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"You get America out of Iraq and Israel out of Palestine and you'll stop the terrorism." - Cindy Sheehan
P I C T U R E   O F  T H E  D A Y

Dec. 14 2005
President George W. Bush accepted responsibility for taking the U.S. to war in Iraq based on faulty intelligence while saying the invasion still was justified by the threat posed by Saddam Hussein and international terrorism.

"It is true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong," Bush said today in the final speech in a series intended to outline his Iraq strategy. "Given Saddam's history and the lessons of September the 11th, my decision to remove Saddam Hussein was the right decision."

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Comment: No mention of the fact that the intelligence was not just "wrong," but was deliberately "cooked" to justify going to war. No mention of the fact that these LIES were used to justify the killing of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis and thousands of U.S. soldiers, and coalition soldiers.

In an intervew with NBC anchor Brian Williams, Bush said: "Whether or not it needed to happen, I'm still convinced it needed to happen." The Bubble Boy can even contradict himself and not notice. [Maureen Dowd]

By Maureen Dowd
14 Dec 2005
New York Times
Never ask a guy who's in a bubble if he's in a bubble. He can't answer.

'Cause he's in a bubble.

But the NBC anchor Brian Williams gamely gave it a shot, showing the president the Newsweek cover picturing him trapped in a bubble.

"This says you're in a bubble," Brian told W. "You have a very small circle of advisers now. Is that true? Do you feel in a bubble?"

"No, I don't feel in a bubble," Bubble Boy replied, unable to see the bubble because he's in it. "I feel like I'm getting really good advice from very capable people and that people from all walks of life have informed me and informed those who advise me." He added, "I'm very aware of what's going on."

He swiftly contradicted himself by admitting that "this is the first time I'm seeing this magazine" - his version of his dad's Newsweek "Wimp Factor" cover - and that he doesn't read newsmagazines. ...

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Associated Press Writer
December 15, 2005
WASHINGTON - President Bush said Wednesday the responsibility for invading Iraq based in part on faulty weapons intelligence rested solely with him, taking on the issue in his most direct and personal terms in the 1,000-plus days since the war's first shots.

"It is true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong," Bush said. "As president, I'm responsible for the decision to go into Iraq."

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Comment: Translation: "Sure, the 'intelligence' was dead wrong, but it doesn't matter now. I'm going to pretend to admit responsibility for the situation because I know that many Americans will pity me and believe that since I have admitted mistakes, I'm just a normal guy like them. Then my pals in Washington will pounce on anyone who criticises me further by saying that my 'admission of guilt' proves that I'm a swell guy, and my attackers are heartless psychopaths."

by Sheldon Richman
12 Dec 2005
It’s a measure of the imperial nature of the modern American presidency that George W. Bush misstates the truth even as he defends himself against the charge that he misstates the truth.

It takes extraordinary disrespect for the American people to look them in the eyes and say that Congress had seen the same intelligence about Saddam Hussein’s nonexistent weapons of mass destruction as he did, and that a Senate committee had cleared his administration of twisting the WMD intelligence to serve its Iraq war agenda.

Neither of these claims is true, as many have pointed out.

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14 Dec 2005
WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon is in the early stages of drafting a wartime request for up to $100 billion more for Iraq and Afghanistan, lawmakers say, a figure that would push spending related to the wars toward a staggering half-trillion dollars.

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Comment: Taxpayers in the US will pay $251.0 billion for the cost of war in Iraq. For the same amount of money, 147,677,463 Children Could Have Received Free Health Care.

December 13, 2005
AP Diplomatic Writer
UK Guardian
The world has shirked its duty to help prosecute Saddam Hussein, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Tuesday.

``The international community's effective boycott of Saddam's trial is only harming the Iraqi people, who are now working to secure the hope of justice and freedom that Saddam long denied them,'' Rice said.

The top U.S. diplomat also predicted that the Iraqi elections this week would yield the most democratic government ``in the entire Middle East.'' She did not mention the long-standing democracy in Israel.

The Bush administration has a lot riding on Thursday's parliamentary elections, which will establish Iraq's first permanent democratically elected government. If the voting goes well, it will provide a political pivot point for eventual withdrawal of U.S. forces.

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Comment: How much you want to bet that if an international court did offer to take over the trial, Rice would find 50 reasons why that wouldn't work. After all, then we could all get the goods on how SoDamn was supported - even "created" - by U.S. double dealing.

December 15, 2005
UK Guardian
Italy's defense minister said Thursday the country will pull 300 more troops out of Iraq in January, continuing a gradual withdrawal begun earlier this year.

Antonio Martino said the reduction would bring Italian troop levels in Iraq to 2,600, in comments confirmed by his ministry.

The reduction follows the pullout of an initial batch of around 10 percent, or about 300 troops, in September, Martino said.

Premier Silvio Berlusconi, a strong U.S. ally, defied strong domestic opposition and sent about 3,000 troops to Iraq to help rebuild the country after the ouster of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Berlusconi's government has said any withdrawal would depend on the security situation in Iraq and be made in agreement with coalition allies and with the Iraqi government.

Martino reiterated this position during talks with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld in Washington last month.

Following the visit, the Defense Ministry said the ``gradual withdrawal of the soldiers will not amount to an Italian abandonment of the commitments made with the allies and the Iraqi government.''

By Colin Brown, Nigel Morris and Stephen Castle in Brussels
14 December 2005
UK Independent
Tony Blair and Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, were under pressure last night to refute convincingly claims that Britain has been complicit in alleged use of CIA planes to take suspected terrorists for torture in secret camps abroad.

Sir Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat deputy leader, has accused the Government of conducting a "hear no evil, see no evil" policy on renditions, after repeated denials that Britain is colluding in transporting prisoners to countries where torture is reputedly widespread. But there are signs that the Government's attempt to keep free of the controversy are becoming untenable, amid calls from MPs, human rights groups and European bodies for an in-depth investigation.

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Comment: Straw sez "Unless we all start to believe in conspiracy theories and that the officials are lying, I'm lying and that behind this there is some kind of secret state in league with some dark forces in the US, and we believe Secretary [of State Condoleezza] Rice is lying, there is simply no truth in claims that the UK has been involved in rendition."

Well, that's EXACTLY it, Mr. Straw!

It is so entertaining to see psychopaths behave true to form: to speak the truth brazenly as if it were a lie!

14 Dec 2005
Der Spiegel
Hamburg - In it's latest issue, the magazine reports that there are indications that the Americans are using the Intelligence Camp near the town of Kiejkuty as their base.

According to information from a high ranking Polish intelligence officer from Kiejkuty, a number of Americans have lived for several months on the premises during the past five or six years. At that time, an area of about 3 kilometers (2 miles) long and 1.5 kilometers wide was even cordoned off for an isolated area within the camp: a 100 meter long, ca. 50 meter wide, surrounded by barbed wire and a three meter high wall.

Regular polish secret service employees, unlike the Americans, had no access to this area. American cars with tinted glass windows parked on the camp grounds, the same type of cars that had previously been described to "Stern" by employees at the Szymany airport as having always driven out to the CIA airplanes that waited at the end of the Szymany Airport runway with engines running.

The secret service camp Kiejkuty is about 10 kilometers from the Szymany airport in Northeast Poland. In 1968 the Soviet army planned the quashing of the "Prague Spring" at this camp.

By A.C. Thompson and Trevor Paglen
San Francisco Bay Guardian
Dec 14 - 20, 2005
THIS IS A story about an airplane, a Boeing 737 passenger jet.

This is also a story about torture, the war on terrorism, and the Central Intelligence Agency's practice of quietly snatching suspected terrorists and transporting them to dungeons in far-off lands, where, allegedly, they're detained indefinitely – without charges in any court of law in any country – drugged, beaten, threatened, and interrogated. –These two narrative threads, as you've probably guessed by now, are interwoven. A growing body of evidence suggests the plane you're about to read about is used by CIA agents to shuttle prisoners to clandestine jails around the world. And new clues, revealed here for the first time, link this airliner to a small office in Reno, Nev. – and to one of the biggest figures in Nevada politics.

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Simon Carr
14 December 2005
UK Independent
"Unless we all start to believe in conspiracy theories; that I'm lying, that officials are lying, that Condoleezza Rice is lying..." Our Foreign Secretary smiled urbanely at the committee (it smiled back, I fear).

He was referring to the reports of "extraordinary rendition"; that terror suspects have been flown from one country to another. This is against the law, when the Americans believe there is "substantial grounds for risk" that the suspects will be tortured during the subsequent interrogation.

The idea that our politicians routinely lie is preposterous, I agree. We found out over the Iraq war and its build-up that politicians simply don't lie. It's rather shocking to see it written down like that, is it not? Of course, how they manage to tell us the opposite of the truth is a miracle of linguistics.

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Dec. 14, 2005
ABC News
Strength of Iraqi Forces Promoted by Influential P.R. Firm, Document Shows

ABC News has obtained a strategy document called "The Making of Heroes: Lincoln Group and the Fight for Fallujah" — part of the Pentagon's multi-million dollar public relations campaign to sell the American war effort to the Iraqis.

Comment: Just to clarify: "sell the American war effort to the Iraqis" means "lie to the Iraqi people about what the US military is doing in Iraq".

The Lincoln Group is the influential Washington D.C. public relations firm, which produced positive news stories that the U.S. government paid Iraqi publishers and journalists to print.

Comment: Again, to clarify: The US government paid a Washington PR firm to pay Iraqi publishers and journalists to lie to the Iraqi people about what the US military is doing in Iraq.

A PowerPoint presentation shows how the Lincoln Group sells an idea the U.S. government wants promoted — in this case, according to the document, the capability of Iraqi forces.

A small number of Iraqi forces were with the U.S. troops in Fallujah in November of 2004, but some Marines and reporters said the Iraqis were only minimally involved.

But under the heading "The Concept," the document shows, the Lincoln Group seeks to promote "the strength, integrity and reliability of Iraqi Forces during the fight for Fallujah."

Comment: For the sake of clarity. The PR firm that the Bush administration hired to lie to the Iraqi people about the state of the Iraqi police force did just that.

Under the heading "Rumor Control," according to the document, the Lincoln Group strives to dispel the notion that the war is "America's fight" or that Iraqi forces were defecting.

"It's a little strange to see because even the Pentagon's own estimates and the administration's own estimates of the state of the Iraqi forces in 2004 when these fights for Fallujah occurred were never very glowing," said Michael O'Hanlon, senior fellow in foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution.

Comment: To clarify: It's not "a little strange" that the Bush government paid a PR firm to lie to the Iraqi people, they do it all the time back home in the U.S.

The Lincoln Group said it could not provide a comment about this report under the terms of the Pentagon contract.

Comment: Indeed, what self-respecting PR firm is going to admit that they were paid by the US government to lie to people?

By Stephen Castle in Brussels and Tony Paterson in Berlin
15 December 2005
MEPs are today expected to launch an inquiry into allegations that the CIA held terror suspects in secret prisons in Europe, despite being told that no evidence has yet been uncovered to back the claims.

But the EU Justice Commissioner, Franco Frattini, cautioned against drawing conclusions from media reports of hundreds of alleged detention centres in Eastern Europe and hundreds of secret CIA flights across the continent.

Speaking to the Strasbourg assembly, Mr Frattini said: "There is no evidence confirming allegations that have been made. Finding out the truth means getting evidence. No accusations can be considered founded without evidence."

But Elmar Brok, chairman of the parliament's foreign affairs committee, said: "I believe this a crucial and fundamental issue. The West's credibility is at stake."

A temporary committee of inquiry can call witnesses and, though they cannot be forced to attend, European states tend to co-operate with such investigations.

The Council of Europe, the continent's main human rights watchdog, is already investigating the claims about the CIA, and Dick Marty, the Swiss senator leading an investigation, said on Tuesday his inquiries had "reinforced the credibility of the allegations".

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By David Ray Griffin
December 13, 2005
At the end of 2004, I published The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions1.

Shortly before that book appeared, I delivered a lecture in which I set out to summarize its major points. (That lecture is now available in both print and DVD form.)2 Unfortunately, The 9/11 Commission Report itself3 contains so many omissions and distortions that I was able to summarize only the first half of my book in that lecture. The present lecture summarizes the second half of the book, which deals with the Commission's explanation as to why the US military was unable to intercept any of the hijacked airplanes. ...

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Jim March
Tuesday, December 13, 2005 - 03:42 pm
Due to contractual non-performance and security design issues, Leon County (Florida) supervisor of elections Ion Sancho has announced that he will never again use Diebold in an election. He has requested funds to replace the Diebold system from the county. On Tuesday, the most serious “hack” demonstration to date took place in Leon County. The Diebold machines succumbed quickly to alteration of the votes. This comes on the heels of the resignation of Diebold CEO Wally O'Dell, and the announcement that a stockholder's class action suit has been filed against Diebold by Stull, Stull & Brady and another firm, Scott & Scott. Further “hack” testing on additional vulnerabilities is tentatively scheduled before Christmas in the state of California.

Finnish security expert Harri Hursti, together with Black Box Voting, demonstrated that Diebold made misrepresentations to Secretaries of State across the nation when Diebold claimed votes could not be changed on the “memory card” (the credit-card-sized ballot box used by computerized voting machines.

A test election was run in Leon County on Tuesday with a total of eight ballots. Six ballots voted "no" on a ballot question as to whether Diebold voting machines can be hacked or not. Two ballots, cast by Dr. Herbert Thompson and by Harri Hursti voted "yes" indicating a belief that the Diebold machines could be hacked.

At the beginning of the test election the memory card programmed by Harri Hursti was inserted into an Optical Scan Diebold voting machine. A "zero report" was run indicating zero votes on the memory card. In fact, however, Hursti had pre-loaded the memory card with plus and minus votes.

The eight ballots were run through the optical scan machine. The standard Diebold-supplied "ender card" was run through as is normal procedure ending the election. A results tape was run from the voting machine.

Correct results should have been: Yes:2 ; No:6
However, just as Hursti had planned, the results tape read: Yes:7 ; No:1

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Rob Christensen, Barbara Barrett, Jane Stancill and Dan Kane, Staff Writers
News & Observer
14 Dec 2005
Newspaper columnist Robert Novak is still not naming his source in the Valerie Plame affair, but he says he is pretty sure the name is no mystery to President Bush.

"I'm confident the president knows who the source is," Novak told a luncheon audience at the John Locke Foundation in Raleigh on Tuesday. "I'd be amazed if he doesn't."

"So I say, 'Don't bug me. Don't bug Bob Woodward. Bug the president as to whether he should reveal who the source is.'"

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By Nigel Morris, Home Affairs Correspondent
15 December 2005
Four men deprived of their liberty for four years on suspicion of being international terrorists disclose today that they have not once been questioned by police or security services since being arrested.

The four, who were among 16 suspects detained without trial under post-11 September terror legislation, later overturned by the law lords, give harrowing accounts of the treatment they have suffered. All are now under virtual house arrest. Although three face deportation, The Independent has learnt that there is no prospect of the men ever being questioned over the offences they are alleged to have committed.

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By Kate Holt in Sarejevo and Sarah Hughes
13 December 2005
Suzanna is 12 years old. In the eyes of the law she does not exist. She has no family, no birth certificate. The place that she calls home is the state-run orphanage in Zenica in Bosnia, a run-down building with broken windows.

The orphanage is home to just over 150 children. Some of them have lost their families to war and sickness, others, like Suzanna, were abandoned as "rape babies" - children born during the war to women who had been raped - and left unacknowledged by families and state alike.

"She is a very loving child sometimes has problem socialising," says Enisa Herzeg, a social worker at the orphanage. "We have had money donated for her care but we can't open a bank account in her name because she has no birth certificate, because the Croatian authorities refused to register when she was born." Suzanna's mother abandoned her when she was born and has never visited. "We have no way of finding her," Herzeg says. "There are many children here with equally sad stories ."

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by Jim Lobe
14 Dec 2005
Despite their mutual enthusiasm for ousting Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, Israel and the United States appear increasingly at odds over what to do about the larger Middle East region.

While the administration of President George W. Bush favours, or is at least indifferent to, the collapse of the Baathist regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, the Israelis reportedly made it very clear in high-level talks here late last month that they do not see the alternatives to the young leader as particularly attractive.

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Nick Leys and Dan Box
December 15, 2005
The Australian
FOUR churches in Sydney's southwest have been attacked in 24 hours as the city's riots spread from race to religion.

A community hall linked to a Uniting church was burned to the ground early yesterday, carol-singers were spat on and church buildings peppered with gunfire.

In response, members of the Arab Christian and Arab Muslim communities have called for a curfew for all Lebanese youths over the weekend.

Police believe the attack on the hall, in the suburb of Auburn, was intended to destroy the Uniting church next door, while nearby StThomas's Anglican Church, which has a primarily Chinese congregation, had all its front windows smashed. Three of the attacks were on churches within minutes of each other. The night before, Molotov cocktails were used in an attack on an Anglican church in Macquarie Fields in the city's far southwest.

Arab Christians have suggested the attacks on churches may have been meant as a violent attempt to "shame" the city's Lebanese Christian community into supporting Lebanese Muslims in the race-hate war, which began as a battle against young white males over use of suburban beaches.

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15 Dec 2005
The British government intends to appeal against a British High Court direction that Australian terror suspect David Hicks be granted British citizenship, Hicks' lawyers say.

Earlier this week, the High Court ordered that the UK government grant Hicks British citizenship because his mother was born and raised in London.

Hicks' lawyers believe Britain will now remove the terror suspect from US military detention, just as it did nine other Britons once held at the so-called Camp X-ray.

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Patrick Wintour
December 15, 2005
The Guardian
Sir Christopher Meyer, Britain's former ambassador to Washington, was repeatedly warned by the head of the Foreign Office that he could not publish his controversial memoirs without submitting the book for his prior approval, letters released yesterday show.

Letters over the summer warned him that publication would breach Diplomatic Service regulations. He circumvented FO demands by taking the memoirs to the Cabinet Office. The new cabinet secretary, Sir Gus O'Donnell, said he was disappointed that Sir Christopher was publishing the book, but had no other comment.

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12 Dec 2005
Russia is the most reliable partner of the Islamic world and most faithful defender of its interests, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in Chechnya’s capital Grozny. Putin unexpectedly visited the war-ravaged republic to speak in the local parliament that opened for its first sitting on Monday.

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Comment: It's really about oil, you know. The U.S. wants to take it by force, Russia thinks that acting friendly is the better way. They are probably right. Nevertheless, the lines are being drawn, and the U.S. will most likely be "left out in the cold."

Associated Press
December 15, 2005
Three terrorism suspects were arrested overnight in France as part of a crackdown on a group alleged to have "indirect links" to the al-Qaida in Iraq leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Police said today that the arrests near Paris were connected to a similar operation on Monday near the capital and in the northern Oise region that led to the arrests of 25 terrorism suspects.

During the overnight sweep, police found a stash of weapons in a garage in the Parisian suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, a police source said.

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18:12:25 EST Dec 14, 2005
WASHINGTON (CP) - American officials are publicly portraying a rebuke from Ambassador David Wilkins as an open, even affectionate, request from the U.S. administration.

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Elisabeth Schreinemacher
Human trafficking has tied with the illegal arms industry as the largest and fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world after the illicit drug trade.

There are 27 million people serving as literal slaves around the world, and every year 600,000 to 800,000 victims are trafficked across international borders, half of whom are children.

This 9.5-billion-dollar a year industry is hardly limited to the developing world, with 14,500 to 17,500 victims trafficked into the United States every year, according to the U.S. State Department.

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Comment: To get the most comprehensive information on this subject, and how many high government officials are involved in, or benefit from, this trafficking in human beings, visit "In Defense of The Innocent."

"To do nothing is to live in denial and accept the lie of our existence. To sit in silent complacency is to welcome the domination over our lives. The failure to act is an act in failure, and a warm embrace to an unmitigated corruption befalling humankind."- Manuel Valenzuela

By Stephen Castle in Brussels and Andrew Grice
15 December 2005
Europe's leaders are preparing for a summit battle over finance today after Poland and France dug in against revised EU spending plans.

As the EU's 25 heads of government prepared for a two-day negotiation, Warsaw and Paris rejected proposals tabled by the UK that reversed some planned cuts in spending in Eastern Europe.

Yesterday's document was designed to mollify the 10 new countries that joined the EU last year, and who stand to suffer most from spending reductions put forward by Tony Blair.

Britain made no change in its offer to reduce the value of the UK rebate by €8bn (£5.4bn) over seven years, although it will have to concede more during the summit if a deal on EU spending for 2007-13 is to be secured.

Poland's premier, Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz, said: "Tony, stop pretending you're making steps and I advise you, you'd better make a step or better, make two or three steps. This proposal is in no way is satisfactory for Poland."

Philippe Douste-Blazy, France's Foreign Minister, described the British plan as "unacceptable", adding: "The new proposals on the British rebate are in effect identical to the previous ones which, we have underlined, cannot constitute a basis for negotiation."

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By Stephen Castle in Brussels
14 December 2005
American-style product placement - or "stealth advertising" - took a big step closer to Europe's television screens when formal proposals were tabled to allow its use in broadcasting.

If the plans are approved, a new and more subtle form of advertising, in which film-makers are paid to feature specific products, could become a common feature in almost all programmes on commercial terrestrial TV.

Yesterday's proposal from the European Commission is part of a package of revisions to broadcasting rules that would scrap a daily cap on time devoted to advertisements, as well as some rules on space between commercial breaks.

In the United States, product placement is already common, growing at the rate of 21 per cent a year between 1999 and 2004, and worth 1.7 per cent of the total broadcasting revenue of free-to-air broadcasters.

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Last Updated Wed, 14 Dec 2005 15:13:13 EST
CBC News
Early humans were living in a balmy Britain 200,000 years earlier than previously thought, say researchers who discovered a set of flint tools.

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By Elizabeth Davies
13 December 2005
A sparrow shot dead after flying into the middle of a Dutch world record attempt and knocking over 23,000 dominoes with one flap of its tiny wing is to be given pride of place at Rotterdam's Natural History Museum.

The bird, whose killing last month in the northern Dutch city of Leeuwarden enraged animal rights activists, will be placed on top of a box of dominoes at an exhibition.

The gesture will be greeted by many as a fitting tribute to the posthumously celebrated animal who almost ruined a painstakingly prepared world record dominoes attempt but was shot with an air rifle before it could wreak more havoc on the televised event.

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Comment: Oy. So many people upset by the killing of a sparrow because it knocked down dominoes, and they can't find it in their hearts to be upset over the killing of tens of thousands of Iraqis and Palestinians... and other genocidal acts by world governments... What kind of people would spend so much time and effort setting up dominoes, when the REAL dominoes of Global destruction have already fallen?

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