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2002-10-29 16:06:00
Embassy Amman
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Tags:   KMDR  JO 
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 AMMAN 006333 SIPDIS STATE FOR NEA/ARN, NEA/PA, NEA/AIA, INR/NESA, R/MR, I/GNEA, B/BXN, B/BRN, NEA/PPD, NEA/IPA FOR ALTERMAN USAID/ANE/MEA LONDON FOR GOLDRICH PARIS FOR O'FRIEL USCINCCENT//CCPA, USCENTCOM REAR MACDILL AFB FL STATE PASS TO AID E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: KMDR JO SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION ON MURDER OF USAID'S LAURENCE FOLEY IN JORDAN Print Media Coverage -- The assassination of Laurence Foley dominated the Jordanian dailies on Tuesday October 29. The stories included a strong condemnation of the act by the Minister of Information, and by Jordanian political parties, most notable among them the Islamic Action Front, and professional associations. Semi-official influential Arabic daily Al-Ra'i devoted its entire front page to various reports on the story that highlighted the "soundness" of Jordan's security, and the satisfaction of the U.S. with Jordanian authorities' reaction to the assassination. Headlines included: "U.S. Ambassador lauds the efficacy of Jordan's security measures;" "Gnehm affirms his confidence in Jordan's ability top protect diplomatic missions;" "U.S. Administration lauds the Jordanian authorities' cooperation;" "American citizens in Amman: This was an isolated incident." In addition, the political editor wrote a piece in which he argued that: "Whoever killed Foley wanted to attack the Jordanian model of moderation and faithfulness to national strength. The objectives of the crime go beyond the innocent American and touch every Jordanian in his security and livelihood." The centrist, influential among the elite English daily Jordan Times concentrated more on Foley's life, quoting as headline Ambassador Gnehm's description of the Foley as "A man dedicated to helping others." Center-left, influential Arabic daily Al-Dustour reported the strong condemnations of the attack, which were the subject of its lead headline, but its coverage concentrated more on the details of the crime. Elements of the report included interviews with the neighbors, who said that this might have been the work of a professional, and that Foley's two dogs did not bark at the assailant. It also reported British Prime Minister Tony Blair's comment that the attacks in Moscow, Bali, and Amman are faces of the same terror. Independent, mass-appeal
Arabic daily Al-Arab Al- Yawm's coverage resembled that of Al-Dustour, but included a prominent piece by Islamic writer Samih Al- Ma'aytah who wrote: "It would be unacceptable to hesitate in condemning such violence." Jordan Television Coverage -- Jordan TV's main Arabic newscast at 8:00 p.m. on Monday, October 28 carried the assassination of Larry Foley in Amman as its first news report. The 18- minute report included 4 minutes of condemnations expressed by the Minister of Information and representatives of various political parties and a local newspaper columnist Mr. Samih Ma'aytah from Al- Arab Al-Yawm. The report then carried one and a half minutes featuring excerpts from Ambassador Gnehm's news conference held at the U.S. Embassy, with Arabic voice-over, focusing on the late Larry Foley's work within USAID and on the condolences the Embassy had received from the King and other Jordanian officials. A seven-minute feature then followed highlighting USAID programs in Jordan in the three main sectors, water, economy and health. The feature included statements by the Minister of Water and Irrigation, the Minister of Health, and an official from the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) praising USAID's important developmental role in Jordan. In studio and following the report, Minister of Planning Dr. Bassem Awadallah was interviewed live, where he offered his condolences and highly praised USAID's important role in the various development sectors in Jordan. --Jordan TV's English "News at Ten" on Monday, October 28, carried a report similar to the one carried in the main Arabic newscast. The 10 minute report included 3 minutes of condemnations expressed by the Minister of Information and representatives of the Professional Associations Union, the Islamic Action Front and the Jordanian Communist Party; one and a half minutes from Ambassador Gnehm's news conference; followed by a three and a half minute feature in English highlighting USAID programs in Jordan. Like the Arabic, the feature included footage of various USAID- funded projects in Jordan and statements by the Ministers and an ASEZA official Editorial Commentary -- "An attack on Jordan's image and reputation" Daily columnist Fahd Fanek writes on the back page of semi-official, influential Arabic daily Al-Ra'i (10/29): "The assassination of the American diplomat yesterday morning in front of his house in the heart of Amman was not directed against America but against the image and reputation of Jordan as a country of security where foreigners need no guards to be safe. Every day, we criticize the U.S. policies in the region, particularly in as far as they are related to the blind bias in favor of Sharon's measures against the innocent Palestinian people, who have been struggling under the duress of the Israeli occupation for the past 35 years, as well as to siege imposed against the Iraqi people and threat to launch war against Iraq. But, criticizing America's policies in one thing and assaulting the life of an American citizen is another. The first is acceptable, but the second is terrorism to be rejected." -- "Terrorism will not scare and those who tamper with Jordan's security will pay" Semi-official, influential Arabic daily Al-Ra'i (10/29) editorializes: "The ugly crime against the American diplomat yesterday revealed the black hatred and rage that the perpetrators of this crime have for Jordan, its security, its people and its active role in the region and in the international world. These games and terrorist strikes will not affect us, will not terrorize us and will not make us change our path of supporting our nation's just causes, peace and dialogue." -- "Amman too" Daily columnist Jamil Nimri writes on the back page of independent, mass-appeal Arabic daily Al-Arab Al-Yawm (10/29): "Terrorist military activity has never had any successes in Jordan, but this is maybe due to the fact that Jordan was never seriously targeted. Under the current circumstances, it seems that Jordan has moved to that list of countries where the American and western presence would be targeted. Assassinations seems to be the easiest to execute, and although we cannot conclude that the assassination is connected with Al-Qa'eda, the possibility cannot be ignored, and this in itself requires more vigilance." -- "An enemy of himself" Daily columnist Basem Sakijha writes on the op-ed page of center-left, influential Arabic daily Al-Dustour (10/29): "Those who shot the American diplomat yesterday did not help themselves and did not help our cause. It is an act that perpetuates the image that everyone has of us [as Arabs and Muslims]; and an act that supports the American right-wing and the Zionist lobby in their campaign to defile our image and reputation." -- "A despicable crime and Jordan is the target" Daily columnist Urayb Rintawi writes on the op-ed page of center-left, influential Arabic daily Al-Dustour (10/29): "Jordan's national security and stability are the targets of such crimes. Under no circumstances should there be justification or reasoning for not condemning such crimes, and we should not settle for one explanation or another to justify these crimes. If we settle for this, then we would be justifying the fact that some people committed a murder like yesterday's, against an official who works for a developmental agency that has provided Jordan with millions of dollars over the years to upgrade less fortunate areas of the Kingdom." -- "Act of treachery" Centrist, influential among the elite English daily Jordan Times (10/29) editorializes: "The assassination of a U.S. diplomat credited to Jordan yesterday morning is a despicable and cowardly act. Whoever is behind the killing aimed not only to take the life of an innocent person, one whose work here involved providing financial and economic assistance to the country, but also to discredit and destabilize the Kingdom. The Kingdom has not and will not allow itself to be a sanctuary for those seeking to commit acts of violence against anyone, especially diplomats serving in Amman. The people of the country must stand shoulder to shoulder with the government and all its agencies and security apparatuses in the search for the killer or killers and bring them to justice as a matter of highest priority." GNEHM