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5000-year-old 'giants' graveyard found in eastern China

© AsiaWire
The giants' graveyard
A graveyard of 'giants' buried 5,000 years ago has been uncovered by archaeologists in eastern China.

The men, whose bones were discovered in Jiaojia village near Jinan City in Shandong province, would have towered above many of their contemporaries.

Many of the men discovered in the graveyard measured 1.8 metres (5ft 11in) tall and would have seemed like giants to the average person 5,000 years ago.

Vader

Lebensraum, Inc: How Germany partnered with Washington to carve up Yugoslavia and foster Islamic terrorism in Europe


'Good job, us!
By T.W. Carr, Associate Publisher, Defense & Foreign Affairs Publications, London

German and US involvement in the Balkans: A careful coincidence of national policies?

Presented at the Symposium on the Balkan War: 'Yugoslavia: Past and Present'. Chicago, August 31-September 1, 1995

Introduction

On June 12, 1994, US President William Clinton made a 'symbolic' speech at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin in which he made it clear to the world that a reunited Germany was the United States key European Partner in bringing about a new world order. At associated meetings he referred to Chancellor Hemut Kohl as: "Helmut is my principal partner in Europe"... and "A reunited Germany will be the leader of a united Europe". President Clinton projected a vision of a reunited, rebuilt Berlin as the centre of united Europe with Germany moving the continent forward in peace and economic progress.

Comment: See also: Why is NATO decimating the Balkans and trying to force Milosevic to surrender?


Archaeology

Age of the Aztecs: Ancient tower of skulls unearthed beneath Mexico City (PHOTOS)

© Henry Romero / Reuters
An ancient tower of human skulls has been unearthed beneath Mexico City - a discovery that researchers say raises fresh questions about the culture of sacrifice in the Aztec empire.

Archaeologists unearthed the 676 skulls embedded in a tower near the site of the Templo Mayor, one of the main temples in Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital that would later become Mexico City.

What makes the grisly discovery unique, however, is that the tower includes the skulls of women and children.

Comment: See also: Massive human skull rack found at Aztec temple


Books

Statistical uncertainty: Did Mao really kill millions in China's Great Leap Forward?


Beijing's Forbidden City: Is it guarding terrible secrets? Or is it that its secrecy means non-Chinese can project whatever 'parade of horribles' they wish onto it?
Over the last 25 years the reputation of Mao Zedong has been seriously undermined by ever more extreme estimates of the numbers of deaths he was supposedly responsible for. In his lifetime, Mao Zedong was hugely respected for the way that his socialist policies improved the welfare of the Chinese people, slashing the level of poverty and hunger in China and providing free health care and education. Mao's theories also gave great inspiration to those fighting imperialism around the world. It is probably this factor that explains a great deal of the hostility towards him from the Right. This is a tendency that is likely to grow more acute with the apparent growth in strength of Maoist movements in India and Nepal in recent years, as well as the continuing influence of Maoist movements in other parts of the world.

Most of the attempts to undermine Mao's reputation centre around the Great Leap Forward that began in 1958. It is this period that this article is primarily concerned with. The peasants had already started farming the land co-operatively in the 1950s. During the Great Leap Forward they joined large communes consisting of thousands or tens of thousands of people. Large-scale irrigation schemes were undertaken to improve agricultural productivity. Mao's plan was to massively increase both agricultural and industrial production. It is argued that these policies led to a famine in the years 1959-61 (although some believe the famine began in 1958). A variety of reasons are cited for the famine. For example, excessive grain procurement by the state or food being wasted due to free distribution in communal kitchens. It has also been claimed that peasants neglected agriculture to work on the irrigation schemes or in the famous "backyard steel furnaces" (small-scale steel furnaces built in rural areas).

Star of David

Guy Laron's Wilson Center lecture: Israeli victory in '67 was manufactured in western Europe, not by 'Jewish geniuses'

© C-Span2
Guy Laron at the Wilson Center, May 12.
Over the last few weeks, we have tried to undo a lot of the mystification that still surrounds the 1967 War, which so transformed Israel's presence in the Middle East and indeed the world.

We have shown how much genuine fear there was on the part of Jews worldwide, even leftwingers, over Israel's possible destruction 20 years after the Holocaust. Yet as Norman Finkelstein documents, military leaders, including in Washington, Damascus and Cairo, knew that the Arab nations were no contest for Israel, and that the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric was largely bluster. And bear in mind: Israel started the war, and ended up taking large chunks of its neighbors' territories.

We have also stressed the dubious lessons from Israel's six-day victory. Israel had to go it alone in the world. The Israel lobby must become a force in U.S. life in order to insure Israel's survival.

An event at the Wilson Center last month extends this understanding. Guy Laron, the Israeli author of a new book on the 1967 war (The Breaking of the Middle East), explained that Israeli generals and the CIA knew very well that the Arab armies posed no existential threat: the war would end in a week. He also said that the victory was produced in Britain and France, through the supply of state-of-the-art arms, not "by Jewish geniuses" in Israel, as Israel liked to claim.

Eye 2

What the History Channel didn't say about the MK Ultra program

Over the past week, I've been watching the History Channel's America's War on Drugs mini docu-series. To my surprise, the History Channel was shockingly honest about the CIA's involvement in the war on drugs and the massive political propaganda campaigns that went along with it. The series criminalized the CIA and the government, and rightly so, discussing their involvement in drug trafficking, production, and testing — on both volunteers and unwilling patients — and even murder.

Part of the first episode honed in on the CIA's top-secret program that is now declassified, MK-Ultra, which involved sexual and physical abuse, drug testing, hypnosis, mind control, and other types of torture. However, the only aspect that the History Channel discussed in their MK Ultra overview was the role that LSD played.

The CIA designed LSD with a Swiss manufacturer as part of the MK Ultra program in hopes that they could force people to take it and convince them to do unspeakable acts, all of which they'd forget the following morning, once the drugs wore off. Testing started with unwilling participants being lured into a hotel room by prostitutes, who would then slip the drugs into their drinks. A CIA agent would then watch the test subjects as they tripped out behind a wall of the hotel room.

Archaeology

Avebury stone square: Mysterious 3000yo monument hidden beneath Neolithic stone circle

© Shutterstock/1000Words
Avebury's Stone Circle, a World Heritage Site, built more than 2,500 years ago.
A 'striking and apparently unique' square monument built nearly 3,000 years ago has been found hidden underneath Avebury, the Neolthic stone circle just miles from Stonehenge.

The series of elaborate stones, thought to have been hidden and buried hundreds of years ago, were unearthed by scientists using radar technology. Archaeologists said the newly unearthed stones were arranged in a square shape surrounding a Neolithic house, which predates the rest of the site by at least 500 years.

They added that the uncovered ancient home, which was built sometime in the 3rd millennium BC, may have been the first building in a vast Neolithic settlement in south west England.
© University of Southampton
A mysterious square-shaped monument made from a series of standing stones was unearthed beneath Avebury. The stones appear to surround a Neolithic house.
© unknown

Comment: To clarify the confusing timelines:
  • House structure: predates all by 3500 y ago (@1500 BC)
  • Square: 3000 y ago (@1000 BC)
  • Avebury stone circle: 2500 y ago (@500 BC)



Info

Newly translated samurai scroll describes moonless battles, blinding powders

© Hulton Archive/Getty Images
A samurai warrior
An enigmatic samurai text known as the Sword Scroll has been translated into English for the first time, revealing instructions for successful nighttime battles and recipes for blinding powders.

The text may have been written almost 500 years ago, though that date is uncertain.

Attributed to two elite samurai, the text says that to be an effective sword fighter, one must have "no evil in your heart," and the spirit, eyes, hands and feet must all be in balance.

The scroll warns that even those who learn its numerous techniques can be killed if they take on too many enemies at one time. "It is best to err on the side of caution and not enter a mountain road infested with brigands," the scroll says, adding that "there is a saying that goes, 'a little bit of military training can be the cause of great injury'" (translation by Eric Shahan).

The Sword Scroll was translated into modern Japanese recently by Fumio Manaka, a master in a Japanese martial art known as Kobudo, and then into English by Eric Shahan, a Japanese translator who specializes in translating Japanese martial-arts texts. Shahan also holds a San Dan (third-degree black belt) in Kobudo.

Fireball

The five biggest meteor crashes of all time

As Meteor Watch Day falls on June 30, take a look at some of the biggest meteor crashes of all time:

Ensisheim

The oldest recorded meteorite, the Ensisheim struck earth on November 7, 1492, in Ensisheim, France. A 330-pound stone dropped from the sky into a wheat field, witnessed only by a young boy. German King Maximilian even stopped by Ensisheim to see the stone on his way to battle the French army. Maximilian decided it was a gift from heaven and considered it a sign that he would emerge victorious in his upcoming battle, which he did. Today, the largest portion stands on display in Ensisheim's Regency Palace.

© Ensisheim Regency Palace
Murchison

On September 28, 1969, a meteor exploded over the town of Murchison in Australia. The explosion left smoke rings in the air and left 700 kg of meteorite debris scattered across 33-sq-km area. Remarkably, the cosmic rocks contained molecules such as amino acids, which are essential to life. This was the first time organic chemicals had been found in a meteorite.

Comment: See also: Chelyabinsk meteor: A wake-up call for humanity


Archaeology

Dead heads: Turkish site reveals more evidence of neolithic 'skull cult'

© German Archaeological Institute (DAI)
A carving found on a pillar at Göbekli Tepe, apparently showing a figurine holding a head.
Fragments of carved bone unearthed at an ancient site on a Turkish hillside are evidence that the people who spent time there belonged to a neolithic "skull cult" - a group that embraces rituals around the heads of the dead.

The remains were uncovered during field work at Göbekli Tepe, an 11,000-year-old site in the south-east of the country, where thousands of pieces of human bone were found, including sections of skulls bearing grooves, holes and the occasional dab of ochre.

Pieces of three adult skulls recovered from the sitehave hallmarks of being carved with flint after being scalped and defleshed first. Evidence that the latter was not always an effortless affair is found in multiple scrape marks where the muscles once attached to the bone.

But the intentional carvings look very different to other marks on the skulls. "The carvings are very deep lines in the bone and are definitely intended," said Julia Gresky at the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin. "It's the first evidence we have for carved human skulls anywhere."