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Thread: Possible Explosive Device Hurled Near Bush

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Possible Explosive Device Hurled Near Bush

    Possible explosive device hurled near Bush
    President, unhurt, didn’t know of incident during Georgia speech

    Jim Watson / AFP

    MSNBC News Services
    Updated: 7:58 p.m. ET May 10, 2005

    TBILISI, Georgia - The Secret Service was investigating a report Tuesday that a hand grenade was thrown at the stage during President Bush's speech in the former Soviet republic of Georgia.

    It was the only incident to mar what had otherwise been a triumphal appearance by the president in the former Soviet republic, where he said that Georgia had proven to the world that determined people can rise up and claim their freedom from oppressive rulers.

    After Bush left Georgia on Tuesday, the Secret Service was informed by Georgian authorities of a report that a device, possibly a hand grenade, had been thrown within 100 feet of the stage during Bush's speech, hit someone in the crowd and fell to the ground, Secret Service spokesman Jonathan Cherry said.

    According to the report, a Georgian security officer picked up the device and removed it from the area. The Secret Service had not seen the device as of Tuesday evening, Cherry said. It has agents in Tbilisi working with the FBI, State Department and Georgian authorities to investigate the report.

    Georgian government denies incident
    Guram Donadze, spokesman for the Georgian Interior Ministry, said no hand grenade was thrown close to Bush. “This is an absolute lie. This did not occur,” Donadze told The Associated Press.

    May 10: President Bush hails the ex-Soviet republic of Georgia as an inspiration to fledgling democracies. NBC's Norah O'Donnell reports.
    Today show

    The Secret Service said it could not independently confirm whether a device was thrown at the president and whether it was a real hand grenade or a fake. It said it was investigating the incident, along with the FBI, the State Department and Georgian authorities.

    "After the president departed the country of Georgia, we were notified by host-country authorities that during the president's speech earlier in the day in Tbilisi, a device described as a possible hand grenade was thrown within 100 feet of the stage," said Secret Service spokesman Jim Mackin.

    Georgian authorities told the Secret Service that the device hit someone in the crowd and fell to the ground. It did not detonate.

    Officials from President Maikhail Saakashvili's office were not immediately available for comment. Georgia's security service has been merged with the Interior Ministry.

    Cherry said he couldn't characterize the source of the report that a device had been thrown.

    Bush was returning to the United States late Tuesday after a four-country trip that also included stops in Russia, Latvia and the Netherlands. He was the first American president to visit Georgia.

    Bush: Georgians inspiration to others
    The Bush speech — before an estimated 300,000 cheering Georgians — was an expression of faith in the democratic instincts of the Georgian people.

    “Your courage is inspiring democratic reformers and sending a message that echoes across the world: Freedom will be the future of every nation and every people on Earth,” Bush said in the speech from Freedom Square, the location that symbolizes the city’s democratic pursuits.

    “You gathered here armed with nothing but roses and the power of your convictions and you claimed your liberty. and because you acted, Georgia is today both sovereign and free and a beacon of liberty for this region and the world.”

    Bush spoke to a massive crowd that filled Freedom Square — known as Lenin Square during Soviet rule — and spilled out into the roads that feed into the plaza. The buildings around the square were freshly painted for Bush’s visit, the first from a U.S. president, and hundreds of people dressed in red, white and blue stood in a human formation of the U.S. flag, with another group forming the red and white Georgian flag.

    “When Georgians gathered here 16 years ago, this square had a different name,” Bush said. “Under Lenin’s steely gaze, thousands of Georgians prayed and sang and demanded their independence. The Soviet Army crushed that day of protest, but they could not crust the spirit of the Georgian people.”

    He hoped the speech would balance his presence a day earlier at a World War II victory celebration in Moscow’s Red Square and close his four-nation trip on a high note.

    Bush offers backing on key issues
    Bush declined to support the bid of two separatist regions — Abkhazia and South Ossetia — to gain independence from Georgia, instead lending his backing to Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s plan to give the areas some autonomy but keep them within the country. “He wants the country to remain intact,” Bush said.

    In a gesture to Moscow, Bush urged Saakashvili to use peaceful means to settle the dispute and said he’d be willing to make a phone call or two to help resolve the conflict if his assistance is requested.

    “I’m confident that the government of Georgia has got a good strategy to move forward to resolve the disputes,” Bush said. But he added: “The United States cannot impose a solution nor would you want us to.”

    The president said he talked in Moscow earlier this week with Putin about Georgia’s demand for the closure of two Russian bases in this country. The long-simmering dispute over the bases has strained relations between Georgia and its giant neighbor.

    He noted that Russia has agreed to leave and expressed confidence that a timetable can be agreed upon. “I think that’s a commitment that’s important for the people of Georgia to hear,” Bush said.

    Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said it could take up to four years to build the barracks, garages and other infrastructure in Russia to handle the servicemen and materiel that would be withdrawn from Georgia. Saakashvili, who did not attend Monday’s Victory in Europe Day celebration in Red Square over the base issue, wants the troops sent back to Russia more quickly.

    Looking to the West
    Bush gave a public boost to Saakashvili’s desire to see his country turn further West by joining organizations such as NATO. “The Rose Revolution was a powerful moment in modern history,” Bush said. “It not only inspired the people of Georgia, it inspired others around the world that want to live in a free society.

    “I think we’ll look back at this moment in history and marvel at the courage of a people who have said ‘I want generations to grow up in a hopeful world.’ And so, Mr. President, thank you for setting such a good example — you and your people.”

    Bush said the Georgian leader realizes that much work remains to ensure an independent judiciary, rule of law and a free media “so that no one will ever be able to overturn democracy.”

    “He (Saakashvili) was complaining about the media, which is a good sign,” the president said. “It means you’re free. I sometimes complain about ours, but not too publicly, of course.”

    Fresh paint and fireworks
    Bush and his wife, Laura, received an extraordinary welcome Monday night in the Georgian capital. The motorcade route was filled with cheering Georgians. Hundreds of performers in colorful costumes whirled, leapt, stomped and danced through traditional routines staged in a narrow, cobblestone street in the city’s Old Town section.

    Buildings had been freshly painted and roads newly paved. Fireworks erupted above ancient churches. The president smiled, clapped and even shook his hips.

    Despite the effusive welcome, however, Bush is delivering his speech behind bulletproof glass — a security measure prompted by ongoing fights in the separatist regions, military campaigns against terrorists in the Pankisi Gorge and the recent abductions of foreigners.

    Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #2
    somebigguy Guest
    The whole world hates that fucker. Must be doing a good job.

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