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(CNN) -- Leadership is in the spotlight of many of the world's papers, from a salutary speech by exiting British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the military rule of coup-embroiled Thailand, to the latest controversy surrounding U.S. President George W. Bush.

The decision by Bush to release experts from a leaked secret report by U.S. intelligence agencies on the global terror threat is viewed with suspicion by The New York Times, which originally broke the story.

"It's hard to think of a president and an administration more devoted to secrecy than President Bush and his team," the paper's editorial says.

Secret glimpses

"Except, that is, when it suits Mr. Bush politically to give the public a glimpse of the secrets."

The paper says the handful pages of the document that the president contains few surprises.

"The three declassified pages from what is certainly a voluminous report told us what any American with a newspaper, television or Internet connection should already know. The invasion of Iraq was a cataclysmic disaster.

"Unfortunately, neither the report nor the president provide even a glimmer of a suggestion about how to avoid that inevitable disaster."

The Boston Globe is more forgiving towards the U.S. leader, but only slightly.

"However, President Bush did the right thing yesterday when he ordered declassified those parts of a National Intelligence Estimate that can be released without endangering intelligence sources or methods," it said.

"But it is not true that al Qaeda was allied with Saddam before the war or that the prolonged US occupation of Iraq has diminished the appeal of jihadist ideology across the Muslim world. These are two falsehoods that Bush has been peddling for transparently political reasons."

Blair's long goodbye

Bush's staunch war on terror ally Tony Blair was the focus of the British papers, who gave their own verdicts on the prime minister's triumphant farewell speech to his party ahead of his promised departure from office next year.

"A well-constructed speech was trumped by an even more compelling performance," said The Times.

The tabloid Sun newspaper asked if Blair's Labour party had gone "stark raving mad" as it forced out of office one of its most accomplished leaders.

"It is hard to reach any other conclusion after seeing the party stand and cheer the most successful leader they've ever had."

The Daily Mail offered a more scathing assessment of Blair.

"Only one sentence Mr. Blair uttered yesterday rang with truth: 'Of course it is hard to let go but it is also right to let go -- for the country and for you, the party.'

"The sooner he matches the action to those words, the sooner Britain can start to rid itself of the politics of mendacity and poison."

Thailand troubles

For the National Post of Canada, the bloodless coup in Thailand remains cause for concern.

"General Sonthi Boonyaratkalin and his colleagues in the military junta have promised a prompt restoration of democracy. Less reassuringly, however, the military rulers have taken numerous measures to restrict political freedom.

"Groups of more than five people are not allowed to gather, and political parties are not to hold meetings. No new party may register. Some former ministers in the Thaksin government are in custody. Television channels are not to broadcast public opinion, in particular the text messages in which many Thais are fond of expressing themselves. And so on.

"Military coups that lead to strongman rule have happily become less common around the world. Let us hope that Thailand does not set a precedent, reversing the trend."


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