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Fri, 24 Nov 2017
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Secret History

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Declassified Israeli transcripts discuss ethnic cleansing

Palestinian refugees crossing the Allenby Bridge following the Israeli occupation and war of 1967.
Declassified cabinet meeting minutes show that top Israeli cabinet officials contemplated an ethnic cleansing of the Gaza Strip and Galilee, rewriting history textbooks in favor of a pro-Zionist version of history, and censoring political speech in newspapers to deal with the fallout of the Six-Day War in 1967.

The material posted to the Israeli archives website shows hundreds of pages of previously classified cabinet meeting minutes, including those between August and December of 1967, which followed closely after the Six-Day War in June. From this archive, Israeli officials demonstrated a lack of direction following the war in which the Israeli military conquered and illegally occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, and the Sinai Peninsula.

Officials initially contemplated the difficulties of administering the illegally occupied lands.

Comment: It is hard to imagine something more despicable than planning the ethnic cleansing and genocide of 1.4 million people so you can keep their land. But that's exactly how Israel was created.

We recommend Ilan Pappe's excellent book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.


From music to a movement: How punk got caught up in politically ideological hijinks

When the punk rock thought police ruled the scene

© Kenneth Salerno
In September 1984, the widely read punk zine Maximum Rocknroll published its review of Victim in Pain, the debut album by a New York City band called Agnostic Front.

"I'm approaching this band with caution," it warned. "Unfortunately, much of the narrow-mindedness, fanatical nationalism, and violence that has destroyed the New York punk scene seems to have revolved around Agnostic Front."

The author of that review was the publication's founder and editor, Tim Yohannan, a 40-something ex-Yippie who thought punk music should march in lockstep with left-wing politics. As Ray Farrell, a punk veteran who once worked at the independent record label SST (run by Black Flag guitarist Greg Ginn), told Steven Blush, author of American Hardcore: A Tribal History, "there was an ideological development at Maximum RockNRoll, making everything move towards a Socialist bent."

Comment: Also see:

Bad Guys

Liberal Israelis were already planning Palestinian genocide in 1967

Levi Eshkol, prime minister of Israel in the 1960s.
"Perhaps if we don't give them enough water they won't have a choice, because the orchards will yellow and wither."
That is what Israeli Prime Minster Levi Eshkol said in 1967 about Gaza, as revealed in newly declassified documents from the time. Ofer Aderet of Haaretz reported about this today.

As I have already written, Eshkol, the leftist 'liberal Zionist,' was very willing to send Palestinians to the moon:


Declassified documents show that Soviet military gave vast assistance to Poland during WWII

© Alexander Kapustyanskiy / Sputnik
Soldiers of the Soviet Army in Lublin, Poland. July 24, 1944
As Poland moves to expunge traces of the Soviet Union from its history, the Russian Defense Ministry has declassified papers listing the extensive assistance the Soviets provided to the Poles in the final years of World War II.

The documents from the Central Archive of Russia's Defense Ministry, "never previously published in open sources," detail the support that Poland received from the Soviet Union during its liberation from the Nazis in 1944-45. According to the papers, the USSR provided the Polish population in liberated areas with "food, medical supplies, vehicles, fuel and raw materials for industrial enterprises." The assistance came from the material reserves of the Soviet Red Army and the People's Commissariats of the USSR, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.


Secret passageway has been discovered under a 1,000-year-old Mexican pyramid

© Shutterstock
A secret passageway has been discovered under a 1,000-year-old Mexican pyramid.
It's believed the previously undiscovered access could reveal the geography of the sacred site, as well as shed light on new details of the Mayans ancient beliefs.

Spanish explorers discovered the ancient Kukulkan pyramid in the 1500s.

The Kukulkan is a Mayan snake god, who legend has it, resembles a feathered serpent and emerged from a cave after an earthquake.

The new discovery of the underground passage is believed to lead to a cenote or water-filled cave at the Temple of Kikulkan in Mexico's Chichen Itza.

Experts believe this passageway will reveal more about the Mayan 'snake god'.

Comment: See also: The Mayans were tracking the planets long before Copernicus


Genetic study: Ashkenazi Jews are substantially of Western European origin

© Anton Ivanov/Shutterstock
A synagogue in Florence, Italy. Jews have lived in the Mediterranean for at least 2,000 years, historical documents suggest.
The origin of the Ashkenazi Jews, who come most recently from Europe, has largely been shrouded in mystery. But a new study suggests that at least their maternal lineage may derive largely from Europe.

Though the finding may seem intuitive, it contradicts the notion that European Jews mostly descend from people who left Israel and the Middle East around 2,000 years ago. Instead, a substantial proportion of the population originates from local Europeans who converted to Judaism, said study co-author Martin Richards, an archaeogeneticist at the University of Huddersfield in England.

Tangled legacy

Little is known about the history of Ashkenazi Jews before they were expelled from the Mediterranean and settled in what is now Poland around the 12th century. On average, all Ashkenazi Jews are genetically as closely related to each other as fourth or fifth cousins, said Dr. Harry Ostrer, a pathology, pediatrics and genetics professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and the author of Legacy: A Genetic History of the Jewish People (Oxford University Press, 2012).

Comment: Very interesting finding. If they are in fact western Europeans, then Israel today is a modern European Crusader colony in Muslim lands, which was established there by using Judaism as a trojan horse.


Earliest cave drawings of dogs found by archaeologists

© (Top to bottom): Alexandra Baranova/Wikimedia Commons; M.Guagnin et al., Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, 2017
The ancient hunting dogs of Saudi Arabia (bottom) may have resembled the Canaan breed of dog (top).
Carved into a sandstone cliff on the edge of a bygone river in the Arabian Desert, a hunter draws his bow for the kill. He is accompanied by 13 dogs, each with its own coat markings; two animals have lines running from their necks to the man's waist.

The engravings likely date back more than 8000 years, making them the earliest depictions of dogs, a new study reveals. And those lines are probably leashes, suggesting that humans mastered the art of training and controlling dogs thousands of years earlier than previously thought.

"It's truly astounding stuff," says Melinda Zeder, an archaeozoologist at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. "It's the only real demonstration we have of humans using early dogs to hunt." But she cautions that more work will be needed to confirm both the age and meaning of the depictions.

The hunting scene comes from Shuwaymis, a hilly region of northwestern Saudi Arabia where seasonal rains once formed rivers and supported pockets of dense vegetation. For the past 3 years, Maria Guagnin, an archaeologist at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany-in partnership with the Saudi Commission for Tourism & National Heritage-has helped catalog more than 1400 rock art panels containing nearly 7000 animals and humans at Shuwaymis and Jubbah, a more open vista about 200 kilometers north that was once dotted with lakes.

Wine n Glass

Early evidence of winemaking found by archaeologists

© Judyta Olszewski
Excavations in the Republic of Georgia by the Gadachrili Gora Regional Archaeological Project Expedition (GRAPE), a joint undertaking between the University of Toronto (U of T) and the Georgian National Museum, have uncovered evidence of the earliest winemaking anywhere in the world. The discovery dates the origin of the practice to the Neolithic period around 6000 BC, pushing it back 600-1,000 years from the previously accepted date.

The earliest previously known chemical evidence of wine dated to 5400-5000 BC and was from an area in the Zagros Mountains of Iran. Researchers now say the practice began hundreds of years earlier in the South Caucasus region on the border of Eastern Europe and Western Asia.

Excavations have focused on two Early Ceramic Neolithic sites (6000-4500 BC) called Gadachrili Gora and Shulaveris Gora, approximately 50 kilometres south of the modern capital of Tbilisi. Pottery fragments of ceramic jars recovered from the sites were collected and subsequently analyzed by scientists at the University of Pennsylvania to ascertain the nature of the residue preserved inside for several millennia.

The newest methods of chemical extraction confirmed tartaric acid, the fingerprint compound for grape and wine as well as three associated organic acids - malic, succinic and citric - in the residue recovered from eight large jars. The findings are reported in a research study this week in Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

"We believe this is the oldest example of the domestication of a wild-growing Eurasian grapevine solely for the production of wine," said Stephen Batiuk, a senior research associate in the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations and the Archaeology Centre at U of T, and co-author of the study published in PNAS.


Locations of 11 lost cities revealed in 4,000 year old ancient tablets

© Los Angeles County Museum of Art)
A clay tablet with cuneiform inscription from Anatolia circa 1875-1840 B.C. Researchers have extracted numbers from thousands of these tablets to create a database of trade in ancient Assyria.
Using numbers scrawled by Bronze Age merchants on 4,000-year-old clay tablets, a historian and three economists have developed a novel way to pinpoint the locations of lost cities of the ancient world.

The ancient city of Kanesh, located in the middle of modern-day Turkey, was a hub of trade in the Anatolian region four millennia ago. Modern-day archaeologists have unearthed artifacts from the city, including more than 23,000 cuneiform texts, inscribed in clay by ancient Assyrian merchants.

The texts themselves are mostly "business letters, shipment documents, accounting records, seals and contracts," according to the working paper by Gojko Barjamovic, Thomas Chaney, Kerem A. Cosar and Ali Hortacsu. Barjamovic is an expert in the history of Assyria, the ancient Middle Eastern kingdom founded near the Tigris River in what is present-day Iraq. His co-authors are economists from, respectively, the Paris Institute of Political Studies, the University of Virginia and the University of Chicago.

A typical passage from the clay tablets, translated by the team, reads something like this:
From Durhumit until Kaneš I incurred expenses of 5 minas of refined (copper), I spent 3 minas of copper until Wahšušana, I acquired and spent small wares for a value of 4 shekels of silver

Bizarro Earth

Researchers find 260-million-year-old fossil trees in Antarctica

© Erik Gulbranson
A 280-million-year-old tree stump still attached to its roots in Antarctica. Plants grew on what is today the iciest continent from 400 million to 14 million years ago.
Antarctica wasn't always a land of ice. Millions of years ago, when the continent was still part of a huge Southern Hemisphere landmass called Gondwana, trees flourished near the South Pole.

Now, newfound, intricate fossils of some of these trees are revealing how the plants thrived - and what forests might look like as they march northward in today's warming world.

"Antarctica preserves an ecologic history of polar biomes that ranges for about 400 million years, which is basically the entirety of plant evolution," said Erik Gulbranson, a paleoecologist at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Trees in Antarctica?

It's hard to look at Antarctica's frigid landscape today and imagine lush forests. To find their fossil specimens, Gulbranson and his colleagues have to disembark from planes landed on snowfields, then traverse glaciers and brave bone-chilling winds. But from about 400 million to 14 million years ago, the southern continent was a very different, and much greener place. The climate was warmer, though the plants that survived at the low southern latitudes had to cope with winters of 24-hour-per-day darkness and summers during which the sun never set, just as today.