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Wed, 17 Oct 2018
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Secret History


Archeological find changes date of Pompeii's destruction

pompeii street
© Michele Falzone/Getty Images/AWL Images RM
The archeological site at Pompeii, Italy.
A newly-discovered inscription at Pompeii proves the city was destroyed by Mount Vesuvius after 17 October AD79 and not on 24 August as previously thought.

Archeologists recently discovered that a worker had inscribed the date of "the 16th day before the calends of November", meaning 17 October, on a house at Pompeii, the head of archeology at the site, Massimo Osanna, told Italian media.

Pompeii and Herculaneum were previously thought to have been destroyed by the massive eruption of Mount Vesuvius on 24 August, based on contemporary writings and archeological finds.

Comment: It's quite telling about our grasp of history that seemingly simple facts such as the date of the disaster that occurred at Pompeii is still uncertain: And check out SOTT radio's: Behind the Headlines: Who was Jesus? Examining the evidence that Christ may in fact have been Caesar!


Stephen M. Walt: A brief history of regime change for dummies

Gaddafi Qaddafi
© Mario Tama/Getty Images

A brief global history of a tactic that's back in style: toppling other countries' governments

In my last column, I argued that U.S. President Donald Trump's rash decision to violate the Iran nuclear deal was the first step in a new round of regime change in the Middle East. If his goal was stopping an Iranian bomb and preventing a regional arms race, the existing agreement was working just fine, and he should have been trying to make it permanent instead of gutting it. If his goal was stopping Iran's "regional activities," the smart strategy would have been to keep the country from going nuclear while working with others to bring Iran to heel through pressure and additional diplomacy. Instead, Trump, National Security Advisor John Bolton, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are hoping that violating the Iran deal will let them re-impose sanctions on Iran. They hope this pressure will topple the Islamic Republic, or lead Iran's own hard-liners to restart its nuclear enrichment program and provide a pretext for the preventive war that Bolton has long advocated.

More sensible strategists might have first considered whether this goal even makes sense. What does history teach us? Did previous efforts at regime change (by the United States and by others) produce the expected benefits, or did they end up making things worse? Does regime change produce real benefits at relatively low cost, or is the price tag usually much higher than expected, while the benefits tend to be disappointing?

The answers, in fact, are pretty obvious, as can be seen from the following brief history of regime change. (Spoiler alert: It's almost always a very bad idea.)

Comment: Together with Professor John Mearsheimer, Professor Stephen M. Walt wrote the book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, which describes the Lobby's influence on America's political stance and imperial adventures abroad.

The hand of the Lobby has played a huge role in most if not all of the US regime change operations in the Middle East against Israel's competitors, and that includes the war on Syria and the sanctions against Iran. This is another reason for the US to not learn from its mistakes - it has been placing 'Israel First', and Israel does not care about the costs for the target country nor for the US.


The great tornado of London in 1091

St Mary-le-Bow

The 17th century St Mary-le-Bow, a replacement of the replacement for the tornado-stricken church.
No Cockneys were born in London at the end of the 11th century. Bow bells lay cracked and rusting in the dirt. The church of St Mary on Cheapside was in ruins. A tornado had wrecked London.

Everybody's heard of the Great Fire and the Great Plague, but London has suffered many other calamities over the years. One of the more intriguing is the Great Tornado of 1091.

This huge whirlwind struck the capital in mid-October, twisting in from the south-west. Two chroniclers of the time recorded the devastation.

According to William of Malmesbury, 'Churches and houses, enclosures and walls were left in heaps'. Huge timbers, as long as five men, were ripped from the roof of St Mary and lodged into the ground to a depth of six metres. 'It was remarkable to see how they penetrated the hard surface of the public street [presumably Cheapside], in the same arrangement as they had been placed by the craftsman's skill,' says William.

Comment: While there are few sources for this event, we can be sure that our planet regularly undergoes intervals of upheaval and few areas are spared:


Norwegian wood: Rare Viking ship found buried beneath a field

© AFP / Andy Buchanan
Archaeologists have discovered traces of a Viking ship buried beneath a field in Norway, a rare find that could shed further light on the lives of Vikings.

The amazing discovery was made by archaeologists from the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) in Halden, southeast of Oslo.

"This find is incredibly exciting as we only know three well-preserved Viking ship finds in Norway excavated long time ago," Dr Knut Paasche, head of Digital Archaeology at NIKU said. "This new ship will certainly be of great historical significance as it can be investigated with all modern means of archaeology."

Star of David

Hidden documents that indicate the true borders of Israel and Palestine

Partition plan, UN 1947
© Unknown
Partition plan, UN 1947, with ’49 armistice delineated
I once believed that Israel has never defined its borders. It was one of those things that "everyone knows". I was corrected by the blogger talknic. Mondoweiss is privileged to have talknic as a frequent commenter, and many readers here will be familiar with the document to which he pointed me: the letter written by Eliahu Epstein, the representative of the Jewish Agency in Washington, to President Truman and to the State Department, on May 14, 1948.

Epstein's letter to Truman

In the letter, the Provisional Government of Israel formally requested the United States to recognize the new State of Israel which was about to be declared in Tel Aviv, effective one minute after midnight (6 p.m Washington time) when the British Mandate over Palestine ended. It begins (my emphasis
My dear Mr. President, I have the honor to notify you that the State of Israel has been proclaimed as an independent republic within the frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947.
(The full text is given in the link above, and also appears below.) The resolution referred to, UNGA Resolution 181, recommended the partition of Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states. The Zionist leadership had publicly accepted the Partition Plan, and this letter defines the borders of Israel to be those specified in the Plan (see map attached).

Comment: For more on Ben-Gurion's influence, see also:
To Zionists, the 'two-state solution' has always meant more ethnic cleansing


Ongoing Santorini excavation brings to light impressive new finds

santorini archaeology

Amphora jars found on Santorini
The ongoing research in Akrotiri on Santorini gradually has revealed a place of rituals, very close to Xesti 3, an important public building with rich fresco decorations on the southern boundary of the settlement.

According to archaeologists, the excavation finds are undoubtedly related to the perceptions and beliefs of the ancient society of Thera - as is the official name of Santorini - and generate essential questions about the ideology and possibly the religion of that prehistoric Aegean society.

Black Magic

Vampire of Lugnano: Researchers unearth 'extremely eerie and weird' ancient Roman grave

vampire of lugnano
© David Pickel / Stanford University
A rock was inserted into the deceased child's mouth to prevent them rising from the grave and spreading disease, researchers believe.
The discovery of a 10-year-old child's remains at an ancient Roman site in Italy is "extremely eerie and weird" evidence of "vampire burials," where steps were taken to prevent the deceased rising from the dead.

The skeletal remains, uncovered by a team of archaeologists from Italy, the University of Arizona, and Stanford University, incorporated a rock intentionally placed inside the child's mouth. Researchers believe the stone was part of a funeral ritual designed to contain disease - and the body itself - of the child who was possibly infected with malaria.

"I've never seen anything like it. It's extremely eerie and weird," said UA archaeologist David Soren, who has overseen archaeological excavations since 1987. "Locally, they're calling it the 'Vampire of Lugnano.'"

Comment: More from AncientPages.com
Similar burials (associated with a belief that the dead could rise again) have been documented in other locations, including in Venice, where an elderly 16th-century woman dubbed the "Vampire of Venice" was found with a brick in her mouth in 2009. In Northamptonshire, England, in 2017, an adult male from the third or fourth century was found buried facedown with his tongue removed and replaced with a stone.

"This is a very unusual mortuary treatment that you see in various forms in different cultures, especially in the Roman world, that could indicate there was a fear that this person might come back from the dead and try to spread disease to the living," Wilson said.


Deep under the covers: Some of the world's strangest spy sex scandals revealed

spy sex scandal
© Pixabay
Several FBI employees stationed in half a dozen cities across Asia have been recalled to Washington while the agency investigates allegations related to parties and interactions with prostitutes, it has been reported.

The exact nature of the allegations against the FBI personnel and where the incidents allegedly took place haven't been disclosed - although details on a number of historic sex scandals involving intelligence agency and military staff are widely available.

In Plain Sight

As Central Intelligence Agency chief 1953 - 1961, Allen Dulles oversaw some of the organization's most notorious and blood-soaked operations of the Cold War. However, he also found time to engage in innumerable affairs.

One such conquest was Queen Frederika of Greece, who in 1958 came to the US on a tour with her son, future King Constantine II - when visiting Washington, she discussed "spiritual values" with President Dwight D. Eisenhower in the White House, then visited Dulles at CIA headquarters. They'd been alone in his office for nearly an hour when an aide knocked - hearing no response, he entered, finding the office empty, but lascivious noises emanating the adjoining dressing room.

Comment: It just goes to show that despite how well trained and elite some may considered to be, many are still weak when it comes to the whims of their desires - and for some, it's probably part of the reason they're so good at their job in the first place: Also check out SOTT radio's: Behind the Headlines: Florida School Mass Shooting: Gun Control, Mental Illness and the Criminal Mind


Ancient shipwrecks found in Greek waters help map trade routes

Amphorae underwater shipwreck
© Vassilis Mentogiannis/Hellenic Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities
Amphorae are seen at the sea bottom at a shipwreck site on the island of Fournoi, Greece, September 15, 2018. Picture taken September 15, 2018.
Archaeologists in Greece have discovered at least 58 shipwrecks, many laden with antiquities, in what they say may be the largest concentration of ancient wrecks ever found in the Aegean and possibly the whole of the Mediterranean.

The wrecks lie in the small island archipelago of Fournoi, in the Eastern Aegean, and span a huge period from ancient Greece right through to the 20th century. Most are dated to the Greek, Roman and Byzantine eras.

Although shipwrecks can be seen together in the Aegean, until now such a large number have not been found together.


(Always) Ten years left to save the planet

Every ten years, climate scientists say we have ten years left to save the planet. Sometimes they want to save it from global warming, other times they say they want to save it from global cooling.