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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2002-09-11

Macedonian Press Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at and

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, September 11, 2002





  • [02] IN MEMORY OF 9/11



  • [01] VIDEO GAMES LAW UNCONSTITUTIONAL The Three Member Court of First Instance of Thessaloniki found the law banning computer games, which disallowed playing video games on computers, unconstitutional, and acquitted three Internet Cafe owners who were accused of violating the law.

    Giannis Kyfonidis, Christos Iordannidis, and Vaggelis Alatzoglou were arrested on August 27 in their cafes in Kalamaria and downtown Thessaloniki, when their customers were found playing video games on the Internet.

    Members of the Greek Association of Internet Cafe Owners organized a rally yesterday in protest of their colleagues' indictment.

  • [02] IN MEMORY OF 9/11 Events for the one year anniversary since the terrorist attack on New York have been programmed for today in Athens and Thessaloniki.

    In the capital, at 10am, a memorial service took place at the Metropolis, while an hour later, a memorial service was held at US Ambassador Thomas Miller's residence, in the memory of the victims of September 11.

    Also, the Foreign Ministry is organizing an event for the one year anniversary since the attack at the Athens "Megaron" Music Hall.

    In Thessaloniki, a meeting has been organized at a major hotel, on "September 11: Media and terrorism". It has been organized by the Ministry of Macedonia-Thrace, Greek Radio and Television, in cooperation with the city's US Consul.

    A tribute will also be paid to the victims of the attack by the Athens Stock Market (ASE), which will participate in the movements of all European markets in memory of the attack.

    In that framework, at 14:46 (Greek time), a two minute silence period will be observed, while the markets and the exchange systems, both in the ASE, as well as in other European stock markets, will remain open.

  • [03] WOMEN PROTEST OUTSIDE NIGERIAN EMBASSY A protest rally has been organized for this afternoon at 6pm outside the Nigerian Embassy in Athens by the Women's Feminist Center, due to the death sentence of a 30-year-old accused of adultery.

    On March 22, 2002, Muslim Nigerian Amina Lawal, was convicted of adultery by the court of the city of Bacori in the state of Catsina, in northern Nigeria, which sentenced her to death by stoning.

  • [04] PH. PETSALNIKOS: CHANGING TERRORISM LEGISLATURE Minister of Justice Philippos Petsalnikos gave his assurance that the trial of the "November 17" suspects will be carried out in an excellent manner, while he announced a change in legislature concerning terrorism.

    In an interview to NET, Mr. Petsalnikos stressed that the accused will be taken to court based on the large amount of evidence against them concentrated and corroborated by the authorities.

    Mr. Petsalnikos stressed that the accused are being promoted a lot more than the victims are, and he underlined that their holding conditions are those foreseen by the law.

    "We abided by what is outlined by the penology code, Greece's legislature, and international treaties our country has signed, as well as recent directions given by the Human Rights Committee of the Council of Europe to all the Council's members. They hav e all been observed to the letter as far as the holding conditions of the suspects in the N17 case are concerned", he said.

    Mr. Petsalnikos stressed that Greece is obliged to reform its national legislature as far as terrorism is concerned, after the decision made last December in the framework of the European Union.

    According to the decision - framework, the definition of terrorism is given. It specifies exactly which crimes can be characterized as terrorism, foresees the instituting of stricter penalties for the Head of a terrorist organizations, he stressed, and a dded that what also concerns the Ministry of Justice is extending the statute of limitations in such cases.

    The Minister of Justice stressed that in the bill to be submitted to Parliament, an extension on the statute of limitations will be proposed for certain felonies, extending t from 20 to 30 years.

    It also foresees that regulations are instituted foreseeing the punishment of any party that facilitates the committing of terrorist acts or the supply of materials, funds, or financial services for such purposes.

    He finally appreciated that with Dimitris Koufontinas' surrender and arrest, the circle of N17 has closed. "This does not mean that the circle of dealing with terrorism as a whole has also closed. I believe that with the same systematic work, seriousness , attention and utilization of information, the relevant authorities will be able to shed more light on all terrorist acts of other organizations", he noted.

    In fact, according to information leaked by a higher police official, the police will arrest three more individuals, possibly women, who seem to have been involved with N17.

    Meanwhile, investigations have been concentrated in Agistri and Egina for the past few days, to locate the individuals that helped hide Koufontinas while the authorities were searching for him.

    At the same time, the Council of Appeals has ordered DNA samples to be taken from all N17 suspects in order to be compared to the findings at the two organization hideouts.

  • [05] J. NORDLINGER: THE MEDIA DON'T HAVE TO KNOW IT ALL Jay Nordlinger is a directing consultant of the "National Review", a magazine with a lot of pull around Washington. He defines himself and his way of thinking as conservative. And the way he positions himself concerning upcoming challenges the US will ha ve to face, is especially interesting. During the events organized by the Ministry of Macedonia-Thrace, ET3 and the US Consul of Thessaloniki, Mr. Nordlinger had a discussion with Christos Matis of the MPA.

    Just a year after 9/11 and all that has happened this year, are we safer, are we more secure?

    "It was certainly right and helpful to take down the Taliban in Afghanistan. I think that we have disrupted Al Qaeda significantly, but the more looming threat is Sadam Husein and Iraq. I think the important answer, is that we are not yet safe enough, an d that is why the war is ongoing."

    What is your approach security when you write?

    "...We have to look at every problem around the world. I think we have to look to the past. I would caution against downplaying against ignorance and overlooking. There will almost never be universal consensus. There was no universal consensus in WWII".

    Would a possible intervention in Iraq be the second step in the war against terrorism?

    We had some (in between) action in the Philippines, a lot of what the American government does is unreported. There is the matter of securing our own borders to the extent that that is possible, ultimately it is impossible, which is why a country must wa ge offensive war in such a situation.

    The fact that some things go unreported, does that not change the approach of the American media, which usually records all information?

    The intelligence world has always been shadowy. Some things must be done invisibly. Not every one of these (covert) options could be reported. If so, it would make further such actions impossible. And journalist though I am, I am not one who believes tha t the public has a right to know everything. The public has a right to know most things. But any government that does its job correctly, must do some things in secret.

    Who judges what is to remain secret?

    Well you hope that you would elect responsible leaders to do so!

    Don't you fear that some times these secret actions, may give more autonomy to intelligence services than could be acceptable in a democracy?

    I don't fear it in the case of America. I think in the case of America, the problem may be too much exposure, not too little. So much of what America does happens in dayilight, that I think it hampers our efforts overall. A great journalistic had somethi ng on his office wall in London during WWII. It said, "it is more important to win the war than to report on it". I think that we should be as open as possible, but within reasonable limits. We are at wartime.

    -But do you think that this is a war that can finish? I assume that the final point of the war would be a victory against terrorism. Do you think that this war against terrorism can be fought to the end, can there be an end to terrorism?

    It's an untraditional war. I think that there can be a great subduing of radical Islamic terrorism and the state network that supports it.

    Even at the cost of human rights in western societies?

    That is strictly hysterical and alarmist. The US fought a brutal civil war and two world wars, in all of which civil liberties at home were curtailed. That is just the chattering of people who do not have the will or the conscience to fight in the first place. It's not a question of human rights. It's a question of human rights abroad, but not at home.

    -What do you mean human rights abroad?

    One of the things about America's wars, is that they are not fought for America's benefits alone.Think of the scenes after the liberation of Cabul. When women could put their faces to the sun for the first time in years. Where America goes and succeeds, human rights have a greater chance. And if America were to liberate Iraq and Iran the scenes of jubilation there would make those in Cabul look like nothing.

    -How much would you keep to yourself if you had some information that you believed could be harmful to the country?

    I do not believe that the more information in this world the better. I believe that some journalists can be responsible, you may even say that most can, but some cannot, and as long as there are one or two, the whole game is off. I am a citizen before I am a journalist. And I think that a lot of journalists owe their allegiance to the "kingdom of journalism". "I am number 1", "I am an information god". I don't believe that.

    So was it responsibility or something deeper that governed the way that American media covered the tragedy of September 11.

    The coverage was pretty good, pretty direct, pretty open. For many years the American media were very delicate, about the issue of radical Islamic terrorism. I would say, even fearful, out of political correctness, out of a desire not to offend, to be se nsitive to ethnic and religious sensibilities. Even today, I think that the extent and the nature of radical Islamic terrorism is underplayed in the western media.

    Is there a moderate Islam?

    I'm not sure that such an animal exists, at least as I understand the terms "moderate" and "Islamism". I wish for the peoples of the Islamic world what I wish for myself and you. Freedom, openness, pluralism, democracy, human rights, dignity, and those t hings I think are universal not particular.

    Have you taken into account that there may be chance that we try the Islamic world, the Arabs, with too much of a western eye?

    I do not believe as a lot of people do that certain peoples simply don't want freedom, they like tyranny, they like totalitarianism. I would not think of a single monolithic Arab of mentality. I would think of many Arab mentalities. There is a great diff erence between dissidents in prison and those who put them there. For example there are some people who belong to the Muslim Brotherhood, and there are others who want a more free more humane open Egypt who are all in jail. We must help Arab reformers and

    moderates and democrats. I wonder where the Arab Soljenitzen is. They are either in jail, or quiet or in exile. And I think that all of these people need to be encouraged.

    But there are a lot of protests against American politics...

    Everything we did to keep the free world free during the Cold War, was protested by people all over the world. The majority is always silent. The majority is ordinary people who sit in their homes, who go to work, who collect their paychecks, who feed th eir family, they are very rarely on television, who don't write editorials in newspapers.

    Have you got an explanation for the motives of all those people who protest?

    They are professional anti-Americans, they are communists, they are people who do not wish us well, who do not support freedom, and I'm sure there are some well meaning ones as well, it's a mixture.

    Have you ever thought that there maybe something wrong with the image of the US?

    Yes, certainly. But I am also not naive as to what can be done to correct it. There is popular song in America, "if you don't love me by now, you ain't never ever going to love me". I sometimes think that if the world does not love the US by now, with al l it has proven, with all it has done, all it has stood for, a nation just like a person, cannot be all things to all people. And a nation cannot be universally loved, just like a person cannot be universally loved. And I tell you, Americans like to be po pular just as much as the next guy, but in this instance Americans would rather be safe than popular. I think we should do everything we can to project reality, to project the truth. I think that it is inevitable that some people will protest. And I think

    that Americans want too much to be loved. Other peoples don't.

    Don't you think that less American intervention all over the world would eliminate the anti-American feelings?

    I think people like victims. They like Israel when Israel is weak and victimized. They don't like Israel when it is strong and self defending. I think people tend to like America when we are victims. All those deaths on September 11. Poor Americans. And the US has to do a lot of work that a lot of other nations cannot, or will not and The whole world benefits from it, whether it recognizes, is grateful for it, or not. Being a superpower, and especially being a lone superpower is very often a thankless ta sk. People say you intervene all over the world. Frankly the need to intervene comes to us. We don't seek it out. And we will do what is necessary to defend ourselves, and I guess to a lesser extent our allies. We have to be a responsible actor in the wor ld. We can retreat into a shell, back on our own shores.

  • [06] SPECIAL PARLIAMENT SESSION IN MEMORY OF THE SEPTEMBER 11 VICTIMS The Greek Parliament held a special session on the occasion of the 1st anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attack on the United States and observed a moment of silence commemorating the thousands of innocent victims

    Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis, the Interior Minister, who spoke on behalf of the government, and the representatives of all political parties, condemned terrorism regardless of its origin, while they gave an emphasis on the success of the Gre ek government in the effort to break up terrorist group "17 November".

    Mr. Kaklamanis expressed deep regret for the attack with thousands of innocent victims, among them tens of Greeks, and stressed that Greece strongly supports the efforts against terrorism that threatens humanity as a whole.

    Interior Minister Kostas Skandalidis pointed out that human life is priceless and stressed that there is no clash of civilizations issue but the human culture itself is at risk.

    Governing Socialist Party of PASOK parliamentary spokesman Mr. Akrivakis stated that the September 11 terrorist attack anniversary coincides with the dismantling of terrorist group "17 November" which is a major achievement for the Greek government.

    Right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy parliamentary spokesman Prokopis Pavlopoulos underlined that Democracy must be protected from the plague of terrorism.

    Communist Party parliamentary spokesman Antonis Skillakos pointed out that memory should not be selective when it concerns the victims of terrorism, stressing that there are victims of state terrorism in Yugoslavia, and Palestine as well as in Nagasaki a nd Hiroshima.

    Coalition of the Left parliamentary spokesman Asimina Xirotiri pointed out that this anniversary should lead to a peaceful world.

  • [07] THE UNDERSECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO VISIT JERUSALEM Greek Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Yiannis Magriotis departs for Jerusalem tomorrow, within the framework of a three-day visit to Israel on the occasion of the 1st anniversary of the enthronement of Patriarch Erineos of Jerusalem.

    Israeli and Palestinian officials as well as, representatives of religious dogmas and diplomats will attend the special event that will be held on the occasion of the anniversary.

    Mr. Magriotis is scheduled to meet with Israeli and Palestinian officials. He will return to Greece on Sunday to attend the World Council of Greeks Abroad, SAE, Presiding Board meeting in Thessaloniki.

  • [08] THE INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION INDEX DROPPED BY 0.8% Industrial production in the month of July dropped by 0.8% at a yearly basis compared to a 1% decline recorded in June, according to figures provided by the Greek National Statistics Agency.

    For the record, the overall industrial production in mines and electricity was increased to 1.9% in the month of July compared to a 2.4% increase in June.

  • [09] PAPARIGA: DEVELOPMENTS VINDICATED THE GREEK COMMUNIST PARTY FOR ITS STANCE AFTER THE TERRORIST ATTACK ON THE US One year after the September 11 terrorist attack on the United States, Greek Communist Party general secretary Ms. Aleka Papariga stated that the developments vindicated her party's positions.

    The Greek Communist Party, said Ms. Papariga, had wondered then what the peoples of the world and the US people itself, who paid with thousands of victims, will suffer. It was proved that the Communist Party was right as the "counter-terrorist struggle" gives birth, and will continue to give birth, to new wars, more violence and militarization, and new attacks on the rights and the living standards of the peoples.

    In a press conference she gave within the framework of her visit to Thessaloniki's 67th International Trade Fair, Ms. Papariga accused US President Bush of drawing up his policy on the graves of the victims of the September 11 terrorist attack, stressing

    that this is repulsive.

    On the terrorist group "17 November", she stressed that it was not a popular movement neither a teratogenesis of movements.

  • [10] THE PRIME MINISTER'S SPEECH IN IRAKLION, CRETE The 2004 Olympic Games are one of the major goals set by Greece, stated Prime Minister Kostas Simitis speaking in Iraklion, Crete where he inspected the course of the Olympic preparations. The city of Iraklion is scheduled to host the football qualifiers .

    Mr. Simitis referred to the government's overall policy aimed at strengthening the Greek economy and society, building security conditions for everybody, establishing a more just taxation system and creating a new social state with reforms in education, health, social security, and welfare.

    The Prime Minister made a special reference to terrorism and guaranteed that the government will continue its efforts against it.

    On the occasion of the 1st anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attack on the United States, he expressed solidarity to the families of the victims and all those who are still suffering as a result of that tragedy.

  • [11] GAINS IN THE ASE Gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +0.34% at 2.043,10 points, while the volume of transactions was at 77.2 million Euro.

    Of the stocks trading today, 179 recorded gains and 107 had losses, while the value of 89 stocks remained unchanged.

  • [12] THE GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN ON THE FYROM NAME ISSUE The Greek government expects a solution to be found on the FYROM name problem within the UN decisions through the talks it holds with the FYROM government, stressed government spokesman Christos Protopapas.

    Greece wants a fair solution satisfying both sides, added Mr. Protopapas, and clarified that the Greek government could discuss and issues that are connected with a composite name if this option satisfied Greece and did not create special problems to the

    Greek side.

    Mr. Protopapas concluded that unfortunately there was no progress as the other side persisted in its initial positions.

  • [13] GOV'T SPOKESMAN: THE CYPRUS ISSUE IS AT A CRUCIAL PHASE The prospects for the solution of the Cyprus problem are at a very difficult and crucial phase in view of the summit meeting of the Cypriot Republic and the Turkish Cypriot side, stated Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas. Nothing has changed regarding Cyprus' EU accession, he added.

    He reminded that according to the criteria set by the EU through a number of summit meeting decisions, which were based on the Helsinki Summit meeting, the Cypriot Republic must be the first candidate state to become an EU member.

    Finally, referring to the developments in Turkey he pointed out that they are not positive and instability is being observed, stressing that Greece should be ready and vigilant for the promotion of the issues of national importance.

  • [14] THE US AMBASSADOR TO ATHENS INTERVIEW WITH TV CHANNEL ET3 The stance adopted by the international community after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack is the ideal example of how people with different backgrounds can unite to face a common threat, according to US ambassador to Athens, Thomas Miller.

    In an interview with Thessaloniki-based state-run television channel ET3 that will be broadcast this evening, he clarified that the US position is that there is no disagreement between the allies on whether Saddam Hussein should be faced but how this wil l be done. He characterized Greece as an important ally due to the fact that it will take over the EU rotating Presidency in the first half of 2003.

    Mr. Miller did not rule out Cyprus' EU accession without a previous solution of the political problem, while on the situation in Turkey he maintained that pre-election uncertainty can be observed anywhere.

    Greece does not need an international certificate of security for the 2004 Olympic Games, stressed Mr. Miller. He added that he is more relaxed now that terrorist group "17 November" member Dimitris Koufodinas has been arrested and congratulated the Gree k Police, stressing that the dismantling of the terrorist group is its own achievement.

    Regarding the court trials of the terrorists, he stated that he does not want to make any comments before the process is complete and announced that the families of the US victims of 17N consider hiring Greek lawyers to represent them.


  • [15] PAPANDREOU: THE US STANCE TOWARD GREECE IS POSITIVE Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou characterized as positive the US stance on issues concerning Greece. However, Mr. Papandreou stated from Washington, that there is a distance of views in the dialogue between Europe and the United States on inter national issues and stressed that Greece will contribute to the effort to erase that distance during the Greek EU Presidency in the first half of 2003.

    Mr. Papandreou met with members of the Congress, US officials and journalists with whom he discussed the issue of terrorism in Greece and the way it is being handled, the US attack on Iraq, the Cyprus issue and the US-EU relations.

    On Iraq, he reiterated the EU position for a more active UN involvement, while on the Cyprus problem, he said that there was a special interest expressed on behalf of the United States.

    Also, Mr. Papandreou expressed solidarity to the US people on the occasion of the 1st anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the United States.

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