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WH: BP understated oil flow amount

WASHINGTON, May 30 (UPI) -- A White House official Sunday suggested BP had a "vested financial interest" in understating the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico in initial reports.


"It's important to understand that BP has a financial interest in what those flow rates are. They will ultimately pay a fine based on those rates," Carol M. Browner, the White House climate and energy adviser, said on CBS's "Face the Nation,"

"When we look back over the last 35, 38 days, we do realize there were some places where we could have moved more aggressively," Browner said. "One of them was asking for all the data which we needed to do these (oil) flows, but it is important for people to understand BP has a vested financial interest in downplaying the size of this."

Asked directly if BP lied in initial estimates, she replied: "The very, very first estimates came from BP. They had the footage of the plume. The government then did satellite imagery and we realized that those figures were not accurate."


Robert Dudley, BP's managing director, disputed that later on the CBS program. "The best way to measure those early rates or estimate those early rates were from satellite data, not BP data," he said.

He also criticized "alarmist" spill estimates as high as 70,000-100,000 barrels a day.

Initial estimates suggested 5,000 barrels a day leaking. The latest estimate, Browner said, is 12,000-19,000 barrels a day.

Browner said government scientists led by Energy Secretary Steven Chu told BP to halt the "top kill" effort -- pumping heavy mud to try to stem the oil leak -- because of dangerous levels of pressure it caused in the well. She said the government also ordered BP to dig two relief wells to try to permanently stop the leak instead of one, as the British oil giant had proposed.

On the same program, Rep. Ed Markey, D.-Mass., chairman of a House energy committee investigating the oil spill, asserted BP had intentionally misled the public about the amount of oil gushing into the gulf to reduce its liability.

"I have no confidence whatsoever in BP," Markey said. "I do not really think people should really believe anything BP is saying in terms of the likelihood of anything that they are doing is going to turn out as they predicted."


The Deepwater Horizon well in the gulf exploded in April, killing 11 and starting the flow of oil.

Mullen stresses 'don't ask' review

WASHINGTON, May 30 (UPI) -- U.S. Adm. Mike Mullen, the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, says it's important to conduct a detailed review of the effects of repealing "don't ask, don't tell."

Mullen said he would prefer Congress hold off on passage of repeal until completion of a Defense Department review of the policy change expected to be completed in December.

"Ideally, I would like the legislation to wait until we've completed the review so we can look at how to implement it when the legislation goes," Mullen said on "Fox News Sunday."

The House of Representatives and a Senate committee approved legislation last week, including a provision to allow the repeal of the 17-year-old "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Mullen said even after passage of legislation by Congress, the change wouldn't take effect until after the Defense Department review. The review is to scrutinize the potential effects of repeal on troop readiness, recruitment and retention.

Mullen said he supports repeal of the ban on gays serving openly in the military but only after the "critically important" review.


"We've worked hard so far in this review to understand what's going on with respect to our troops," Mullen said. "And I don't control the legislative calendar. And the other thing is recognizing the votes that took place, I certainly understand that.

"But," he added, "I think it could be many months before the legislation actually was finally completed and it was passed."

Rwanda arrests U.S attorney

KIGALI, Rwanda, May 30 (UPI) -- An American lawyer defending a Rwandan Hutu politician accused in the 1994 Tutsi genocide has been arrested in what critics say is a political move.

The Rwandan government has accused Peter Erlinder, who heads a group of defense lawyers at the U.N. Rwanda tribunal, of being a genocide denier, Radio France Internationale reported Sunday.

Erlinder had arrived in Rwanda last week and was arrested Friday as he arrived in the capital of Kigali as part of the defense team of opposition Hutu figure Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, accused of denying the genocide and inciting ethnic hatred, the Kenyan newspaper Daily Nation reported.

A representative of the Defense Lawyers Association of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda said the arrest was political.

"Clearly the reason he must have been arrested was that he was trying to meet Victoire Ingabire with a view to taking instructions and probably taking up her cause or defending her in that context," Gershom Otachi said.


Rwanda's public prosecutor, Martin Ngoga, told the Sunday Monitor, a Nation Media Group publication, Erlined "denied the genocide."

"Because of our history, denying the genocide is a criminal offense," Ngoga said.

Police said Erlinder would be brought before a judge within 72 hours.

The news Web site reported Eric Janus, dean of William Mitchell College of Law where Erlinder is a professor, said the St. Paul, Minn., school supports Erlinder and was working with the U.S. State Department and others to ensure his safety.

"In traveling to Rwanda, Professor Erlinder exemplifies the great tradition of lawyers who take on the representation of unpopular clients and causes," Janus said. "That Professor Erlinder did so at great personal risk demonstrates the strength of his commitment to justice and due process."

Mexico warden kidnapped, dismembered

CUERNAVACA, Mexico, May 30 (UPI) -- The warden of a Mexican prison was kidnapped when he arrived for work Saturday and his dismembered remains found in four places later, authorities said.

The abandoned Toyota truck of Lius Navarro Castaneda, warden of the Atlacholoaya prison in the Mexican state of Morelos, was found near the prison, CNN reported.

His remains were discovered later in the day in four locations around the city of Cuernavaca, CNN said.


Written messages threatening police and other public officials were left with the remains, Mexican media reported.

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