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Wed, 24 Jan 2018
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Jet3

Cold War airmen found fun where they could: Pilot reveals Soviet bomber crews asked US jets to barrel-roll & took pics

russian bomber barrol roll
© US Navy / Sputnik /File
An F4D Phantom fighter of the U.S. Air Force escorting a Tu-95 Bear strategic bomber above the Arctic Ocean
An aviation blog has posted a photo of a US AF F-4 jet flying upside down as it intercepts a Soviet Tu-95 strategic bomber. The story behind it is one of how mid-air encounters now deemed "unsafe" were once regarded as professionals having a bit of fun.

The picture was published by the popular military aviation blog The Aviationist on December 4 as an illustration of how the definition of recklessness has changed since the Cold War. Maneuvers like barrel rolls or aggressive turns during interception missions are now usually branded by the Pentagon as "unprofessional" or "unsafe" if performed by Russian or Chinese pilots responding to American aircraft.

But a few decades ago such stunts were quite routine and not perceived as anything dangerous. Military aviation blogger David Cenciotti cited a US spy plane veteran pilot calling such episodes "ho-hum." He added that American pilots actually behaved in the same manner, as evidenced by the photo with the 'Phantom' flying upside down alongside the 'Bear.'

Archaeology

Ancient Roman shipwrecks containing stunning artifacts discovered near Egyptian port

votive bark
© Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities
The votive bark, or boat, depicting the pharaonic god Osiris found in Abu Qir Bay
Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered three Roman-era shipwrecks and other stunning ancient artifacts on the Mediterranean seafloor off the coast of Alexandria.

Al Ahram reports that the discoveries were made in Alexandria's Eastern harbor and Abu Qir Bay, during excavations by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities' Underwater Archaeology Department and the European Institute of Underwater Archaeology.

In a post on Facebook, Dr. Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities said that the shipwrecks were found in Alexandria's Eastern harbor. Experts are confident that a fourth wreck will also be located, citing the discovery of large wooden planks and pottery remains that may be from the ship's cargo.

Blue Planet

The 1648 Peace Treaty of Westphalia and what it was intended to do for international relations

Peace Treaty of Westphalia
International relations (IR) from the mid-17th century to the mid-20th century were founded on the decisions by the Peace Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 that ended the Thirty Years War. However, from the beginning of the 21st century, the IR are once again more and more framed by the international standards established in 1648. The Thirty Years War (1618−1648)

This (First Pan-European) war was a confessional-political conflict, in essence, between the Protestant and the Roman Catholic leaders with very catastrophic consequences in population losses and material destructions as, for instance, the German lands lost approximately one-third of its pre-war population with some regions depopulated up to 90%. From the late 16th century onward, Europe, especially her central part, was experienced by religious confrontations between, on one hand, the Roman Catholics, and, on other hand, the Protestants (the Lutherans, Calvinists, and Zwinglians), who seriously challenged the right of the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire to decide on their religion. It is estimated that almost 8 million people in Europe lost their lives during the war.[1]

Comment: It's difficult to know what the net benefit of the Treaty of Westphalia has been for the average person aside from effectively ending the horrific Thirty Year War. As the article states, the Treaty gave rise to new institutions in newly defined nation-states that, however sovereign, gave rise to new acts of imperialism. And how many hundreds of millions of people have suffered and/or were killed by imperial rule since then? If the world's countries had followed the Treaty of Westphalia in spirit - instead of just a politically expedient agreement to end the Thirty Year War, we would be living in different reality today.


Bad Guys

Operation Paperclip: Nazi science goes West

Operation Paperclip
The bleak truth is that a careful review of the activities of the CIA and the organizations from which it sprang reveals an intense preoccupation with the development of techniques of behavior control, brainwashing, and covert medical and psychic experimentation on unwitting subjects including religious sects, ethnic minorities, prisoners, mental patients, soldiers and the terminally ill. The rationale for such activities, the techniques and indeed the human subjects chosen show an extraordinary and chilling similarity to Nazi experiments.

This similarity becomes less surprising when we trace the determined and often successful efforts of US intelligence officers to acquire the records of Nazi experiments, and in many cases to recruit the Nazi researchers themselves and put them to work, transferring the laboratories from Dachau, the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute, Auschwitz and Buchenwald to Edgewood Arsenal, Fort Detrick, Huntsville Air Force Base, Ohio State, and the University of Washington.

Comment:


Cross

Church Leader's chilling letter to Lenin reveals the truth about the revolution in 1918

Patriarch Tikhon was head of the Russian church during the revolution,

Patriarch Tikhon head of the Russian church during the Russia revolution
This article appeared on a new site about the Christian renaissance in Russia, called Russian Faith. Their introductory video is at end of this article.

Patriarch Tikhon was head of the Russian church during the revolution, and courageously condemned what he saw as a demonic attack on a Christian civilization. Previously he had been a bishop in the US, from 1898 - 1907, where he was a very successful missionary.

The first Bolshevik government, which consisted mostly of atheist Jews, tolerated the popular Patriarch for a while, realizing that if they martyred him, it would only increase the church's influence, but eventually, they pushed him out, put him under house arrest, and demonized and harassed him until his death in 1925. The Russian church made him into a saint in 1989.

This remarkable letter survives as a testimony of what was really happening in Russia at the time, and to the extraordinary courage of this man to speak the truth, knowing it would cost him his life.

It is all the more important because the accounts to the West that came out of Russia at the time, and subsequent histories, were mostly written by left-leaning sympathizers who cheered the revolution on, having little idea what it really was. This obfuscation continues to this day.

Take a few minutes to read this passionate and poetic condemnation of evil. Its startling clarity comes down to us through the years with great force. We highlighted a few of the more moving lines, but honestly, almost every sentence is gripping.

This view of what actually happened during the revolution is as important today as it was 100 years ago. The 100-year commemoration of the Russian revolution shows starkly divergent views of what it was to our own day.

This excellent translation is by Nun Cornelia Rees.

Document

Document reveals possible U.S./Saudi collusion with Israel before the Six Day War

king faisal
© Knudsen, Robert L./Wikipedia
Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was King of Saudi Arabia from 1964 to 1975
A historical letter sent from the late King Faisal of Saudi Arabia to the then US President, Lyndon B Johnson, in 1966 reveals the monarch's possible collusion with the US over Israel's occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula. Published by Al Motamar net news website, it has been described as "dangerous" by former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has long promised to reveal the contents of the document.

"King Faisal's letter to US President Lyndon Johnson said that the Egyptian forces would not withdraw from Yemen unless Israel moved to occupy Gaza, Sinai and the West Bank," explained Saleh. The Head of the General People's Congress urged the current Yemeni president and the rest of the Arab countries participating in the Saudi-led coalition, especially Egypt, to withdraw immediately from the alliance fighting in Yemen. "The events in Saudi Arabia, the blockade on Qatar, and the Sudanese President's visit to Russia are all a part of the changing equations [in the Middle East]," he claimed.

According to Saleh, the letter mentions what King Faisal described as Egypt's dangerous role in Yemen and the region in general through its support of the rebels and provoking the people's emotions against "us all" - the US and Saudi Arabia - as well as Egypt's ongoing and historical efforts to overthrow "our governments". Faisal also called Egypt "the greatest enemy" of Saudi Arabia and the US.

In his letter, the then Saudi monarch stressed the need for the US to support Israel to carry out a swift operation against Egypt by which it would control vital areas in the country - the Sinai Peninsula - not only forcing the government in Cairo to withdraw its forces from Yemen, but also to distract Egypt with Israel for as long as possible. King Faisal also suggested that the Gaza Strip under Egyptian control should be seized immediately, and believed that it was important to take control of the West Bank from Jordan in order for the Palestinians to lose hope of having control of any land administered by an Arab government.

Info

Blood red sky that lasted 9 days: Mysterious hue seen over Far East Asia in 1770 was caused by biggest solar storm ever recorded

giant magnetic storm (stock image)

In 1770, people living in far-east Asia saw the sky turn a deep crimson for over a week - an event that was recorded in ancient scrolls. Now, scientists have analysed the historical event, and suggest the red hue was caused by a giant magnetic storm (stock image)
In 1770, people living in far-east Asia saw the sky turn a deep crimson for over a week - an event that was recorded in ancient scrolls.

Now, scientists have analysed the historical event, and suggest the red hue was caused by a giant solar storm.

Lost to the annals of time, the event could be the largest recorded solar flare in recorded history.

China, Korea and Japan all saw a deep red sky for nine days in the late 18th century.

Researchers from Osaka University have unearthed new documents which suggest the celestial phenomenon was caused by a geomagnetic storm.

'Historical documents can let us trace back solar activity for millennia,' Dr Hisashi Hayakawa, who led the study, told Live Science.

Comment: The main problem with this theory is that it occurred during the 'Little Ice Age', conventionally defined as a period extending from the 16th to the 19th centuries. Causes are suggested to have been decreased solar activity, increased volcanic activity, as well as other factors.


Info

Archaeologists revise chronology of the 'Natufian Culture' in the Near East

Shubayqa 1 site
© University of Copenhagen
Archaeologists working at the Shubayqa 1 site.
New research by a team of scientists and archaeologists based at the Weizmann Institute of Science and the University of Copenhagen suggests that the 15,000-year-old 'Natufian Culture' could live comfortably in the steppe zone of present-day eastern Jordan - this was previously thought to be either uninhabitable or only sparsely populated.

The hunter-gatherers of the Natufian Culture, which existed in modern-day Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria between c. 14,500 - 11,500 years ago, were some of the first people to build permanent houses and tend to edible plants. These innovations were probably crucial for the subsequent emergence of agriculture during the Neolithic era. Previous research had suggested that the centre of this culture was the Mount Carmel and Galilee region, and that it spread from here to other parts of the region. The new study by the Copenhagen-Weizmann team, published in Scientific Reports, challenges this 'core region' theory.

The new paper is based on evidence from a Natufian site located in Jordan, c. 150 km northeast of Amman. The site, called Shubayqa 1, was excavated by a University of Copenhagen team led by Dr. Tobias Richter from 2012-2015.

Black Cat

Flesh-eating ancient 'marsupial lion' species discovered in Queensland, Australia

Marsupial lion
Scientists have discovered a strange new species of marsupial lion in northern Australia. The fearsome predator has been extinct for at least 18 million years.

The animal was uncovered by a team of Australian scientists who analyzed fossilized remains of its skull, teeth and upper arm bone, all found in the Riversleigh World Heritage Area of remote north-western Queensland.

The team, from the University of New South Wales, published their findings in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology and named the strange creature 'Wakaleo schouteni' in honor of palaeo-artist Peter Schouten.

Wakaleo schouteni was a meat-eating, marsupial, predator that roamed Australia's rainforests some 18 to 26 million years ago. It's estimated to be as big as a medium-sized dog, weighing about 23kg (51lb), according to the study.

Comment: See also: Did mega-drought kill ancient Aboriginal culture?


Books

Trump & Jerusalem: A legal & historical analysis

Jerusalem's Old City
© Ronen Zvulun/Reuters
A general view shows the Dome of the Rock and Jerusalem's Old City from David Tower
US President Donald Trump has said it is time to officially recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The decision comes seven decades after the Declaration of the establishment of the State of Israel, that was unilaterally announced on 14 May 1948 by David Ben-Gurion. At the time,no borders were settled for the new state. It is also for this reason that Israel's admission to the United Nations (UN) soon became a strategic priority. The admission to the UN, in fact, was and is the "most secure and expeditious way" of gaining widespread or universal recognition.

Yet, Israel's original application for admission to the UN was rejected by the UN Security Councilon December 17, 1948. The second bid for application was made on February 24, 1949. "Negotiations", assured the then Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban at the General Assembly of the UN, "would not, however, affect the juridical status of Jerusalem, to be defined by international consent".

These binding assurances - that served as the basis for Israel's admission to the UN - were made one year after the war of 1947- 48 (see Uri Avnery's "sacred mantras" on "rejectionism"): none of the historical events of the following seven decades has the legal capacity to erase them. Even more so considering that when, in 1980, Israel passed a Basic Law which declared Jerusalem "complete and united", as the "capital of Israel", the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 476affirming that "measures which have altered the geographic, demographic and historical character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem are null and void".