- The Washington Times - Friday, October 13, 2006

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Winnipeg Free Press

Canadian’s torture in Syria

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has informed U.S. President George Bush personally that Canada will protest the United States’ deportation of Maher Arar to Syria in 2002. The Americans did not tell any Canadian official of Mr. Arar’s fate until after he was shipped early Oct. 8 to Syria, where he was jailed and tortured over the course of a year. The inquiry into the affair showed the Royal Canadian Mounted Police was blameworthy for giving the FBI wrong information linking Mr. Arar to a terrorist organization, but only the U.S. can explain why he was sent to a country known to interrogate through torture.

Mr. Harper also said the government would officially apologize to Mr. Arar, but only after negotiations on compensating him are concluded. This rightly acknowledges the RCMP tacitly betrayed a Canadian citizen, wrongly telling the FBI that he and his wife were Islamic extremists with ties to al Qaeda. Justice Dennis O’Connor’s inquiry found that the FBI and American immigration offices very likely relied on that when deciding to ship the Canadian to Syria.

The Canadians were, in the least, unconscionably sloppy in passing on bad information, but the Americans gave no hint that Syria was a serious consideration in their deliberations. Further, Canadian consular officials were not informed he was detained and being held. Called in by Mr. Arar’s own family, they were given little detail about why he was being held or what would happen to him. Mr. Arar had no legal representation at any time and was without a lawyer at a hearing where his fate was determined.

Asahi Shimbun

Japan-China summit

TOKYO — In his first overseas trip since taking office in late September, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe flew to Beijing on Sunday for summit talks with top Chinese leaders.

… North Korea’s nuclear ambition was an important topic for the summit. Mr. Abe urged his Chinese hosts to try to exert pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear programs. Beijing promised it would do its utmost.

The international community must make a concerted response to North Korea’s nuclear test. And the response must be underpinned by solid cooperation among Japan, China and South Korea. In this sense, Mr. Abe’s trips to China and South Korea to discuss new efforts for cooperation with the leaders of these countries were most timely.

Due to its long-standing ties with North Korea, China may face difficult decisions. It would be very helpful for the leaders of Japan and China to build relations of mutual trust quickly, so they can instantly communicate with each other anytime over a hot line.

Many pending difficult issues exist between Japan and China. Even if it is unrealistic to expect an overnight improvement, we welcome the first basic step in that direction taken by the Japanese and Chinese leaders.

Verdens Gang

Killing one’s critics

OSLO — The fearless, investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya is the thirteenth journalist killed in Russia since the former KGB agent Vladimir Putin came to power. …

Critical journalism facing hard times in Mr. Putin’s land is nothing new. Nor is it news that it steadily becomes more dangerous to shine the spotlight on Russia’s power elite, whether political or economic. The American Committee for the Protection of Journalists ranks Russia among the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists, surpassed only by Iraq and Algeria.

Mrs. Politkovskaya gained a name as one of Mr. Putin’s sharpest critics. In recent years, she focused especially on the countless abuses in the Chechen war, a war seldom mentioned by Putin-loyal media. …

Lyudmila Alexeyeva,one of Russia’s foremost human rights activists and leader of the Helsinki Committee in Moscow, has no doubt that the murder of Mrs. Politkovskaya was politically motivated: She exposed the crimes of the state, and had to be silenced, says Miss Alexeyeva, who does not believe the murder will be solved.

Neither do we. Not in Mr. Putin’s Russia.

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