Friday, August 12, 2005                                               The Daily Battle Against Subjectivity
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Copyright 2005 Pierre-Paul Feyte


PART TWO: Interview with Laura Knight-Jadczyk


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Israeli hawks circle Iran's N-plants
By Tim Butcher in Jerusalem
The Telegraph
Filed: 12/08/2005

Ever since its 1979 Islamic revolution the only fate Iran has had in mind for Israel has been simple: its destruction. Now that Teheran seems to be moving towards acquiring its own nuclear arsenal, its plans for its great enemy threaten to be both fiery and radioactive.

Sometimes Iran's stated policy towards Israel is couched in inflammatory rhetoric, like that on a 40ft banner that used to hang outside the entrance of the foreign ministry in Teheran bearing the message: "Israel Must Burn".

Sometimes the language is tamer, such as the "Down With Israel" chants of students who march after Friday prayers in Teheran week in, week out.

But whatever the tone, the message remains the same. The Jewish state has survived wars, internal upheaval, intifadas and bloody entanglements in the internal affairs of its neighbours. But now a major enemy, one committed to its annihilation, appears close to deploying the most destructive force known to Man.

"Having the ayatollah regime armed with nuclear weapons is an existential threat to the state of Israel," Mark Regev, senior spokeman at its foreign ministry, admitted grimly. "We take the issue extremely seriously.''

But while the danger Israel faces is clear, what it should do about the threat poses much more of a quandary.

Some Israelis cite the precedent of the 1981 unilateral Israeli airstrike on Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor. Israel, they argue, should do the same again and launch pre-emptive military attacks on Iran's growing nuclear infrastructure.

But Iran has developed its nuclear programme with such a scenario in mind. It has deliberately spread its facilities far and wide, using nine locations, according to one intelligence source.

And each facility is buried under tons of reinforced concrete, making it more difficult to destroy, even with the help of the BLU-109 "bunker-buster" bombs the US is selling its closest Middle Eastern ally.

Iran, moreover, is further away from Israel than Iraq, raising even greater doubts about the ability of the F15 and F16 planes Israel would use in any air raids to reach their target and then make it home without being refuelled.

And there is also the question of how the aircraft would get close enough to hit their targets. The US controls Iraqi airspace but it seems inconceivable that Washington would open it up to Israeli combat jets and tankers.

Comment: How can it possibly seem inconceivable that the US would open up Iraqi airspace to Israeli aircraft?? The author himself points out that the US has supplied Israel with fighter jets, bunker busting bombs, and just about every other military toy the Middle Eastern nation possesses. Furthermore, the very act of accusing Iran of developing nuclear weapons is hypocritical at best, since the rest of the world sat back and did nothing as Israel created a stockpile of 200 nuclear weapons according to some estimates. If Israel wants to use Iraqi airspace, who will stop them? The US certainly won't protest, and neither will the rest of the world... Besides, if there is too much resistance, the whole charade will become yet another Black Op. A gang of thugs intent on ushering in Armageddon isn't going to be stopped by a simple little no fly zone - look at what they have already covertly accomplished with 9/11 and the war on terror.

While the problems facing air strikes are significant, Israel's military nevertheless believes it has the means to cause serious damage to the Iranian nuclear capability.

Israel's cruise missiles, launched from planes or submarines, give the country a capability that it did not have in 1981 when it attacked the Iraqi reactor with a conventional bombing sortie.

"It's a bit more challenging in Iran but the military option remains a real one," said David Ivri, a retired Israeli air force officer who commanded Operation Opera, the attack on Iraq's reactor.

"After all, the aim would not be to neutralise the Iranian nuclear programme. That would be impossible. But what we could do is delay it considerably.

"That was our aim in Iraq and that is what we achieved - a very long delay.''

The calculation Israel must make is a simple one: when will Iran become a nuclear power?

The Iraq attack was launched only when Israel's intelligence concluded that Saddam Hussein's regime was within a year of producing its own nuclear weapons.

It also followed a lengthy diplomatic campaign by Israel to dissuade France from selling nuclear technology to Iraq. When that failed, Mossad agents blew up components due to be shipped to Iraq at a warehouse in France.

Comment: Translation: Mossad is good, France is bad. This little story about an attack on France should be a clear warning as to what is to come regarding Iran...

Only when it was clear that Iraq's nuclear programme continued did Operation Opera get the green light.

According to a senior figure in the Israeli Defence Force quoted in the Jerusalem Post, Iran will not be able to produce a nuclear bomb until 2008 at the earliest; 2012 is a more realistic date and experts believe that the current situation is insufficiently acute to warrant military action.

"The best-case scenario for Israel is that the negotiations between Iran and the European Union succeed," said Emily Landau, senior research associate at the Jaffee Centre for Strategic Studies in Tel Aviv. "And at the moment that is still the most likely possibility.

"If you look at the wording of every statement by Iran, they sound defiant but always include some sort of reference to the talks and the possibility of some sort of new initiative. As long as this sort of language continues, then a full-blown crisis can be avoided."

This would suit Israel, which backs the negotiations and wants to avoid turning the current crisis into a row between Iran and itself.

As long as international negotiators are taking the lead, Israel is happy to stay on the sidelines.

Comment: Given the debacle with Iraq and France in the 80's, it would probably be more appropriate to say that as long as international negotiators are giving Israel what it wants, the Zionists are happy to stay on the sidelines. There is no reason to doubt that any deviation will result in a Mossad operation - a false flag op or otherwise - that will ensure that the Zionists' plans do not falter.

And there is one important factor at play: it is one of the Middle East's worst kept secrets that Israel has the nuclear bomb. Iran certainly knows this and it will have a clear deterrent effect.

The result is that Israel might not need to take pre-emptive military action against Iran - if only because Teheran would never use a nuclear weapon against Israel for fear of itself being attacked, and annihilated, by the Jewish state's nuclear arsenal.

Comment: On the other hand, the current situation as described in the last paragraph above provides the perfect opportunity for a good old fashioned false flag operation that can be blamed on Iran. The US doesn't have the manpower to take out Iran, but they could easily help along an Israeli attack in response to a 9/11-type event on Israeli soil.

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UN watchdog calls on Iran to halt nuclear fuel work; Iran says no
August 12, 2005

VIENNA - The UN nuclear watchdog called on Iran to halt nuclear fuel work that has raised fears of atomic weapons development and set off an international crisis, but Tehran dismissed the demand as absurd.

Even though the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) resolution left the door open to more talks and refrained from bringing Iran before the UN Security Council for possible sanctions, Iranian negotiator Cyrus Nasseri said: "Iran will not bend. Iran will be a nuclear fuel producer and supplier within a decade."

The Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said in Tehran that the IAEA resolution was "unacceptable" and a "political resolution adopted under pressure from the United States and its allies."

The resolution by the IAEA's 35-nation board of governors, expressing "serious concern" at Tehran's decision to resume uranium conversion activities, set a September 3 date for a report on Iran's compliance which could lead to a new emergency IAEA meeting and possible referral to the Security Council for sanctions.

US President George W. Bush welcomed the resolution as "a positive first step" and said US strategy was to work with the Europeans "so that the Iranians hear a common voice speaking to them about their nuclear weapons ambitions."

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan called on Iran to halt nuclear fuel work.

"The (IAEA) has spoken with one voice and the secretary general expects its resolution to be implemented."

But China has voiced opposition to taking the crisis to the UN Security Council.

Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Gholamali Khoshroo is currently in Beijing to explain Tehran's position on resuming uranium conversion activities.

China, a nuclear power and one of the Security Council's five permanent veto-wielding members, has made it clear it does not want the issue before the UN body.

"It would not be helpful ... We all want a peaceful solution to the Iranian issue. So I think the best place is the efforts between the EU ( European Union) and (the) Iranians or the IAEA," China's UN ambassador Wang Guangya said this week.

"The council has too many things on the table. Why should we add more?"

Uranium conversion produces a gas that is the feedstock for enriching uranium, which fuels nuclear reactors or is potentially the raw material for atom bombs.

Washington charges that Iran, which hid its nuclear enrichment program for nearly two decades, is secretly developing nuclear weapons.

Comment: In that case, Washington needs to provide proof of their accusations. Otherwise, we are back to the same old game that was played before the invasion of Iraq.

The resolution said Tehran should stop the nuclear fuel cycle work that has raised Western fears that it wants to develop nuclear weapons, a charge it denies.

Iran was urged "to reestablish full suspension of all enrichment-related activities including the production of feed material, including through tests or production at the uranium conversion facility."

The resolution came on the third day of talks at the Vienna-based IAEA and a day after Tehran had raised the stakes in the dispute by removing IAEA seals at a conversion facility in Isfahan, 400 kilometres (250 miles) south of Tehran.

Nasseri said "what is absurd is that a decision is passed here which betrays" the IAEA's "ability to verify that a peaceful facility remains peaceful."

Tehran had voluntarily halted the work at Isfahan in November 2004 as a goodwill gesture to kick-start nuclear negotiations with the EU.

Nasseri said Iran had a right to carry out fuel cycle work for peaceful purposes under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and refused to abandon such activities. Any future talks would have to be on this basis, he said.

IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei said however that he saw a "window of opportunity" for talks since both sides remain willing to negotiate.

Iran had earlier warned that its accord with the European Union would become void if the IAEA adopted the resolution.

Under the accord, Iran agreed to suspend uranium conversion and enrichment fuel cycle work for the duration of negotiations aimed at winning guarantees that its program is purely peaceful, as Tehran maintains, in return for trade, security and technology benefits.

Nasseri told reporters that "operations in Isfahan will continue under full-scope safeguards" and that Iran was fully within its rights.

He said Iran would maintain its suspension of enrichment activity at another facility, in Natanz, "to keep the door open for negotiations."

French representative Philippe Thiebaud told the board however that a total suspension was necessary since the IAEA is still pressing Iran to answer questions about almost two decades of hidden nuclear activities up to 2002.

ElBaradei said the "jury is still out" over whether there are "undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran."

Thiebaud said the Europeans "are willing to continue discussions (with Iran) in the framework of the Paris agreement" but were also ready to consider "any proposals or new ideas" from Iran.

ElBaradei said the two sides were scheduled to meet in Paris at the end of August and "I hope that meeting will go through."

Encouraged by Iran, non-aligned nations at the IAEA had opposed the draft resolution and forced a delay of more than an hour in Thursday's formal board session as intense, closed-door negotiations continued.

In its statement to the board, the Non-Aligned Movement stressed that "all problems should be resolved through dialogue and peaceful means, and in this regard calls on EU-3 and Iran to continue with their dialogue with the view to achieving a mutually long-term agreement in the mandate of the IAEA."

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Israël: au moins 200.000 manifestants anti-retrait à Tel-Aviv
jeudi 11 aout 2005, 23h18

TEL-AVIV (AFP) - Au moins 200.000 manifestants hostiles au retrait de la bande de Gaza se sont massés jeudi soir à Tel-Aviv, et les chefs du camp ultra nationaliste en Israël leur ont donné pour consigne de se mobiliser encore pour empêcher l'évacuation des colonies de Gaza à partir du 17 août.

"Nous serons physiquement là bas, dès lundi, au passage de Kissoufim (entre la bande de Gaza et Israël), et nous nous opposerons sans violence au retrait", a affirmé aux manifestants Bentzi Libermann, le chef du Conseil des colonies de Cisjordanie et Gaza (Yesha).

Il a contesté les estimations de la police et parlé d'au moins 250.000 manifestants rassemblés autour de lui. [...]

Comment: This article explains that there were at least 200,000 people in Tel-Aviv Thursday night protesting the pullout from the Gaza strip. One protestor, the head of the Council of the West Bank and Gaza Colonies, stated that the protestors will peacefully oppose the pullout at Kissoufim starting Monday. He also estimated that the protestors numbered at least 250,000.

More photos can be found here.

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Relatives: Mom's vigil just hurtful

Family of Vacaville woman whose son died in Iraq war criticizes protest as politically motivated
By Robin Miller
August 11, 2005

Family members of Cindy Sheehan, the Vacaville woman camped near President Bush's ranch protesting the war in Iraq, denounced her actions Thursday in an e-mail quickly distributed worldwide by Internet and mainstream media.

Sent to a San Francisco radio station Thursday, the first public acknowledgement of a family rift came from Cherie Quartarolo, sister-in-law to Cindy Sheehan and godmother to her son, Casey, who was killed in action in Iraq last year.

Outside Bush's ranch, more drivers are speeding and blaring horns continuously as they pass the encampment. It has grown to about 100 people, with more expected from across the nation.

On Internet chat rooms and blogs, some organizations and soldiers' relatives are criticizing the protest, saying participants are trying to promote a left-wing agenda and lower troop morale. They say Sheehan does not represent their views on the war.

Reached by phone Thursday, Quartarolo said she consulted with other family members before releasing the brief statement, but she declined to elaborate. She signed the memo on behalf of Casey's paternal grandparents, as well as "aunts, uncles and numerous cousins."

Noting that her family is still mourning the loss of Casey, Quartarolo wrote: "We do not agree with the political motivations and publicity tactics of Cindy Sheehan. She now appears to be promoting her own personal agenda and notoriety at the expense of her son's good name and reputation."

Casey's father, Patrick of Vacaville, was not mentioned. He has acknowledged that he and his wife are separated, but he has avoided the spotlight that surrounds his wife's high-profile protest.

But the family's e-mail said, "The Sheehan family lost our beloved Casey in the Iraq War and we have been silently, respectfully grieving. The rest of the Sheehan family supports the troops, our country and our president, silently, with prayer and respect." Cindy Sheehan did not return calls Thursday.

Casey Sheehan, a 24-year-old Army specialist, was killed in an ambush in Sadr City a week after his arrival in Iraq. His mother since has become a focal point in the partisan battle over the Iraq war, drawing the praise of many anti-war activists and the ire of those who see her as misguided.

On Thursday, President Bush said he understands and respects the views of anti-war advocates like Sheehan, but gave no indication he will meet with her.

Comment: Twice the letter mentions that the Sheehan family is "silently" and "respectfully" grieving. Going public with a letter against Cindy Sheehan isn't exactly silent. Furthermore, is hitting a family member when she is down because you don't agree with her political views a respectful thing to do?

The family also comments that Cindy, "...appears to be promoting her own personal agenda and notoriety at the expense of her son's good name and reputation." To us it seems that Cindy Sheehan is grieving, and her grief has led her to question the official line that is eagerly consumed without question by so many others. If anyone has a personal agenda or is seeking notoriety, it is Cindy's family that has written this letter to make it clear that they are good little Bush supporters. It is difficult to see how aunts, uncles, and grandparents would be in a position to judge what Cindy Sheehan should do to honor her own son's "good name and reputation". Her family couldn't simply keep quiet and allow Sheehan to grieve for her son as she saw fit, perhaps offering their support as necessary; they had to capitalize on her publicity instead. Finally, the family seems to be without consideration or empathy, since their letter has no doubt made Cindy Sheehan feel even more grief, isolation, and stress.

We would like to offer our heartfelt condolences and support to Cindy Sheehan in what is quite obviously a very difficult time in her life on multiple levels.

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An Honor To Stand Up Against War
By Harvey H. Reading

"ICH" -- This is for you who might otherwise be visibly protesting the unjustifiable and immoral war that your government wages on the people of Iraq, and those of the Muslim faith in general. For you who hesitate for fear of being compared with the untruthfully labeled "spitters" and "traitors" who protested the Vietnam war, from its beginnings in 1945 until its end. You should be proud to carry on a great tradition of protest that stretches back to the founding of our country. And, let me tell you, we need a massive, proud, long-lasting reassertion of the peace movement right now ... before the ruling criminals steal every last bit of our freedom.

Those of you who were children during, or born after the Vietnam war have some excuse for falling prey to myth, to the rewriting of history, particularly those of you whose educational opportunities were limited by increased college costs to the brainwashing of our K-12 system. However, those of you who, like me, came of age during the 60's have no excuse for deleting from your memories the truth of what was happening then. Your self-imposed ignorance is in large part responsible for the repetition of history that unfolds in Iraq. Your memory lapse and willingness to support the current crop of ruling criminals, and the criminals who preceded them, are responsible for killing nearly a million Iraqis and two thousand - and climbing - of your own children in our military.

Shame on you! You're falling for the same pack of lies that you were fed 35 years ago. Democracy my foot. The criminals in charge don't give a damn about democracy. They want CONTROL. Just like they did in Vietnam. But, as in Vietnam, they're not going to get it. In their bloody process of reaching that conclusion you, the self-deluded, and the rest of us, are going to have sons and daughters die or be maimed, not for defense of country, but for their lies. Are you delusional fools going to sit idly, again, for another four or more years while your kids and Iraqi civilians keep dying for criminals who should be sitting in the dock of an international war crimes tribunal - they are the ones who dishonor troops and veterans, not the peace movement. It is inconceivable that intelligent people could even consider such a stupid response.

During the Vietnam war, the only spitting was by pro-war types on peace demonstrators. Claims to the contrary are just lies from supporters of that war, like the current one, based entirely on lies. Not a shred of evidence has been found to support the charge that the peace movement of that day (or the present) was spitting on troops. There weren't even rumors. It's just a right-wing myth, much like the myth that encourages people to believe that Vietnam continues to hold U.S. prisoners. These myths were conceived by vile liars whose massive egos were "shamed" by our loss to a people determined to fight to the death against colonialism, first against the French, then against our government. The myths continue, promoted by pathetic, and dangerous, supporters of U.S. dominance over the world. This nonsense must be discarded.

My former, and home state, the great "liberal" enclave called California (which elected Reagan twice as governor, twice as President, and Nixon twice as President) considered a legislative bill in 2003, as the Iraq invasion became imminent. It was approved by the current parody of a governor in August 2003. The new law doubled the penalties for assault and battery (spitting is battery), against victims belonging to U.S. armed forces. The power of a myth. Why did it take over 30 years for such a law to be passed? Simple, assaults on military personnel were NOT EVEN RUMORED during the Vietnam war. The law is simply an example of jingoism, not patriotism, in action. An example of deification of militarism. Just like those meaningless magnets that people plaster on their cars.

Do a little research. Find out what was happening in this country during the mid 60's through the mid 70's. Study our history of dealing with Vietnam from 1945 through the present. Type the following into your favorite Internet search program: spit Vietnam; then start digging, don't stop with the first page that fits into your preconceived notion of reality. You'll learn that Vietnam veterans joined the peace movement in droves and in leadership roles. You'll find that only about three percent of them reported unfriendly homecomings of any sort, and that 75 percent returned opposing the war, all based on surveys taken at the time.

You'll find that the active-duty troops were supportive of the peace movement, that many of them risked courts-martial, prison, and less-than-honorable discharges in the name of peace. You my age may find yourself reacquainted with the word "fragging", with widespread disobedience to orders, with sabotage of naval vessels, particularly aircraft carriers, by crews. You'll have your memory jogged over printing of underground newspapers opposing the war by active duty troops on land and sea. You'll remember that "support the troops" was code for "support the war", then as now, though the preferred hawk bumper sticker was "America, Love It, or Leave It". That's how it was. Not what you younger folks learned in the page or two of high school history covering that war.

You know, every time I hear Cindy Sheehan speak on television, or read something she has written, I break into tears and sobs, uncontrollable. And then, I feel an incredibly deep and abiding anger over what is being done to my country by those in power who murdered her son. For the sake of all those who have lost sons or daughters, and all those who may, for the sake of our own humanity and survival, we must rise up in numbers uncountable, demanding an end to this war NOW, not later. And, we must accept no double-talk or compromise from those who we pay to represent us. It is our patriotic duty.

Harvey H. Reading <> Retired and mad as hell in Shoshoni, WY

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An Open Letter to Cindy Sheehan, Crawford, Texas

May You Prevail, Where Others Have Failed
By Ralph Nader

Dear Ms. Sheehan,

From your grief over the loss of your son, Casey, in Iraq has come the courage to spotlight nationally the cowardly character trait of a President who refuses to meet with anyone or any group critical of his illegal, fabricated, deceptive war and occupation of that ravaged country. As a messianic militarist, Mr. Bush turned aside his own father's major advisers who warned him of the terroristic, political, and diplomatic perils to the United States from an invasion of Iraq. He refused to listen.

Thirteen organizations in early 2003 separately wrote their President requesting a meeting to have him hear them out as to why they opposed his drumbeating, on-the-road-to war policies. These groups represented millions of Americans. They included church leaders, veterans, business, labor, retired intelligence officials, students, women and others. They are among those Americans who are not allowed through the carefully screened public audiences that are bused to arenas around the country to hear his repetitive slogans for carrying on this draining, boomeranging war. They each wrote President Bush but he never bothered even to acknowledge their letters simply to say no to the requested meetings. Not even the courtesy of a reply came from their White House.

Ever since then it has been the same-exclusion, denial, contempt and arrogance for views counter to that of Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney and the tight circle around them that composes the inner tin ear of this Administration. Why, they even refuse to listen to objections by their own government's military lawyers (JAG) over repeated violations of due process of law. When will he realize that he is supposed to be the President of all the people, not just those misled into supporting his Iraq maneuvers?

Perhaps the breakthrough will begin this hot August in Crawford, Texas, with the devastating loss of a beloved child transformed into a mission for the soul of our country. This rogue regime, led by two draft-dodgers and officially counseled by similar pro-war evaders during the Vietnam War, is not "our country." Millions of Americans, including military and public servants in his Administration, and many in the retired military, diplomatic and intelligence services, opposed this war, still oppose it and do not equate George W. Bush and Dick Cheney with the United States of America.

Our flag stands for "liberty and justice for all." Our flag must never be misused or defiled as a bandanna for war crimes, as a gag against the people's freedom of speech and conscience or as a fig leaf to hide the shame of charlatans in high public office, who violate our Constitution, our laws and our founding fathers' framework for accountable, responsive government.

You will be goaded to cross the semantic line against a President who himself has crossed the much graver constitutional line that has cost so many lives on both sides and continues to cost and cost our country in so many ways domestically and before the world. Neglecting America for the Iraq war has become the widening downward path trod by the Bush government.

Authenticity, bereft of contrivances, is what must confront this White House Misleader. And authenticity is what you are and what drives you as you demand to see this resistant President. He is on an intermittent month long vacation, with spells for fundraisers and other insulated events. His schedule provides ample time for such a meeting. You reflect the hopes and prayers of millions of like-minded Americans.

Should he relent and opens his doors, be sure to ask why he low-balls U.S. casualties in Iraq, deleting and disrespecting soldiers seriously hurt or sickened in the Iraq war theater, but not in direct combat. Remind him of those soldiers back in military hospitals who, with their families, wonder why they are not being counted as they cope with their serious and permanent disabilities. (60 Minutes, CBS program).

Ask him why, despite Pentagon audits and GAO investigations about corruption, waste and non-delivery of services in Iraq by profiteering large corporations totaling billions of dollars, this Commander of Chief accepted campaign contributions from their executives and proceeds to let this giant corporate robbery continue without the requisite law and order?

Consider bringing to him a copy of President Dwight Eisenhower's famous "Cross of Iron" speech, delivered in April 1953 before the nation's newspaper editors in Washington, D.C. And add statements by Marine General Anthony Zinni (ret.), a Middle East specialist who strongly criticized the Bush-Cheney war policy before and after March 2003.

May you and your associates succeed in galvanizing the public debate in this country over why a growing majority of Americans now think it was a costly mistake to invade Iraq and want our soldiers back, with the U.S. out of that country. He knows that his support for how he is handling this war-occupation is falling close to one third of respondents in recent polls-the lowest yet. Even with the mass-media at his disposal everyday, he now represents a minority of public opinion, which should give him pause before closing his oil marinated doors on majority views in this nation.

May you prevail where others have failed to secure an audience with Mr. Bush.


Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate and former presidential candidate. You can comment on this letter on his blogspot at DemocracyRising.US.

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An Essay on President Bush and Death
An essay by E.L Doctorow

(Edgar Lawrence Doctorow occupies a central position in the history of American literature. He is generally considered to be among the most talented, ambitious, and admired novelists of the second half of thetwentieth century. Doctorow has received the National Book Award, two National Book Critics Circle Awards, the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Edith Wharton Citation for Fiction, the William Dean Howell Medal of theAmerican Academy of Arts and Letters, and the residentially conferred National Humanities Medal.)

I fault this president (George W. Bush) for not knowing what death is. He does not suffer the death of our twenty-one year olds who wanted to be what they could be.

On the eve of D-day in 1944 General Eisenhower prayed to God for the lives of the young soldiers he knew were going to die. He knew what death was. Even in a justifiable war, a war not of choice but of necessity, a war of survival, the cost was almost more than Eisenhower could bear. But this president does not know what death is. He hasn't the mind for it. You see him joking with the press, peering under the table for the WMDs he can't seem to find, you see him at rallies strutting up to the stage in shirt sleeves to the roar of the carefully screened crowd, smiling and waving, triumphal, a he- man. He does not mourn. He doesn't understand why he should mourn. He is satisfied during the course of a speech written for him to look solemn for a moment and speak of the brave young Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. But you study him, you look into his eyes and know he dissembles an emotion which he does not feel in the depths of his being because he has no capacity for it. He does not feel a personal responsibility for the thousand dead young men and women who wanted to be what they could be.

They come to his desk not as youngsters with mothers and fathers or wives and children who will suffer to the end of their days a terribly torn fabric of familial relationships and the inconsolable remembrance of aborted life.... They come to his desk as a political liability which is why the press is not permitted to photograph the arrival of their coffins from Iraq.

How then can he mourn? To mourn is to express regret and he regrets nothing. He does not regret that his reason for going to war was, as he knew, unsubstantiated by the facts. He does not regret that his bungled plan for the war's aftermath has made of his mission- accomplished a disaster. He does not regret that rather than controlling terrorism his war in Iraq has licensed it. So he never mourns for the dead and crippled youngsters who have fought this war of his choice. He wanted to go to war and he did. He had not the mind to perceive the costs of war, or to listen to those who knew those costs. He did not understand that you do not go to war when it is one of the options, but when it is the only option; you go not because you want to but because you have to.

This president knew it would be difficult for Americans not to cheer the overthrow of a foreign dictator. He knew that much. This president and his supporters would seem to have a mind for only one thing --- to take power, to remain in power, and to use that power for the sake of themselves and their friends. A war will do that as well as anything. You become a wartime leader. The country gets behind you. Dissent becomes inappropriate. And so he does not drop to his knees, he is not contrite, he does not sit in the church with the grieving parents and wives and children.

He is the President who does not feel. He does not feel for the families of the dead; he does not feel for the thirty five million of us who live in poverty; he does not feel for the forty percent who cannot afford health insurance; he does not feel for the miners whose lungs are turningblack or for the working people he has deprived of the chance to work overtime at time-and-a-half to pay their bills --- it is amazing for how many people in this country this President does not feel.

But he will dissemble feeling. He will say in all sincerity he is relieving the wealthiest one percent of the population of their tax burden for the sake of the rest of us, and that he is polluting the air we breathe for he sake of our economy, and that he is decreasing the safety regulations for coal mines to save the coal miners' jobs, and that he is depriving workers of their time-and-a- half benefits for overtime because this is actually a way to honor them by raising them into the professional class.

And this litany of lies he will versify with reverences for God and the flag and democracy, when just what he and his party are doing to our democracy is choking the life out of it.

But there is one more terribly sad thing about all of this. I remember the millions of people here and around the world who marched against the war. It was extraordinary, that spontaneously aroused over soul of alarm and protest that transcended national borders. Why did it happen? After all, this was not the only war anyone had ever seen coming. There are little wars all over the world most of the time. But the cry of protest was the appalled understanding of millions of people that America was ceding its role as the last best hope of mankind. It was their perception that the classic archetype of democracy was morphing into a rogue n! ation. The greatest democratic republic in history was turning its back on the future, using its extraordinary power and standing not to advance the ideal of a concordance of civilizations but to endorse the kind of tribal combat that originated with the Neanderthals, a people, now extinct, who could imagine ensuring their survival by no other means than pre- emptive war.

The president we get is the country we get. With each president the nation is conformed spiritually. He is the artificer of our malleable national soul. He proposes not only the laws but the kinds of lawlessness that govern our lives and invoke our responses. The people he appoints are cast in his image. The trouble they get into and get us into, is his characteristic trouble.

Finally the media amplify his character into our moral weather report. He becomes the face of our sky, the conditions that prevail: How can we sustain ourselves as the United States of America given the stupid and ineffective war-making, the constitutionally insensitive lawgiving, and the monarchal economics of this president? He cannot mourn but is a figure of such moral vacancy as to make us mourn for ourselves.

E.L. Doctorow

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Man Arrested at Okla. Airport With Device
Associated Press
Thu Aug 11,11:29 PM ET

OKLAHOMA CITY - Federal agents arrested a college student after finding a small explosive device in his baggage as he passed through an airport security checkpoint.

Officials have found no apparent connection between University of Oklahoma student Charles Alfred Dreyling Jr. and any terrorist group or activity, said Agent Gary Johnson, an FBI spokesman.

Dreyling, 24, was released on $10,000 bail Thursday after appearing in federal court. He faces a federal charge of trying to get on an aircraft with an explosive device. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Dreyling was going through the security checkpoint at Will Rogers World Airport on Wednesday when a Transportation Security Administration employee noticed something suspicious in his bag on the X-ray machine, Johnson said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Bob Troester described the device as a carbon-dioxide cartridge with a black-powder detonator.

But Dreyling's landlord, former Oklahoma City Mayor Kirk Humphreys, said he had created a "glorified firecracker" and forgot it was in his luggage.

"I know Charlie Dreyling quite well," Humphreys said. "I appreciate what the authorities are doing making our airlines safe. I have every confidence that they'll find out Charlie Dreyling is a fine young man and no terrorist."

Dreyling had planned to take a Delta flight to Philadelphia through Atlanta, airport spokeswoman Karen Carney said. The arrest did not disrupt any flights, Carney said.

Dreyling told authorities he built the device for entertainment value, never intending to hurt anyone and forgot that it was in his carryon bag when he brought it to the airport, according to an affidavit.

Comment: On the August 10, 2005 Signs page, we ran the Associated Press story entitled 'Lone Wolf' Attackers a Security Concern". As if on cue, today we have a potential "lone wolf terrorist" arrested in Oklahoma City...

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FBI Warns Police of Possible Terror Attack
Associated Press
Thu Aug 11, 11:27 PM ET

LOS ANGELES - The FBI has warned police that al-Qaida cells might use fuel trucks as weapons to attack Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, but officials stressed Thursday the warning was based on uncorroborated intelligence.

The warning was distributed Tuesday via a computer network by FBI officials in Los Angeles to law enforcement agencies primarily in California, said FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller.

Though intelligence bulletins usually describe how reliable the information is, this one carried no such statement.

The bulletin warned police that terrorists could use fuel tankers in assaults on the three cities. The warning has not been substantiated, according to two law enforcement officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

The intelligence originated from FBI headquarters in Washington. It was not immediately clear why the bulletin was sent without details on its reliability.

Eimiller noted that FBI officials often notify police of possible threats, regardless of how accurate the information might be.

"Information at all levels is shared with law enforcement," she said.

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Britain signals new anti-terrorism law drive
Fri Aug 12,12:08 AM ET

LONDON - Britain said on Friday as part of an anti-terrorism drive it may reform laws to force judges to give equal weight to national security as well as human rights in the cases of foreign nationals facing deportation.

Lord Falconer, head of Britain's judiciary and a minister in Prime Minister Tony Blair's Labour government, said he defended the human rights role of judges and would seek an amendment to the law only if his hand were forced.

Britain's courts have previously thwarted expulsion measures because the European Convention on Human Rights says deportees must be protected from torture or other mistreatment.

Falconer said in an interview with the Guardian newspaper "things changed" after four bombers killed 52 people in London on July 7 and that the law must reflect this position.

"What I am talking about is a bill which says this is the correct interpretation of the Human Rights Act," said Falconer.

"All law operates on the basis that if the facts change, then the law changes -- and the law is going to change."

He said the amended law would set out how to weigh the rights of national security with the right of a deportee to be free from torture or ill-treatment.

But human rights groups warned against what they called turning a blind eye to torture.

Blair has been under domestic pressure to act against foreign nationals who condone or incite terrorism after the July 7 bombings and another wave of attacks on July 21.

He told a news conference earlier this month he would seek powers to expel militants.

The government says it will obtain signed assurances from the home countries of the foreign nationals that they will not abuse those deported. But human rights groups have rejected the assurances as worthless.

Britain detained 10 people on Thursday, including the alleged spiritual leader of al Qaeda in Europe, saying they were a threat to national security and would be deported.

Lawyer Gareth Peirce, who represents seven of those held, said Blair's plans were "insane and dangerous government at its worst."

"The prime minister is wrong," she said. "The rules of the game have not changed. The rules ... cannot be changed for the purposes of political grandstanding."

Falconer played down suggestions the government was seeking to erode human rights or was locked in a battle with the judiciary over its proposed new powers.

"People are saying it is the judges on behalf of civil liberties against the executive who are determined to clamp down on terrorism," he said. "We have got to get the right balance and ultimately where the balance lies is a matter for parliament."

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Oil at record streak on US economy, Iran
By Felicia Loo
August 12, 2005

SINGAPORE - Oil prices hit a fifth consecutive record high on Friday, topping $66 a barrel as robust U.S. economic growth keeps refiners straining to meet demand and friction over
Iran's nuclear program jangles nerves.

U.S. light sweet crude for September delivery charged to an all-time high of $66.13 a barrel, up 33 cents in early European trade.

London Brent crude also set another record at $65.88.

"Demand is outstripping supply and this is the bullet point of the problem. The U.S. refinery snags are adding fuel to the flames. Certainly, in the long term, prices will head higher," said John Brady, energy broker at ABN AMRO in New York. [...]

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Latest police weapons: electric bullets and lights
Thu Aug 11, 4:01 PM ET

LONDON - Quick-footed criminals hoping to avoid the debilitating shock of a police stun gun could soon be facing a more exacting foe -- the electric bullet.

Stun guns, like the Taser, fire small spears joined to the hand piece with wires. The spears discharge an electric shock and incapacitate the target, but such weapons have a limited range of up to about 10 metres (30 feet).

The United States Department of Homeland Security is seeking alternatives with broader uses like light lasers or guns firing electric bullets to combat all manner of felon.

"People encountered can range from aggressors who are hardened criminals to mentally disturbed teenagers ... from protesting crowds that include children and elderly, to street gangs," the Homeland Security Department, which is soliciting prototypes from industry, said on its Web site.

According to the New Scientist magazine, several companies have put forward ideas, including the Piezer -- which can be fired from a 12-gauge shotgun up to 50 metres, shocking and stunning whoever it hits.

Another firm has suggested a dazzler which disorientates crowds with a series of bright lights.

Comment: Wasn't the Department of Homeland Security supposed to protect Americans from terrorists? What do terrorists have to do with mentally disturbed teenagers or protesting crowds that include children and the elderly?? It sounds like the DHS expects to be having to battle and control mobs of ordinary civilians in the near future...

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Polish president calls on Putin to stop attacks on Poles in Moscow
August 12, 2005

WARSAW - Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski called on Russia to take decisive steps to find and punish those responsible for a series of attacks on Poles in Moscow, including two embassy staff members.

"In my capacity as president of the Polish republic I address to the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin an appeal calling on the Russian authorities to undertake energetic action to identify and punish the organisers and perpetrators of the assaults," he said in a statement.

An employee with the Polish embassy in Moscow was hospitalised in serious condition Monday after being beaten the previous day in broad daylight near the embassy by two unidentified men who asked him for a cigarette.

On Wednesday, a Polish diplomat was beaten up, also near the embassy, and the following day the Moscow correspondent for the Polish daily Rzeczpospolita was attacked and beaten by a group of men near his home in the city center.

Meanwhile, police in Poland said Friday they have arrested and charged two men in connection with the mugging of three teenage children of Russian diplomats and their Kazakh friend on July 31, which is believed to have sparked the attacks on the Polish nationals in Moscow.

"Two men were arrested and are being held in jail provisionally. They have been charged with possessing stolen goods after objects belonging to the victims of the attack were found on them," a spokesman for the police in Warsaw, Mariusz Sokolowski, told AFP.

The attack on the Russian teens in a Warsaw park brought an irate reaction from the authorities in Moscow, with Putin calling it an "unfriendly act."

Moscow demanded an official apology from Warsaw, but the Polish authorities described the mugging as a common criminal incident and called the Russian reaction excessive.

Kwasniewski said in his statement Friday that he was "deeply disturbed by the successive acts of violence directed against Polish citizens in the Russian capital.

"I share the growing indignation among the Polish people," he said, breaking his previous silence on the issue.

He called on the Russian authorities "to ensure the safety of all Polish citizens residing on Russian soil".

Polish Ambassador to Moscow Stefan Meller on Thursday delivered a note of protest to the Russian foreign ministry over the assault the previous day on the second diplomat.

He has advised staff not to go out alone and only to do so if necessary.

Poland's foreign minister has warned that relations with Russia were getting "worse and worse" as the attacks continued.

"There are too many cases in Russia for us not to demand a response this time," Foreign Minister Adam Rotfeld said Wednesday, following the attack on the second Polish diplomat.

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Weather balloons' 1970s design caused climate spat
August 12, 2005

WASHINGTON - A dispute over whether global warming is really happening may have been caused by the placement of sensors on weather balloons when studies were done in the 1970s, researchers said on Thursday.

Very few scientists now dispute that the Earth's temperature is rising, and that this is caused by human activity, including burning fossil fuels such as coal and oil.

But there have been some discrepancies that have troubled experts. For instance, some measurements show that atmospheric temperatures have been unchanged since the 1970s, while temperatures at the Earth's surface are rising.

"Even though models predict a close link between atmospheric and surface temperatures, there has been a large difference in the actual measurements," said Steven Sherwood, an associate professor of geology and geophysics at Yale University in Connecticut, who led the study.

"This has muddied the interpretation of reported warming."

Working with a team at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Sherwood and colleagues said they found the key to the differences lay in where the sensors were placed on equipment.

With exposed sensors used in earlier designs, measurements taken in daylight read too warm. Later equipment reduced this effect.

"It's like being outside on a hot day -- it feels hotter when you are standing in the direct sun than when you are standing in the shade," Sherwood said in a statement.

"We can't hang our hats on the old balloon numbers."

Writing in the journal Science, Sherwood and colleagues said this helps explain why temperatures in the troposphere -- the lower atmosphere -- appear not to have risen.

After taking this problem into account, they estimate there has been an increase of 0.2 degree Celsius (0.36 degree F) in the average global temperature per decade for the last thirty years.

"Unfortunately, the warming is in an accelerating trend -- the climate has not yet caught up with what we've already put into the atmosphere," Sherwood said. "There are steps we should take, but it seems that shaking people out of complacency will take a strong incentive."

Two other papers published in Science support this conclusion.

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Drought dries up much of France
Aug 11, 2005

PARIS - More than two-thirds of France is suffering from a drought that has forced authorities to limit the use of water for agriculture and led to regional bans on filling pools, washing cars or running garden sprinklers, the ecology ministry said Thursday.

Conditions were "severe" in areas in western France, the ministry said, adding that further restrictions may follow if no rain relief comes.

A national drought crisis committee of weather exerts, consumer and farming grous and government officials met Thursday to take stock of the situation.

The ecology ministry said in a statement that a study of water use over the last 60 years showed that rainfall had been largely
inadequate to meet demand in most of the country, with only the central eastern art of France -- which benefits from Aline runoff -- being spared.

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Warming hits 'tipping point'
Ian Sample, science correspondent
The Guardian
Thursday August 11, 2005

Siberia feels the heat: It's a frozen peat bog the size of France and Germany combined, contains billions of tonnes of greenhouse gas and, for the first time since the ice age, it is melting

A vast expanse of western Sibera is undergoing an unprecedented thaw that could dramatically increase the rate of global warming, climate scientists warn today.

Researchers who have recently returned from the region found that an area of permafrost spanning a million square kilometres - the size of France and Germany combined - has started to melt for the first time since it formed 11,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age.

The area, which covers the entire sub-Arctic region of western Siberia, is the world's largest frozen peat bog and scientists fear that as it thaws, it will release billions of tonnes of methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere.

It is a scenario climate scientists have feared since first identifying "tipping points" - delicate thresholds where a slight rise in the Earth's temperature can cause a dramatic change in the environment that itself triggers a far greater increase in global temperatures.

The discovery was made by Sergei Kirpotin at Tomsk State University in western Siberia and Judith Marquand at Oxford University and is reported in New Scientist today.

The researchers found that what was until recently a barren expanse of frozen peat is turning into a broken landscape of mud and lakes, some more than a kilometre across.

Dr Kirpotin told the magazine the situation was an "ecological landslide that is probably irreversible and is undoubtedly connected to climatic warming". He added that the thaw had probably begun in the past three or four years.

Climate scientists yesterday reacted with alarm to the finding, and warned that predictions of future global temperatures would have to be revised upwards.

"When you start messing around with these natural systems, you can end up in situations where it's unstoppable. There are no brakes you can apply," said David Viner, a senior scientist at the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.

"This is a big deal because you can't put the permafrost back once it's gone. The causal effect is human activity and it will ramp up temperatures even more than our emissions are doing."

In its last major report in 2001, the intergovernmental panel on climate change predicted a rise in global temperatures of 1.4C-5.8C between 1990 and 2100, but the estimate only takes account of global warming driven by known greenhouse gas emissions.

"These positive feedbacks with landmasses weren't known about then. They had no idea how much they would add to global warming," said Dr Viner.

Western Siberia is heating up faster than anywhere else in the world, having experienced a rise of some 3C in the past 40 years. Scientists are particularly concerned about the permafrost, because as it thaws, it reveals bare ground which warms up more quickly than ice and snow, and so accelerates the rate at which the permafrost thaws.

Siberia's peat bogs have been producing methane since they formed at the end of the last ice age, but most of the gas had been trapped in the permafrost. According to Larry Smith, a hydrologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, the west Siberian peat bog could hold some 70bn tonnes of methane, a quarter of all of the methane stored in the ground around the world.

The permafrost is likely to take many decades at least to thaw, so the methane locked within it will not be released into the atmosphere in one burst, said Stephen Sitch, a climate scientist at the Met Office's Hadley Centre in Exeter.

But calculations by Dr Sitch and his colleagues show that even if methane seeped from the permafrost over the next 100 years, it would add around 700m tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere each year, roughly the same amount that is released annually from the world's wetlands and agriculture.

It would effectively double atmospheric levels of the gas, leading to a 10% to 25% increase in global warming, he said.

Tony Juniper, director of Friends of the Earth, said the finding was a stark message to politicians to take concerted action on climate change. "We knew at some point we'd get these feedbacks happening that exacerbate global warming, but this could lead to a massive injection of greenhouse gases.

"If we don't take action very soon, we could unleash runaway global warming that will be beyond our control and it will lead to social, economic and environmental devastation worldwide," he said. "There's still time to take action, but not much.

"The assumption has been that we wouldn't see these kinds of changes until the world is a little warmer, but this suggests we're running out of time."

In May this year, another group of researchers reported signs that global warming was damaging the permafrost. Katey Walter of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, told a meeting of the Arctic Research Consortium of the US that her team had found methane hotspots in eastern Siberia. At the hotspots, methane was bubbling to the surface of the permafrost so quickly that it was preventing the surface from freezing over. [...]

Comment: " will lead to social, economic, and environmental devastation worldwide." So what are our governments doing to prepare for the coming cataclysmic changes? Why, they're rewriting all the laws so that they will have dictatorial control over all of us when things get really rough. Oh, and they built some underground bunkers for themselves...

Many psychopathic leaders no doubt view the coming changes as an opportunity to empower and enrich themselves at the expense of the rest of us. You can't really blame them, though. After all, someone needs to maintain the status quo through the coming turmoil, right?

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Gulf of Mexico mystery
Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Scientists are worried Siratti Sam could also become a casualty.
About 20 dead sea turtles have washed ashore in Pinellas County in the past three days, an extremely high number that has doctors and scientists puzzled.

One of the two survivors that's being kept at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a large, loggerhead turtle named Siratti Sam.

"I still don't know if he'll make it," said Dr. Janine Cianciolo. "It's little movements. Yesterday, he wasn't moving at all. [He's] still not in water because he's not keeping his head above water for long enough periods of time."

It's not clear why the various kinds of sea turtles are washing ashore.

"It may or may not be associated with red tide," said Cianciolo. "They tend to show symptoms of what's called a red tide intoxication, but you have to take a lot of samples and they must go through testing to actually determine that."

Dive instructor Michael Miller took underwater video to try to figure out the mystery.

"Right now, anywhere we go from shore to 20 miles offshore, from Sarasota to Tarpon Springs, we can't find a single creature alive on the bottom right now," said Miller.

Miller says he's never seen such death and devastation under water in his 20 years of diving.

"All the coral, all the sponges, all the crabs, not a single living thing, all the star fish, the brittle stars, everything's dead," said Miller.

The sea turtles that died are being preserved with ice at the aquarium, where a necropsy will be performed in hopes it will provide some clues as to what's lurking in the waters of the gulf.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission scientists will ultimately decide whether red tide is causing the sea turtles to die. The results from the test could take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks.

If you see a dead or injured sea turtle, call the 24-hour stranded sea turtle hotline at 727-441-1790. You'll be asked to leave a message with a phone number so rescuers can respond to the appropriate location.

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2005 August 12 09:14:06 UTC

A light earthquake occurred at 09:14:06 (UTC) on Friday, August 12, 2005. The magnitude 4.8 event has been located in the KOMANDORSKIYE OSTROVA, RUSSIA REGION.

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2005 August 12 05:00:44 UTC

A light earthquake occurred at 05:00:44 (UTC) on Friday, August 12, 2005. The magnitude 4.2 event has been located in the ANDREANOF ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN IS., ALASKA. The hypocentral depth was estimated to be 177 km (110 miles).

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2005 August 12 00:51:24 UTC

A light earthquake occurred at 00:51:24 (UTC) on Friday, August 12, 2005. The magnitude 4.3 event has been located SOUTH OF THE FIJI ISLANDS.

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And Finally...

Bloodied Arielle Sharon Bandage for Sale on eBay
August 8, 2005

Maj. Gen. Ariel Sharon, right, views a map together with Maj. Gen. Haim Bar-Lev in the Sinai desert, in this Oct. 10, 1973 file photo, during the 1973 Middle East War. One of the bloodstained bandages that wrapped Ariel Sharon's head after he was injured in fighting during the 1973 Middle East War has been offered for sale on e-Bay with the bidding starting at US$10,000 (8,070). By Monday Aug. 8, 2005, after more than two days on the site, no one had bid on the bandage.
(AP Photo/Israel Government Press Office/HO)

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