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Tue, 22 Jun 2021
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Wikileaks: Insights on Palestine from the cables

Goldstone Report

"The world refuses to forget those 22 days in the winter of 2008-2009, when Israel pummeled the Gaza Strip, killing more than 1300 people, including over 300 children."
One of the first things that struck me while reading the cables from the US embassy to Israel in Tel Aviv was how worried the Israeli government seems to be about the Goldstone Report into war crimes committed during Israel's 2008-2009 attack on the people of Gaza. In cable 09TELAVIV2777 of December 2009, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is said to have named the report as one of three "principal threats" facing Israel — the other two being Iran's alleged nuclear programme and "missile proliferation".

Second, there are important insights into the high level of collaboration between Israel and forces that have been called the "Palestinian Contras" in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Indeed, the first "cablegate" headline on Palestine was sourced from cable 09TELAVIV1177, in which Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak is reported to have said he "had consulted with Egypt and Fatah prior to Operation Cast Lead, asking if they were willing to assume control of Gaza once Israel defeated Hamas". In other words, Fateh leader Mahmoud Abbas (whose term as PA president expired in January 2009) knew the massive Israeli onslaught was coming but said nothing. This was widely suspected, but to read confirmation of it from a confidential US government source is something new.

Comment: The Goldstone Report concluded that both Israel and the Palestinians had committed war crimes, and possibly crimes against humanity. The most obvious question people were asking was the effect of this report on the International Criminal Court. Israel then, as now, claimed the ICC had no jurisdiction over Israel as it was a non-signatory to the Rome Statute.

As the US president at the time, Obama would have been privy to this Israeli-Palestinian Authority arrangement.

Click on this Wikileaks website link to view the cables.


The Aqueduct of Constantinople: The impressive engineering of the longest water channel of the ancient world

© Jim Crow
The two-story Kurunlugerme Bridge, part of the aqueduct system of Constantinople: Two water channels passed over this bridge - one above the other.
Aqueducts are very impressive examples of the art of construction in the Roman Empire. Even today, they still provide us with new insights into aesthetic, practical, and technical aspects of construction and use. Scientists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) investigated the longest aqueduct of the time, the 426-kilometer-long Aqueduct of Valens supplying Constantinople, and revealed new insights into how this structure was maintained back in time. It appears that the channels had been cleaned of carbonate deposits just a few decades before the site was abandoned.

Comment: See also: Roman imperial period marble production more efficient than today

Blue Planet

Roman amphora discovered at huge Pict-era hill settlement that housed 4,000 people

© Aberdeen University.
Tap O' Noth near Rhynie in Aberdeenshire was home to the largest known Pictish-era settlement with evidence of wine drinking recently found at the site. Investigations continue into whether the site was home to a temporary community - such as one that gathered for a festival - or a settled population.
Sherds of Roman amphora have been discovered at Tap O' Noth in Aberdeenshire, which archaeologists earlier discovered was a Pictish-era settlement where at least 800 huts housed around 4,000 people.

It is the first time the material has been found in Pictland, which spanned north and east Scotland from around the 3rd century.

Professor Gordon Noble, head of archaeology at Aberdeen University who has led the Northern Picts programme, returned to Tap O' Noth last week.

Comment: See also: And check out SOTT radio's: Behind the Headlines: Who was Jesus? Examining the evidence that Christ may in fact have been Caesar!


Roman imperial period marble production more efficient than today

© Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo
A rendering of the plans for the new Colosseum floor. Analysis of wall decoration dating to the second century provides new insights into marble extraction and processing
When it comes to ancient Roman imperial architecture, most people usually have a mental image of white marble statues, columns, or slabs. While it is true that many buildings and squares at that time were decorated with marble, it was frequently not white but colored marble that was employed, such as the green-veined Cipollino Verde, which was extracted on the Greek island of Euboea. Because marble was very expensive, it was often placed in thin slabs as a cladding over other, cheaper stones. "To date, however, no actual remains of marble workshops from the Roman imperial era have been found, so little is known about marble processing during this period," said Professor Cees Passchier of the Institute of Geosciences at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU).

Together with other researchers based in Mainz, Turkey, and Canada, he has now finished analyzing the marble cladding of a second century A.D. Roman villa. As the researchers detail in the online edition of the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, they utilized special software normally used for the 3D modeling of geological structures. They discovered that the material loss during marble slab production at the time was likely lower than it is today.

Comment: There are a number of discoveries that reveal some ancient civilizations appear to have had a knowledge that was equal and sometimes superior to that of our own time: Also check out SOTT radio's:


UK's Cerne Giant dates from 10th century, Anglo-Saxon era, new study claims

Cerne giant
© Ben Birchall/PA
Local lore has that Cerne Abbey was created in 978AD to convert people away from an Anglo-Saxon god.
Over the centuries the huge, naked, club-wielding giant carved into a steep hillside in Dorset has been thought prehistoric, Celtic, Roman or even a 17th century lampoon of Oliver Cromwell.

After 12 months of new, hi-tech sediment analysis, the National Trust has now revealed the probable truth and experts admit they are taken aback. The bizarre, enigmatic Cerne Giant is none of the above, but late Saxon, possibly 10th century.

Martin Papworth, a senior archaeologist at the trust, said he was somewhat "flabbergasted ... He's not prehistoric, he's not Roman, he's sort of Saxon, into the medieval period. I was expecting 17th century."

Comment: Is the dating really definitive? Could it be that the grains of sand studied simply reflect the last time it was restored? Also check out SOTT radio's: Behind the Headlines: Who was Jesus? Examining the evidence that Christ may in fact have been Caesar!


Overview of the Younger Dryas impact hypothesis debate

The Younger Dryas impact hypothesis
© Earth-Science journal, Earth-Science Reviews
Location map showing 53 YD boundary (black mat) sites (reproduced from Pino et al. (2019) under the terms of the CCA 4.0 International License). Orange dots represent 28 sites with peaks in both platinum and other impact proxies such as high-temperature iron-rich microspherules. Red dots represent 24 sites with impact proxies but lacking platinum measurements. The yellow dot indicates the Pilauco site, Chile, described in detail in Pino et al. (2019). A new site in South Africa, Wonderkrater, has been identified since this map was first published (Thackeray et al., 2019).
Indefatigable genius and digital friend of the Tusk, Dr. Martin Sweatman, authored a surprise blockbuster this week. Below is a peer-reviewed and fully accepted pre-online synthesis overview of the Younger Dryas Impact controversy since the very first paper in 2007. 'The Younger Dryas impact hypothesis: review of the impact evidence' concludes — in perhaps the world's most appropriate and respected scientific journal — that based on the published evidence, our modern world is indeed birthed of a horrendous global catastrophe ~12,881 years ago. It is a lengthy, detailed, fair and lucid tour-de-force in support of The Event based on Martin's reading of the entire debate.

Martin is an example to the Tusk of how many, many people there are on earth. You have to have 8+ billion humans in order to have enough brain matter and determination on the end of the bell curve to find a just one single, well-qualified, unbiased, poly-curious scientist, so determined to find the truth that they will to read every last word — and then write every last word — well.


Greek historical sources promoted a more Greek-centric narrative

Greek Battles Of Himera
© Arkeolojik Haber
Study titled "Isotopic evidence for geographical heterogeneity in ancient Greek military forces" demonstrates the power of archaeological remains to test the claims of historical texts and reveals a potential bias in ancient writings. Archaeological human remains from the Battles of Himera provide unique opportunities to test early written history by geochemically assessing the geographic origins of ancient Greek fighting forces.

Geochemical evidence reveals that armies in the Battles of Himera were a mixture of locals and outsiders, according to a study published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Katherine Reinberger of the University of Georgia, US, and colleagues. (You can click this link for read the entire article: Isotopic evidence for geographic heterogeneity in Ancient Greek military forces) These data contradict certain claims made in historical accounts by ancient Greek writers.

Who Fought In The Ancient Greek Battles Of Himera?

In 480 BCE, the ancient Greek city of Himera successfully fought off a Carthaginian army. In 409 BCE, Carthage attacked again, and Himera fell. Historians of the time, including Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus, write that Himera stood strong in the first battle thanks to the aid of Greek allies, while it went unaided in the second battle. However, given the limited and partisan perspective of those ancient historians, these accounts are liable to be incomplete and biased.

The authors of the present study tested these historical claims against geochemical evidence. They sampled strontium and oxygen isotopes from tooth enamel of 62 soldiers who fought in the battles. The soldiers' tooth chemistry varied based on their region of origin.


Ancient Easter Island communities offer insights for successful life in isolation

South coast of Rapa Nui.
© Sean Hixon
This is a restored statue platform with standing moai on the south coast of Rapa Nui.
After a long journey, a group of settlers sets foot on an otherwise empty land. A vast expanse separates them from other human beings, cutting off any possibility of outside contact. Their choices will make the difference between survival and death.

The people of Easter Island may have something to teach future Martian colonists.

Binghamton University anthropologists Carl Lipo and Robert DiNapoli explore how complex community patterns in Rapa Nui — the indigenous name for both the island and its people — helped the isolated island survive from its settlement in the 12th to 13th century until European contact.

Their findings, "Population structure drives cultural diversity in finite populations: A hypothesis for localized community patterns on Rapa Nui (Easter Island, Chile)," were recently published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE. Co-authors also include Mark Madsen from the University of Washington's Department of Anthropology and Terry Hunt from the University of Arizona's Honors College and School of Anthropology.

"The cool thing about Easter Island is that it's a great case study for what happens in absolute isolation," said Lipo, a professor of anthropology and environmental studies and associate dean of Harpur College. "From our best understanding, once people got to the island, that was it. They weren't going anywhere else and there wasn't anyone else coming in."

Shaped like a triangle, Easter Island is small: around 15 miles long and a bit more than 7 miles wide at its thickest point. It's also one of the most remote inhabited places on Earth, more than a thousand miles away from the closest inhabited neighbors.

But for all its small size, Rapa Nui had multiple clans and small communities that maintained both cultural and physical separation. The archaeological evidence shows stylistic differences in the creation of artifacts in communities only 500 meters apart, for example. The inhabitants' physical remains also show they didn't stray far or marry away from home; this was uncovered through DNA and isotope analyses, as well as skeletal variations between communities.

These small communities may have been a cultural bulwark against a phenomenon known as random drift, according to their research.


The lies and conspiracy theories from neocon 'crazies' that fueled Iraq war are the subject of new history

Scott Horton/book
© YouTube/KJN
Scott Horton
Last month Foreign Affairs ran an article saying that Iran and Israel were engaged in mutual hostilities that could drag the United States into a war not of our choosing, and there was no mention in the article of the people who really do want the U.S. to go to war with Iran, the neoconservative branch of the Israel lobby. Last week Foreign Policy ran an article by one of those neoconservatives, saying that if the U.S. returns to its deal with a "rogue regime committed to Israel's destruction," Israel will likely go to war against Iran.

It ought to be terrifying that our supposed client state is escalating its attacks on Iran just as the United States is trying to reenter the Iran deal; and its friends in the U.S. are escalating the war of words. But the most you hear about this on mainstream media is Andrea Mitchell venturing to Jake Sullivan that Israel "is being unhelpful" to the United States with its attacks.

It's as if the Iraq war and the neoconservative/Israel lobby role in pushing that invasion has disappeared down the memory hole.

That's what makes Scott Horton's new book such essential reading. Enough Already is the radio host/libertarian/antiwar.com editor's meticulous analysis of how the U.S. "war on terrorism" has generated unending suffering in the Middle East. A million lives lost in Bush's war on Iraq alone, as Horton said during the Israel lobby conference April 24.

Comment: The suffering of humanity is partly to do with things we cannot control, but also with things we can but don't.

Light Saber

Black people are far more powerful than critical race theory preaches

Black students sit down strike
© Getty Images
Black students line the counter of a dime store in protest for the stores refusal to serve them. Some 150 students staged the "sit down strike" after the store refused to serve them. The lunch counter was quickly closed by the store manager.
The nation is currently engulfed in a debate about critical race theory, a social science that emerged in the mid-1970s that analyzes how racism has been used as a system to disempower people of color. The view has been popularized by people like Ibrahim X. Kendi and Robin DiAngelo, whose books How to Be an Antiracist and White Fragility mainstreamed the idea that racism is systemic and must be combatted constantly and vigorously, at every level of society. More recently, there's been some pushback, too: Republicans across the nation have been making attempts to ban this theory from public schools, pointing out that its practical application has led to the demonization of white students.

The problem with critical race theory is much deeper than that, though. It stems from a fundamental misunderstanding of the complexities of our social and political realities, reducing them to a single factor: racism. But when it comes to how race and power intersect, black history is far, far richer than critical race theorists allow.

Many in the critical race theory camp view black people as uniquely disempowered by America's history of racism. Racism "has contributed to all contemporary manifestations of group advantage and disadvantage along racial lines, including differences in income, imprisonment, health, housing, education, political representation, and military service," write several critical race theory scholars, including Kimberle Crenshaw and Mari Matsuda in Words that Wound. "Our history calls for this presumption."

But our history actually tells a different story, too, one of empowerment through struggle. In the racist Jim Crow South, segregation forced African Americans to form their own businesses, universities, legal funds and other civil society institutions. "The more cut off black communities became from white communities and the more that white businessmen refused to cater to black customers, the more possible it became for enterprising black entrepreneurs to create viable businesses of their own," The Henry Ford Foundation's Donna Braden writes.