British reaction to the revelation that an 87-year-old from Bexleyheath was a spy for the KGB
The Morning Star
SHE TOOK advantage of the position she was in to give her side a bit of help in the international class struggle. In any case, Melita Norwood, an honest and open communist, was not only helping the Soviet Union in its effort to build and preserve a socialist system; she was also helping the British people themselves a good deal more than most of those noisy patriots who are now denouncing her would have done. (Andrew Murray)
SUPERSPY MELITA Norwood is not the only one acting like a dotty old person over her treachery. What on earth do the police, MI5 and Government think they are playing at? Maybe at 87 she is too old to be prosecuted. After all, this country has an ignoble tradition of failing to make the spies in our midst face justice. But the very least that should have happened when it was discovered was a full and open Government statement. Treachery is still one of the worst crimes. Just because what former spies did doesn't matter any more does not mean they should not be used as a warning to anyone tempted to betray this country.
THE IGNORANCE of successive Home Secretaries on the subject is alarming. The decision not to prosecute a traitor against whom there is powerful evidence is one which should not be taken lightly, or without the Home Secretary's knowledge. There is a pattern of failing to prosecute KGB traitors. The security services may have reasons of their own for not wishing to get entangled in prosecutions. But it is difficult to understand how not prosecuting traitors can be in the public interest. We need to deter potential traitors. Granting immunity is not the way to do it.
THE HOME Secretary is caught red-faced by the contrast between his obsessive attitude to General Pinochet and the authorities' indulgent attitude to elderly British traitors. Yet there is another group of people who deserve to share the public pillory with the spies: the old Labour left, which adopted a grotesquely tolerant, if not sympathetic, attitude towards the Soviet Union to the very end of the Cold War. These were the people who created the climate in which active British traitors were so readily seduced. They have never said sorry, and we are indulgent enough merely to giggle when the Labour Party conference still sings the "Red Flag", as a nostalgic gesture to its old soulmates in Moscow.
WE NEED to know whether Melita Norwood made a deal with the security services. Remember Blunt. Was the decision not to prosecute her based on compassion, or a desire to cover up security service incompetence? There is something wrong with a state which pursues a journalist, Tony Geraghty, for six pages in a book which is still available in bookshops, and ignores a woman whose treachery is said to have accelerated the Soviet nuclear weapon system.
NOW THAT Mrs Norwood (Order of the Red Banner) has confessed, without remorse, her betrayal of her country to the century's most brutal dictator (Old Joe), should she be tried, condemned and jailed? Of course, and the sooner the better.
AS NORWOOD and her fellow spies crawl out of the woodwork, justice must be done. They were happy to betray our country. Now they must pay the price. The Cold War was a time when the West was good. And communism was evil. It was evil because it denied millions hope, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
News of the World
is a traitor. Yet tough-talking Jack Straw turns a blind eye to her treachery and orders the security services to leave her alone. His double standards allow him to pursue General Pinochet. Yet the evil Mrs Norwood is allowed to live out her last years with impunity, principally because she is 87. The General is 83 and a friend of Britain. Mr Straw should either send him home or throw the book at Melita Norwood, before it's too late. He can't have it both ways.
Failure to protect the weak
THEY HAVE been abused and exploited by a regime whose annexation of the territory was recognised by Australia in 1978. Australia's decision then was at odds with the views of our major allies, defied international law and ignored the appalling human-rights record of the Indonesian Government. We failed Timorese who looked to us for support. With their recent independence poll, East Timorese again displayed their trust in the rule of international law, turning up to polling booths in great numbers despite the very real threat of violence. We should match their courage with our generosity. If ever there was a time to open the gates, it is now. Politicians and bureaucrats should face the moral reality of our situation and start planning how best to fulfil our obligations to our suffering neighbours.
IT IS an undeniable fact that Indonesian troops provided military training to anti-independence youths and encouraged the local population to provide tips about the pro-independence movement. When order is restored in East Timor, Indonesia's troops should be pulled out. Meanwhile, the Japanese government refrained from openly twisting the arm of the Indonesian government out of consideration for the stability of the Habibie government. Japan has also been unwilling over the years to play a large part in solving the conflict in East Timor. That is not the way for Japan to deliver on its international responsibility. Obstacles to peace can be overcome only by a reconciliation among the population, the restoration of order and a return to normality in the people's daily lives.
THE PEACEKEEPING force became a necessity only because of Indonesia's failure to meet a solemn international obligation to maintain security in East Timor before, during and after the plebiscite. Indonesia refused the offer of international peacekeepers to assist in the holding of the plebiscite. Once it had insisted on taking responsibility for security, Indonesia could not complain of outside pressure when the world moved to pick up the pieces after its tragic failure to meet that responsibility. Indonesia stands shamed before the world for its armed forces' encouragement of, and participation in, the killings and destruction in East Timor. It plainly felt entitled to punish the East Timorese people for daring to reject Indonesian rule.
THE DIFFERENCE between Kosovo and East Timor is that, when push came to shove, the US wasn't willing to use military power to shield the weaker side from the consequences of challenging the more-powerful player. That may send the correct message from Washington to the other secessionist movements in Indonesia: we sympathise with your quest for independence, but don't expect us to come to your defence!
Hong Kong Standard
BY SENDING civilian police to East Timor, Beijing has acknowledged the legitimacy and usefulness of having military involvement in other countries for humanitarian reasons. This also means that the Central Government is committed to international norms and regional security. If Japan, whose World War II invasions still linger in many of its neighbours' minds, is allowed to take part in the UN-sponsored military operations, why should China be excluded? China should be given a role compatible with its status. China's participation in the peacekeeping will not lead to the expansion of its military clout overseas, but to its greater co- operation on other regional conflicts.
WE HAVE lost East Timor, and nothing we do now can deny the East Timorese their well-deserved independence. There is no sense in getting upset about the prospect of seeing foreign soldiers arriving in East Timor. Indonesia has no business in remaining in East Timor. If the arrival this weekend of the multinational force is to be the greatest humiliation of all, pray that this will be the last one. By now, we hope our leaders have truly learned their lessons well: that as a self-respecting nation and member of the international community we must respect universal humanitarian values and live up to our responsibilities.
Mail and Guardian
IT IS criminal for the UN to be dragged into such absolutely hopeless situations. The West smeared the face of the UN with excreta when it didn't allow the UN to beef up its force in Rwanda. The West compromised the UN over Kosovo; by ignoring the UN and bombing Yugoslavia, and by handing over the refugee crisis created by the bombing to the UN. And now East Timor. It is time the world told the West that its behaviour is disgusting.(Cameron Duodu)
INTERVENTION IN EAST TIMOR
Russian reaction to a series of suspected terrorist bomb attacks across the country
THE MOOD on the streets of Moscow seems to indicate that neither Azeri fruit vendors nor random foreigners are currently held to be plausible scapegoats. Terrorism should be fought with intelligence, skill and technology - none of which has been in considerable evidence over the past week - and not with the arbitrary screw-tightening suggested by Moscow Mayor, Yuri Luzhkov.
RUSSIAN POLITICIANS may have come to their senses at last, but it could be said that it's too little too late. They failed to move after the first explosion and it took two days and another bomb before they did react. Recent events have eliminated the prospects for those politicians who fail to express themselves. We need politicians who have political will and favour radical action. There are rare moments in life when millions of people think the same. There is such a moment now.
St Petersburg Times
IF URBAN Russians are anything like their Israeli or British/Irish counterparts, they will learn to take the threat in their stride, and accept the extra document checks and removal of trash cans in public places as necessary. The mentality of a nation under threat is unique; it can be even binding. That mentality can be exploited. Russians will need the clearest of clear heads in the coming months, to sort out the slanted news reports from the facts, to spot the silver tongues from the genuinely concerned, and to tell the difference between necessary precautions, and racial harassment - or even state of emergency that is established in stealthy installments.
MUSCOVITES FEEL tough measures are the only adequate measures. Chechen terrorists are doing everything for Russia not to have any future. Prime Minister Putin was declared by the Kremlin as a tough official and successor to half-dead Yeltsin who can't be woken, not even by the explosions in the capital. Now Putin has a chance, if not to win the war, then at least to gain the initiative. Chechnya has to choose between stopping its military action on Russian territory or extermination of the Republic.
WAR HAS already been declared in Russia. And many Muscovites in the suburbs are forming their own special detachments to patrol their houses and gardens. The entire population has made up its mind that it has no choice but to ensure its own security rather than rely on the state. This is because they are more than certain that the government and authorities cannot guarantee it. Their fear is gradually transforming into hatred. The slogan "For every Moscow house - a village in Chechnya" is ever more popular and echoes in the streets.
MASSACRE IN TEXAS
American comment following the gunning down
of seven people in a Fort Worth church
PEOPLE KNOW that a lack of strong laws will put bullets in guns and guns in hands, including the hands of children. Even the best checks won't prevent deranged people from purchasing concealable firearms. Take these weapons off the general market, and you eliminate much of the problem. Must the country suffer serial mass killings while its lawmakers remain in denial?
AMERICANS SHOULD not succumb to constant fear of random violence. Violent crime rates are much lower than they were in preceding decades. At the same time, Americans show no sign of becoming desensitized by these ghastly crimes. Their continued sense of shock and horror might be society's best bulwark against these disturbed predators.
THERE IS a powerful need to sustain our sense of shock and anger. In it, we find the energy to overcome obstacles and take the steps necessary to protect ourselves. In Austin as in Fort Worth, horror-struck communities must move on. In Austin as in Fort Worth, furious communities need to act. From Whitman to Ashbrook, we can see the need for both.
Fort Worth Star Telegram
ALTHOUGH OUR leaders have expressed concern about the regularly scheduled gun shows held in public buildings, they have not voted to prevent these displays and the sale of firearms. After a dreadful event such as the one in this city last night, we'll hear plenty of words denouncing violence. Unfortunately, our actions continue to speak to the contrary. Above all the rhetoric, there will be a loud flapping noise... of the chickens coming home to roost.
LONDON MAYORAL CONTEST
Response to the shortlisting of Jeffrey Archer and Steven Norris as candidates for Mayor of London
WINNING BACK the Conservative vote in the London suburbs requires competence rather than charisma, wine and cheese in Acacia Avenue rather than Krug in the penthouse. Both candidates carry more baggage than the Tory party might wish, but Mr Norris has the better policies, greater experience and is less likely to be distracted from the campaign.
LORD ARCHER is a self-promoting fantasist. His behaviour over the Anglia shares episode still leaves disturbing questions unanswered. Mr Norris is a serial adulterer, whose main claim to fame is his five mistresses while he was an MP. Can any politician - particularly politicians of such appallingly low calibre - do London anything but harm?
ARCHER AND Norris delivered rousing performances, but their speeches were as heavy with cliche as their characters were heavy with doubt. Neither could be called alpha plus. (Simon Jenkins)Reuse content