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Mon, 23 Jul 2018
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Star of David

Demystifying the myths of Israel's Six-Day War

6daywar
© Unknown
Israel's Six-Day War
The war that Israel initiated in June of 1967 became the stuff of myths and legends on many levels. Now, after fifty one years it may be time to unravel and demystify what took place during those fateful six days in June.

There is the myth of the existential threat which called for Israel to engage in a preemptive strike which started the war, then there is the myth of the greatness of the Israeli army and its remarkable abilities, and there is a claim which one can argue is also a myth that it was this war that changed the face of the Middle East forever. Then, there is an even greater myth and that is that Palestine was occupied as a result of the 1967 war. That the West Bank and The Gaza Strip, which are no more than two small parts of Palestine artificially created when Israel was established, are The Occupied Palestinian Territories, as opposed to two areas within occupied Palestine. It can be no coincidence that most immediately after the war of 1967 these areas were named "The Occupied Territories" and the fact that the greater part of Palestine had been occupied for almost twenty years - that point had somehow slipped the collective memories of all but the Palestinians themselves.

Comment: Askew the definitions, rebrand the scenario, change the focus, bribe or eliminate the naysayers and voila - you have your own country. You can lay claim to false rights, dispose of thousands of people, convince others of your sovereignty, rewrite history to suit your narrative and over time they will believe you. Was that the plan?


Archaeology

Ancient political propaganda: Electoral slogans uncovered from ruins of Pompeii

political ads uncovered Pompeii
© Getty Images
Electoral claims in Latin language found in Pompeii's Regio V.
If you've ever wondered how people rose to power in Ancient Rome newly discovered political ads in the famous city of Pompeii offer fresh insight on the age-old practice of propaganda.

The recently uncovered Latin inscriptions were found by archaeologists working in the Regio V area of the government protected park. The perfectly preserved messages, which were graffitied onto the outside of buildings during Pompeii's heyday more than 1,900 years ago, were used to promote politicians running for office, according to reports in Italy.

Since its rediscovery in 1748, various studies of Pompeii have shown that the ancient town had a sophisticated political structure, including magistrates and councillors.

Mail

Scotsman's letter proves the slaughter of Aborigines

crosshatch letter
© Pursuit
James Graham's cross-hatch letter, dated 1839.
An extraordinary letter home to Scotland from a young man who had emigrated to Australia in the 1830s has been made available to people trying to reconcile with Aboriginal history.

James Graham wrote home to his family in Fife in 1839, a year after he had emigrated to Australia, and his letter contains proof that Aborigines were massacred by white settlers - studies have shown that up to 60% of Australians still do not believe such atrocities happen.

During National Reconciliation Week earlier this month - seven days of promoting Aboriginal culture - the so-called Overland Letter by Graham was promoted by the University of Melbourne in its online publication Pursuit.

The letter from the university archives is extraordinary for several reasons, not least because it is a rare example of the "criss-cross" style of writing which Victorians used in order to save paper - the most famous user of that method was the missionary and explorer David Livingstone.

According to Pursuit, Graham's cross-writing horizontally, vertically and diagonally filled two large leaves of heavy paper with words that would later add up to forty pages of typed transcription.

Question

5000-year-old stone balls continue to baffle archaeologists

Ancient carved balls of stone
© National Museums Scotland
The 3D models of the carved balls of stone, including the spiral-carved Towie ball (center), are now posted online.
Some of the most enigmatic human-made objects from Europe's late Stone Age - intricately carved balls of stone, each about the size of a baseball - continue to baffle archaeologists more than 200 years after they were first discovered.

More than 500 of the enigmatic objects have now been found, most of them in northeast Scotland, but also in the Orkney Islands, England, Ireland and one in Norway.

Archaeologists still don't know the original purpose or meaning of the Neolithic stone balls, which are recognized as some of the finest examples of Neolithic art found anywhere in the world. But now, they've created virtual 3D models of the gorgeous balls, primarily to share with the public. In addition, the models have revealed some new details, including once-hidden patterns in the carvings on the balls. [See More Photos of the Intricately Carved Stone Balls]

Hugo Anderson-Whymark, a curator at National Museums Scotland who created the online models, explained that many functions have been proposed for the stone balls over the years.

Such proposals have included the possibility that they were made as the stone heads for crushing weapons, or standardized weights for Neolithic traders, or rollers for the transport of the giant stones used in megalithic monuments.

One theory is that the knobs on many of the carved stone balls were wound with twine or sinew, which allowed them to be thrown like slings or South American bolas. Other theories describe the balls as objects of religious devotion or symbols of social status.

Fish

Why did Stone Age villagers so far from the sea suffer "surfers ear"?

Mystery of why Stone Age villagers spent so much time underwater Abnormal ear bones are a hallmark of time spent underwater
© Ozgur Ayaydin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Mystery of why Stone Age villagers spent so much time underwater Abnormal ear bones are a hallmark of time spent underwater
It's a Stone Age mystery: why did one-third of the people living in an ancient village far from the sea develop a condition typically seen today in avid surfers?

There is no obvious answer - but the weird prevalence of "surfer's ear" in the ancient community might shed new light on the way humans lived just before the farming revolution.

Körtik Tepe, a site in eastern Turkey, was first occupied between 12,400 and 11,250 years ago. This was a time of massive social change, when roaming hunter-gatherers first began living in permanent villages.


We know very little about the lives of those early villagers, other than that they continued to hunt and gather food rather than farming the land. To find out more, a team led by Yılmaz Erdal at Hacettepe University in Ankara, Turkey, examined 128 skeletons buried at the site.

Comment: Interestingly, according to Wiki:
Irritation from cold wind and water exposure causes the bone surrounding the ear canal to develop lumps of new bony growth which constrict the ear canal. Where the ear canal is actually blocked by this condition, water and wax can become trapped and give rise to infection. The condition is so named due to its prevalence among cold water surfers. Warm water surfers are also at risk for exostosis due to the evaporative cooling caused by wind and the presence of water in the ear canal.

[...]

The majority of patients present in their mid-30s to late 40s. This is likely due to a combination of the slow growth of the bone and the decreased participation in activities associated with surfer's ear past the 30's. However surfer's ear is possible at any age and is directly proportional to the amount of time spent in cold, wet, windy weather without adequate protection.[3]
So it's not just exposure to cold water, but also wind, and could that include rain? Because as the article notes, great changes were afoot at that time, changes that led people all over the planet to abandon hunter gatherer lifestyles and begin to adopt agriculture. Mounting evidence is showing that devastating climate shifts were occurring during this period, particularly planetary wide cooling, and, perhaps, this is one clue that could help solve the mystery:


Boat

Have humans been sailing the seas for a million years?

painting sea
© Simon Pemberton
Have humans been sailors for a million years?

IT WASN'T supposed to end this way. The 23-metre-long Nale Tasih 1, made with Stone Age tools and materials, was meant to recreate one of the truly epic prehistoric journeys: the first human crossing from Indonesia to Australia some 65,000 years ago. The voyage, in 1998, should have taken more than a week, but water sloshing around the crew's feet on the first day was a clear sign. The team had to tow the doomed raft back to shore.

The very first humans to travel the oceans would have faced a daunting task, both physical and mental. By attempting to recreate their voyages, experimental archaeologists are helping to define the scale of that challenge. The Nale Tasih 1 expedition, however, was meant to help prove a grander theory. Its leaders say humans have been building and using watercraft to reach new lands for the best part of a million years. In other words, early humans - potentially including Neanderthals, Denisovans and Homo erectus - weren't diehard landlubbers. They were mariners.

It is still a minority view, but one with profound implications. The ancient mariners theory could completely change our perspective on how early humans behaved and communicated with each other.

Comment: When we consider that the 'Out of Africa' theory is still only a theory and that the planet may have been very different to how it is today, it's clear that this issue of whether human's were capable sea-farers becomes a lot more interesting:


Star of David

'Demographic threat': The real reason Israel turned the Gaza Strip into an open-air prison

Gaza greenhouse roses
Erase memory and you wash away the blood from the perpetrator's hands, you undo the done deed, make it disappear from history. Erase memories of atrocities and you tempt future perpetrators with immunity

- Miraslov Volf
In recent weeks, as Israeli bombs and artillery have slammed into the tiny strip of land that is home to nearly 2 million Palestinians in Gaza, the propaganda war has been raging with equal vigor. Israeli spokespersons have consistently denied any blame for civilian victims and even claimed that civilians are acting as human shields for Hamas operations, blaming the victims of this humanitarian catastrophe for their own suffering.

While it will take time and independent investigation to determine if the Israeli Defense Forces' claims that Hamas is using civilians as human shields turn out to be as baseless as past IDF human shielding allegations against Hamas and Hezbollah, other claims made by Israel supporters can be easily dispelled now.

Dig

1700 year old mummified Hun warrior finally in museum with his bow and 'whistling arrows'

siberian archer hun
© Kokorya Museum
'Keep this head, do not give it to anybody, and one day your museum will be famous'.
Mummified archer turns up in remote museum after locals refused to hand him over to the Hermitage in St Petersburg.

The ancient warrior was buried in fur and lay on a wooden 'bed' in his burial chamber at a remote Altai Mountains site near the modern day village of Kokorya, some 314 kilometres south of regional capital Gorno-Altaisk. Next to the warrior was placed his weaponry.

His bow in its heyday was some two metres in length; alongside its remnants were half a dozen well-preserved arrow shafts made of birch.

They were painted in black and white - so he knew which one to pull from the fur-lined quiver for each prey.

The arrows originally had iron tips.

Comment: See also:


Smoking

3500 year old pipe reveals Americans were smoking tobacco much earlier than previously thought

Scientists found 3500-year-old traces of nicotine inside this limestone pipe.
© Stephen Carmody
Scientists found 3500-year-old traces of nicotine inside this limestone pipe.
In the late 1930s, archaeologists in northern Alabama rushed to excavate a now-submerged Native American site at the confluence of the Flint and Tennessee rivers, racing the rising tide brought on by the newly built Guntersville Dam. Dozens of artifacts were discovered, then sealed up in paper bags and kept at the Alabama State Repository. There they gathered dust until 70 years later, when a team of archaeologists and chemists came looking for a particular item noted in the repository catalog: FS74, an engraved smoking pipe or "medicine tube," carved from limestone.

With the support of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the researchers had been examining ancient Native American pipes for years, using a chemical analysis technique called mass spectrometry to look for traces of plant material left behind. Their hunt, which was meant to shed light on the religious and ritualistic history of smoking, had already yielded tobacco and jimsonweed residue in pipes dating back a few hundred years.

Comment: One could assume that since they had created a tool for the use of tobacco that they may have actually been using it for much longer. For more on the history and beneficial properties of smoking organic tobacco, see: Also check out SOTT radio's:


Star of David

Israel's secret history of assassinations

Meir Dagan
© Middle East Eye
Former head of Mossad, Meir Dagan, principle source for "Rise and Kill First"
Israeli television recently aired a video of two Israeli soldiers filming themselves in the act of shooting a Palestinian protester at the Gaza boundary while cheering. Filming one's own crimes against humanity - shooting Palestinians for sport - suggests a sense of security in never being held accountable.

Even more evidence of this impunity is apparent in Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel's Targeted Assassinations by veteran Israeli journalist Ronen Bergman, staff writer for The New York Times Magazine.

Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court might want to consider this book Exhibit A if Israeli government and military officials are ever indicted for war crimes. It contains open admissions of guilt in plotting and executing extralegal assassinations in violation of international law.

"Since World War II, Israel has assassinated more people than any other country in the Western world," Bergman writes. In many cases, these so-called targeted killings over the last two decades also involved the deaths of nearly a thousand bystanders, according to Bergman's calculations - those numbers, however, fail to include the tens of thousands killed in overt acts of war and collective punishment that mostly go unmentioned in this book.