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Saturday, September 11, 2004

BBC > Strengthening Ivan heads to Cuba

Jamaica is counting the cost of the devastation caused by Hurricane Ivan, which is now churning north towards the Cayman Islands and Cuba.
Ivan has been upgraded to the most dangerous category-five level of hurricane and is one of the worst storms ever seen in the Caribbean.
The clean-up in Jamaica. where at least 14 died, has begun but the full extent of the damage is not yet known.
Cubans and Cayman Islands residents were told to prepare for the worst.
Although the eye of the storm veered away from land at the last minute, winds travelling at 155 mph (250km/h) uprooted trees and power lines and ripped off roofs.
Homes and roads were swept away in flooding caused by heavy rain and huge waves up to 23-feet (seven metres) high.
Rain and winds have just picked up so we will see what happens, looks like it will be much closer than previously predicted
Sam & Alun, Grand Cayman
"This is definitely the worst thing I have experienced in my lifetime - and I have been through two major hurricanes," Ouida Ridguard told the BBC.
"Mercifully we were spared a direct hit," said Prime Minister PJ Patterson in an address to the nation.
Half a million people in the exposed eastern shores had been urged to move into shelters as Ivan approached, but many ignored the advice fearing their homes might be looted.
The BBC's Ian Pannell in Kingston said there had been reports of looting but police were primarily concerned with rescue work.
'Direct impact'
As Ivan moved north it strengthened to a rare, top-intensity category five hurricane with winds of 165mph (265km/h).
At 2100 GMT the eye of the hurricane was about 145 miles (235km) east-south-east of Grand Cayman island, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said.
It was moving at a speed of nearly 9mph (15km/h) with maximum sustained wind speeds of 265km/h (165mph) and predicted to hit the Cayman Islands on Sunday.
The Cayman government warned its 45,000 citizens to prepare for "direct impact".
Hundreds boarded charter flights off the low-lying islands on Saturday.
Most of the 150 residents on Little Cayman were evacuated to Grand Cayman as many islanders headed for shelters, the Associated Press reported.
The rain and winds were picking up by mid-afternoon on Saturday, Sam and Alun in Grand Cayman told BBC News Online.
Disaster relief
Evacuation plans are also in place in Cuba, which is expecting the storm to hit on Monday.
In what resembled a military operation, tens of thousands of people along the vulnerable south coast were moved to safer areas, the BBC's Stephen Gibbs in Havana reported.
HURRICANE TOLL
Grenada: At least 17 dead
Venezuela: 5 killed
Jamaica: 14 killed
Dominican Republic: 4 killed
Tobago: 1 killed
In the capital itself, civil defence organisations ordered people to evacuate exposed vulnerable buildings and move in with relatives or friends or head for government shelters.
Shops were packed with people stocking up on non-perishable foods in preparation for weeks without electricity, and homes were being boarded up.
Ivan's current trajectory indicates it might spare Havana, but is on course to hit the important cigar tobacco-growing region in the west, our correspondent says.
The south-eastern US - already storm-weary after two major hurricanes in the last month - is also under threat, and mandatory evacuations are under way in Florida Keys.
The tiny spice island of Grenada was the first to feel the full force of Hurricane Ivan. At least 17 people died, and 90% of buildings were destroyed.
Disaster relief teams are on the island helping up to 60,000 left homeless by the storm. The International Red Cross has appealed for donations.
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go /pr/fr/-/2/hi/americas /3648690.stm




BBC > Hurricane Ivan slams into Jamaica

One of the most powerful hurricanes in Jamaica's history is pounding the island with heavy rains and high winds.
Waves around two-storeys high were reported on Jamaica's exposed eastern shores several hours before the eye of Hurricane Ivan was expected to hit.
Prime Minister PJ Patterson declared a state of emergency and the national electricity grid was shut down leading to black-out across the island.
Troops are patrolling the streets but there have been reports of looting.
Hurricane Ivan has already left a massive trail of damage in the Caribbean, killing at least 27 people, mostly in Grenada.
Winds have increased in the last few hours to 155mph (250km/h). Forecasters warn it is now an extremely dangerous category four, on a scale of five, and could well intensify.
Looting fears
Half a million people in low-lying areas - a fifth of the population - were urged to evacuate homes and head for shelters on Friday.
Although many of the 1,000 shelters had filled up, some residents were loathe to leave their homes for fear of looting, reported the BBC's Ian Pannell in Kingston.
HURRICANE TOLL
Grenada: At least 17 dead
Venezuela: 5 killed
Dominican Republic: 4 killed
Tobago: 1 killed
The eye of the hurricane is expected to reach land at around 0200 local time on Saturday (0700 GMT), but the driving rain and intense gusts of howling wind began on Friday afternoon.
Correspondents said heavy downpours caused flash flooding, forcing many people to flee their homes.
Some roads had become impassable and there were already reports of widespread damage.
The electricity grid was shut down for safety reasons, and only a skeleton service was in operation.
"The wind is driving horizontally into the house and water is coming in through the shutters," Sian Halliwell, in Kingston, wrote in an email to BBC News Online on Friday evening.
"There are trees and leaves everywhere and some palm trees in the garden have fallen over."
Prime Minister Patterson earlier urged Jamaicans to keep calm but to "prepare for the worst case scenario".
'Ivan the Terrible'
Hurricane Ivan threatens to be the worst natural disaster to hit Jamaica for 50 years.
At 0300 GMT the hurricane - dubbed Ivan the Terrible by Jamaicans - was about 35 miles (55km) south-south-east of Kingston, the US National Hurricane Center said.
It is said to be moving at a speed of 11mph (18km/h) towards Jamaica. The Cayman Islands are also in its path.
Cuba is also facing hurricane warnings, and the south-eastern United States is also under threat.
A mandatory evacuation has been imposed in Florida Keys with more than 60,000 people - already storm-weary after two major hurricanes in the last month - asked to leave their homes.
So far the place hardest hit by Hurricane Ivan has been the tiny island of Grenada.
The first deliveries of aid supplies arrived on the island but the International Red Cross said more than two-thirds of Grenada's 95,000 inhabitants were now homeless. It has called for more donations.
Grenada's Prime Minister, Keith Mitchell, whose official residence was destroyed, told the BBC the island was "90% devastated" and he had declared a national disaster.
BBC FM in Jamaica will be off air until Hurricane Ivan has passed. Listeners can follow BBC World Service on shortwave frequencies 6195 and 15190 between 0300-1000 local time and on 5975 between 1600-2000 local time.

PREDICTED PATH OF HURRICANE IVAN
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go /pr/fr/-/2/hi/americas /3646528.stm

Published: 2004/09/11 04:58:41 GMT




Friday, September 10, 2004

The Telegraph Online

The Telegraph Online: "Edwards wants Bush to address Guard memos

By KEVIN LANDRIGAN, Telegraph Staff
landrigank@telegraph-nh.com
Published: Friday, Sep. 10, 2004
NASHUA - President Bush should have to explain newly released records that reveal his former Texas National Guard superior was asked to sugar coat performance records after finding Bush failed standards to be a trained pilot, Sen. John Edwards said Thursday.

I think they are reasonable and legitimate questions the White House ought to answer, Edwards said during an interview with The Telegraph.

CBS News released 1972 and 1973 memos Wednesday from Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, who had commanded the 111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron where Bush served.

In one, Killian wrote that higher-ups wanted him to sugar coat Bush's record after he got suspended from flying for failing performance standards and missing a required physical.

Killian died in 1984.

White House communications director Dan Bartlett said Bush did not take the physical because he was not going to be in a flying capacity while in Alabama working on a congressional campaign.

Those who are trying to read the mind of a person dead 20 years are stretching at best. The president, at every turn, did what he was told to do, Bartlett said.

Edwards said the American people have moved on and already dismissed attacks from a pro-Bush veterans group that Kerry didn't deserve combat medals he received during the Vietnam War and had endangered prisoners of war with his strident protest of the war upon his return.

I think people now having heard so much about it have a sense about John Kerry, his service to the country and his patriotism and what he's done with the rest of his life"

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Three charged for Taiwan shooting

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Three charged for Taiwan shooting: "Three charged for Taiwan shooting
By Chris Hogg
BBC Taiwan correspondent

Three men in Taiwan have been charged in connection with the shooting of President Chen Shui-bian, according to investigators.
The men were arrested following the discovery of homemade bullets similar to those used in the attack last March.
A spokesman for the task force investigating the shooting said the men had been charged with weapons offences.
But police could not yet prove they were involved in the attack itself, the spokesman said.
Investigators believe that Taiwan's president and vice-president were shot on the eve of the presidential election with homemade bullets fired from a replica pistol, which had been altered to fire live ammunition.
At a press conference on Friday, police said they had arrested a man two months ago who was found to be in possession of such a weapon.
Police then detained two of this man's friends, whom they believe supplied him with the pistol and the ammunition.
Tests have shown the structure of the bullet casings found with these three men matched those used in the attack on President Chen.
They have now been charged with weapons offences, because otherwise they would have had to be released after spending eight weeks in detention.
However, there is no additional proof yet to link them to the shooting, a senior police officer said.
The task force set up to investigate the incident is under pressure to provide results.
Until now it has been unable to produce any firm leads, and next week Taiwan's parliament will attempt to force the president to set up a new independent investigation into the attack.
The opposition claims the shooting swung the vote in Mr Chen'"

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Indonesia 'may face new attack'

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Indonesia 'may face new attack': "Indonesia 'may face new attack'
Australia's Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty says a second cell of militants may be active in Indonesia and could be poised for another attack.
The warning comes a day after an attack on the Australian embassy in Jakarta that killed at least nine people.
Mr Keelty said the two cells were believed to have been recruited by militant leaders wanted in connection with the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings.
He was speaking in an Australian Broadcasting Corporation interview.
Mr Keelty, who was accompanying Australia's Foreign Minister Alexander Downer on a trip to Jakarta, made his comments shortly before boarding a plane to return to Australia.
'There is intelligence about a second group,' he said. 'It's uncorroborated, but you can't discount any intelligence that you get at this point in time.'
Earlier, Mr Downer pledged to act against the perpetrators of Thursday's 'cruel and callous' bomb attack, in which more than 180 people were injured.
'Our officials will do everything they can to help the Indonesians hunt down the people responsible for this brutality,' he said.
Warning denied
Indonesian police say one or more militants may have died in what they believe was a suicide attack using a mini-van.
Police said the attack bore the hallmark of Jemaah Islamiah, the militant Islamist group accused of a series of attacks, including the bombing of two nightclubs on the Indonesian holiday island of Bali in October 2002.
Mr Downer told a news conference that police may have received a text message shortly before the embassy blast. The warning is said to have demanded the release from of Islamic cleric Abu Bakar Ba'asyir who is being held on suspi"

BBC NEWS | Americas | Cheney tempers criticism of Kerry

BBC NEWS | Americas | Cheney tempers criticism of Kerry: "Cheney tempers criticism of Kerry
US Vice-President Dick Cheney has backed away from comments that warned of the risk of another terror attack if John Kerry is elected president.
Earlier this week Mr Cheney said a vote for the Democratic candidate could make an attack on the US more likely.
But in an interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer he said he wanted to clarify the remarks, made at a rally in Iowa.
Mr Cheney said that what he meant was that Mr Kerry would fall back on a 'pre-9/11 mindset' on foreign policy.
The vice-president instead praised President George W Bush's policy of pre-emptive action against militant groups and their supporters since the 11 September attacks three years ago.
'I did not say if Kerry is elected, we will be hit by a terrorist attack,' Mr Cheney told the newspaper.
'Whoever is elected president has to anticipate more attacks. My point was the question before us is: Will we have the most effective policy in place to deal with that threat?'
Mr Kerry on Friday accused the Bush administration of 'trying to scare Americans' over the war on terror.
The Massachusetts senator told an election rally in St Louis, Missouri: 'It is real, we've got a war, we've got a problem but we should do more than just talk about it, try to scare people about it and make it a political issue.'
The latest opinions polls show Mr Kerry slipping behind President Bush in the race for the White House. "

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Genesis data 'retrieved intact'

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Genesis data 'retrieved intact': "Genesis data 'retrieved intact'
Material has been found still intact inside the crashed Genesis space capsule, say Nasa scientists.
Experts said on Friday they hoped the mission to gather solar wind particles could still be largely successful.
'We should be able to meet many, if not all, of our primary science goals,' said physicist Roger Wiens of the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Wednesday's crash-landing in Utah has been blamed on a faulty battery.
The precise nature of the particles could tell scientists how the Sun and the planets grew out of a huge cloud of gas and dust 4.5 billion years ago.
Examinations, using torches and a mirror on a stick, revealed that much of the sample canister inside the wrecked capsule had remained intact.
The inner canister contained several disks which had been collecting atoms from the Sun.
Recovery lead engineer on the project, Don Sevilla, said they had some 'serious compromises due to contamination'.
'However, we do have our collectors and there is science to be gained from this cargo,' he added. "

BBC NEWS | Americas | Hurricane bears down on Jamaica

BBC NEWS | Americas | Hurricane bears down on Jamaica: "Hurricane bears down on Jamaica
Heavy rains and high winds are pounding Jamaica - heralding what is expected to be a devastating hurricane.
The authorities have urged 500,000 people to evacuate coastal areas, to escape the worst of Hurricane Ivan.
It has already left a massive trail of damage in the Caribbean, killing at least 26 people, mostly in Grenada.
Ivan is bristling with 145mph (230km/h) winds. It is being rated as category four, on a scale of five, but could gain strength as it nears Jamaica.
'We have to prepare for the worst case scenario. Let us pray for God's care,' said Prime Minister PJ Patterson, pleading for people to evacuate to special shelters.
Officials said only a few hundred people had so far gone to the shelters.
At 1800 GMT the hurricane - dubbed Ivan the Terrible by Jamaicans - was about 85 miles (140km) south-east of Kingston, the US National Hurricane Center said. "

japantoday > asia HK election may see record turnout:  survey

Friday, September 10, 2004 at 08:30 JST
HONG KONG — The fierce battle in Sunday's legislative election in Hong Kong is expected to draw a record turnout of voters, a survey said Thursday.
The survey conducted by the Hong Kong Transition Project showed that up to a record 56 percent of 642,000 registered voters polled said they definitely would vote. Over 3.2 million of the population of 6.8 million have registered to vote. (Kyodo News)
From:http://www.japantoday.com/e/?content=news&cat=7&id=311647



Manila Times > Taiwan seeks RP support  for membership in UN

By Jowie F. Corpuz , Correspondent
The Taiwanese government urged the Philippine government to support TaiwanÂ’s bid to become a member of the United Nations.
“We believe that Malacañang should decide its own policy based on the Philippines’ national interest and not on Beijing’s interest. Maybe it’s about time to institute a parallel but separate One-Taiwan policy,” said Wu Hsin-hsing, head of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, which is Taiwan’s de facto embassy in Manila.
He said Taiwan respects Manila’s “One-China policy,” which considers Taiwan a province of China, but urged the Philippines to build on its relations with Taipei independent from China.
The official gave the statement during a press briefing on Thursday at the Mandarin Hotel in Makati City.
TaiwanÂ’s appeal to the Philippines coincided with TaipeiÂ’s campaign to garner support for its bid to become a member of the United Nations when the UN General Assembly convenes on September 24.
Wu told reporters that while only 15 countries signed a petition last month urging the world body to include Taiwan on the agenda of its upcoming session, “40 or 50 will support or voice their idea or express their sympathy.”
Taiwan has diplomatic ties with 27 countries, 15 of which signed the petition. Wu refused to name other countries that he said had assured Taipei of their support.
The official also challenged UN members to prove its stance against political apartheid by accepting TaipeiÂ’s application. The Philippines is currently one of the nonpermanent members of the UN Security Council.
“If universality is the core principle of the UN, then the complete exclusion of Taiwan poses a moral and legal challenge to the international community that is tantamount to enforcing a senseless policy of political apartheid against the 23 million Taiwanese,” Wu said.
He said the UN General Assembly Resolution 2758 admitting Beijing to the UN on October 21, 1971, did not mention Taiwan as part of the Chinese mainland.
“It did not address the issue of representation of the people of Taiwan. It did not determine that Taiwan is part of the People’s Republic of China, nor did it confer on the mainland the right to represent the people of Taiwan in the United Nations and its related organizations,” Wu said.
Taiwan’s appeal for support is likely to face difficulties in Malacañang following President Arroyo’s three-day state visit to Beijing, where she reiterated Manila’s commitment to the One-China policy.
Taiwan, however, is confident that its seven years of lobbying for Philippine support will bear fruit after Manila abstained from voting on TaiwanÂ’s application to become an observer in the World Health Organization.
“I want to thank the Philippine government for abstaining and not giving a no vote, the first time that it has happened in years. We hope the same gesture of friendship would be shown by Ambassador Lauro Baja and that he can also vote for us or at least sympathize in the UN,” Wu said.
TaiwanÂ’s supporters are seeking UN recognition for the self-governing island for the 12th year in a row, a move which sparked an immediate and strong protest from China.
Wu acknowledged TaiwanÂ’s bid may fail again because of ChinaÂ’s opposition.
Two-thirds of the UN General Assembly must vote favorably for TaiwanÂ’s application for the country to be included in the UN.
-- With AP report


New York Times > Editorial > POLITICAL MEMO When an Explosive Charge Is Not Handled With Care


September 9, 2004 By ADAM NAGOURNEY
ASHINGTON, Sept. 8 - Vice President Dick Cheney's assertion that the nation was more likely to "get hit again" by terrorists if John Kerry was elected was one of the toughest attacks launched in a presidential election in 40 years.
But Mr. Cheney's latest assault on Mr. Kerry, which startled Democrats and Republicans alike, raised a central question even in this notably ferocious presidential campaign: Is it possible for a candidate to go too far, and alienate the very voters he is trying to court?
In one sign that the answer to that question may be yes, Mr. Cheney's aides were quick to say that he had not meant to be quite so direct in his remarks in Des Moines on Tuesday when he said: "The danger is that we'll get hit again and we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating." A review of the videotape of his appearance in Des Moines suggests that his remark was spontaneous and unscripted. There was some, though not much, cringing in Republican circles at the image of Mr. Cheney on television, characteristically unsmiling, describing a Kerry presidency in such apocalyptic terms.
But what Mr. Cheney said was, if a bit stark, in line with the not-so-subliminal message of Mr. Bush's nominating convention, and what Mr. Cheney has said more delicately before: that the nation would be safer from a terrorist attack if it returned Mr. Bush to office. If Mr. Cheney's aides were walking back his remark in the hours after he made it, they were only walking so far.
"It's a central argument of this election: the policies of Bush-Cheney will keep us safer," said Nicolle Devenish, the communications director for Mr. Bush's re-election campaign. "Take away the fascination with the way he said what he said. It's a discussion about pre-emption."
As they did in New York, when they staged a convention that featured the symbols and sadness of the terrorist attacks there, the Republicans seem to be walking a tricky line in this campaign, which the White House has always wanted fought on the issue of terrorism.
In New York, the Republicans sought to identify Mr. Bush's re-election with the tragedy that has defined his presidency, without appearing to exploit a day on which almost 3,000 Americans died. In this case, Mr. Cheney and Mr. Bush have sought to make the case that the nation would be far safer if Mr. Bush was returned to the White House.
Still, Mr. Cheney's harsh presentation of that argument in Des Moines may well have crossed that line, analysts said, and created potential perils for the White House.
"It's a risky strategy," said Stephen D. Ansolabehere, a political scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "If they feel they have to bring some independent voters into their camp, this is a fine line to walk."
Indeed, polls suggest that independent voters, whom both parties are courting assiduously, are put off by what they might see as crass or exceedingly negative political campaigning. What is more, Republicans have worried that Mr. Cheney's campaign visage is already a little too stern, and that the image of him issuing an alarming warning about a Kerry presidency would hardly help.
And, of course, the attacks of Sept. 11 did occur when Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney were inoffice, and thus Mr. Cheney's remarks would seem to have presented an opening to Democrats who might want to remind voters of the criticism from two commissions of the White House's actions before the attacks.
Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, said one factor ascribed to Jimmy Carter's loss in 1980 was his remark that that Ronald Reagan's election could mean that "Americans might be separated, blacks from whites, Jews from Christians, North from South, rural from urban.''
Ms. Devenish said Mr. Cheney was trying in his remarks to draw what she said was a significant difference between the two candidates, asserting that Mr. Kerry did not embrace Mr. Bush's position of acting pre-emptively against nations that he sees as a threat. "We have a very, very, very different philosophy on dealing with the threat of a global terrorist market."
Newt Gingrich, the former speaker, hailed what he said was Mr. Cheney's directness, saying, "Dick Cheney has understated the difference in danger to the United States between a Bush and a Kerry presidency."
But not incidentally, Mr. Cheney's remarks were close in tone to many of the attacks that were aimed at Mr. Kerry at the Republican convention - notably, in a speech Senator Zell Miller, a Democrat from Georgia.
The remarks were among the more dire offered in a presidential campaign since 1964, when Lyndon B. Johnson broadcast a television advertisement, with a mushroom cloud, warning that the election of Barry Goldwater would lead to nuclear war. It was hard to find anyone in Mr. Kerry's headquarters who thought that Mr. Cheney's remark was not deliberate.
"A sitting vice president does not make a comment like that without knowing the implications of it," said Stephanie Cutter, Mr. Kerry's communications director.
There was no shortage of speculation among Democrats about why Mr. Cheney was being so harsh. Could post-convention White House polls now be finding that the 11-point Bush lead reported by Time and Newsweek had indeed been exaggerated, leaving Mr. Bush without the upper hand he had hoped for? Could the White House be trying to shift attention away from new reports this week about Mr. Bush's absences in the National Guard?
Perhaps. But it seems safe to say that even if Mr. Cheney did not mean to say it the way he did, this was precisely the message he intended to convey. It is one that voters will be hearing again and again before Election Day.
Richard W. Stevenson contributed reporting for this article.
From: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/09/politics/campaign/09memo.html?ei=5090&en=6e2a3b02496fdd58&ex=1252468800&partner=rssuserland&pagewanted=print&position=


Thursday, September 09, 2004

CNN > Memos state Bush failed to meet standards, refused direct order

White House accuses Democrats of Guard attacks
Thursday, September 9, 2004 Posted: 6:40 PM EDT (2240 GMT)
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Addressing questions that have lingered for years, newly unearthed memos state that George W. Bush failed to meet standards of the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam war, that he refused a direct order and that his superiors were in a state of turmoil over how to evaluate his performance after he was suspended from flying.
One military official "is pushing to sugar coat it," one memo says of a proposed evaluation of Bush.
"On this date I ordered that 1st Lt. Bush be suspended from flight status due to failure to perform to USAF/TexANG standards and failure to meet annual physical examination ... as ordered," says an August 1, 1972 memo by a superior officer, Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, who is now dead.
Killian said in the memo that he wanted a formal inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the flight suspension. No records have surfaced that one was ever conducted.
"I conveyed my verbal orders to commander," Killian's memo stated.
The same memo notes that Bush was trying to transfer to non-flying status out of state and recommends that the Texas unit fill his flying slot "with a more seasoned pilot from the list of qualified Vietnam pilots that have rotated."
The Vietnam-era documents add details to the bare-bones explanation of Bush's aides over the years that he was suspended simply because he decided to skip his flight physical.
The White House said in February that it had released all records of Bush's service, but one of Killian's memos stated it was "for record" and another directing Bush to take the physical exam stated that it was "for 1st Lt. George W. Bush."
"I can't explain why that wouldn't be in his record, but they were found in Jerry Killian's personal records," White House communications director Dan Bartlett told CBS's "60 Minutes II," which first obtained the memos.
Bartlett said Bush's superiors granted permission to train in Alabama in a non-flying status and that "many of the documents you have here affirm just that."
"These are the same old recycled attacks that we see every time that the president is up for re-election," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Thursday. McClellan called the latest disclosures a "coordinated effort by Democrats to attack the president" at a time when "Kerry has fallen behind in the polls."
A memo dated May 19, 1972, five days after Bush was supposed to have completed his physical, summarizes a telephone discussion with Bush about how he "can get out of coming to drill from now through November." It says Bush was "told he could do ET for three months or transfer." ET referred to equivalent training, a procedure for meeting training requirements without attending regularly scheduled drills.
The same memo says "we talked about him getting his flight physical situation fixed" and quotes Bush as saying he would "do that in Alabama if he stays in a flight status." It also says, "I advised him of our investment in him and his commitment."
Democratic Party chairman Terry McAuliffe said, "George W. Bush's cover story on his National Guard service is rapidly unraveling. ... George W. Bush needs to answer why he regularly misled the American people about his time in the Guard and who applied political pressure on his behalf to have his performance reviews 'sugarcoated"'
Bartlett told CBS, "As it says in your own documents, President Bush talked to the commanders about the fact that he'd be transferring to a unit ... in Alabama that didn't fly that plane," the F-102, the type Bush was trained in.
Using only last names, one of the newly disclosed documents points to sharp disagreement among Bush's superiors in Texas over how to evaluate his performance for the period from mid-1972 through mid-1973.
"Staudt has obviously pressured Hodges more about Bush," Killian wrote on August 18, 1973. "I'm having trouble running interference and doing my job -- Harris gave me a message today from Grp regarding Bush's OETR and Staudt is pushing to sugar coat it. Bush wasn't here during rating period and I don't have any comments from 187th in Alabama. I will not rate." Grp refers to a military unit and OETR stands for officer efficiency training report.
The memo concludes: "Harris took the call from Grp today. I'll backdate but won't rate. Harris agrees."
At the time, Walter B. Staudt was commander of the Texas National Guard; Lt. Col. Bobby Hodges was one of Bush's superiors in Texas who two years earlier had rated Bush an outstanding young pilot; and Lt. Col. William D. Harris Jr. was another superior of Bush's.
Records released this year when Bush's military service re-emerged as a campaign issue contain no evidence that he showed up for duty at all for five months in mid-1972 and document only a few occasions later that ear.
Asked about Killian's statement in a memo about the military's investment in Bush, Bartlett told CBS: "For anybody to try to interpret or presume they know what somebody who is now dead was thinking in any of these memos, I think is very difficult to do."


C.I.A. Hid More Prisoners New York Times > Than It Has Disclosed, Generals Say

September 9, 2004
By ERIC SCHMITT
and DOUGLAS JEHL
WASHINGTON, Sept. 9 — The Central Intelligence Agency kept dozens of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison and other detention facilities in Iraq off official rosters to hide them from Red Cross inspections, far more than has been previously reported, two senior Army generals said today.
An inquiry by three generals issued last month found eight documented cases of so-called "ghost detainees," but two of the officers said in congressional testimony and interviews later that depositions with military personnel at the prison suggested the number was far higher.
"The number is in the dozens , and perhaps up to 100," Gen. Paul J. Kern, the senior officer who oversaw the inquiry into the role of military intelligence personnel in the prisoner-abuse scandal, told the Senate Armed Services Committee. He added that a precise number would never be known because there were no records kept on most of the C.I.A. detainees.
Another senior Army investigator, Gen. George R. Fay, described for the first time in detail how C.I.A. officials in Baghdad and at the agency's headquarters in Langley, Va., three times refused his request for information, finally explaining they were doing their own investigation into the matter.
Military officials have said the C.I.A.'s practice of using the military's prisons in Iraq to hide prisoners they are interrogating violated military regulations and international law. The inspectors general of the Defense Department and C.I.A. are now investigating the matter.
The new disclosures on the "ghost detainees" highlighted a day that two congressional committees dedicated to the Abu Ghraib matter. Lawmakers scrutinizing the Army report and the findings of an independent panel into prisoner abuse also questioned whether either inquiry sufficiently held top civilians and generals accountable for the scandal.
Two former defense secretaries said that failures on the part of top deputies to Donald H. Rumsfeld to properly oversee the development of interrogation policies for Iraq had contributed to the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
The former secretaries, Mr. Schlesinger and Harold Brown, both offered praise for Mr. Rumsfeld himself, saying that he had conducted himself responsibly and strongly reiterating past statements that he should not resign over the affair.
But both former secretaries were more specific than in the past in criticizing some of Mr. Rumsfeld's deputies, identifying two undersecretaries of defense and the Pentagon's general counsel as having fallen short in their conduct.
Mr. Brown, who served under President Jimmy Carter, also pointed a finger of blame beyond Mr. Rumsfeld to the "very top" of the Bush administration for what he called "the responsibility for failing to plan for what actually happened after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein."
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BBC > New Bush military memos released

New memos state President George W Bush was suspended from flying for the Texas air national guard in Vietnam because he failed to meet their standards.
The documents released by the White House show the suspension also resulted from his failure to take his annual medical test as required.
The memos add details to the row over Mr Bush's military service in the war.
Their release came as Democrats stepped up their criticism of the president for allegedly failing to meet his duties.
With national security a key issue in the US presidential elections on 2 November, supporters of Mr Bush and Democratic nominee John Kerry are attacking each candidate's Vietnam records.
The BBC's Justin Webb in Washington says the Vietnam obsession is tiresome to many Americans, but it does matter, because both campaigns are using it to highlight what they believe are character defects in their opponents.
Republicans have attacked Mr Kerry's war service and Democrats have accused the president of ducking the draft call in favour of less dangerous duties.
We know John Kerry was in Vietnam," Democratic Party chief Terry McAuliffe said after reports that Mr Bush failed to complete required training, but was never disciplined.
"My question to you, Mr President, is, where were you, sir?
The White House has previously released some records to try to refute the charges.
Questions
Mr Bush trained as a pilot while a member of the Texas and Alabama air national guard but never flew in combat.
His suspension came as he was trying to arrange a transfer to a unit in Alabama to work on a political campaign in the state, the Associated Press reported.
Documents already released by the White House show that Mr Bush was suspended from flight status in 1972 for not having a medical test - but do not mention his alleged failure to comply with national guard standards.
CBS TV station reported on Wednesday night that it had obtained documents from Mr Bush's late Texas commander, saying Mr Bush discussed with him how to avoid drills during 1972.
In a memo, Lt Col Jerry Killian also said he was being pressured from his superior to give Mr Bush a positive evaluation.
Mr McAuliffe said Mr Bush's "cover story" is "rapidly unravelling".
But the White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett told CBS that President Bush had met his requirements "at every step of the way".
The White House later released the documents cited in the programme.
The new documents surfaced as the Bush administration released for the first time the president's personal flight logs.
Mr Bush left the national guard in 1973 with an honourable discharge to attend Harvard Business School.
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go /pr/fr/-/2/hi/americas /3641192.stm




BBC > Heavy US attacks on Iraqi towns

Heavy bombardments of suspected insurgent positions took dozens of lives in two Iraqi towns on Thursday, the US military has said.
An offensive by US and Iraqi forces in the northern town of Talafar killed as many as 57 insurgents, it said.
Hospital sources told AFP news agency that 45 bodies had been admitted, plus 80 wounded, including the deputy mayor.
In Falluja in central Iraq, at least nine were reported killed in US attacks on an alleged militant safe house.
The BBC's Caroline Hawley in the capital Baghdad says Talafar and Falluja are among several towns in Iraq now controlled by rebels.
The US says Talafar is a haven for fighters who have entered Iraq from Syria, 100km (60 miles) away.
Joint US and Iraqi forces launched a bombardment of the town in the early hours of Thursday morning. It was variously described as lasting between seven and 13 hours.
"The operation comes after MNF [multinational forces] and Iraqi security forces were repeatedly attacked by a large terrorist element that has displaced local Iraqi security forces throughout recent weeks," the US military said in a statement.
US operations have targeted the town over the past week.
"The situation is critical," said provincial health director Rabee Yassin. "Ambulances and medical supplies cannot get to Talafar because of the ongoing military operations."
'Children dead'
In Falluja, west of Baghdad, the US said it had attacked a site used by supporters of the Jordanian militant, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who the Americans say is an important member of al-Qaeda.
However, several women and children were among the dead and wounded pulled from the rubble, doctors said.
The US military has been fighting insurgents in the town for several days, since a car bomb there killed seven of its marines on Monday.
Coalition forces lost control of Falluja in April after turning it over to a local force, the Falluja Brigade. That force is reported to have disappeared, and the town is said to have fallen into rebel hands.
However, there appeared to be more success for the US and Iraqi authorities in Samarra, a town 100km north of Baghdad that has been a Sunni insurgent stronghold.
Under a deal with local leaders, US troops entered the town for the first time since June.
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go /pr/fr/-/2/hi/middle _east/3640146.stm

Published: 2004/09/10 01:08:35 GMT

© BBC MMIV



BBC > Offensive in northern Iraqi town

US and Iraqi forces have launched an offensive to drive insurgents out of the northern Iraqi town of Talafar, the US military has said.
Reports say at least 17 people were killed in the fighting, and doctors reported dozens more wounded.
The operation follows clashes last week in the town, described by US military as "a hotbed of militant activity".
Meanwhile in Falluja, west of Baghdad, US troops fired missiles at alleged militant sites killing at least seven.
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go /pr/fr/-/2/hi/middle _east/3640146.stm




New York Times > Book Unflattering to Bush Draws His Campaign's Fire

By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
Anticipating a barrage of unflattering accusations and innuendo about President Bush's personal life in a soon-to-be-published book by the celebrity biographer Kitty Kelley, the Bush campaign has opened a wave of advance counterstrikes intended to undermine her credibility.
A representative of the White House recently called Neal Shapiro, president of NBC News, to discourage that network from broadcasting interviews with Ms. Kelley about the book on its "Today'' program and on its MSNBC cable program "Hardball With Chris Matthews,'' a network executive said.
The Republican Party distributed a memorandum this week to conservative radio talk show hosts listing tawdry, unproved assertions in Ms. Kelley's previous books, especially her biography of Nancy Reagan. And Ed Gillespie, the party chairman, sent a letter to supporters portraying her book as a tool of the Democrats' campaign.
"This book is fiction and deserves to be treated as such,'' said Christine Iverson, a Republican spokeswoman.
The book, "The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty," is not scheduled for publication until next week, but it has already become a subject of intense interest in Washington as word seeped out that it could contain salacious disclosures about Mr. Bush and his father, less than two months before the election.
In a back and forth yesterday, Sharon Bush, the former wife of the president's brother Neil and a central source for the book, issued a pre-emptive retraction after a British newspaper printed an article on the book, quoting Ms. Bush as saying that Mr. Bush used cocaine at Camp David while his father was in office.
"I categorically deny that I ever told Kitty Kelley that George W. Bush used cocaine at Camp David or that I ever saw him use cocaine at Camp David," Ms. Bush said in an unsworn statement distributed by her lawyer, David Berg. "Although there have been tensions between me and various members of the Bush family, I cannot allow this falsehood to go unchallenged."
Doubleday, the book's publisher and part of the Random House division of Bertelsmann, said it stood by Ms. Kelley's reporting. The publisher said in a statement that Ms. Kelly met with Ms. Bush for a four-hour lunch on April 1, 2003, where an unnamed third party heard the conversation, and that Ms. Kelley's editor, Peter Gethers, discussed the same material with Ms. Bush over the phone.
Lou Colasuonno, a former publicist for Ms. Bush, confirmed that he was the third party at the lunch and contradicted her denial. "I have not seen the book, I have only seen news reports," Mr. Colasuonno said. "According to what I have seen, what has been reported, I would not dispute that."
A copy of the book was obtained by The New York Times. Ms. Kelley writes that she spent four years and interviewed nearly a thousand people in researching the book, which spans three generations of Bushes. Little, if any, of its content is flattering to the family. Ms. Kelley treats subjects as far-flung as the pranks the younger George Bush played at boarding school at Andover and his jocular use of obscene language in the years before taking office. But she also discusses questions about how he avoided serving in Vietnam, about excessive drinking and whether he used illegal drugs and about his business career. It is a fast-paced, gossipy narrative that relies on second-hand or unnamed sources for much of its new and most vivid details.
Asked about the book, Scott McClellan, a spokesman for the White House, said yesterday: "It is a book filled with garbage, garbage that was discredited, disavowed and dismissed years ago. This is not the first time we have seen such baseless and trashy fabrications from the author."
Through a spokeswoman, Stephen Rubin, the publisher of Doubleday, called Ms. Kelley "a dogged journalist who is unafraid to take on some of the most powerful personalities of our time."
"Kitty has never had to retract anything published in any of her books nor has she ever lost a lawsuit," Mr. Rubin added. "She is a brave, insightful and persistent investigative reporter."
Yesterday, a Bush-Cheney campaign official confirmed that "we called NBC and expressed our concern." The Republican Party sent conservative radio shows an e-mail message headlined, "New Kelley Book, Same Old Kelley Slime," listing articles questioning aspects of her previous biographies.
Mr. Gillespie's memorandum also cited some of the unseemly, hard-to-prove assertions in Ms. Kelley's biographies of Mrs. Reagan and Frank Sinatra. Mr. Gillespie said the description of Mr. Bush's using drugs at Camp David was "as credible as her story that then-Governor and Nancy Reagan smoked marijuana with Jack Benny and George and Gracie Burns."
Jim Rutenberg and Richard W. Stevenson contributed reporting from Washington for this article.


The Guardian Unlimited > Now it's Bush's turn to squirm

Evidence of the president's fudged war record emerged in time to undermine the Republicans' triumphal march

Sidney Blumenthal
Thursday September 9, 2004
The Guardian

Republicans marched out of their convention intoxicated with the sensation of victory. President Bush, the "war president", was the most honest, moral, decisive, and strongest leader in the world. (The unvarying encomiums eerily echoed those of the brainwashed soldiers about the sleeper agent in The Manchurian Candidate: "Raymond Shaw is the kindest, warmest, bravest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life.")
After Bush's defiant speech - "Nothing will hold us back!" - his lead was reported by Time magazine to have climbed to 11 points, which was inhaled like pure oxygen by the Republican cadres. (Both John Kerry's and Bush's internal polls gave Bush only a four-point lead.)
Kerry seemed to be reeling in retreat. His disciplined campaign management had suppressed criticism of Bush, supposedly on the basis that swing voters are attracted by vague swirls of optimism. But the effect was that voters remained confused about the contrast between the candidates and Kerry's commitments. Kerry had delayed defending himself against the torpedoes of falsehood fired at his heroic military record by the Orwellianly named Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.
Perhaps his gravest self-inflicted wound was replying to Bush's challenge to answer whether he would still have voted for the war resolution on Iraq, knowing what he does today. Kerry said he would and tangled himself in a thicket of sticky nuance.
Bush could hardly believe that Kerry had fallen for the gambit. This sucker would buy a bridge in Brooklyn. The triumphant Republicans felt unrestrained in delivering blows to the prone Kerry. Dick Cheney announced that a vote against Bush was tantamount to a vote for a terrorist attack: "If we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we'll get hit again."
On the day that former President Clinton had his heart surgery, Cheney attacked him as weak on terrorism, and for good measure set upon Ronald Reagan too. The venerated Reagan had served his purpose as an icon at the convention, but now he was unceremoniously thrown overboard.
Only Bush was tough enough. Bush, adopting the tone of the fraternity house president he once was, sarcastically derided Kerry: "No matter how many times Senator Kerry flip-flops, we were right to make America safer by removing Saddam Hussein from power."
In fact, on the third day of the Republican convention, Kerry had given a penetrating and highly specific speech on the war on terrorism and Iraq, detailing how Bush's strategy amounted to a series of catastrophic blunders. "When it comes to Iraq," he said, "it's not that I would have done one thing differently, I would have done almost everything differently."
Kerry's speech was pointedly ignored by Bush who, with Cheney, rained a steady fire of ridicule down on Kerry. Meanwhile, the report on Iraq by the Royal Institute of International Affairs was buried in the back pages. "Iraq could splinter into civil war and destabilise the whole region if the interim government, US forces and United Nations fail to hold the ring among factions struggling for power." Civil war, the institute said, was "the most likely outcome". Kerry remarked that because of Bush's errors "terrorists have secured havens in Iraq that were not there before". The New York Times reported that Fallujah and many other cities in the Sunni triangle are under the control of Islamist insurgents. But Bush steadfastly refused to engage Kerry in debate. A report chronicling the undermining of the war against terrorism by James Fallows in The Atlantic, in which numerous military officials described how Afghanistan became a "sideshow" as resources were siphoned to Iraq, received almost no attention. "Our strategy is succeeding," Bush told his jubilant rallies.
Bush campaigns before the faithful; distressing facts are dismissed with sarcasm and ideology is implacable. Yet at this moment of disdain a discovery that cast light on Bush's character suddenly emerged, having the potential to alter the momentum of the campaign.
On Wednesday, the Boston Globe published documents proving that Bush, whose spotty record in the National Guard was always mysterious, "fell well short of meeting his military obligation". Maj Gen Paul A Weaver Jr., who retired in 2002 as the Pentagon's director of the Air National Guard, was quoted: "It appears that no one wanted to hold him accountable."
That night, CBS's 60 Minutes broadcast the first interview with former Texas lieutenant governor Ben Barnes, who explained how he contrived to get young George his safe posting in the "champagne unit" of the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam war. The programme also revealed further documents showing he never fulfilled his service.
Abruptly, the Republican marchers stumble as Kerry is galvanised. "His miscalculation was going to war without planning carefully and without the allies we should have had," he said yesterday. Meanwhile in the White House, aides anxiously wonder how to explain the president's haunted past and his long years of hiding it and who will have the task of facing the cameras.
· Sidney Blumenthal, a former senior adviser to President Clinton, is Washington bureau chief of salon.com
sidney_blumenthal@yahoo .com





BBC > Massive blast at Jakarta embassy

Seven people have been killed and about 100 injured in a massive blast outside the Australian embassy in Indonesia's capital, Jakarta.
Jakarta's police chief said the blast was possibly caused by a suicide car bombing.
The BBC's Rachel Harvey says it left a large crater in the ground and damaged buildings and motor vehicles.
Helicopters, ambulances and police units are now at the site, in Kuningan, a district to the south of the city.
Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said the blast was a terrorist attack directed at Australia.
INDONESIA'S WAVE OF TERROR
December 2000 - Christian churches bombings kill 19
October 2002 - Bali attacks kill 202, many Australian
December 2002 - Blast at McDonald's in Sulawesi kills three
August 2003 - Bomb at Marriott Hotel in Jakarta kills 13
September 2004 - Bomb outside Australian embassy in Jakarta
"It is clearly a terrorist attack, it was outside the Australian embassy, you would have to conclude that it was directed towards Australia," Mr Downer told reporters in Adelaide.
This view was echoed by Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso, who said the attack is "certainly a terrorist act", Reuters news agency reports.
Mr Downer is due to travel to Jakarta later on Thursday with police bomb experts and medical staff.
Indonesia's President, Megawati Sukarnoputri, who was attending a royal wedding in neighbouring Brunei, has cut short her stay and is returning to Jakarta, officials said.
Business district
Seven people were killed in the attack, police and hospital officials say.
Australian Prime Minister John Howard told a news conference in Melbourne "the evidence today indicates that it was a car bomb".
Mr Howard said all embassy staff had been accounted for.

He said the identity of the fatalities could not be certain, adding they may have been local security personnel or passers-by.
Witnesses and reporters say they saw at least three bodies lying lifeless after the blast, which happened at about 1030 local time (0330 GMT).
Our correspondent says the embassy itself, in one of Jakarta's most exclusive and busiest business districts, is well protected by a security fence, and reports from inside suggest it did not sustain a lot of damage.
The centre of the blast was the road just in front of the embassy, but office blocks on either side of the eight-lane highway have been severely damaged.
A huge crowd of onlookers has massed, and plumes of smoke are rising into the air above the site of the blast.
There are gaping holes where windows have been blown out. Glass, concrete and metal lie strewn across the ground.
The mangled remains of cars and motorbikes litter the area. Many were apparently lifted up into the air by the force of the blast, our correspondent says.
The police have now sealed off the area to allow investigators to sift through the debris looking for evidence.
Bloody history
Our correspondent says Western embassies recently raised their security alerts, saying that they had credible intelligence that an attack on the Indonesian capital was planned.
It looks now as though their worst fears may have been realised, she says.
In August 2003, 12 people including the suicide bomber died in a bomb blast outside Jakarta's Marriott hotel - close to the spot of Thursday's explosion.
In October 2002, 202 people died in twin bombings on the island of Bali. Most of the dead were Australian.
Indonesia's financial markets went into a tailspin after news of the attack emerged, with both shares and the currency sliding.
The militant Islamic group Jemaah Islamiah is widely blamed for both bombings, and our correspondent says it is likely to be the primary suspect behind this suspected attack.
This explosion has come at a particularly sensitive time for Indonesia as the second and final round of presidential elections are due on 20 September, she says.
Until now security and terrorism have not been major campaign issues, but that will almost certainly change now, she says.
It also comes exactly a month before Australia holds a general election on 9 October. The threat of a terrorist attack on Australia has already been a campaign issue.
Were you near the embassy when the explosion occurred? Are you in Jakarta now or thinking about going there? Send us your comments and experiences on the form below
Your comments
My office is quite close - less than 1 KM. I clearly heard the blast and our building shook although far enough away not to sustain damage. I was scheduled to have lunch nearby but I cancelled !!
Tony Beale, Jakarta, Indonesia
Luckily I was not near the embassy during this incident. I have lived in Jakarta on and off for the last 5 years. In a previous job, my office was directly opposite the Australian embassy. Obviously I was quite concerned about ex-colleagues, after calling them I was relieved to learn that there were no injuries and only minor damage to the building.
David Turner, Jakarta, Indonesia
I was in my office around 5 km from the bomb location. When it went off, I heard a loud blast and the glass windows trembled. There was no doubt in my mind that it was a bomb. The question was where... Everyone immediately grabbed their phones, land lines and cell phones to call people they knew for information and check the whereabouts of loved ones.
Naomi Jamarro, Jakarta, Indonesia
We were having a meeting at our office...approximately 1 km from the site when we heard a big blast! We looked out of the window and saw a big cloud of white smoke arising from the Kuningan area! We were on the 27th floor.
Erina, Jakarta, Indonesia
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go /pr/fr/-/2/hi/asia -pacific/3639922.stm

Published: 2004/09/09 07:45:31 GMT

© BBC MMIV



BBC > Massive blast at Jakarta embassy

Seven people have been killed and about 100 injured in a massive blast outside the Australian embassy in Indonesia's capital, Jakarta.
Jakarta's police chief said the blast was possibly caused by a suicide car bombing.
The BBC's Rachel Harvey says it left a large crater in the ground and damaged buildings and motor vehicles.
Helicopters, ambulances and police units are now at the site, in Kuningan, a district to the south of the city.
Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said the blast was a terrorist attack directed at Australia.
INDONESIA'S WAVE OF TERROR
December 2000 - Christian churches bombings kill 19
October 2002 - Bali attacks kill 202, many Australian
December 2002 - Blast at McDonald's in Sulawesi kills three
August 2003 - Bomb at Marriott Hotel in Jakarta kills 13
September 2004 - Bomb outside Australian embassy in Jakarta
"It is clearly a terrorist attack, it was outside the Australian embassy, you would have to conclude that it was directed towards Australia," Mr Downer told reporters in Adelaide.
This view was echoed by Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso, who said the attack is "certainly a terrorist act", Reuters news agency reports.
Mr Downer is due to travel to Jakarta later on Thursday with police bomb experts and medical staff.
Indonesia's President, Megawati Sukarnoputri, who was attending a royal wedding in neighbouring Brunei, has cut short her stay and is returning to Jakarta, officials said.
Business district
Seven people were killed in the attack, police and hospital officials say.
Australian Prime Minister John Howard told a news conference in Melbourne "the evidence today indicates that it was a car bomb".
Mr Howard said all embassy staff had been accounted for.

He said the identity of the fatalities could not be certain, adding they may have been local security personnel or passers-by.
Witnesses and reporters say they saw at least three bodies lying lifeless after the blast, which happened at about 1030 local time (0330 GMT).
Our correspondent says the embassy itself, in one of Jakarta's most exclusive and busiest business districts, is well protected by a security fence, and reports from inside suggest it did not sustain a lot of damage.
The centre of the blast was the road just in front of the embassy, but office blocks on either side of the eight-lane highway have been severely damaged.
A huge crowd of onlookers has massed, and plumes of smoke are rising into the air above the site of the blast.
There are gaping holes where windows have been blown out. Glass, concrete and metal lie strewn across the ground.
The mangled remains of cars and motorbikes litter the area. Many were apparently lifted up into the air by the force of the blast, our correspondent says.
The police have now sealed off the area to allow investigators to sift through the debris looking for evidence.
Bloody history
Our correspondent says Western embassies recently raised their security alerts, saying that they had credible intelligence that an attack on the Indonesian capital was planned.
It looks now as though their worst fears may have been realised, she says.
In August 2003, 12 people including the suicide bomber died in a bomb blast outside Jakarta's Marriott hotel - close to the spot of Thursday's explosion.
In October 2002, 202 people died in twin bombings on the island of Bali. Most of the dead were Australian.
Indonesia's financial markets went into a tailspin after news of the attack emerged, with both shares and the currency sliding.
The militant Islamic group Jemaah Islamiah is widely blamed for both bombings, and our correspondent says it is likely to be the primary suspect behind this suspected attack.
This explosion has come at a particularly sensitive time for Indonesia as the second and final round of presidential elections are due on 20 September, she says.
Until now security and terrorism have not been major campaign issues, but that will almost certainly change now, she says.
It also comes exactly a month before Australia holds a general election on 9 October. The threat of a terrorist attack on Australia has already been a campaign issue.
Were you near the embassy when the explosion occurred? Are you in Jakarta now or thinking about going there? Send us your comments and experiences on the form below
Your comments
My office is quite close - less than 1 KM. I clearly heard the blast and our building shook although far enough away not to sustain damage. I was scheduled to have lunch nearby but I cancelled !!
Tony Beale, Jakarta, Indonesia
Luckily I was not near the embassy during this incident. I have lived in Jakarta on and off for the last 5 years. In a previous job, my office was directly opposite the Australian embassy. Obviously I was quite concerned about ex-colleagues, after calling them I was relieved to learn that there were no injuries and only minor damage to the building.
David Turner, Jakarta, Indonesia
I was in my office around 5 km from the bomb location. When it went off, I heard a loud blast and the glass windows trembled. There was no doubt in my mind that it was a bomb. The question was where... Everyone immediately grabbed their phones, land lines and cell phones to call people they knew for information and check the whereabouts of loved ones.
Naomi Jamarro, Jakarta, Indonesia
We were having a meeting at our office...approximately 1 km from the site when we heard a big blast! We looked out of the window and saw a big cloud of white smoke arising from the Kuningan area! We were on the 27th floor.
Erina, Jakarta, Indonesia
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go /pr/fr/-/2/hi/asia -pacific/3639922.stm

Published: 2004/09/09 07:45:31 GMT

© BBC MMIV



BBC > Massive blast at Jakarta embassy

Seven people have been killed and about 100 injured in a massive blast outside the Australian embassy in Indonesia's capital, Jakarta.
Jakarta's police chief said the blast was possibly caused by a suicide car bombing.
The BBC's Rachel Harvey says it left a large crater in the ground and damaged buildings and motor vehicles.
Helicopters, ambulances and police units are now at the site, in Kuningan, a district to the south of the city.
Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said the blast was a terrorist attack directed at Australia.
INDONESIA'S WAVE OF TERROR
December 2000 - Christian churches bombings kill 19
October 2002 - Bali attacks kill 202, many Australian
December 2002 - Blast at McDonald's in Sulawesi kills three
August 2003 - Bomb at Marriott Hotel in Jakarta kills 13
September 2004 - Bomb outside Australian embassy in Jakarta
"It is clearly a terrorist attack, it was outside the Australian embassy, you would have to conclude that it was directed towards Australia," Mr Downer told reporters in Adelaide.
This view was echoed by Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso, who said the attack is "certainly a terrorist act", Reuters news agency reports.
Mr Downer is due to travel to Jakarta later on Thursday with police bomb experts and medical staff.
Indonesia's President, Megawati Sukarnoputri, who was attending a royal wedding in neighbouring Brunei, has cut short her stay and is returning to Jakarta, officials said.
Business district
Seven people were killed in the attack, police and hospital officials say.
Australian Prime Minister John Howard told a news conference in Melbourne "the evidence today indicates that it was a car bomb".
Mr Howard said all embassy staff had been accounted for.

He said the identity of the fatalities could not be certain, adding they may have been local security personnel or passers-by.
Witnesses and reporters say they saw at least three bodies lying lifeless after the blast, which happened at about 1030 local time (0330 GMT).
Our correspondent says the embassy itself, in one of Jakarta's most exclusive and busiest business districts, is well protected by a security fence, and reports from inside suggest it did not sustain a lot of damage.
The centre of the blast was the road just in front of the embassy, but office blocks on either side of the eight-lane highway have been severely damaged.
A huge crowd of onlookers has massed, and plumes of smoke are rising into the air above the site of the blast.
There are gaping holes where windows have been blown out. Glass, concrete and metal lie strewn across the ground.
The mangled remains of cars and motorbikes litter the area. Many were apparently lifted up into the air by the force of the blast, our correspondent says.
The police have now sealed off the area to allow investigators to sift through the debris looking for evidence.
Bloody history
Our correspondent says Western embassies recently raised their security alerts, saying that they had credible intelligence that an attack on the Indonesian capital was planned.
It looks now as though their worst fears may have been realised, she says.
In August 2003, 12 people including the suicide bomber died in a bomb blast outside Jakarta's Marriott hotel - close to the spot of Thursday's explosion.
In October 2002, 202 people died in twin bombings on the island of Bali. Most of the dead were Australian.
Indonesia's financial markets went into a tailspin after news of the attack emerged, with both shares and the currency sliding.
The militant Islamic group Jemaah Islamiah is widely blamed for both bombings, and our correspondent says it is likely to be the primary suspect behind this suspected attack.
This explosion has come at a particularly sensitive time for Indonesia as the second and final round of presidential elections are due on 20 September, she says.
Until now security and terrorism have not been major campaign issues, but that will almost certainly change now, she says.
It also comes exactly a month before Australia holds a general election on 9 October. The threat of a terrorist attack on Australia has already been a campaign issue.
Were you near the embassy when the explosion occurred? Are you in Jakarta now or thinking about going there? Send us your comments and experiences on the form below
Your comments
My office is quite close - less than 1 KM. I clearly heard the blast and our building shook although far enough away not to sustain damage. I was scheduled to have lunch nearby but I cancelled !!
Tony Beale, Jakarta, Indonesia
Luckily I was not near the embassy during this incident. I have lived in Jakarta on and off for the last 5 years. In a previous job, my office was directly opposite the Australian embassy. Obviously I was quite concerned about ex-colleagues, after calling them I was relieved to learn that there were no injuries and only minor damage to the building.
David Turner, Jakarta, Indonesia
I was in my office around 5 km from the bomb location. When it went off, I heard a loud blast and the glass windows trembled. There was no doubt in my mind that it was a bomb. The question was where... Everyone immediately grabbed their phones, land lines and cell phones to call people they knew for information and check the whereabouts of loved ones.
Naomi Jamarro, Jakarta, Indonesia
We were having a meeting at our office...approximately 1 km from the site when we heard a big blast! We looked out of the window and saw a big cloud of white smoke arising from the Kuningan area! We were on the 27th floor.
Erina, Jakarta, Indonesia
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go /pr/fr/-/2/hi/asia -pacific/3639922.stm

Published: 2004/09/09 07:45:31 GMT

© BBC MMIV



BBC > Massive blast at Jakarta embassy

Seven people have been killed and about 100 injured in a massive blast outside the Australian embassy in Indonesia's capital, Jakarta.
Jakarta's police chief said the blast was possibly caused by a suicide car bombing.
The BBC's Rachel Harvey says it left a large crater in the ground and damaged buildings and motor vehicles.
Helicopters, ambulances and police units are now at the site, in Kuningan, a district to the south of the city.
Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said the blast was a terrorist attack directed at Australia.
INDONESIA'S WAVE OF TERROR
December 2000 - Christian churches bombings kill 19
October 2002 - Bali attacks kill 202, many Australian
December 2002 - Blast at McDonald's in Sulawesi kills three
August 2003 - Bomb at Marriott Hotel in Jakarta kills 13
September 2004 - Bomb outside Australian embassy in Jakarta
"It is clearly a terrorist attack, it was outside the Australian embassy, you would have to conclude that it was directed towards Australia," Mr Downer told reporters in Adelaide.
This view was echoed by Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso, who said the attack is "certainly a terrorist act", Reuters news agency reports.
Mr Downer is due to travel to Jakarta later on Thursday with police bomb experts and medical staff.
Indonesia's President, Megawati Sukarnoputri, who was attending a royal wedding in neighbouring Brunei, has cut short her stay and is returning to Jakarta, officials said.
Business district
Seven people were killed in the attack, police and hospital officials say.
Australian Prime Minister John Howard told a news conference in Melbourne "the evidence today indicates that it was a car bomb".
Mr Howard said all embassy staff had been accounted for.

He said the identity of the fatalities could not be certain, adding they may have been local security personnel or passers-by.
Witnesses and reporters say they saw at least three bodies lying lifeless after the blast, which happened at about 1030 local time (0330 GMT).
Our correspondent says the embassy itself, in one of Jakarta's most exclusive and busiest business districts, is well protected by a security fence, and reports from inside suggest it did not sustain a lot of damage.
The centre of the blast was the road just in front of the embassy, but office blocks on either side of the eight-lane highway have been severely damaged.
A huge crowd of onlookers has massed, and plumes of smoke are rising into the air above the site of the blast.
There are gaping holes where windows have been blown out. Glass, concrete and metal lie strewn across the ground.
The mangled remains of cars and motorbikes litter the area. Many were apparently lifted up into the air by the force of the blast, our correspondent says.
The police have now sealed off the area to allow investigators to sift through the debris looking for evidence.
Bloody history
Our correspondent says Western embassies recently raised their security alerts, saying that they had credible intelligence that an attack on the Indonesian capital was planned.
It looks now as though their worst fears may have been realised, she says.
In August 2003, 12 people including the suicide bomber died in a bomb blast outside Jakarta's Marriott hotel - close to the spot of Thursday's explosion.
In October 2002, 202 people died in twin bombings on the island of Bali. Most of the dead were Australian.
Indonesia's financial markets went into a tailspin after news of the attack emerged, with both shares and the currency sliding.
The militant Islamic group Jemaah Islamiah is widely blamed for both bombings, and our correspondent says it is likely to be the primary suspect behind this suspected attack.
This explosion has come at a particularly sensitive time for Indonesia as the second and final round of presidential elections are due on 20 September, she says.
Until now security and terrorism have not been major campaign issues, but that will almost certainly change now, she says.
It also comes exactly a month before Australia holds a general election on 9 October. The threat of a terrorist attack on Australia has already been a campaign issue.
Were you near the embassy when the explosion occurred? Are you in Jakarta now or thinking about going there? Send us your comments and experiences on the form below
Your comments
My office is quite close - less than 1 KM. I clearly heard the blast and our building shook although far enough away not to sustain damage. I was scheduled to have lunch nearby but I cancelled !!
Tony Beale, Jakarta, Indonesia
Luckily I was not near the embassy during this incident. I have lived in Jakarta on and off for the last 5 years. In a previous job, my office was directly opposite the Australian embassy. Obviously I was quite concerned about ex-colleagues, after calling them I was relieved to learn that there were no injuries and only minor damage to the building.
David Turner, Jakarta, Indonesia
I was in my office around 5 km from the bomb location. When it went off, I heard a loud blast and the glass windows trembled. There was no doubt in my mind that it was a bomb. The question was where... Everyone immediately grabbed their phones, land lines and cell phones to call people they knew for information and check the whereabouts of loved ones.
Naomi Jamarro, Jakarta, Indonesia
We were having a meeting at our office...approximately 1 km from the site when we heard a big blast! We looked out of the window and saw a big cloud of white smoke arising from the Kuningan area! We were on the 27th floor.
Erina, Jakarta, Indonesia
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go /pr/fr/-/2/hi/asia -pacific/3639922.stm

Published: 2004/09/09 07:45:31 GMT

© BBC MMIV



NY Times > THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE Kerry Enlisting Clinton Aides in Effort to Refocus Campaign

September 6, 2004 By ADAM NAGOURNEY and DAVID M. HALBFINGER
Former President Bill Clinton, in a 90-minute telephone conversation from his hospital room, offered John Kerry detailed advice on Saturday night on how to reinvigorate his candidacy, as Mr. Kerry enlisted more Clinton advisers to help shape his strategy and message for the remainder of the campaign.
In an expansive conversation, Mr. Clinton, who is awaiting heart surgery, told Mr. Kerry that he should move away from talking about Vietnam, which had been the central theme of his candidacy, and focus instead on drawing contrasts with President Bush on job creation and health care policies, officials with knowledge of the conversation said.
The conversation and the recruitment of old Clinton hands came amid rising concern among Democrats about the state of Mr. Kerry's campaign and criticism that he had been too slow to respond to attacks on his military record or to engage Mr. Bush on domestic policy. Among the better-known former Clinton aides who are expected to play an increasingly prominent role are James Carville, Paul Begala and Stanley Greenberg, campaign aides said.
Mr. Kerry's aides emphasized that this was an expansion of the staff for the fall campaign and did not represent another upheaval of the Kerry campaign. Still, several Democrats outside the campaign said the influence of Mr. Clinton and his advisers could be seen over the past few days in Mr. Kerry's attacks on Mr. Bush's domestic policies. They said the Clinton team had been pressing Mr. Kerry to turn up the intensity of his attacks on those policies after a month spent largely avoiding engaging the president.
The installation of former Clinton lieutenants is creating two distinct camps at Mr. Kerry's campaign headquarters on McPherson Square in downtown Washington.
The first is the existing Kerry high command, which includes Mary Beth Cahill, the campaign manager; Bob Shrum, a senior adviser; Tad Devine, a senior adviser; and Stephanie Cutter, the communications director. The second is the Clinton camp, which includes Joe Lockhart, a former White House press secretary; Joel Johnson, a former senior White House aide; and Doug Sosnik, a former Clinton political director. And Howard Wolfson, a former chief of staff to Hillary Rodham Clinton, joined the campaign yesterday.
Members of both camps played down any suggestion of a Clinton takeover of a troubled campaign and insisted there was no tension between the two groups. Still, these days, Mr. Lockhart is stationed in an office on one side of the campaign war room; Mr. Shrum's office is on the opposite side.
On Saturday, Mr. Johnson drew applause from Democrats assembled for a weekly strategy meeting at Mr. Kerry's headquarters when he reassured aides that the campaign had settled on a clear line of attack against Mr. Bush, people at the meeting said. They said Mr. Johnson told the group that the campaign wanted the entire party to heed the new talking points.
"It's very simple," Mr. Johnson said in an interview yesterday, describing what he said would be the template for Mr. Kerry's speeches and advertisements in the weeks ahead. "It's: 'Bush has taken us in the wrong direction. If you want more of the same for the next four years, vote for President Bush. If you want a new direction, John Kerry and John Edwards.' It's not complicated. Failed policies, jobs and the economy, health care."
Officials with knowledge of the Clinton conversation said it came after Mr. Kerry called Mr. Clinton at Columbia-Presbyterian Center of New York Presbyterian Hospital on Friday to wish him well. Mr. Clinton, who was described by advisers as concerned by the direction of the Kerry campaign, thanked him and suggested that the two men talk over the weekend about the campaign, which they did Saturday night.
The telephone conversation, which was described as detailed and expansive, with Mr. Kerry doing more listening than talking, also included Mr. Lockhart, who joined Mr. Kerry's campaign as a senior adviser about two weeks ago. Mr. Lockhart declined to comment on the conversation.
People close to Mr. Kerry said he was receptive to the counsel and was moving to widen his circle of advisers in the face of mounting concern among prominent Democrats about the potency of Mr. Bush's campaign. They noted that Mr. Clinton and his strategists were architects of the only winning Democratic presidential drives since 1976. Even so, some of Mr. Kerry's aides insisted that their seeking help from Mr. Clinton was not a reflection of flaws in their campaign.
Mr. Kerry's aides insisted that the Clinton advisers were augmenting the staff as it headed into a difficult period, and did not represent another instance in which Mr. Kerry was shaking up his campaign staff. Mr. Kerry fired a campaign manager in the primary season. The Kerry aides said that senior advisers, among them Ms. Cahill and Mr. Shrum, remained in their posts.
Still, some Democrats described what was taking place as a slow-motion shake-up as Mr. Clinton's former advisers assume increasingly powerful roles.
Mr. Greenberg, who was Mr. Clinton's pollster in 1992, resigned Tuesday as the pollster for independent Democratic groups that have been running advertisements attacking Mr. Bush so that he would be permitted, under the law, to play a more prominent role in advising Mr. Kerry's campaign.
Mr. Kerry's aides said that a longtime political adviser from Boston, John Sasso, who is working as general manager of the Democratic National Committee, would start traveling with Mr. Kerry as a full-time aide.
Mr. Sasso is said to have history with Mr. Kerry and his respect, enough to be able to give the candidate unvarnished criticism on his performance on the trail.
Mr. Begala, who said he would remain a CNN commentator, said he was delighted with the changes. He added that Mr. Bush had succeeded over the past month in transforming the race from a referendum on an incumbent president to a referendum on Mr. Kerry.
"It was an enormous shift," Mr. Begala said last night. Then, referring to Karl Rove, a top Bush strategist, he added: "And it required the cooperation of the candidate. And you know what? The Kerry campaign is no longer cooperating. Sorry, Karl."
Mr. Clinton's engagement in the campaign is new but hardly surprising. Throughout the 2004 campaign, Mr. Clinton has offered advice to any Democratic presidential candidate who would listen, including Mr. Kerry. And he told Mr. Kerry's advisers before his hospitalization that he would play a major role campaigning for Mr. Kerry this fall. In 2000, Mr. Clinton made no secret of his dismay that his vice president, Al Gore, did not turn to him more for counsel and campaigning help.
The Kerry campaign has become roiled in recent days by criticism - from inside and outside - of its decision to initially resist responding to the attacks on Mr. Kerry's war record by a group of veterans. Members of the Clinton camp as well as some of Mr. Kerry's aides were said to have believed that the slow response hurt Mr. Kerry and contributed to polls in recent days suggesting that he had slipped behind Mr. Bush.
"We talked about this last year, the fact that Republicans would come after his service and the idea that they would come after what he did when he got home," said one midlevel Kerry adviser who is not part of the Clinton camp. "The idea that we got caught flat-footed is just crazy."
Mr. Shrum, in an interview yesterday, called such second-guessing "ridiculous," saying, "We responded within six or seven days.
"I was strongly in favor of responding to the Swift boats when we did or around when we did, and so was Mary Beth," Mr. Shrum said, referring to Ms. Cahill and the advertisements by the Vietnam veterans critical of Mr. Kerry.
While Mr. Kerry's crewmates denounced the advertisements as soon as they were released Aug. 4, Mr. Kerry himself did not address the accusations until Aug. 19.
The notion that the campaign was settling on a new message for the fall came as news to some senior staff members.
"That's really groundbreaking," one senior aide said sarcastically when told about the focus on Mr. Bush's policies outlined by Mr. Johnson. "I think our negative frame should be that George Bush is a liar. He misled the country on Iraq. And then everything else that he lies about, bring it back to that."
Mr. Devine said any lack of clarity of Mr. Kerry's message was due to the campaign's running few advertisements in the past five weeks. He said the polls are showing a downturn they always planned for.
"If you want to deliver a powerful message, you need all the means of message-delivery at your disposal," Mr. Devine said. "Absent those tools and those means it's just harder to deliver that kind of message."
Jodi Wilgoren contributed reporting for this article.
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Wednesday, September 08, 2004

AP News > Russia Threatens to Strike Terror Bases   Email this Story Sep 8, 2:58 PM (ET) By STEVE GUTTERMAN

MOSCOW (AP) - A wounded Russia threatened Wednesday to strike against terrorists "in any region of the world," offered a $10 million reward for information leading to the killing or capture of Chechnya's top rebel leaders, and criticized the United States for its willingness to hold talks with Chechen separatists.
The announcements marked a show of resolve aimed at Russia's stunned citizens, as well as Western countries President Vladimir Putin accuses of hindering its fight against terror, in the wake of three attacks that killed more than 400 people in the past two weeks.
In a nationally televised meeting, Prosecutor-General Vladimir Ustinov also briefed Putin on the investigation into the taking of more than 1,200 hostages in a school last week in the southern town of Beslan.
His was the first official acknowledgment that the number of hostages had been so high; the government initially said about 350 people were seized. A regional official later said the number had been 1,181.

"As for carrying out preventive strikes against terrorist bases ... we will take all measures to liquidate terrorist bases in any region of the world," he told reporters.
Baluyevsky made his comments alongside NATO's supreme allied commander in Europe, Gen. James Jones, after talks on Russia-NATO military cooperation, including anti-terror efforts.
European Union officials reacted cautiously to Baluyevsky's statements, with spokeswoman Emma Udwin saying she could not be sure whether they represented government policy. Udwin said the 25-nation EU is against "extra-judicial killings" in form of pre-emptive strikes.
Russian leaders have previously claimed the right to attack terrorists beyond the country's borders - tacitly threatening neighboring Georgia that Moscow would pursue Chechen rebels allegedly sheltering on its territory. Two Russian agents were convicted this year for the February car bombing in Qatar that killed a Chechen rebel leader, Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev. Russia denied involvement in the assassination.
NATO officials declined comment. The alliance released a statement with Russia stressing both sides'"determination to strengthen and intensify common efforts to fight the scourge of terrorism."
Nationalist lawmaker Dmitry Rogozin told Ekho Moskvy radio the warning appeared to be an effort to ease fears of terrorism in Russia following the crashes of two planes after explosions, a Moscow suicide bombing and the school seizure.
Anger over the school attack simmered in North Ossetia, the southern Russian region bordering Chechnya mourning the deaths of hundreds of children, parents and teachers.
Regional President Alexander Dzasokhov promised a furious crowd of 1,000 that the local government would step down within two days and said he would follow suit if he could not fulfill the protesters' demands for an independent inquiry - the first sign of officials being punished for failing to prevent the attack.

The agency said Basayev and Maskhadov have been responsible for "inhuman terrorist acts on the territory of the Russian Federation."
Maskhadov, the former president of Chechnya, had denied any involvement in the school standoff, according to aides. There has been no word from Basayev, a longtime rebel warlord who had claimed involvement in bloody raids and hostage-takings in the past.
Basayev is believed to be hiding in Chechnya; Russian officials have sometimes reported that Maskhadov has left the country.
Ustinov said 326 hostages were killed and 727 wounded in the school attack, which ended Friday in a wave of explosions and gunfire. North Ossetian Deputy Health Minister Teimuraz Revazov later said 329 were confirmed dead.

The authorities appeared to be backpedaling from their previous insistence on describing the attack as the work of international terrorists. At a meeting with visiting Western journalists and analysts Monday, Putin repeated investigators' allegations that 10 of the attackers were of Arab descent and denied that the hostage-taking was linked to Russia's policy in Chechnya.
However, Ustinov said nothing about Arabs in his briefing. Asked about the silence, a Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told The Associated Press that forensic experts were working to identify the terrorists "and until that work is finished, it's impossible to tell."
"According to preliminary data, there were Arabs," he said. "No one is denying the presence of Arabs."

"The demands concerned chiefly political motives and were related to the anti-terrorist operation," he said, according to Interfax, using the formulation Russian authorities use instead of war.
The global issue of terrorism drew Russia closer to the United States and other Western nations following the Sept. 11 attacks, when Putin expressed support for U.S. anti-terror efforts.
But since the attack in Beslan, Putin and other top officials have turned up the volume on their accusations that Western nations apply double standards and hinder Russia's fight against terrorism by questioning its policy in Chechnya.
Responding to a statement by State Department spokesman Richard Boucher, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Wednesday that "we solve our internal problems ourselves and there's no need to search for an American route to political normalization in Chechnya," Interfax reported.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko also lashed out at the United States, saying talks with Chechens linked to rebel leaders are "absolutely unacceptable."
"After all, we are talking about those individuals who stand behind bloody attacks by terrorists in Russia, which have drawn the indignation of the entire civilized word," Yakovenko said in a statement.
While joining condemnation of the school attack, the State Department said Tuesday that Moscow ultimately must hold political talks with rebellious Chechen leaders.
Wednesday's TV broadcast of Ustinov's briefing was the first attempt by the government to give a formal account of the tragedy. The prosecutor said his information was based on interviews with witnesses and the one alleged attacker.
Ustinov said the approximately 30 attackers, including two women, had met in a forest early Sept. 1 before heading to School No. 1 in Beslan in a truck and two jeeps packed with weapons and ammunition.
People who had gathered to mark the first day of school were herded into the gym by the militants, some of whom voiced objections to seizing a school. Detainee Nur-Pashi Kulayev said the group's leader, who went by the name Colonel, shot one of the militants and said he would do the same to any other militants or hostages who did not show "unconditional obedience."
Later that day, he detonated the explosives worn by two female attackers, killing them to enforce the lesson, Ustinov said.
One of the militants was stationed with his foot on a button that would set off the explosives, Ustinov said; if he lifted his foot, the bombs strung up around the school gymnasium would detonate, he said.
On Friday, the militants decided to change the arrangement of the explosives, and they appear to have set off one bomb by mistake, Ustinov said. That sparked panic as hostages tried to flee and the attackers opened fire.




AP: Thousands of Iraqis Estimated Killed

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - At Sheik Omar Clinic, a big book records 10,363 violent deaths in Baghdad and nearby towns since the war began last year - deaths caused by car bombs, clashes between Iraqis and coalition forces, mortar attacks, revenge killings and robberies.
While America mourns the deaths of more than 1,000 of its sons and daughters in the Iraq campaign, the U.S. toll is far less than the Iraqi. No official, reliable figures exist for the whole country, but private estimates range from 10,000 to 30,000 killed since the United States invaded in March 2003.
The violent deaths recorded in the leather ledger at the Sheik Omar Clinic come from only one of Iraq's 18 provinces and do not cover people who died in such flashpoint cities as Najaf, Karbala, Fallujah, Tikrit and Ramadi.
Iraqi dead include not only insurgents, police and soldiers but also civilian men, women and children caught in crossfire, blown apart by explosives or shot by mistake - both by fellow Iraqis or by American soldiers and their multinational allies. And they include the victims of crime that has surged in the instability that followed the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime.
Adding to the complexity of sorting out what has happened, the records that have been kept don't always say whether a death came in a combat situation or from some other cause.
The prospect of violent death is the latest burden for a people who suffered through decades of war and a brutal dictatorship under Saddam, whose regime has been accused by human rights groups of killing as many as 300,000 Iraqis it deemed enemies.
"During Saddam's days killings were silent. Now the killing is done openly and loudly," said Ghali Karim Hassan, who lost his 31-year-old son, Ghaidan, last April.
He said Ghaidan was killed in Najaf when a demonstration called by radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr led to a gunbattle with coalition troops, mainly Spaniards and Salvadorans. Ghaidan, who left a wife and three children, was one of 22 protesters killed.
In a country where the dead are often buried quickly without proper accounting by authorities, the real number of Iraqis whose lives were cut short in the Iraq conflict may never be known.
U.S. officials said they didn't have the resources to track civilian deaths during the U.S.-led occupation, which ended officially June 28. Iraq's central authorities also haven't reported comprehensive figures on civilian deaths - while record-keeping was meticulous under Saddam, the interim government didn't even begin trying to keep track until five months ago.
In a guerrilla war without front lines, where teenagers confront tanks with rocket-propelled grenades, establishing who was an innocent civilian and who was a legitimate combatant makes the process of compiling detailed figures on civilian deaths problematic.
"It is difficult to establish the right number of casualties," said a spokeswoman for Amnesty International, Nicole Choueiry. Her London-based human rights organization estimates more than 10,000 Iraqi civilians died in the first year of the conflict alone.
However, Amnesty's figure was based in part on media reports that often simply repeated claims of American and Iraqi officials. Iraq is as large as California and much of the country is too dangerous for independent teams to investigate more than a handful of death claims.
Iraq Body Count, a private group that bases its figures in part on reports by 40 media outlets, puts the number of civilian deaths since the conflict began at between 11,793 and 13,802.
Hazem al-Radini at the Human Rights Organization in Iraq said his group estimates the toll at more than 30,000 civilian deaths. He said the group didn't have any statistics and based the figure on reports by Iraqi news media.
Iraqi authorities have begun trying to determine overall death figures, though they face formidable problems. Insurgent groups are either reluctant to report death figures for security reasons or inflate them to win public sympathy. And some Iraqi families bury their dead quickly, without reporting them.
The Iraqi Health Ministry began tabulating civilian deaths in April, when heavy fighting broke out in Fallujah and Najaf. The ministry's figures indicate 2,956 civilians, including 125 children, died across the country "as the result of a military act" between April 5 and Aug. 31. Of those, 829 were in Baghdad, the ministry figures say.
In some cases, it is uncertain whether individuals were killed by insurgents or soldiers or were killed by criminals or rivals who used the turmoil of war as a cover for settling scores. And even in cases where the cause was known, records sometimes don't specify.
However, Iraqis argue, even those killed by criminals could be considered indirect victims of a war that destroyed Iraq's security services and brought a spike in crime.
"Our work here multiplied by at least 10 times compared to prewar periods," said Dr. Abdul-Razzak Abdul-Amir, head of the Baghdad coroner's office.
Al-Radini at the Human Rights Organization in Iraq agreed. "The main responsibility behind these Iraqi civilians deaths lies with the occupation because those victims would not have fallen had there not be an occupation," he said.




FT.Com > Global opinion favours Kerry over Bush, says poll

By Joanna Chung in Washington and Daniel Dombey in Brussels
Published: September 8 2004 20:48 | Last updated: September 8 2004 20:48
World opinion is overwhelmingly in favour of John Kerry, the Democrat candidate, to win the US presidential election, according to a poll covering 35 countries.
In 30 countries, many of them staunch allies of the US, the public favoured Mr Kerry over President George W. Bush by a two-to-one margin, according to a poll conducted by GlobeScan, a public opinion group, and the University of Maryland. Only Poland, Nigeria and the Philippines backed Mr Bush, while India and Thailand were a statistical tie.



Americans are from Mars, Europeans from Venus, say polls

The public in 30 of 35 countries polled would prefer John Kerry, the Democrat challenger, to win the US elections and on average favour him over Mr Bush by a two-to-one margin.Go there
Both the poll and a separate survey of transatlantic trends, released on Thursday, show rising international mistrust of the US.
An average of 53 per cent of GlobeScan's respondents said foreign policy under Mr Bush made them feel worse about the US. In Germany, 74 per cent of respondents said they backed Mr Kerry against only 10 per cent for Mr Bush. In France only 5 per cent supported the president. In the UK, the margin was 47 per cent to 16 in favour of the challenger.
In China, 52 per cent of those asked backed Mr Kerry against Mr Bush.
The Globescan poll comes as the US presidential race, in which Mr Bush has taken a lead, begins in earnest ahead of the November 2 election. Its release coincides with a survey by the German Marshall Fund of the US and Italy's Compagnia di San Paolo, which also underlines the transatlantic divide. According to this second study, Transatlantic Trends 2004, 58 per cent of Europeans hold that strong US leadership is undesirable and 76 per cent disapprove of President Bush's international policies.
However, most people on both sides of the Atlantic maintained that Europe and the US had not grown further apart.
But the Transatlantic Trends survey of 11,000 Americans and Europeans also revealed strong splits between Democrats and Republicans in the US on issues such as the role of the United Nations and the invasion of Iraq. While 84 per cent of Republicans believed the US is sometimes justified in bypassing the UN, only 40 per cent of Democrats agreed. Although 63 per cent of Democrats disapproved of the presence of US troops in Iraq, 86 per cent of Republicans approved.
A third poll of 798 Americans also released on Wednesday showed that 74 per cent of US voters would be unaffected by global attitudes about the presidential race.