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Sat, 16 Dec 2017
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Secret History


The Vietnam War: CIA Terrorism as American Foreign Policy

Vietnam War
As the US rolls into the 16th year of its 'longest-ever' war, in Afghanistan - ostensibly against the Taliban, although no one really knows who they are anymore - and appears to be seriously considering another large-scale intervention on the Korean peninsula, it's worth recalling what took place the last time US forces amassed in East Asia.

The Vietnam War - known by Vietnamese as 'the American War' - was a long, protracted, bloody mess. Most histories of the war say it lasted either 10 or 20 years, depending on what phase is taken as its starting point: large-scale, regular US military forces were engaged from 1965 to 1975; alternately, US military 'advisors' under the auspices of the CIA first intervened there in 1955. But there was an earlier phase still to this war, one that blends it into occupation by imperial France, and WWII occupation by Japan before that.

At 20-30 years, this would certainly make Vietnam, and not Afghanistan, America's 'longest war'. In any event, some 2,600,000 American soldiers rotated through Indochina in the 1960s and 70s, 58,000 of whom lost their lives, while to up to 3 million Vietnamese died.

In most accounts of the war, it is represented as a relative blip in American history, a fight lost against a guerrilla communist force known as the 'Vietcong', an enemy comprising elusive forces capable of surprising and surrounding helpless American soldiers, then disappearing into the jungle as quickly as they appeared. They would use local inhabitants and villages as human-shields so that American napalm and machine-guns couldn't tell the difference between friend and foe. At least, that's one take on it.


Ancient port of Corinth reveals Roman engineering

Ancient Underwater Harbour
© Vassilis Tsiairis/Lechaion Harbour Project
Underwater archaeologist Matej Školc carefully excavates the foundations of an ancient harbour structure.
New archaeological excavations at the ancient port of Corinth have uncovered evidence of large-scale Roman engineering. Named Lechaion, the port was one of a pair that connected the city of ancient Corinth to Mediterranean trade networks. Lechaion is located on the Gulf of Corinth, while Kenchreai is positioned across the narrow Isthmus of Corinth on the Aegean Sea. These two strategic harbours made Corinth a classical period power, but the Romans destroyed the city in 146 BC when conquering Greece. Julius Caesar rebuilt the city and its harbours in 44 BC, ushering in several centuries of prosperity. Recent excavations by the Lechaion Harbour Project have revealed the impressive engineering of the Roman Empire.

Caesar's Corinthian colony developed into one of the most important ports in the eastern Mediterranean. Ships filled Lechaion with international goods and Corinth became so well known for luxury and vice that a Greek proverb stated, "not everyone can afford to go to Corinth." However, while ancient coins depict a formidable harbour with a large lighthouse, visible remains of Lechaion are scarce. Visitors to the coastline today can see the foundations of two large structures forming the outer harbour, but otherwise the remains are buried under centuries of sediment. The excavations are beginning to reveal the secrets of this largely forgotten port.


Silk Road central: US DoD satellite images reveal extraordinary archaeological sites in Afghanistan

17th century caravanserai
A satellite image shows a 17th century caravanserai.
For archaeologists, Afghanistan is virtually off-limits for fieldwork, as Taliban forces battle the Kabul government in far-flung provinces and security remains tenuous even in the capital. Yet U.S. and Afghan researchers are now finding thousands of never-before-cataloged ancient sites in the country, which for more than a millennium served as a crucial crossroads linking East and West. The discoveries promise to expand scholars' view of long-vanished empires while giving the battered nation a desperately needed chance to protect its trove of cultural heritage.

In a collaboration funded by the U.S. Department of State, archaeologists are analyzing commercial satellite data, along with U.S. spy satellite and military drone images, which offer a fine-grained view of remote sites that are too dangerous for researchers to visit. At a meeting here last month of the American Schools of Oriental Research, team members said they have more than tripled the number of published archaeological features in Afghanistan, to more than 4500. The discoveries range from caravanserais, huge complexes designed to house travelers and built from the early centuries B.C.E. until the 19th century, to networks of ancient canals invisible from the ground. Meanwhile, octogenarian archaeologists are emerging from retirement to add information from decades-old fieldwork to the site inventory.

Comment: What a rich article!

So we've learned that Afghanistan likely had a radically different climate and was part of a highly developed civilization until relatively recently.

Just as soon as it can shake off the virus it is currently fighting, Afghanistan will be restored to its former glory.

Bad Guys

US law firm report: 'France complicit in committing 1994 Rwanda genocide'

Rwanda genocide skulls Hutus Tutsis
© Noor Khamis/Reuters
More than 800,000 people were killed over a 100-day period in a genocide by ethnic Hutus against Tutsis
French government and military officials were involved in supplying weapons to the perpetrators of the 1994 Rwandan genocide and obstructing attempts to bring them to justice, a new report alleges.

The Muse Report, written by US law firm Cunningham Levy Muse, was commissioned by the Rwandan government as part of an investigation into the role of French officials in the genocide that killed more than 800,000 people.

The report, published on Tuesday, examined information already publicly available including witness testimonies. It alleges French officials provided sanctuary to genocide suspects and allowed those responsible to meet at the French embassy in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, where they began to form the interim government that ruled the country during the mass killings.

Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo said the report revealed a "damning summary of conduct by French officials in Rwanda during the 1990s and thereafter".

Comment: More on the aftermath of the Rwanda massacre, without a doubt one of the darkest episodes of the human race in the twentieth century:


The US is not a democracy and it never was

Capitol Hill
© Getty Images
One of the most steadfast beliefs regarding the United States is that it is a democracy. Whenever this conviction waivers slightly, it is almost always to point out detrimental exceptions to core American values or foundational principles. For instance, aspiring critics frequently bemoan a "loss of democracy" due to the election of clownish autocrats, draconian measures on the part of the state, the revelation of extraordinary malfeasance or corruption, deadly foreign interventions, or other such activities that are considered undemocratic exceptions. The same is true for those whose critical framework consists in always juxtaposing the actions of the U.S. government to its founding principles, highlighting the contradiction between the two and clearly placing hope in its potential resolution.

The problem, however, is that there is no contradiction or supposed loss of democracy because the United States simply never was one. This is a difficult reality for many people to confront, and they are likely more inclined to immediately dismiss such a claim as preposterous rather than take the time to scrutinize the material historical record in order to see for themselves. Such a dismissive reaction is due in large part to what is perhaps the most successful public relations campaign in modern history. What will be seen, however, if this record is soberly and methodically inspected, is that a country founded on elite, colonial rule based on the power of wealth-a plutocratic colonial oligarchy, in short-has succeeded not only in buying the label of "democracy" to market itself to the masses, but in having its citizenry, and many others, so socially and psychologically invested in its nationalist origin myth that they refuse to hear lucid and well-documented arguments to the contrary.

Comment: The main mistake of all those who miss Obama and accuse Donald Trump of being some sort of modern Hitler is not what they have to criticize about the current government (which is somewhat inaccurate already), but that they live under the illusion that there ever was a genuine government of the people and for the people in the United States of America. At least the friction between Trump and the 'deep state' has brought the lies and contradictions of the US political system to the surface for all to see.

Wedding Rings

Student's gold pendant find is worth £145,000 and 'rewrites' Anglo Saxon history

Anglo Saxon pendant found at a grave in Windfarthing, Norfolk.
© The British Museum
The Anglo Saxon pendant found at a grave in Windfarthing, Norfolk.
The discovery of an "exquisite" gold pendant by a student metal detectorist is being credited with rewriting the understanding of Anglo-Saxon history.

Thomas Lucking is in line for a £145,000 pay-out after unearthing an aristocratic burial site in a part of Norfolk overlooked by generations of archaeologists because of its poor soil.

The find of the female skeleton wearing a pendant of gold imported from Sri Lanka and coins bearing the marks of a continental king is prompting a fundamental reassessment of the seats of power in Anglo Saxon England.

Comment: So the Anglo Saxons were importing gold all the way from Sri Lanka and using the currency of a continental king?


Cross-disciplinary study reveals the need for a rewrite of pre-Columbian history

Sarcophagi of the Chachapoya people
© C. Barbieri
The distinctive sarcophagi of the Chachapoya people.
A combination of linguistic analysis and genetic sequencing has revealed a hitherto unknown element of South American history - and dented the fearsome reputation of the Incas in the process.

A team led by Chiara Barbieri from the Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany set out to interrogate some unusual results turned up in a linguistic survey of native-speakers in the Chachapoyas region of northern Peru.

The participants, all elderly, spoke a variant of a tongue called Quechua - a family of pre-Columbian languages that across the Amazon and Andes regions has millions of speakers. The version used in Chachapoyas was assumed to be closely related to one used in parts of Ecuador.

However, detailed analysis showed that wasn't the case - the Chachapoyas version was linguistically distinct. A follow-up DNA study revealed that the people in the region were to a large extent genetically distinct as well - leading to a major rethink of the accepted Inca Empire narrative.

At its height, the Inca Empire was the largest in the world. It began in the Peruvian highlands in the early Thirteenth Century and continued until being finally destroyed by invading Spaniards in 1572.


The enigma of the Coligny Calender

Libra Zodiac Sign
© Wikimedia Commons
Tracking down a solution for a calendar riddle wrapped up in an enigma is not something that happens everyday.

The riddle wrapped up in an enigma is the 2nd century AD Coligny Calendar that contains 62 lunar months spread over five years.
Coligny Calendar
© Malaga Bay
The so-called "Calendar of Coligny" is a fragmented bronze plaque that was found in 1897 in the remains of a Roman Temple of Apollo in Coligny, Ain, France.

Coligny Calendar - Marc Carlson - 9 June 2004

The restored tablet contains sixteen vertical columns, with 62 months distributed over five years.


It shows 12 repeating units comprised of alternating 29 and 30 lesser units, and so appearing to correspond to the 13 lunar months of the solar year made up of 29 or 30 days.

Coligny Calendar - Marc Carlson - 9 June 2004

See: https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2017/12/11/the-heinsohn-horizon-calendar-conundrum/


Ottoman archives hold records of Jerusalem deeds

Jerusalem deeds
© Unknown
There are 171,306 deeds recorded in 46 registries of Jerusalem in Ottoman archive records. Of these, 133,365 are private property and 37,671 belong to foundations. In addition to this, Turkey's archives also have records of Jerusalem between the hijri years 950 and 1917.

Among the records of private property were 139 deeds belonging to Sultan Abdul Hamid II, 137 of which were transferred to the treasury in the past. The remaining two are in Jerusalem's Erihav region. The records show that there is a plot of land approximately 30,000 square meters in size that is recorded under the name of Sultan Abdul Hamid II [1842-1918].

The deeds proving that Palestine belongs to Palestinians were handed to Palestinian officials. Israel did not ask for deed records from Turkey. Had Israel requested these records, it would mean that Israel would be accepting that it is occupying Palestine.

A memorandum was signed between Palestine and Jordan. Procedures such as the maintenance and repair of foundations in Jerusalem were transferred to Jordan. Therefore, in 2016, upon the request of Jordan, Turkey provided copies of the deeds of foundations in Jerusalem to Jordan.


US repeatedly promised Russia "no NATO eastward expansion" - declassified docs

Reagan Gorbachove
© Sputnik/ Yuryi Abramochkin
NATO expansion was a key issue as the US, Western European and Soviet leaders negotiated the reunification of Germany.

US and Western European leaders repeatedly promised their Soviet and Russian counterparts in the early 1990s that NATO would not expand into Eastern Europe, according to a series of declassified documents posted by George Washington University's National Security Archive on Tuesday.

"US Secretary of State James Baker's famous "not one inch eastward" assurance about NATO expansion in his meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on February 9, 1990, was part of a cascade of assurances about Soviet security given by Western leaders to Gorbachev and other Soviet officials throughout the process of German unification in 1990 and on into 1991," a press release summarizing the document cache stated.

Comment: Russia's mistake was in actually believing the U.S. would stand by its word. The suffering of the 90s brought on by the West's pillaging of the country taught them otherwise. They have taken the lesson to heart