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Light Sabers

Battle of Waterloo bicentenary: Birth of the Anglo-American Empire

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© HarperCollins Publishers
Two hundred years ago, Napoleon Bonaparte and The Duke of Wellington met at Waterloo, in what is now Belgium. At stake was world dominance.

Many books have been written about this epic battle but most have concentrated on military tactics and strategy. In Waterloo: The History of Four Days, Three Armies, and Three Battles, Bernard Cornwell, author of the best-selling Sharpe series of historical novels, has made his first foray into non-fiction to tell the story of ordinary soldiers caught up in the chaos and terror of the battle.

Talking from his home on Cape Cod, he explains why Waterloo made Great Britain the dominant, global power for the next 100 years; how Wellington's keen eye for geography was a decisive factor in the battle; and recalls his strange childhood in Britain with a fundamentalist sect known as the "Peculiar People."

Bad Guys

Irish documentary: 'Collusion' reveals British elite directed terrorist groups in Northern Ireland

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© Sputnik/ Vladimir Vyatkin
Following the broadcast of an Irish documentary, a number of human rights groups are calling on London to take responsibility for its role in colluding with paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland. These actions allegedly resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Catholics, all to support the Crown.

In 1974, a coordinated attack was launched in the Irish cities of Dublin and Monaghan. On May 17, three car bombs were detonated during rush hour in the nation's capital. Only 90 minutes later, a fourth explosion went off in Monaghan, just south of the border with Northern Ireland. Thirty-three people were killed. An estimated 300 were injured.

The loyalist paramilitary group Ulster Volunteer Force claimed responsibility for the attack, and in a recent Irish documentary, "Collusion," a member of the group claims that the bombings were conducted under direction from the British Army. The goal: to implement a civil war.

This is only one of several claims levied against the Thatcher government for its role in the Troubles, and in the face of "overwhelming evidence of collusion," human rights groups and Irish officials are calling for the British government to own up.

"As a result of the RTE programme 'Collusion' showing the knowledge by British Prime Ministers of the murder of Catholics with British army assistance, it is time for the Irish Government to stop asking and start demanding," said Senator Mark Daly, according to Irish Central.

Comment: See also Joe Quinn's Sott Focus:
The British Empire - A Lesson In State Terrorism


Rocket

June 16, 1963: Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova becomes the first woman in space

Former textile factory worker Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space, as well as the first civilian astronaut, when her spacecraft Vostok VI was launched on this day in 1963.

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Ms Tereshkova began her historic journey blasting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in modern-day Kazakhstan. The launch took place just days after the take-off of Vostok V, piloted by Valery Bykovsky. The two craft would come within just over three miles of each other during their mission.

A camera in her cockpit transmitted pictures of Ms Tereshkova back to Russia, and she took part in a radio conversation with Soviet premier Nikita Khruschev (pictured with Tereshkova, below). She would spend nearly three days in space, orbiting the Earth 49 times.
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Her journey was the result of an initiative from Sergey Korolyov, the Soviet Union's chief rocket engineer, who believed that garnering information on the effects of space flight on the female body would be useful, as well as being a great public relations coup.

Five female trainee cosmonauts were chosen from over four hundred applicants; all were trained parachutists. They would undergo a year of weightless flights, isolation tests, centrifugal tests, engineering and rocket flight theory, as well as parachute jumps and pilot training.

Info

Hidden secrets revealed in 1491 world map that may have guided Columbus

© Wikimedia Commons
The Yale world map of "Henricus Martellus Germanus" (Heinrich Hammer). It is the most detailed "Dragon Tail" map by Martellus. It is the only one with a coordinate grid.
A map of the world produced in 1491 by Henricus Martellus has been subjected to multispectral imaging, which has revealed hidden details on the map not previously visible, including numerous Latin descriptions of regions and people.

Henricus Martellus is also known as Heinrich Hammer. He was a German cartographer who lived in Florence from 1480 to 1496. His 1491 world map is one of two (an earlier version was produced in 1489). It is similar to the terrestrial globe, called the Erdapfel, produced by the later mariner, artist, astronomer, philosopher and explorer Martin Behaim in 1492, which may actually have been influenced by Martellus.

Both of these incorporate variations of the Ptolemaic model in that they show an opening to the Indian Ocean beneath the horn of Africa and they include the continent of Malaysia. Both may also derive from earlier maps produced by Bartolomeo Columbus, created around 1485 in Lisbon, Portugal. Some historians believe that the Martellus map may also have been used by Christopher Columbus prior to his voyage to circumnavigate the globe.

Flashlight

Margate Shell Grotto decorated with 4.6 million seashells is one of the world's greatest unsolved mysteries

The Margate Shell Grotto, a winding underground passageway in Kent, England, decorated with nearly 4.6 million seashells, is one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in the world.

Legend has it that in 1835, James Newlove and his son, Joshua, were digging a duck pond in Margate, Kent, when they noticed a hole in the ground. Newlove then lowered his kid down there to check it out, according to BuzzFeed.​

The hole turned out to be caverns connected together by several underground tunnels with walls covered in intricate mosaics made out of millions of seashells (video below).

The shells in the grotto include scallops, mussels, limpets, whelks, cockles, and oysters, all of which can be found locally. In all, there are more than 2,000 square feet of shell mosaic in the grotto, according to Viral Nova.

Snakes in Suits

'Drugs, Oil and War' - The hidden government group

Peter Dale Scott is considered the father of "Deep Politics"— the study of hidden permanent institutions and interests whose influence on the political realm transcends the elected, appointed and career officials who come and go. A Professor of English at Berkeley and a former Canadian diplomat, he is the author of several critically acclaimed books on the pivotal events of our country's recent past. Daniel Ellsberg said of his book Drugs, Oil and War, "It makes most academic and journalistic explanations of our past and current interventions read like government propaganda written for children." What follows is based on a recent Scott lecture entitled "The JFK Assassination and Other Deep Events".
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© Unknown
Mount Weather entrance.
For some time now, I have been analyzing American history in the light of what I have called structural deep events: events, like the JFK assassination, the Watergate break-in, Iran-Contra, or 9/11, which repeatedly involve law-breaking or violence, are mysterious to begin with, are embedded in ongoing covert processes, have political consequences that enlarge covert government, and are subsequently covered up by systematic falsifications in the mainstream media and internal government records. [1]

The more I study these deep events, the more I see suggestive similarities between them, increasing the possibility that they are not unrelated external intrusions on American history, but parts of an endemic process, sharing to some degree or other a common source. [2]

Fire

Paranoid patriotism: We're trapped in vicious cycle of militarism, says US Army colonel

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© © Flickr/ The US Army
Americans have come to the point where they fear they can't live without war, US Army Colonel Gregory A. Daddis said, adding that the US' addiction to war is fed by "paranoid patriotism."

Since the end of the Second World War Americans have found themselves trapped in a vicious cycle of warmongering, fed by constant fear of an external threat, noted Gregory A. Daddis, a US Army colonel and a professor of history at the United States Military Academy.

Throughout the Cold War American policy makers spoke "in apocalyptic terms" about a major threat presented the Soviets and Communism. Remarkably, nothing has changed since the collapse of the USSR, and "the gravest threat looms continuously on the horizon," the colonel pointed out.

"The 2015 National Security Strategy, published in February, offers a case in point. While acknowledging America's growing economic strength and the benefits of moving beyond the large ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the document stresses the 'risks of an insecure world.' Despite its global power and reach, the United States, we are told, faces a 'persistent risk of attacks,'" Gregory A. Daddis emphasized.

Cow

Our European ancestors brought farming, languages and a love of dairy, study shows

© The Independent, UK
Thousands of Bronze Age migrants from the Caucuses came to northern Europe in a major movement of prehistoric people in the third millennium BC.
The making of modern Europe began in earnest about 5,000 years ago when a mass migration of people from what is now southern Russia and Georgia introduced new technology, languages and dairy farming to the continent, a study has found.

Thousands of Bronze Age migrants from the Caucuses came to northern Europe in a major movement of prehistoric people in the third millennium BC, according to the largest research project of its kind that analysed the genetic makeup of more than 100 ancient skeletons from the period.

The migrants brought new metal skills, spoke what became the basis of almost every other European language - from Greek and Latin to German and English - and carried a genetic mutation that allowed adults to drink cow's milk.

This lactose-tolerance gene, which enables adults to digest the sugar in milk, is still more prevalent in north Europeans today than in most other regions of the world. This illustrates the historic importance of dairy food in the North European diet, the scientists said.

The mass migration was one of the most significant in European history, equivalent to the colonisation of the Americas, and was a transformative period in terms of the change in languages and culture that it brought about, the researchers believe.

"The single most important finding from our study is that the Bronze Age, which is relatively recent, is when the major genetic landscape affecting modern-day Europeans was formed. It's a surprise as it happened so recently," said Eske Willerslev, professor of evolutionary genetics at the University of Copenhagen.

Info

3,800-year-old statuettes found in Peru

© Agence France-Presse
One of the figurines, a woman with many fingers and red dots on her white face, is believed to represent a priestess. The Caral civilisation emerged some 5,000 years ago and lived in Peru's Supe Valley, leaving behind impressive architecture including pyramids and sunken amphitheatres.
Researchers in Peru have discovered a trio of statuettes they believe were created by the ancient Caral civilisation some 3,800 years ago, the culture ministry said yesterday.

The mud statuettes were found inside a reed basket in a building at the ancient city of Vichama in northern Peru, which is today an important archaeological site.

The ministry said they were probably used in religious rituals performed before breaking ground on a new building.

Two of the figures, a naked man and woman painted in white, black and red, are believed to represent political authorities. The third, a woman with 28 fingers and red dots on her white face, is believed to represent a priestess.

Bad Guys

Fascist sympathizer Edward VIII wanted Britain bombed, historian claims

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© Wikipedia
King Edward VIII
Edward VIII wanted Britain to be bombed into an alliance with the Third Reich and blamed "Jews and Reds" for World War II, according to a prominent academic.

The research, carried out by UK-based German historian Karina Urbach, delved into the historical archives of 30 nations, including Germany, Spain and Russia, revealing the fascist sympathies of many European aristocrats.

Writing for The Conversation website ahead of the release of her new book, Go-Betweens for Hitler, Urbach said Edward VIII, who abdicated the throne in 1936 and became the Duke of Windsor, "has always been known for his pro-Nazi sympathies."

Comment: Also see: