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Indonesia's Canberra embassy shut after scare JAKARTA - Indonesia shut its embassy in Australia on Wednesday after receiving an envelope containing a "biological agent," as a public backlash rages against the conviction in Bali of an Australian on drug charges.

Authorities said white powder in the envelope belonged to a family of agents that can cause anthrax, a sometimes deadly infectious disease triggered by a spore-forming bacterium that can be used as a biological weapon.

"It is not an innocent white powder. It is some kind of biological agent. They say it belongs to the bacillus group," Australian Prime Minister John Howard told Australian television.

The bacillus group contains various forms of bacteria, one of which can cause anthrax, which killed five people in the United States in late 2001, after it was found in letters to media and government offices in Washington, Florida and elsewhere. "Plainly it is not just a case of some white powder being sent, whoever sent it had a more evil intent than that. I am staggered that it has happened," Howard said.

Australian Federal Police said the envelope was delivered to the embassy around 10:30 a.m. (0030 GMT) through the normal mail service and identified as suspicious by embassy staff. The Indonesian Ambassador to Australia was not inside the building.

Australia's opposition Labor foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd said the ambassador had told him the envelope had been opened and the substance spilled onto the floor.

Marty Natalegawa, a spokesman for the Indonesian Foreign Ministry, said the 52 staff at the embassy were undergoing a "decontamination process" that involved being washed with special chemical substances and their health monitored.

"We will not be intimidated by such a cowardly act and we want the embassy to be active as soon as possible. We should take the higher moral ground and not match what has been done by a group of people in Australia," Natalegawa told El Shinta radio.

"We should react properly and not generalise as if this hostility comes from the whole Australian public. We are sure this is an act by an irresponsible person, which we condemn." Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said the embassy staff could be isolated for 48 hours.



Posted in General @ 01 June 2005 20:47 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink





Jeroen
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Who on earth thinks about spreading anthrax forming bacteria? I hope this will be treated as a terrorist attack. Since it's the Indonesian embassy, I hope those who did this, will be put in Indonesian jail. Emoticon: Laugh out loud



sayang
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it happened in canberra so I don't think they will be jailed in indonesia.
and I doubt they/he/she will be caught



bunga belanda
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I think Jeroen has a point.....isnt the indonesian embassy considered indonesian grounds? no matter where the location?




Jason
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Jeroen
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On 01-06-2005 23:17 bunga belanda wrote:
I think Jeroen has a point.....isnt the indonesian embassy considered indonesian grounds? no matter where the location?


That's why I said they can be convicted in Indonesia.. Emoticon: Smile



AbuTukangBecak
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Now I hope you are all aware that the powder was harmless. All that over-reaction was for nothing. Emoticon: Yawn



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