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Tue, 14 Jul 2020
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Who directed the destruction and breakup of Yugoslavia - and how?

Map of Kosovo

Map of Kosovo
Twenty years ago, on 24 March 1999, Operation Allied Force began - the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia that led to the country's dismemberment - and the independent state of Kosovo was proclaimed. Yet these events were far from historically contingent, as some people claim. So who orchestrated the breakup of Yugoslavia and how?

These days, few remember that the Bulgarians were at the start of it all. Even the Bulgarians themselves don't like to think about it.

In early March 1999, Bulgaria's National Intelligence Service told Germany's Federal Intelligence Service (BND) that it had information about a secret plan by the Yugoslav General Staff, codenamed Operation Horseshoe, to destroy/expel the entire Albanian population of Kosovo and Metohija by 1 April. The BND passed the information on to the German Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs, Joschka Fischer, who took it extremely seriously and immediately called for a military intervention in Yugoslavia, something that went against the pacifist position of the Green party from which he had been appointed foreign minister.

Comment: See: Parenti: NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999 wrapped up 'rational destruction' of Yugoslavia


Pristine weapons of China's Terracotta Warriors solved by scientist

For decades, scientists have been perplexed by the marvelous preservation of bronze weapons associated with China's famed Terracotta Warriors, retaining shiny, almost pristine surfaces and sharp blades after being buried for more than two millennia.
Terracotta Warriors
© REUTERS/Charles Platiau
Terracotta warriors and horses, which were unearthed during the first excavation from 1978 to 1984, stand inside the No. 1 pit of the Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses in Xian, Shaanxi province, in China, January 8, 2018.
Research by an international team of scientists published on Thursday may solve the mystery while putting to rest an intriguing hypothesis: that ancient Chinese artisans employed an unexpectedly advanced preservation method using the metal chromium.

The fine preservation of weapons including swords, lances and halberds was due to serendipity - factors such as the bronze's high tin content and favorable soil composition, the scientists decided after examining 464 bronze weapons and parts.

Chromium found on the bronze surfaces, they determined, was simply contamination from chromium-rich lacquer applied by the artisans to the terracotta figures and weapons parts. Chromium played no role in their preservation.

The Terracotta Army consists of thousands of life-sized ceramic warriors and horses alongside bronze chariots and weapons, part of the vast 3rd century BC mausoleum near the city of Xi'an for Qin Shi Huang, first emperor of a unified China. Found in 1974, it represents one of the 20th century's greatest archaeological discoveries.

Star of David

How did the Israel lobby get its start?

Biltmore Hotel
© Zionist Archives
Extraordinary Zionist Conference at the Biltmore Hotel, New York, May 1942, which recommended an end to the British Mandate and establishment of a Jewish commonwealth in Palestine. Among those present: Israel Goldstein, Louis Levinthal, David Wertheim, Louis Lipsky, Meyer Weisgal, Stephen S. Wise, Chaim Weizmann, David Ben-Gurion, Nahum Goldmann, Tamar De Sola Pool, Abba Hillel Silver, Devorah Rothbart, Hirsch Ehrenreich, Isaac Naiditsch.
As the annual AIPAC conference wraps up in Washington on Tuesday, historian Walter Hixson looked back on the Israel Lobby's origins in this speech last Friday to the "Israel Lobby & American Policy Conference" at the National Press Club.

This conference speaks truth to power. We gather here because we support truth and justice in Palestine. We also insist on a free and open discussion of the Israel lobby and its impact on American democracy and world politics.

All of you already know that the Israel lobby is extremely powerful - for the record, it constitutes easily the most powerful diaspora lobby representing the interests of a foreign nation in all of American history - but you may not know how deeply rooted it is. In fact, the extensive lobbying efforts of Zionists and their Jewish and Christian sympathizers in the United States predate the creation of Israel and flourished throughout the first generation of the Palestine conflict.

As good a date as any to fix the origins of the Israel lobby in the United States is the 1942 Biltmore Conference held in the heartland of American Zionism, New York City. Zionists quickly discovered that they could mobilize Jewish organizations as well as groups such as the American Christian Palestine Committee, to pressure Congress to back the cause. The nascent lobby efficiently lined up the two main political parties in support of creation of a Jewish commonwealth, admission of masses of refugees, and crucial US financial assistance to accommodate them. Military assistance would come later.

Comment: Watch Hixson's full speech:

People 2

Denisovans may have mated with modern humans as recently as 15,000 years ago

New Guinea
© DOZIER MARC/hemis.fr/Getty Images
Some of the last Denisovans may have intermingled with modern humans in mountainous New Guinea or on nearby islands.
The elusive Denisovans, the extinct cousins of Neanderthals, are known from only the scraps of bone they left in Siberia's Denisova Cave in Russia and the genetic legacy they bequeathed to living people across Asia. A new study of that legacy in people from New Guinea now suggests that, far from being a single group, these mysterious humans were so diverse that their populations were as distantly related to each other as they were to Neanderthals.

In another startling suggestion, the study implies one of those groups may have survived and encountered modern humans as recently as 15,000 to 30,000 years ago, tens of thousands of years later than researchers had thought. "A late surviving lineage [of Denisovans] could have interbred with Homo sapiens" in Southeast Asia, paleoanthropologist Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London, not a member of the team, said in a Skype interview during a session at the annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists here. The new study was presented Thursday at the meeting.

Comment: It appears that the date for the disappearance and last intermixing of Denisovans and Neanderthals is just getting later and later, along with our understanding of just how many similarities they both shared with Homo sapiens: And check out SOTT radio's:


Bolivian lake excavation reveals artifacts of a mystery religion pre-dating the Incas by 500 Years

pre-inca religion
© Teddy Seguin
Offering pieces found in lake with iconography suggesting they were offerings to Viracocha, the principle deity of the Tiwanaku
Hundreds of years ago, the west coast of South America was ruled by the Incas - a mysterious empire considered to be the most elaborate society to exist in the Americas before the arrival of Columbus. This is not their story.

For long before the Incas held dominion over the sweeping lands stretching from Colombia to Chile, an even more mysterious and ancient society inhabited this elevated Andean region.

This older empire was called the Tiwanaku state, whom we know even less about. At their peak, they may have only numbered 10,000 to 20,000 people.

What scarce details we do know about the Tiwanaku state come from archaeological finds, uncovering a trail of clues about the Tiwanaku people and their long-gone culture. Now, scientists have just announced the discovery of a big new piece of the puzzle.


2,000yo 'fast food' bar unearthed in ancient city of Pompeii

pompeii ancient fast food
© Massimo Ossana/Instagram
Dozens of thermopolia, or snack bars, have been found across Pompeii.
Thermopolia used by poorer residents with few cooking facilities, archaeologists say

A well-preserved frescoed "fast food" counter is among the latest discoveries unearthed by archaeologists in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii.

The 150 or so thermopolia, or snack bars, dotted across the city were mostly used by the poorer residents, who rarely had cooking facilities in their home, to grab a snack or drink. Typical menus included coarse bread with salty fish, baked cheese, lentils and spicy wine.



Neanderthal cannibalism was probably a sign of desperate times

Neanderthal bone
© Defleur et al. 1999
Fragments of a left femur show evidence of cut marks and percussion scars
A new study suggests that a group of Neanderthals in southeast France resorted to cannibalism to survive lean times. If that says anything about Neanderthals, it's that they weren't so different from us-for better and for worse.

The bones in the cave

Something awful happened in Moula-Guercy cave in southeastern France around 120,000 years ago. Archaeologists excavating the site in the early 1990s found the bones of six Neanderthals near the eastern wall of the cave, disarticulated and mingled with bones from deer and other wildlife. That mixing of bones, as though the dead Neanderthals had been discarded with the remains of their food, is strange enough; there's plenty of evidence that Neanderthals typically buried their dead. But at Moula-Guercy, at least six Neanderthals-two adults, two teenagers, and two children-received very different treatment. Their bones and those of the deer show nearly-identical marks of cutting, scraping, and cracking, the kind of damage usually associated with butchering.

Comment: Whether desperation, an aberration within a neanderthal group, it seems clear that cannibalism wasn't part of normal Neanderthal society:


US asked Chile to extradite arms supplier who sold weapons to Iraq in deals 'set up by the CIA'

Saddam Hussein, Carlos Cardoen
© Wikipedia
Saddam Hussein greeting Carlos Cardoen in the 1980s.
Washington has again shown that all is fair in war and business, calling for the extradition of a Chilean ex-arms dealer who sold cluster bombs to Iraq in the '80s, despite claims the CIA supported and approved the deals.

Before being inducted into Bush's 'Axis of Evil', Iraq's war with neighboring Iran made it a useful proxy to help Washington crush the nascent revolutionary government in Tehran. To accomplish the task, Baghdad needed bombs, and wealthy businessman Carlos Cardoen happened to have supplies in stock.

According to former National Security official Howard Teicher, part of the reason Cardoen found himself in the right place at the right time to seal the lucrative deal was that the CIA had stepped in to help manufacture and facilitate the sale of cluster bombs to the Iraqi government.

Star of David

Rafi Eitan, spy at center of Israel's great uranium heist from the US

Rafi Eitan
© Yoav Lemmer-Pool/Getty Images
Rafi Eitan at an Israeli cabinet meeting in 2006
On September 10, 1968 Rafi Eitan and three other Israeli nationals arrived in Apollo, Pennsylvania, a small city north of Pittsburgh that was home to a company called the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation. NUMEC packaged and stored enriched uranium, which it supplied to nuclear power plants in northeastern United States.

Rafael Eitan, who died Saturday at age 92, was an already legendary intelligence operative by the time he came to America in 1968. In 1960, he led the Mossad operation in 1960 to capture Adolf Eichmann, a Nazi functionary who presided over the liquidation of the European Jews. Eichmann's trial and subsequent execution was a milestone in world understanding of the Holocaust. As his obituaries noted, Eitan would go on a storied career that including running Jonathan Pollard, the Israeli spy whose arrest in 1985 cause a serious rift between the U.S. and Israeli governments.

The New York Times obituary mentioned of one of Eitan's most audacious and consequential operations:
"He was also suspected of being involved in the late-1960s disappearance of at least 100 pounds of highly enriched uranium from a nuclear fuel plant in the Pittsburgh area; many believed that the uranium was diverted to Israel to help its atomic bomb program."
After an online complaint from pro-Israeli watchdog group CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting, the Times deleted the offending facts and appended a correction that was, unfortunately, more misleading than the original. The Times correction stated, "though Mr. Eitan visited the plant around the time of the disappearance, it was never shown conclusively that he had had an important role in it."


New Ramses II's temple palace uncovered

'The new discovery will change, for the first time, the plan of the temple more than 160 years since its discovery,' said the secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.
Ramses II Palace
© Ahram Online
The remains of the discovered temple palace.
Excavation work carried out in Ramses II's temple in Abydos, Sohag, has uncovered a new temple palace belonging to the 19th Dynasty king.

The discovery was made by the New York University mission, directed by Sameh Iskander.

"It is a very important discovery which will change, for the first time, the plan of the temple more than 160 years since its discovery," said Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

He describes the new discovery as "an important contribution to our understanding of the development of the temple palaces during the Ramesside period."

The location and layout of the palace exhibits a noteworthy parallel to the temple palace of Ramses II's father Seti I in Abydos some 300 metres to the south.

During the work of the mission around the temple to recover the architectural elements south of the temple, Iskander told Ahram Online, the mission accidentally stumbled upon a stone walkway at the south-western door of a temple.

This walkway led to an entrance of a palace building that contains the cartouches of Ramses II.