and possessing false identity documents.

The European Union yesterday announced a new research project aimed at increasing security on passenger trains.

“The project will combine information from sensors, remote-control or autonomous cameras, ground-penetrating radars and line scanners,” the European Union said.

Unfinished revolution

The promise of Ukraine’s democratic revolution is stalling and discontent is spreading, a top Ukrainian labor leader warned on a visit to Washington.

Mikhail Volynets told a briefing at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty last week that the much-heralded Orange Revolution that ended the authoritarian legacy of President Leonid Kuchma last year has failed to improve the lives of ordinary Ukrainians.

“The revolution took place at the top level only,” he said in reference to the election of a new president and prime minister, “but on the local level nothing has changed.”

Mr. Volynets, a member of parliament and president of the Confederation for Free Trade Unions of Ukraine, expressed similar complaints to those reported in Monday’s edition of The Washington Times about corruption in the administration of President Viktor Yushchenko.

Mr. Volynets blamed some of the problems on remnants of the old regime, especially the Ukrainian Communist Party. He also estimated that the black market accounts for 57 percent of the Ukrainian economy.

The labor leader was one of the first to spark protests in November. What began as a labor strike quickly led to massive demonstrations against fraud and corruption in the Nov. 21 presidential runoff election between Mr. Yushchenko and Viktor Yanukovich, the candidate backed by Mr. Kuchma.

Mr. Volynets led a large group of miners to the capital, Kiev, to support Mr. Yushchenko in his campaign to defeat Mr. Kuchma’s hand-picked successor. The protests led to a new presidential election in December, which Mr. Yushchenko won.

“Our protest movement grew into a workers’ movement,” Mr. Volynets said.

“The whole population of the capital city supported us. I’ve never felt such a feeling of unity and brotherhood,” he added.

Mr. Volynets, who helped keep the protests peaceful, confirmed that Mr. Kuchma seriously considered using riot police to break up the demonstrations, but Lech Walesa, former Polish president and Nobel Peace Prize winner, persuaded him not to use force.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@washingtontimes.com.

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